Session brings some threats

by Pat Thompson, Council 2 Deputy Director on February 9, 2012

 Session Brings Some Threats

At the half way mark, the 2012 Legislative Session brought some familiar threats to local government employees and even added a few new ones. 

Senate Bill 6543  

Sponsored by:  Tom (D), Baumgartner (R), Kastama (D), Holmquist-Newbry (R), Sheldon (D), Schoesler (R) and Hewitt (R).

This short sided measure would unfairly exclude overtime payments from being included in your pension formula.  The back story to this bill stems from a high ranking State Patrol employee who worked a ridiculously high amount of overtime just prior to his retirement in an attempt to artificially “balloon" his pension.  Even though this person is under investigation for fraud, this knee jerk reaction would unfairly hurt hourly workers who regularly work overtime.  It also would protect administrative employees who simply roll their overtime into their regular salary.  This means most management could still have their “overtime” counted while their employees take a hit to their pension.

HB 2441  

Sponsored by:  Bailey (R), Alexander (D)

This is a more reasoned response to the overtime ballooning issue.  Basically it would simply identify very high amounts of overtime and generate a bill for the employer to pay if it costs the retirement system extra money. 

Senate Bill 6378


Sponsored by:  Zarelli (R), Baumgartner (R), Parlette (R), Hill (R) and Tom (D).

 By far the worst pension bill to date!  It does 3 bad things:

1)   It forces all new hires into Plan 3.

2)   Eliminates all Early Retirement Options for new hires.

3)   Skips the Employer’s Payment to reduce the Unfunded Liability of Plan I.

Here are more reasons we oppose this measure.

1)   It would raise the rates for all Plan II members.

2)   It would lower the investment returns of the State Investment Board.

3)   It would increase the State debt for Plan I.

 SB 6372– Sponsored by:  Swecker (R)

HB 2641 – Sponsored by:  Springer (D), Takko (D), Kagi (D) and Eddy (D)

 These two omnibus bills from the Association of Washington Cities and Washington State Association of Counties.  In general it’s a good bill that would help local government balance their budgets. But there’s the big “However.”  It also waters down Interest Arbitration and eliminates our ability to bargain over the use of Volunteers in our work places. It would allow an employer to simply bring in anyone they wish into the workplace with no ability for the regular workforce to have input in how or what services they would perform. 

Please call your legislators on the Legislative Hotline at

1-800-562-6000 and ask them to support these measures.  To find your legislator or district, visit: