15 Minute Issue

In 2014 a State Auditor Report failed to address the fact that DSHS “cooks the books” with regard to public payroll records to indicate that thousands of employees that actually work 7.75 hours ( 7 hours and 45 minutes) per day within DSHS facilities are recorded by CIBS as having worked (and are compensated for) eight hours, even though they start to accrue overtime after 7.75 hours as overtime eligible employees.   Check out the media story at KUOW.ORG and listen to the report…  20140509_JR_WesternState.mp3  Note that the Office of State Auditor held nobody accountable and TOOK NO ACTION other than to “recommend” that the process be resolved in the future.  Guess which State Auditor got union donations (ask your union)?

Note that the State Auditor Report states that this fleecing of the taxpayer has been a long standing practice within DSHS.  What the report did NOT mention was that that WFSE and SEIU labor contracts are almost identically worded.  In a public disclosure request I received a list of over a thousand overtime eligible employees that work seven hours and forty-five minutes per day who are compensated for eight hours per day at Western State Hospital alone, not the small number that was listed in the Auditor report…  Further, the Auditor report failed to mention that the practice applied to ALL DSHS facilities, not just Western State Hospital.  

RN’s work over eight days more per year in DSHS facilities (in time worked) than the 7.75 hour per day employees (majority of direct patient care providers) without additional compensation.  This illegal and inappropriate government “union payoff” practice continues to this day.  Public records are falsified daily by CIBS (payroll recording) to indicate that RN’s and WFSE employees work identical periods of time through the use of antiquated timekeeping systems (HRMS) that is incapable of recording and compensating actual hours worked, or the inequity in pay would have been addressed long before now.  Millions of dollars of unearned wages have been payed as a political favor to labor unions for their contributions though election donations.  The current Washington administration assures that antiquated timekeeping systems are NOT updated to allow the union paybacks to continue (as well as their heightened political donations)…  WFSE by continuing to collect millions in unpaid wages, racks up more union dues and assures political donations continue.   SEIU, by NOT reporting the inequity in time compensation and by withdrawing all grievances filed by RN’s to address the issue, receives political favors for the VAST majority of RN’s that compose its membership…  Public sector RN’s compose a VERY small minority of RN’s in SEIU membership as a whole and thus Public Sector Nurses act as the sacrificial lamb for political favors in terms of compensation and other issues.  This accounts for the fact that Public Sector RN’s now lag 25% behind in wages to the private sector and SEIU negotiated away half of compensation time earnings this past year and withdrew grievances to collect unpaid callback wages.  Further, SEIU allowed Public Sector Nurses to not have the same mandatory overtime protections that are enjoyed by all other RN’s employed by all private sector hospitals in Washington. 

This issue illustrates why public employees should work within a Right to Work system which would have prevented this practice from continuing for so many years.  Taxpayers payed for this dysfunction to continue.  Within a Right to Work system, employees that are treated inappropriately or inequitably by the union would have had the option to withdraw paying union dues without losing employment as would occur at this time.  Withdrawal of union dues payments by members would reduce political contributions that could be donated by the union to politicians, having this option would keep a union accountable for its actions and thus also keep politicians accountable at the same time.  Thus if Washington was a right to work state, I do not believe that this openly illegal practice would have ever been allowed to continue.  Note that the Office of State Auditor, Governor, and Legislature have supported the actions of the Public Sector Unions to continue this illegal practice at great cost to the taxpayer…  There is some justice observed at Western State Hospital because these practices have so undermined the system that approximately $65 million in Federal Funding will be lost shortly.  

Imagine how much greater the level of patient care would be at Western State Hospital if over a thousand direct patient care employees worked daily for the actual time they are compensated.  One can dream…

© Paul Vilja 2017