DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE

Olympia Forest

September 2018

It has been an incredibly busy time for PERC. Late summer is generally the time PERC is busy mediating teacher contracts. Recently, legislative changes to the school funding model resulted in nearly every one of the 295 school districts in Washington bargaining the impact of those changes. So far in 2018, PERC has received 45 teacher mediation requests—the most in any one year since 1983. Teachers in 14 school districts went on strike this year, with the strikes lasting from 1 day to 18 days. This number of strikes is the most in any one year in PERC’s history.

Through the selflessness and commitment of my staff, PERC was able to provide a mediator in response to each request. We also assigned mediations to the two Field Service Managers and staff in the Appeals, Representation, and Unfair Labor Practice Administrator roles. Many mediators worked over three weeks without a day off, with many days lasting over 12 hours and even some over 20 hours straight. To meet this need, however, work on other cases had to be put off. While we continue to receive requests to mediate teacher contracts, the volume and pace of the mediations have slowed down, which will allow us to get back to the work of our other clientele.

In July, we issued our Annual Report for 2017. This report builds upon last year’s and shows that PERC continues to efficiently and effectively provide quality, unbiased, and expert labor relations and dispute resolution services. The Annual Report for 2017 can be accessed here.

We also updated the information and guidance for filing unfair labor practice complaints on our website. A big part of the update is a new interactive tool that will help parties be more informed about what types of unfair labor practice complaints may be filed as well as the information required when filing those types of complaints. The updated information and guidance may be found here.

Some staff changes occurred in September. Commissioner Mark Brennan completed his five-year term this month. Commissioner Brennan joined the Public Employment Relations Commission after serving on the Marine Employees Commission from 2011 until its sunset in 2013. With over 35 years of labor relations experience, Commissioner Brennan was a valuable voice and resource on this commission. We thank him for his service and wish him the best. We expect a new commissioner to be appointed very soon.

We also say goodbye this month to Adjudicator/Mediator Andy Lukes. Andy leaves us after three years to join Garvey Schubert Barer, where he will focus on labor and employment law. Andy was a valuable part of PERC. He worked right up until his departure, facilitating settlements with teachers in three school districts. Andy will be missed, and we wish him the best.

We continue to seek to improve the manner in which we provide our services. In the remainder of 2018, look for improvements to our decision search engine and improved accessibility in our decisions.

In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments about PERC.

Sig

Michael P. Sellars, Executive Director

Public Employment Relations Commission

(360) 570-7306

Mike.Sellars@perc.wa.gov

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