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Archives: May 2013


UPDATE – Strikers back to work but Evergreen says labor action forces postponement of ‘Return to Evergreen’ event planned Saturday

Update: Our print version of this post  is here.

An ongoing labor dispute between The Evergreen State College leaders and a union representing 57 student-support services workers is still at a virtual impasse, and the college announced it is postponing Saturday’s “Return to Evergreen” gathering of alumni out of worry about disruptions from workers.

In the meantime, the parties report they are getting back into mediation under the guidance of the Public Employment Relations Commission, a state agency, after a one-day walk-out. The workers who include residence advisers, counselors and coaches walked off

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Employees at The Evergreen State College go on strike; picket lines on campus

Updated at 1:22 p.m. to add quotes from Rep. Chris Reykdal, details about alternate Evergreen campus classrooms and quote from executive director of the Washington Federation of State Employees.

Updated at 2:33 p.m. to add statement from The Evergreen State College.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. to add information on strike legality.

Student services employees at The Evergreen State College in Olympia went on strike Tuesday after failing to reach an agreement with administrators regarding firing procedures and pay.

The 57 Evergreen employees, which include resident advisers, academic counselors and athletic coaches, were joined by a few hundred supporters from the

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Evergreen college labor talks now in mediation; Tuesday strike looking more likely

Greg Devereux of the Washington Federation of State Employees / 2010 file photo by Olympian photographer  Steve Bloom

Negotiators for a fledgling support-services union failed to reach agreement and administrators at The Evergreen State College in their final bargaining talks this week, and a two-hour mediation session also did not bear fruit Wednesday. With a date set Tuesday for a possible strike, Student Support Services Staff Union leaders say they still hope to work out a two-year agreement in a second day of mediation planned Thursday.

State workers in Washington “do not have a legally protected

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UW Huskies’ coach Sarkisian once is again top-paid state employee, earning $2.7 million in 2012

UPDATED to fix glitch in data – pushing WSU football coach Mike Leach to No. 2 overall in 2012.

Just as he was two years before, University of Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian was the top paid employee on the Washington state-government’s payroll in 2012. He earned $2.7 million in 2012 – money actually paid out of athletic department funds (like earnings from selling tickets or television rights for Husky games) and not by taxpayers.

While most state employees saw 3 percent reductions in pay and hours worked since July 2011, Sarkisian’s pay was up from $1.98 million in

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UPDATE – Evergreen State College bargaining unit votes overwhelmingly to OK strike option in ongoing contract talks

UPDATE: Student-services workers at The Evergreen State College  voted 45 to 5 today to authorize actions “up to and including a strike” this afternoon. The overwhelming vote does not mean a strike will happen, but it will be an option for the employees as they continue to bargain with the administration over pay and disciplinary issues at the four-year school.

The affected workers include counselors and academic advisers.

ORIGINAL POST: About 55 student-services employees seeking a first-time labor contract at The Evergreen State College were voting today on whether to authorize a strike or other job actions, while their ongoing

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Chief Justice Madsen: ‘Justice blind but we don’t usually turn off lights’

Asking the Supreme Court to shed light on matters was given new layers of meaning Tuesday. An electrical problem in the Temple of Justice was causing a shorting-out of lights in the high court’s chambers, and the on-off aspect was a bit odd – even causing two justices to mention it, once during arguments.

“I want to apologize for the darkness earlier. Justice is blind but we usually don’t turn off the lights,” Chief Justice Barbara Madsen said after litigants concluded their arguments concluded Tuesday morning in an appeal of a $95 million judgment against the state in a

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State employees get free lunches at work, recognition at Seattle Mariners game

State workers will be recognized at Safeco Field on Saturday, according to Secretary of State Kim Wyman‘s office. Wyman is due to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in the evening game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s.

The event caps Public Service Recognition Week, which the secretary of state’s office marked with a lunch on the Capitol Campus Wednesday and continues with two similar events today in Eastern Washington: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Department of Transportation Building in Spokane, and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Howard Ammon Park in Richland.



Employment Security sends ‘at risk’ notices to 200-plus workers; layoffs to follow ‘bumping’ over next month

The state Employment Security Department has sent out two more  rounds of “at-risk” layoff notices to hundreds of workers, part of the agency’s slim-down after the Great Recession.

All told about 400 jobs are being wiped off the books in the agency that pays out unemployment compensation and also helps unemployed workers get jobs. Because roughly 140 positions had been kept vacant, the number of people eventually handed pink slips is going to be far less that those getting warned they are at risk of layoffs.

“It will be a few weeks before we know exactly how many people are

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