Case #43708
Respondent name: Washington Building Trades
Complainant name: Maxford Nelsen

The complaint alleged that United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 598, PDC Case 43672, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 598 PAC, PDC Case 43673, and 35 employer/contractors, PDC Cases 43675-43709, may have violated RCW 42.17A.495, WAC 390-17-100, and WAC 390-17-110: (1) by failing to obtain a proper written request from employees before withholding wages or salaries for contributions to Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 598 PAC; and (2) by failing to provide an annual notification to employees who have requested payroll deductions for political contributions of their right to withdraw their request at any time, and of the prohibition against discrimination for not contributing.   The statute and rules primarily apply to the employer/contractors, but also prohibit the union and the employer/contractors from discriminating against a union member who does not make political contributions.


Staff found that the current authorization form does not conform to the requirements in RCW 42.17A.495 and WAC 390-17-100, and that many of the employer/contractors have not been sending out the required annual notification to employees who have funds withheld for PAC contributions, as required by WAC 390-17-110.  The employer/contractors rely on the union to provide an authorization form that complies with the law and rules.  Staff made it clear what changes need to be made to the written authorization and annual notification.  The union, working with and on behalf of the employer/contractors, has developed an authorization form and annual notification that meets the requirement of the statute and rules.  The respondents have stated that they will incorporate the changes to the authorization form and annual notification.


Staff determined that, in this instance, the failure of the 35 employer/contractor respondents to fully comply with the law does not amount to an actual violation warranting further investigation.  However, pursuant to WAC 390-37-060(1)(b), the 35 employer/contractor respondents received a formal written warning concerning: (1) their failure to obtain a proper written request from employees before withholding wages or salaries for contributions to Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 598 PAC; and (2) their failure to provide an annual notification to employees who have requested payroll deductions for political contributions of their right to withdraw their request at any time, and of the prohibition against discrimination by the employer and the union for not contributing.  The employer/contractors were informed that the Commission will consider the formal written warning in deciding on further Commission action if there are future violations of PDC laws or rules.  Based on this information, the PDC found that no further action is warranted and dismissed this matter in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).

Disposition: Case Closed with Written Warning (Resolved 02/15/2019)
Date opened: 12/07/2018
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A.495, WAC 390-17-100, WAC 390-17-110

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