Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle v. Public Employment Relations Commission

118 Wash. 3d 621, 826 P.2d 158 (1992)

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Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle v. Public Employment Relations Commission

Washington Supreme Court
118 Wash. 3d 621, 826 P.2d 158 (1992)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

The City of Seattle’s commuter-pool clerical employees belonged to the Local 17 union (the union) (plaintiff). In 1982 or 1983, the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro) (defendant), a public-transit authority, began negotiating with the city to transfer the commuter-pool program to Metro, including the union’s employees. Metro was required by statute to collectively bargain with any existing union upon acquiring an existing transportation system. In April 1984, the union’s employees were transferred to Metro. From then on, Metro steadfastly refused to recognize or collectively bargain with the union, despite court and Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) orders to do so. Metro maintained that the union did not represent an appropriate bargaining unit. In February 1985, the union filed an unfair-labor-practice complaint before PERC, alleging Metro’s refusal to bargain. A PERC decision on the complaint was delayed for years due to a related court case filed by Metro. In 1988, the PERC hearing examiner issued its decision, finding that Metro had attempted “at every turn” to evade its bargaining obligations with the union, had asserted frivolous defenses, and would likely continue doing so. To remedy Metro’s unfair labor practice, the PERC order required the union’s employees to be returned to their status quo, Metro’s payment of attorney fees, a period of bilateral negotiations, the use of mediation if desired by either party, and finally, if the parties were still at an impasse, the submission of remaining issues to compulsory interest arbitration. Metro appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Anderson, J.)

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