In a preliminary ruling, the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) has found that the University of Washington may have violated Washington State labor law on multiple occasions if allegations brought by 30 campus police officers, represented by Teamsters Local 117, are proven to be true.
The University of Washington Police Department management team, under the direction of Chief John Vinson, is accused by the Teamsters of interfering with employee rights, discriminating against employees for engaging in protected Union activities, and refusing to bargain in good faith. PERC issued the preliminary ruling on December 20, 2011. The University of Washington has until January 10, 2012 to respond to the allegations.
“They have created a Big Brother environment at work where officers are intimidated, which makes it difficult for us to focus on protecting the public,” said Officer Raymond Wilson, a 5-year employee, Local 117 Shop Steward, and former President of the University of Washington Police Officers Association (UWPOA), the group that represented the unit prior to October 3, 2011.
Wilson said that the Department refused to negotiate with the Union over the installation of surveillance cameras and changes to policies and longstanding practices with regard to employee shift schedules, uniform doffing practices, shift trades, leave use and leave approval, and paid release time/shift adjustment to attend contract negotiations meetings.
In October 2011, UW police officers sought the protection of the Teamsters Union in an effort to address the violations and compel the employer to respect the rights of its employees.
The Teamsters filed Unfair Labor Practice Charges with PERC on November 10, 2011 and an amended complaint on December 13, 2011. The Union is seeking a number of remedies for the alleged violations, including an order requiring the employer to return to the status quo ante and a make-whole award including, but not limited to, back pay and benefits for any bargaining unit member(s) subject to any of the violations.
Both the Union’s amended complaint and PERC’s preliminary ruling can be viewed on the Teamsters Local 117 website at www.teamsters117.org.
View a PDF of this news release.