UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE
An employer or union commits an unfair labor practice (ULP) when it violates state collective bargaining laws relating to employees under the following statutes:
- Community College Academic Personnel, RCW 28B.52.073
- Teachers, RCW 41.59.140
- Academic Personnel at 4 year colleges, RCW 41.76.050
- State employees, RCW 41.80.110
- Marine employees, RCW 47.64.130
The laws covering public sector employees in Washington generally forbid employers and unions 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
Examples of Employers ULPs
- 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.
Examples of Union ULPs
- 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.
Who can file a complaint?
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. 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
3. Send copy of filing to PERC
4. Serve a complete copy on the charged party, using a Certificate of Service.
5. There is no cost for filing a ULP complaint.
On what basis can an individual employee file a complaint?
Employees may file a complaint on the basis of:
- Interference – To interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their collective bargaining rights.
- Domination or Assistance – To control, dominate, or interfere with a bargaining representative.
- Discrimination – To deprive rights, benefits, or status in reprisal for union activities.
Hiring an attorney
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.
What to expect at an unfair labor practice hearing
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.
Notification of PERCS decision
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.
How Do I...
Not a Public Employee?
Not Represented by a Union?
Private Sector Employee
National Labor Relations Board at 206.220.6300 or nlrb.gov
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service at 206.553.5800 or fmcs.gov
Human Rights Commission at 800.233.3247 or hum.wa.gov
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 800.669.4000 or eeoc.gov
Employment Standards/Workplace Rights
Department of Labor and Industries at 866.219.7321 or lni.wa.gov