Want to work in Information Technology – now you might be forced to join a union

Jan 21, 2022

As the Washington Policy Center highlighted earlier this month, legislators, with the introduction of Senate Bill 5600 (SB 5600), are planning on giving the Washington State Apprenticeship Council (WSATC), part of Washington Labor and Industries (L&I), expanded apprenticeship program authority. The bill would expand apprenticeship programs into other industry sectors, creating a new certification requirement and unionization of industry segments where there were none before.

This expansion is problematic, as it will drive up employer costs, decrease employee salaries and limit the availability of jobs.

SB 5600, in its preamble, falsely states that education for specific industry segments has not been available and that SB 5600 would “open(s) opportunities to diverse groups and communities that have not been able to access traditional higher education and traditional apprenticeship programs in the past.”

For the targeted industry segments in SB 5600, Building Trades, Manufacturing and Engineering, Health Care and Behavioral Health, Education and Early Learning, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Biotechnology and Life Sciences, Creative Economy, Hospitality, and Personal Services, there are copious amounts of training and certification programs, already available.

By restricting certification and creating certification as a job requirement, SB 5600 would create a massive shortage of workers in multiple industries. These are job sectors that currently do not require state certification for employment and have functioned without government oversight for decades, without any problems or restrictions.

Additionally, SB 5600 will require collective bargaining representatives for the sub-committees over seeing each industry segment. This is a blatant overreach and power grab by unions to replenish falling memberships after the Janus decision has seen thousands of union members legally leave the unions rather than maintain membership as a condition of employment.

The goal of the unions is to expand influence into new industry sectors that are currently non-unionized and limit job opportunities to union members only. Additionally, the certification of new business sectors will not be free. Each employer will have to pay the union certification organizations for the training of their employees.

Apprenticeship requirement expansion into new industry sectors is not required and should be explicitly excluded from any legislative authority L&I and the WSATC has. The expansion is a brazen tax and authority grab by unionized organizations to control the private business sector and to included and exclude workers seeking employment. SB 5600 is an attempt to control job creation and where employees can work.

SB 5600 is scheduled for a committee vote Monday January 24.

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