Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Labor Relations Recognition Breakfast
October 26, 2004

Good morning. I am pleased to join with you today to celebrate the great accomplishments of our labor relations’ team.

It has been a privilege to serve as your governor, and especially during this time of historic change in Washington State’s personnel system.

You’ve led the way. You accomplished what many predicted would be impossible. And your hard work negotiating nine separate contracts has not gone unnoticed.

Because of your commitment, insight and composure, the labor agreements that I will be including in my budget proposal to the Legislature will significantly improve our state government.

These agreements are a major step forward. They will make government more efficient and accountable. They streamline the way managers hire. They improve the way managers work with employees and their unions. They will create better employee performance. You have given managers the flexibility to achieve the mission of their respective agencies with fewer constraints than ever before, while ensuring employees still have a voice and are treated fairly.

You’ve worked in a pressure-filled, demanding and sometimes contentious environment. Despite these obstacles, you’ve shown innovation and dedication. You’ve acted as individuals to represent your agencies, and you’ve acted as a team to represent the state. You’ve set aside differences for solidarity, without losing sight of our most important priorities.

Despite heavy workloads and management responsibilities, you educated yourselves on what it takes to negotiate a contract with employee unions and tackled the tough issues present in these negotiations.

Through your dedication and leadership, you made things better for your employees and colleagues.

But your job isn’t yet complete. Now it’s time to put those contracts into practice at your agency. You worked hard to negotiate better tools and more flexibility for managers – now make it real.

Show your fellow managers why you’ve worked so hard these past months. Take the knowledge you’ve gained from this process back to your agency. You are each role models. Show us and others what it means to manage in this new environment. We want the Legislature to know that these contracts will improve state government.

Before we recognize all the teams, I want to say one more thing:

Thank you.

Thank you so much for caring about your jobs, and most importantly the people with whom you work.

Thank you for making state government more effective by leading the way and being a champion for change.

Changing the way an organization does business is difficult and stressful – but strong managers make change possible.

Thank you for being the type of strong manager that makes a positive, lasting difference. I am proud that we are all on the same state government team.

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