United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
KEENETH ALVAREZ, CAROL SHELTER, and RAUL FLORES, individual providers in Washington, Plaintiffs,
GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Washington, PATRICIA LASHWAY, in her official capacity as Director of the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION HEALTHCARE 775 NW, a labor organization, Defendants.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION
OF DOCUMENTS FROM NONPARTY SEIU PARTNERSHIP AND REQUEST FOR
RELIEF FROM DISCOVERY DEADLINES
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Plaintiffs' Motion
to Compel Production of Documents from Nonparty [SEIU
Healthcare Northwest Training Partnership (“NW Training
Partnership”)] and Request for Relief from Discovery
Deadlines. Dkt. 63. The Court has reviewed the pleadings
filed regarding the motion and the remaining file.
Alvarez originally filed this case against the currently
named Defendants and N.W. Training Partnership on February
11, 2016. Dkt. 1. On May 9, 2016, the N.W. Training
Partnership's motion to dismiss was granted because
Plaintiff Alvarez failed to state a claim against it and the
N.W. Training Partnership was dismissed. Dkt. 26. Plaintiff
was given leave to amend his complaint, and on October 25,
2016, he filed an Amended Complaint, which, among other
things, added two additional Plaintiffs, but did not plead
claims against N.W. Training Partnership. Dkt. 51.
to the Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs are “individual
provider[s] . . . of personal or respite care services”
(“IP”) who are paid by Washington's
Department of Social and Health Services (“DSHS”
or “State”) to provide care for qualifying
disabled individuals. Dkt. 51, at 5. They assert that
“IPs are public employees ‘solely for the
purposes of collective bargaining' and have been
organized into a single statewide bargaining unit.”
Id., at 6 (citing RCW 74.39A.270).
Defendant Service Employees International Union Healthcare
775 N.W. (“SEIU”) is the “exclusive
representative of the IP bargaining unit, ” and so
engages in collective bargaining with the state (as
represented by the governor or governor's designee).
Id., at 6-7. The state and SEIU are obligated to
bargain in good faith. Id., at 7. N.W. Training
Partnership provides basic and continuing education/training
classes for the IPs. Dkt. 70. The Amended Complaint asserts
that attendance at the IP education/training classes is a
condition of the IP's employment. Id. at 8-9.
Amended Complaint asserts that under the Collective
Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) the State must set
aside 30 minutes for SEIU's presentations at the N.W.
Training Partnership's basic education/training class,
and 15 minutes for SEIU's presentations at contracting
appointments and at the N.W. Training Partnership's
continuing education/training classes. Id., at 7-9.
Plaintiffs allege that the State pays IPs while they are
attending these events, and IPs are required to, or believe
they are required to, listen to SEIU's speech.
Id. The Amended Complaint alleges that SEIU also
receives space on the “necessarily frequented”
bulletin boards and on the online payroll system.
Id., at 9-10. It maintains that by paying the IPs to
attend N.W. Training Partnership's basic training,
contracting appointments, and N.W. Training Partnership's
continuing education/training (all of where SEIU makes its
presentations), the State “gives [the State's]
money in the aid of SEIU.” Id., at 12. The
Amended Complaint asserts that the State “uses its
employees, money and property for the benefits of
SEIU.” Id., at 13.
Amended Complaint acknowledges that on April 4, 2016, after
the initial Complaint in this case was filed, a Memorandum of
Understanding was entered into by the State and SEIU.
Id., at 16. According to the Amended Complaint, this
Memorandum of Understanding provided that:
Individual providers will not be required to meet with Union
representatives and will suffer no discrimination or
retaliation as a result of their choice to meet or not to
meet. The Employer will remain neutral, and will not either
encourage individual providers to meet or discourage them
from meeting with Union representatives.
Id. The Memorandum of Understanding is alleged to
The parties agree that the Training Partnership shall provide
the Union with reasonable access to its training classes,
including providing the Union with technical support for
online learning, in order for the Union to make a
presentation concerning the Union and individual
providers' rights and benefits (“Union
issues”). The content of the presentation will be
determined solely by the Union, but will not include urging
support or opposition to any political candidate or ballot
measure, and will be in compliance with RCW 42.52.160 and
.180. The Employer agrees to compensate up to thirty (30)
minutes of time for a presentation on Union issues to all
individual providers attending the Union portion of required
basic training. The Employer agrees to compensate up to
fifteen (15) minutes of time annually for a presentation on
Union issues to all individual providers attending the Union
portion of required continuing education. Individual
providers are not required to attend the Union presentations,
and will suffer no retaliation or discrimination as a result
of their choice to attend or not to attend. Any additional
time for presentations on Union issues agreed upon between
the Union and the Partnership shall not be compensated by the
Id., at 16-17. The Amended Complaint contends that
this Memorandum of Understanding does not resolve the
underlying concerns because there is no provision that
requires either the State or the SEIU to inform the IPs that
the SEIU's presentations are not mandatory. Id.,
Amended Complaint alleges a claim for violation of
Plaintiffs' First Amendment rights to the U.S.
Constitution, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by asserting
The State violates Plaintiffs' and similarly situated
IPs' First Amendment rights by compelling, or appearing
to compel, a captive audience of IPs to receive SEIU's
pro-union speech in three ways: i) by mandating, or appearing
to mandate, meetings with SEIU in contracting appointments,
basic training, and continuing education classes, ii) by SEIU
bulletin boards in State offices “necessarily
frequented” by IPs ...