Murray statement on breach of confidentiality in police collective bargaining process

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement today regarding the recent release of confidential contract information in the collective bargaining process between the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild.

“The collective bargaining process is a sacrosanct part of both our democratic system and the progressive movement. I’m shocked to learn that some who call themselves progressives in our city are willing to sacrifice the integrity of this process for a perceived political gain. I would expect this from the far right in Wisconsin, not the left in Seattle.

“The release of confidential documents in the middle of a police union vote on a tentative contract with the City is an egregious breach of confidentiality that threatens to undermine the collective bargaining process – not just as relates to this specific contract but as it relates to all the City’s labor negotiations.

“The person who committed this breach of process interfered with the Guild’s and the City’s ability to engage each other fairly, in good faith and with an opportunity for all affected employees to have their voices heard – the three central tenets of collective bargaining.

“Regardless of one’s view of this contract or of the police department itself, the collective bargaining process must absolutely be protected.

“The City is exploring several law enforcement options, including hiring an independent investigator to identify the responsible party and to determine compliance with City laws that require confidentiality in the collective bargaining process, as well as any potential criminal violations under state and federal law. The City is also in discussions about the investigation with the FBI.

“While I will not go into a line item explanation of the tentative agreement while it is being voted upon, I will say that every element of the proposed contract is consistent with our work progressing toward compliance with the Consent Decree.

“This was not an easy set of negotiations.  Having come to this point, I am confident that it is an excellent deal for the Guild and an excellent deal for the City. Yet I am incredibly concerned that all of this great work has been jeopardized by this unconscionable breach.”