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Gary Malkasian threw a wrench into the works for foster parents looking to unionize this morning, coming out strongly against it.
“Unionization was really created for labor and the model really doesn’t fit volunteers,” he told us.
Malkasian has some standing with lawmakers as a driving force behind Sirita’s Law, a package of foster care safety improvements passed last year.
He testified against HB3145, a bill that originally would have created a two-tier system of classifying foster parents – professionals and adoptive, essentially. But the bill was amended in the House to unionize the professionals and start collective bargaining next year.
Up ‘til now, the only testimony on the bill was favorable, from foster parents associated with the Foster Parent Association of Washington who want the support and clout that comes with a union.
The rift in the normally tightly knit community of politically active foster parents is striking – Malkasian knows the co-presidents of FPAWS personally, and stayed at their house in Olympia.
“I got a lot of panicky emails form FPAWS board members, you’d think I was Ralph Nader,” he said.