In January of this year, a labor arbitrator issued a decision overturning the firing of Seattle Parking Enforcement Officer Jonathan Skeie. The city has filed a petition asking a King County Superior Court judge to reverse the arbitrator’s decision.
On the morning of June 9, 2020, Skeie told co-workers, “Well, I don’t know why we can’t just bring back lynching.” His comment, according to the city’s filing, was is reference to Black Lives Matter protesters. After an investigation and two hearings, SPD Chief Diaz terminated Skeie’s employment. SPEOG, the union representing parking enforcement officers, appealed the disciplinary ruling to a labor negotiator, who recommended that Chief Diaz’s disciplinary ruling stand. SPEOG then appealed to an arbitration hearing, and the assigned arbitrator ruled that Skeie should be reinstated as a parking enforcement officer, receive a thirty-day suspension instead, and receive credit for time served. As per the collective bargaining agreement with parking enforcement officers, the city has now appealed the arbitrator’s ruling to King County Superior Court, on the grounds that it violates “an explicit, well-defined, and dominant public policy” against racial discrimination in the workplace.
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