Freedom Foundation

Kittitas Set To Open Contract Negotiations; Franklin Next?

In mid-June, the Freedom Foundation made a case for open contract negotiations to the Kittitas County commissioners and staff. The commissioners had expressed interest in the idea and asked us to come back for a more formal meeting during which they intended to invite the unions it would impact to share their thoughts on a more transparent process.

On Aug. 29, the Freedom Foundation faced off with the Teamsters, but the real show ended up being the Teamsters scrambling to save face as the commissioners tore their disjointed arguments and rambling to shreds.

The conclusion of that work-study lead to the creation of a draft resolution that was discussed in a public meeting on Sept. 26.

Following a brief discussion, the commissioners agreed an ordinance would be stronger and more transparent than a resolution, and staff was asked to draft an ordinance and plan to put out a public notice on Oct. 17 that the board would hear public testimony and vote on the motion during its first meeting in November.

By all appearances, it appeared Kittitas County would likely be the second county in Washington to open its union employee contract negotiations to the public.

In attendance at the workshop on the 26th was a Franklin County Commissioner.  After the meeting, I sat down with the Commissioner to further discuss the possibility of opening union contract negotiations in Franklin County.

I later spoke separately with the other two Franklin County commissioners.

It’s hard to predict what elected officials will do, but I can tell you a majority of the commissioners seem very supportive of the idea. The question now is whether Franklin County will be the third County in Washington to open their contract negations to the public.