What is an Unfair Labor Practice?

An employer or union commits an unfair labor practice (ULP) when it violates state collective bargaining laws relating to the following employees:



The laws covering public sector employees in Washington generally forbid employers and union from:

  • interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of their rights to organize and collectively bargain,
  • discriminating against an employee for exercising their rights under the state collective bargaining laws, and
  • refusing to collectively bargain with the employer or union over wages, hours or working conditions.

  • Interference–Threatening employees with reduced benefits if they vote to be represented by a union.
  • Discrimination—Terminating the employment of an employee because they filed a grievance to enforce the CBA.
  • Refusal to Bargain—Failing or refusing to provide the union with information it requested related to contract enforcement. Unilaterally changing bargaining unit employees’ health benefits without first notifying their union and providing it with an opportunity to bargain.
  • Discrimination for filing a PERC case or testifying in a hearing-Retaliating against an employee for filing a case with PERC or testifying in a PERC hearing.

  • Interference— Making threats to an employee who filed a decertification petition.
  • Discrimination—Inducing an employer to commit a ULP by requesting the discharge of an employee in reprisal for activities in support of a competing union.
  • Refusal to Bargain—Failing or refusing to provide the employer with information it requested related to the heath trust administered by the union. Refusing to meet and bargain with the employer’s designated bargaining representative.
  • Discrimination for filing a PERC case or testifying in a hearing-Retaliating against an employee for filing a case with PERC or testifying in a PERC hearing.

Charges must be filed within 6 months  of the first date the complainant knew or should have known of the violation.
Who can file
  • Unions may file a complaint concerning employees it represents or is seeking to represent.              
  • Employers may file a complaint against a union that represents employees or is seeking to represent employees.
  • Individual employees may file complaints alleging “interference”, “domination” or “discrimination” violations against either the Employer, Union or both.


How to file
  1. Complete the Unfair Labor Practice Complaint form, you may also reference the Frequently Asked Questions.
  2. Statement of Facts and Remedy Request

Attach on separate sheets of paper in numbered paragraphs a brief statement of the facts regarding the alleged unfair labor practice(s).

  • Include times, dates, places, and participants of occurrences.
  • Indicate statutes allegedly violated.
  • State whether a related grievance has been filed.
  • Describe the remedies requested.
  • Review the full requirements described in WAC 391-45-050
  1. Send copy of filing to PERC
  2. Serve a complete copy on the charged party.( Link to instructions on service and affidavit of service)
  3. There is no cost for filing a ULP complaint.

PERC staff is strictly neutral and can only answer questions about rules and procedures, and cannot provide legal advice.

You are not required to have an attorney.  If you do not hire an attorney it is recommended that you:

  • Study the statute and rules.
  • Review your claims and evidence.
  • Make your own decision whether to hire an attorney at your own expense.

Parties may request ULP settlement mediation.  That settlement mediation case is assigned to a separate PERC mediator.  See WAC 391-45-260 for more information.
A hearing is similar to a trial before a judge.  The PERC Examiner acts as an Administrative Law Judge.  Parties must provide evidence through testimony of witnesses and exhibits regarding the disputed issues.

Court Reporter:  A court reporter is hired to transcribe all PERC hearings. Parties may purchase the transcript directly from the court reporter.

Evidence: Parties must provide evidence through testimony of witnesses & exhibits regarding the disputed issues.

Numbering Exhibits – Exhibits should be numbered UN-1, etc for the union and ER-1, etc for the employer. If there is more than one union in a case, the parties and the examiner will determine the designation prior to hearing. If there is an individual litigant in a case, his or her exhibits should be designated in a manner reflecting his or her status in the case, such as C for complainant. The examiner will make clear the designation prior to the hearing. If you have a matter scheduled for hearing, you should consult with the assigned examiner to confirm how exhibits should be numbered.

After the hearing, the parties will typically submit closing briefs.  A decision is generally issued 90 days after the closing briefs are filed.  The decision is mailed to the parties on the case and posted on the decisions page.
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