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“City of Yelm Employees Form Labor Union” –
What are City Hall conditions that led to this?

For over 10 years, I have been the sole on-the-record advocate in Yelm for open government, supporting the public interest and following the process [via ordinances, statutes]!

On Friday, October 30, Steven Wyble reported in the Nisqually Valley News
“City of Yelm Employees Forming Labor Union
“at least 70 percent of the [12 employees] members signed authorization cards, which means they will not hold an election [as they exceeded the number to ratify a union here]” and is indicative that city employees must feel they require representation in the workplace to address their needs and concerns.

Questions require answers!

– The City of Yelm lost several high-profile and key personnel – WHY?
Projects Manager Stephanie Ray and City Administrator Shelly Badger resigned within the last year.
Were their departures promoted by a dictatorial rule from the top-down no longer tolerable for them, which led to the city employees unionizing?

– Did Mayor Harding’s leaving the City Administrator job unfilled for over 2 months backfire?
Since the City Administrator’s position has been vacant since September 1st with Mr. Harding assuming many city administrator functions, were the city staff intimidated in no longer having a City Administrator’s interface, with the mayor assuming much of that function – in other words, city staff had no liaison between their workplace conditions and the mayor?

– A very high 70 percent of the 12 employees members signed unionization authorization cards – WHY?
This high percentage of city employees signing for a union indicates the majority feel they require representation in their jobs, “Why?”
Does Mayor Harding rule city hall as his fiefdom?
Unions are formed when employees feel aggrieved in their positions, i.e. unable/afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs.
Seldom is unionization about the paycheck, which is usually way at the bottom of the list when folks form a union.
Working conditions & a top-down hierarchy that does not listen to employees ARE the key issues, most always.
Further, the 12 city employees will now be paying union dues from their own paychecks, indicating they are motivated to pay for representation/protection.

– Unionizing by City Hall employees is THE most pronounced black-eye to Mayor Harding’s tenure – WHY?
Mr. Harding’s poor management style is not only reflected in the Thurston Highlands debacle or two water case losses in the WA Supreme Court, rather that at least 70 percent of city employee members signed unionization authorization cards!
Happy and satisfied employees do not unionize and the fact that the city lost key personnel followed by unionization will forever be Mayor Harding’s lasting legacy here.
This is probably now a lame-duck Mayor not likely seeking a 4th term in 2017, as he will be reigned-in on how he governs city hall.

– A City Council candidate is running on the slogan, “This is OUR town!” – WHY?
This speaks volumes, meaning a Council candidate is highlighting how this town is ruled by an elite few who do not have the public interest as foremost.

– “Petition Filed With the State Seeks Formation of Collective Bargaining for 12 Employees”
By Steven Wyble, Nisqually Valley News.
“A representation petition filed [Petitioner = Bill Keenan, Washington State Council of County and City Employees, Director or Organizing, Council 2, Everett] with the state Public Employment Relations Commission seeks the formation of a collective bargaining unit that would cover all city employees except for police officers, firefighters, public works employees, supervisors and confidential employees, according to the petition.”

“Michael Sellars, executive director of PERC, said at least 70 percent of the members [12 employees] signed authorization cards, which means they will not hold an election.”
Read more

– From the Washington State Council of County and City Employees website:
“Your union is your insurance policy laying the foundation for a better future in your work life. More and more public employees are finding that they can strengthen their say in workplace matters by working collectively to address common needs and concerns. WSCCCE/AFSCME Council 2 acts as the conduit through which you and your co-workers can be in a stronger position to win improvements in your wages, benefits and overall working conditions through the collective bargaining process.”
Read more

* Did city employees feel neglected, intimidated in workplace matters?
* Was dictatorial behavior from the mayor & comm. dev. dir. making city staffers fear for their jobs a key reason city employees felt the need to form a union?
* Was dictatorial behavior from the mayor the reason there have been several high-profile departures from city staff in 2015, and other staff changes in previous years?
* This Blogger welcomes and supports Yelm’s city employees forming a union here. Fairness will now reign now for our city’s staffers.

How does this help the community?
– With a Shop Steward in Yelm, city employees will be able to file their grievances anonymously about Mayor Harding, Grant Beck and workplace conditions, without being fearful of losing their jobs.
– The workplace will not be a tension-filled debacle in which city employees have to feel they drag themselves into everyday.
– As of today, Harding is still fulfilling much of the role of the vacant City Administrator post, against the Yelm Municipal Code. This would not happen in a unionized shop.
– The brain-drain of losing experienced, key personnel (i.e. Projects Mgr. Stephanie Ray, City Administrator Badger and others) will hopefully cease.
– Tomorrow, at least one new City Council member WILL be elected, beginning an era where council decisions will not be a rubber-stamp to Mayor Harding.
– Following the Public Process, investing in the Public Interest, and Open to the Public Government WILL finally prevail in Yelm.

Posted by Steve on November 2, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

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