From the Political Junkie: Doug Ericksen wants to eliminate collective bargaining

By On

There I was, eating my lunch at the Haggen Market (and if my wife is reading this, it was something healthy, I promise,) when who do I see sitting two tables away? County Executive candidate Doug Ericksen, and fellow Republican, (and former County Councilmember,) Ward Nelson. I usually don't make it my practice to eavesdrop, but from where I was sitting I could easily hear them, so I set down my paper and listened for a little bit. Ward Nelson was explaining various details of county governance to Doug Ericksen, who asked questions and took notes. What made my ears perk up was the bit about collective bargaining rights.

Frequent readers of my blog will remember that the concerns of labor are near and dear to my heart. Why? Because I work for a living, that's why. Here's an earlier post about the media blackout surrounding the recent international labor rally, and here is the subsequent report from that rally. So when Doug Ericksen mentions the right of workers to sit at the negotiating table, I listen. What does he say?

"Look, collective bargaining is fine, but we need to get serious about this, and if we can cut them (the unions) out of the process, it makes this whole thing a lot easier." - Doug Ericksen.

From there, he and Ward Nelson proceeded to discuss, in detail, which departments, County employees, and so on could be outsourced to get unions out of the way. Department of Health employees, a brief mention of EMS, a whole list developed. I guess this is what Doug meant when on his website he said, "Implement a county-wide Priorities of Government program to identify what we should be doing, and fund those things within current resources." And, "utilize private sector technology services."

Looking for alternatives is always worth it, if your goal is delivering the best service possible to our county. But if your goal is to eliminate the working man's seat at the table, then you have serious explaining to do.

About Riley Sweeney

Citizen Journalist • Member since Aug 10, 2009

Riley Sweeney, raised in the Pacific Northwest, moved to Bellingham during the Bush years, worked on a cross-section of political campaigns during the Obama years, and then fled to the [...]

Comments by Readers

g.h.kirsch

Aug 22, 2011

Good catch, kid.  But you’re still not off the hook on the Kremen thing!!

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David Stalheim

Aug 22, 2011

Haggen’s Food Court at Barkley is like the Watergate of Bellingham.  This is where I met Sam Crawford (along with Ward Nelson and Kathy Kershner) to discuss land use issues, and where Sam Crawford revealed the email indicating that the $60,000 provided by a development interest included expectation for results in UGA decisions.

After several public disclosure requests from various parties, Crawford remembered the email but couldn’t find it.  Evidence destroyed.

Lesson for eavesdroppers:  take your tape recorder next time you have lunch at Haggen’s Food Court at Barkley.

Lesson for Doug and Sam:  have lunch somewhere more private.

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Devlin Sweeney

Aug 23, 2011

Interestingly enough, Haggen is unionized.

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Todd Granger

Aug 23, 2011

And why did JFK, ignore the democratic party’s previous platform?

http://www.cfr.org/labor/government-unions-became-so-powerful/p22887

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Garin Wallace, aka Wally

Aug 31, 2011

You know Riley, you wouldn’t have to guess at what Doug Ericksen meant about any of the things he said if you’d had the guts to walk over and ask he or Ward Nelson what they meant. 

I forget how young you are though.  I’m still trying to teach my boys about staring and eavesdropping.  Oh, and just to be clear, I am not teaching them how to better eavesdrop as Mr. Stalheim is suggesting to you, I’m teaching them that it is wrong to do it in any way shape or form.

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David Stalheim

Aug 31, 2011

Wally, I teach my 14 year old son how to tell the truth and not twist it.  Your portrayal of my comment is ridiculous. 

Maybe you could man up and ask Mr. Crawford to divulge the public record he destroyed a year ago. That conversation was personally witnessed by myself and another council member without a need for eavesdropping.

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Garin Wallace, aka Wally

Aug 31, 2011

Mr. Stalheim, I think your comment about bringing a tape recorder, to better do something you shouldn’t be doing in the first place, was ridiculous, so I’d say my portrayal was accurate.  And I have nothing to do with what went on between you and Sam Crawford so why would I “man up” and ask him anything?  That’d be ridiculous.

I guess I should have left your name out since my comment on this post was towards Riley who I disagree with on many issues, but who I thought had a bit more character going for him than this.  He sat behind me at one of the candidate forums, should I wonder whether he was looking over my shoulder at my notes or listening when my wife called?  I doubt either would be interesting, nor fit a political need of his, but eavesdropping is rude behavior in any case.

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g.h.kirsch

Aug 31, 2011

Hey, Wally, a corollary to the freedom of speech is the freedom to not have to plug your ears.

Speech in public places is likely to become part of the public record.

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John Watts

Aug 31, 2011

If this ‘Wally’ is the same one that ‘Wonders Why’, this exchange may help explain your wonderment. Public officials, even though they remain citizens, have some special responsibilities. One of those is to be open and honest about the public’s business. Surely, the individuals involved knew they were discussing issues and policy stances that will impact every citizen in Whatcom County. So, the question is, why did they choose to discuss these matters in a public place? Seems similar to e-mailing information and then wondering how people besides the recipient found out what was said, doesn’t it?
I agree eavesdropping isn’t polite; but who’s gonna police that?
The particular information reported as overheard wasn’t exactly state secrets, but it was of interest in that it seemed to convey an agenda of sorts that could become an important consideration for any future County Executive.
But, you and I have our own preferences in such matters, whether we overhear candid discourse or not.
So, here’s some free advice; instead of ‘wondering why’ or thinking everything political is only a matter of personal preference or ideology, try to find out what people stand for and how they are likely to respond to real-life situations that aren’t that partisan.
See if that might work for you, and any offspring who will become citizens of the future.
Just friendly advice to take or leave at your choice.

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Riley Sweeney

Sep 01, 2011

Garin aka Wally, I would like to note that like I said, I don’t make it a practice to eavesdrop. It is rude, and I readily admit that. But a public official discussing his plans for public office in a public place has no expectation of privacy. I am trying to get Doug Ericksen (or at least his campaign) on the record about this and will do a follow up. Thank you everyone else for your support.

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