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Wash. high court: Can’t order governor to pay unions

Thu., April 8, 2010, 10:15 a.m.

OLYMPIA — The state Supreme Court says it can’t force the governor to include a public employee union’s pay raises in the state budget.

The lawsuit was filed last year by the Service Employees International Union Local 775, which represents about 25,000 home health care workers who are paid by Washington state.

The SEIU local is one of several unions that negotiate contracts with the governor.

In this case, the union was awarded pay raises in arbitration. But Gov. Chris Gregoire didn’t include the raises when she sent a budget to the Legislature last year, saying Washington didn’t have the money.

In a 5-4 ruling Thursday, the court declined to get involved, saying it can’t force a governor to perform such discretionary duties.

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