Saturday, August 14, 2004

Unions sue over council's abolishment

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Labor unions who bargained for thousands of state employees through an advisory council have sued Gov. Ernie Fletcher for abolishing it.

The suit, filed Thursday in Franklin County Circuit Court, claims Fletcher refused to honor valid union contracts.

"We were invited to do business with the state of Kentucky, and we did so in good faith," said Dave Warrick, a council director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Warrick's union and three others - Service Employees International, Auto Workers and Teamsters - filed suit as the Public Employees Alliance of Kentucky.

Former Gov. Paul Patton, a Democrat with strong labor backing, created the Governor's Employee Advisory Council by executive order. It allowed categories of employees to vote to be represented by a union for bargaining on workplace conditions, though not on pay.

But Patton's order was never codified by the General Assembly. Fletcher, a Republican, rescinded the order shortly after succeeding Patton in December.

Fletcher's chief of staff, Daniel Groves, said Friday he had "no doubts at all" that Fletcher was on solid legal ground.

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