WPAS strike ends, but strikers fired

Seventy-five members of Office and Professional Employees Local 8 ended a nearly five-week long strike against Mercer Island, Washington-based Welfare and Pension Administration Services, Inc. (WPAS) Sept. 25 after ratifying a new collective bargaining agreement. But hours after the contract was ratified, WPAS owners abruptly fired 10 of the strikers before they could return to work. The 10 women were handed boxes with their personal belongings and told to leave the premises when they showed up to work. Most had worked at WPAS for more than 15 years, and one employee had been there for 30 years. Local 8 filed an unfair labor practice charge and grievances on behalf of the fired union members.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, workers won their fight to keep seniority rights, sick leave benefits, and to place a cap on health care costs. Several other takeaways WPAS had demanded were dropped, the union said.

“WPAS owners make their money from administering union health and pension trusts, said Local 8 Business Manager Suzanne Mode. “Shame on them.”

WPAS, headquartered in Mercer Island, Washington,  provides third party administrative services to union health and pension trusts.

A “Go Fund Me” account has been set up to help the “WPAS 10” who were fired, as well as the 75 strikers who sacrificed wages and benefits for more than a month. To contribute, visit gofundme.com/36vk5bs.

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