Union-Busting Ordinance Defeated in Whatcom County

Members from WFSE Local 1060 and more than a dozen other private and public sector unions defeated a union-busting ordinance that was brought to the Whatcom County Council straight from the right-wing Freedom Foundation’s playbook.

Claiming to be in the interest of government transparency, open bargaining laws are actually used to “politicize and hamper collective bargaining rights,” according to Michele Stelovich, Vice President of WFSE Local 1060 and President of the NW WA Central Labor Council.

This proposal was modeled after one that was approved in Lincoln County. That county has been found to have committed an Unfair Labor Practice since the measure was implemented.

Stelovich has seen the Freedom Foundation try and get similar ordinances passed elsewhere.

She testified against a similar proposal in Blaine five years ago that was also defeated. “We know that this is an ongoing thing with the Freedom Foundation. They are testing the waters. They want to be involved in county bargaining and to have a say in it.”

The council voted 7-0 to withdraw the proposal after receiving hundreds of letters from union, community and environmental activists. 

“If we let them go after county employees’ collective bargaining rights, all workers in both the public and private sector will suffer,” Stelovich said. “An injury to one is an injury to all. Everybody worked together to accomplish this. It was a shared effort.”

Hear Michele’s testimony against open bargaining ordinances: https://youtu.be/YMlU9srE4Fw?t=2985