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Three-Year Old Contract Dispute in Yakima Washington Headed to Arbitration

Tuesday, February, 25, 2014


For the last three years, deputies in the Yakima County Sheriff’s office in Washington State have been working without a contract during a dispute with the county over their compensation package.  The dispute is finally headed for a resolution, as both the deputies and the county has agreed to a nine-day arbitration hearing that will bring about a binding resolution to the dispute.


Deputies have requested they maintain their current staffing and receive new equipment and uniforms as part of an overall improved compensation package.  The county has argued that they are just emerging from a fiscal crisis, and cannot afford to pay any more into the budget for the deputies.  Relations between the county and the deputies have been historically difficult and tense, and the three-year dispute over the new contract has worsened relations to the point where negotiation is no longer productive.  Both sides have agreed to let binding arbitration settle the issue.


Ironically, previous contract negotiations were successful only when the threat of binding arbitration was raised in 2007.  The arbitration hearing is scheduled to commence in May.