The role of employee organizations in the total personnel operation and more specifically in the area of collective bargaining is a matter of growing concern to management in the field of public employment. From time to time, I, as Governor, and some agency directors have issued statements on various aspects of labor management relations in the state service. It is the purpose of this document, issued as an Executive Order applicable to all units of state government under my jurisdiction, to outline the labor management relations policy of this administration. This state, as an employer has an enviable record of employee-employer relations. I intend that this record be maintained.
I. The Role of the Office of the Governor
The Office of the Governor has an open door policy which it will continue to maintain in meeting with representatives of employee organizations and agencies to discuss matters of mutual concern. Such meetings will be held either at the initiation of this office or upon request of the employee organizations or agencies for the purpose of discussing:
A. All personnel matters not resolved at the agency level which matters are administratively within the discretion of the agencies and/or this office.
B. Proposed actions by this office or policies established by this office, the implementation of which affect conditions of employment.
C. Proposals on personnel policies and/or procedures submitted to the State Personnel Board for its consideration and action by either the agencies or the employee organizations.
Proposals affecting conditions of employment under consideration for submission to the legislature by either this administration or the employee organizations.
E. Other matters of mutual concern.It is not the intent of this office to intervene during application of the State Personnel Board established procedures for the conduct of collective bargaining, mediation, arbitration and application or interpretation of existing collective bargaining agreements except as part of the management team.
II. The Role of the Agencies
Maintenance of sound labor relations within the agencies requires positive action on the part of all members of management. Agencies will discuss proposed changes in employee's working conditions with the representatives of the employee organizations involved. Such discussions should be sufficiently in advance of the targeted implementation dates that reasonable alternative proposals can be adequately considered.
It is my belief that rigorous adherence to this policy is not only required by considerations of fair and equitable treatment, but also provides a significant assist tot he achievement of the overall program objectives of the agencies.
It is essential that maximum communication be maintained at all times between agency heads, their authorized representatives, and the employees and their authorized representatives. To facilitate this, management representatives should at all reasonable times hold themselves available for this purpose and shall take positive steps to insure the right of employees and/or their authorized representatives to met with management representatives without obstructions and delay.
III. Rights of Employees and Role of Employee Organizations
As a supplement to the Civil Service Law and the Rules of the Personnel Board adopted thereunder guaranteeing employees the right to organize and designate representatives of their own choosing, free from any direct or indirect interference from management and providing for the establishment of specific bargaining units for formal collective bargaining purposes, employees shall have the right to be represented at all levels by appropriate employee organizations on any matters affecting their conditions of employment.
Designated employee organization representatives shall be afforded every opportunity to carry out this function in a timely fashion with no unreasonable restrictions.
The language of this section is in no way intended to change or modify existing Personnel Board rules relative to supervisors nor to change or restrict in any way the functions of the Personnel Board.
IV. Job Safety
The state as an employer, shall conform to the same requirements in the area of job safety as the state, in its enforcement capacity, requires of private industry and other governmental jurisdictions. Safety standards adopted by the Department of Labor and Industries shall be adhered to wherever applicable. Each agency, working with employees and appropriate employee organizations, in keeping with Washington Safety Standards shall provide the necessary mechanism to insure its compliance with appropriate standards and the effective monitoring of such compliance.
V. Concluding Statement
It is my conviction that employee organizations operating in the best interest of the employees they represent and in the interest of the public can do much to assist state government through the establishment of a proper basis of mutual respect, cooperation and exchange of ideas. I do not believe that the state as an employer can afford to keep the representatives of public employees solely at arms length--dealing with them only in terms of collective bargaining when we technically get tot he bargaining table. Management must avoid the development of situations which can, through neglect, fester to the point that employees conclude that public dispute and open confrontation is not merely the only thing to do but the right thing to do.
It is important in all of its dealing with employees and employee organizations that management be fair. When there are areas where management believes it has a legitimate concern and position to maintain it should and will, of course pursue this position vigorously. As a public employer, however, we need to avoid the "adversary situation" which so often prevails in private industry. We need a partnership in problem solving. We need to develop a sound labor relations policy for state government that will identify problem areas, arrive at solutions in those problems and minimize arbitrary or precipitous action by either party."
In the conduct of the labor relation's program within the state service we must remember at all times that the general public interest is equally a responsibility and concern of both employees and management.