Washington Law Review


Government employers contract out and privatize some of their functions as one way of meeting the public's need for more efficient and effective services. The Washington State Supreme Court, in Washington Federation of State Employees v. Spokane Community College, interpreted the state's civil service laws as imposing a nearly complete bar on contracting out at the state level. That decision was later extended to local public sector employers, who already face complex collective bargaining rules that require them to bargain with unions about contracting out work that has been done or that could be done by their unionized employees. This Comment analyzes both the judicial and statutory restrictions imposed upon local public sector employers in Washington. It argues that the judicial extension of the Spokane decision, a decision flawed in its own reasoning, to local public sector employers was improper. It further argues for a less-restrictive interpretation and application of current collective bargaining regulations.

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