Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Friday, October 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 33° Cloudy
News >  Washington

Ruling favors state unions in public records fight

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 1, 2017

Associated Press

OLYMPIA – A state appeals court has sided with a coalition of state worker unions in a clash with a conservative group over what information about public employees can be released.

The News Tribune reported the nonprofit Freedom Foundation has been trying to notify state workers of how they can opt out of paying some union dues.

The three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that the workers have constitutional privacy protections that bar the Freedom Foundation from getting the names and corresponding birthdates through records requests.

The panel reversed a lower court’s decision refusing to grant a permanent injunction to the unions. It also said the disclosure of names and matching birth dates provides no useful information to the public about how government is operating.

A spokesman for the Washington Federation of State Employees, Tim Welch, called the ruling a victory for privacy.

The Freedom Foundation’s David Dewhirst said it was a bad ruling that could have sweeping implications for access to certain records.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

New health insurance plans available Nov. 1 through Washington Healthplanfinder

 (Photo courtesy WAHBE)

Fall means the onset of the cold and flu season.