In 2016, the Benton County discovered the accidental overpayment of wages to corrections officers and patrol deputies in the Sheriff’s Office. Pursuant to express statutory authority, the employees were notified and the overpayments were deducted in subsequent pay periods per the statutory requirements. The Teamsters filed two Unfair Labor Practice complaints against the county alleging they should not have dealt directly with represented employees and should have the allowed Teamsters the opportunity to bargain a repayment plan.
The Public Employment Relations Commission ruled that the county committed the unfair labor practices. The county was ordered to return the overpaid funds, including interest if requested, to the employees and bargain and negotiate a payment plan with the Teamsters. The Superior Court affirmed PERC’s decision, which was then appealed to the Court of Appeals – Teamsters Local 839 v. Benton County, No. 36974-9-III. WSAC worked with the Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys to file a joint brief drafted by DPA Christopher Horner of Kittitas County for WSAC and Charlotte Archer of Inslee Best for WSAMA in March 2019. The date for the oral argument was just announced – Friday, September 18, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. with 15 minutes for appellants and 15 minutes for respondents. The hearing will be conducted via Zoom for the parties only, but the audio file will be posted on the courts website following the hearing.