OLYMPIA – “About 30,000 Washington state workers would receive pay raises of roughly 6 percent,” Wednesday’s Associated Press story explained, “under a tentative deal struck Tuesday between state officials and union leaders.”
What the press account didn’t mention was that the deal was struck in secret.
According Tim Welch, the still-not-satisfied spokesman for the Washington Federation of State Employees, the proposed pay raises would be the largest across-the-board increases state employees have negotiated since they gained full collective bargaining rights in 2004.
“The Office of Financial Management,” the story continued, “estimated the general government contract will cost the state about $170 million over two years.”
The state has no money of its own and is incapable of generating any. In order to honor this contract, it must confiscate $170 million more than it’s already taking from the state’s taxpayers … who were conspicuously absent while it was being negotiated.
“Agency officials said they couldn’t comment further while the contracts are pending,” the story added.
No indeed. Nor could they comment while those details were being hammered out, but we’re nonetheless assured a hard bargain was driven by representatives of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee – who was the beneficiary of nearly $6 million in contributions from organized labor in general and public-sector unions in particular during his 2012 campaign.
In point of fact, the unions were well-represented on both sides of the bargaining table during the collective bargaining talks – a spectacle that would have appalled taxpayers had they been able to watch.
But they weren’t, because Washington is one of the minority of remaining states that makes an exception to its Open Public Meetings Act for contract negotiations.
All of which is just fine by the unions and the best governor someone else’s money can buy.
As a rule of thumb, most politicians would trample their own grandmother if she stood between them and a TV camera when it comes to boasting about some action they’re proud of. But Inslee and his henchmen suddenly develop a bad case of stage fright at the thought of you seeing whose interests he’s really working for.
It almost makes one think he’s ashamed. And he should be.