The Washington Federation of State Employees has filed suit to block state government's plan to temporarily lay off upward of a third of state workers on 10 separate days over the next year. It says it has a court hearing next Friday, July 2, to consider its request for an injunction blocking furloughs of state workers, which is supposed to save $38 million in general-fund payroll and about $35 million from other accounts.
Click here for a copy of the 31-page lawsuit. This below is an excerpt of what the federation is saying about its action:
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Glenn Kuper, spokesman for Gov. Chris Gregoire's Office of Financial Management, said state agencies intend to move ahead with furloughs "until the courts tell us otherwise." He said there is no exact estimate for the percent of state workers affected by the temporary layoffs, or furloughs, but he said it is more than the 26 percent previously estimated at the time majority Democrats in the Legislature adopted the furloughs measure, SB 6503.
Click here for a copy of our overview of the furloughs situation published Sunday, showing how different agencies are taking different approaches (Most are following Gov. Gregoire's preference to shut down at the same time to avoid public confusion, maximize savings on energy and other costs by having whole offices closed, and to show the public that spending cuts do have an impact.)
The furloughs affect a portion of workers in general government and higher education, a combined workforce that totals 100,000. Kuper said it now appears “closer to a third than a quarter of the workforce” is participating. The furlough responses vary by state agency, but would cover 10 days spread out over the next year for agencies that shut down according to the exact terms of Senate Bill 6503, which allows alternative plans that many agencies are adopting.
Kuper otherwise had no comment on the development, which the federation has warned for weeks could be coming. "We just received the lawsuit … We are just starting to take a look at it now," Kuper said.