State Senate Votes to Keep Secret Bargaining

State Senate Votes to Keep Secret Bargaining

State Senate Votes to Keep Secret Bargaining

On Feb. 27, the Washington State Legislature considered whether or not citizens, public employees and journalists could observe as Gov. Jay Inslee’s team negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement with the various unions that have donated heavily to his campaign.

They decided against it.

Collective Bargaining Agreements between the public and the unions that speak for government employees impact nearly all aspects of the services Washingtonians receive. Service levels, consequences for misdeeds, spending priorities, tax increases and even the rights of state residents are all impacted by the binding decisions made in secret collective bargaining sessions.

Even lawmakers have no real ability to establish their own priorities once the governor has promised employee unions certain concessions or spending expansions in the union contract.

Unlike Oregon and Idaho, Washington government entities are allowed to shut the public out of these critical decisions.

While considering the state budget, the state Senate heard an amendment offered by Sen. Mark Schoesler that would “facilitate the taxpayers’ understanding of public employee bargaining and its fiscal impact on the state budget” by allowing public observation.

The amendment was defeated with of 20 Republicans and one Democrat voting “yes” and 28 Democrats voting “no.”

It’s no surprise, but many of those opposing the amendment have government unions as their single largest campaign donors.

Watch the debate on the amendment here.



Big Labor Remains Biggest Foe to Government Transparency February 7, 2020
Promoting Transparency at Public School Conference November 25, 2019
The City of Spokane Passes Transparency Measure: Will Government Unions Accept the Will of the Voters? November 7, 2019
Union Saber-Rattling Demonstrates Need for Bargaining Transparency August 29, 2019
Gig Harbor Recognizes the Importance of Transparent Bargaining July 24, 2019
Centralia School District Increasing Collective Bargaining Transparency March 19, 2019
School Contract Talks Benefit Only Those with Secrets to Keep February 14, 2019
After 22 Months Behind Closed Doors, Public Gets First Look at New UTLA Contract January 24, 2019
How Are LAUSD Strike Negotiations Going? We’re In The Dark. Collective Bargaining Needs Some Sunshine January 17, 2019
Spokane Sets Example on Union Bargaining January 3, 2019
Back To School In Tukwila…Not Quite! September 6, 2018
Kennewick school board poised to allow observed bargaining June 26, 2018
Collective bargaining is now being done publicly…is the sky falling? April 18, 2018
Now is the time for transparent collective bargaining April 5, 2018
Arguments against government transparency are flawed December 8, 2017
Washingtonians overwhelmingly want transparency November 28, 2017
Kittitas County the Latest to Board the Transparency Train November 8, 2017
Kittitas Commissioners Approve Ordinance Opening Collective Bargaining To The Public November 7, 2017
Kittitas Set To Open Contract Negotiations; Franklin Next? October 9, 2017
Tukwila School Board Brings Union Bargaining Into Daylight July 17, 2017
Pullman School District Negotiating Union Contract In Public April 19, 2017
Unions and Senate Democrats on Defense Over Collective Bargaining Transparency March 22, 2017
Lincoln County Teaching The Rest Of The State A Lesson In Transparency January 17, 2017
Survey Shows Lincoln County Voters Overwhelmingly Support Commissioners’ Union Transparency Resolution October 18, 2016
Lincoln County First Local Jurisdiction to Make Contract Negotiations Public September 7, 2016
Calls for Union Transparency Are Sweeping Across Western Washington April 22, 2015
Idaho Adopts Open Bargaining Law April 10, 2015
Are Unions Agreeable to Hold Public Negotiations? March 19, 2015
State Newspapers Chide State Senate for Failing to Advance Collective Bargaining Transparency March 17, 2015
Freedom Foundation Transparency in Collective Bargaining Bill Passes Senate Committee After Contentious Hearing February 26, 2015
Colorado Voters Require Open Meetings for Union Bargaining November 13, 2014
Shelton Commissioners Ignore State Law, Refuse to Send Labor Reform Initiatives to Public Vote September 24, 2014
Eight Union Arguments Against Transparency in Collective Bargaining August 27, 2014
Freedom Foundation Supporters Protest Secret Government-Union Negotiations August 6, 2014
Unions Support Transparency, Except When it Applies to Them February 3, 2014


Also related:

Inslee Conspired with WFSE to Undermine Janus November 16, 2018
Lawsuit Shows DSHS Supports the Union More Than It Respects the Law June 26, 2019
DSHS allowing SEIU to continue exploiting caregivers January 29, 2018
DSHS Unlawfully Delays Disclosure Of Public Records To Aid Union—Again August 7, 2017
DSHS Aiding SEIU Misinformation Of Home Care Workers February 8, 2017

Senior Policy Analyst
Jami Lund is the Freedom Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst. From 2004 to 2011, he developed legislative policy as a research analyst for the Washington House Republican Caucus. Prior to that he worked for the Freedom Foundation as the Project Manager for the Teachers Paycheck Protection project, shepherding the development of the Foundation’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case to protect teacher rights. Jami is an accomplished speaker and researcher, one of Washington state’s top scholars on education policy and finance.