We understand Ms. Swanson sent an email to all staff today enclosing a copy of the letter in the last post. We welcome an open dialogue with Attorney General Swanson. There are, however, several statements in her letter to employees that do not square with fact. In addition, we are concerned that AG Swanson has scheduled meetings with attorneys under circumstances that are not, in the least, conducive to open and honest dialogue. We offer the following comments regarding AG Swanson's email, the letter and other issues:
The letter to Ms. Swanson was hand delivered to 102 State Capitol Building on Thursday, February 14, at 8:21 AM. The Attorney General's receptionist signed an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter. Therefore, Ms. Swanson had two full working days to review the letter and formulate a response before the posting was made. We also understand that Ms. Swanson appeared to be in good health at a luncheon date with a select group of new AAGs on Friday.
In addition, the letter was posted only as a means to update other AAGs. We did not distribute the letter to the media or host a press conference. We have not ambushed or made anyone a victim. In fact, we have made every effort to take the high road at every turn. We hope that AAG's see the blog as a source of information, and a forum in which they can safely discuss their concerns. We will continue to use the blog as a positive forum, and hardly agree that the posting of concerns about a taxpayer funded office, accountable to the citizenry of this state, is embarrassing or detrimental to the institution. Indeed, this effort is about supporting the proud tradition of independence and solid legal work of the office, for which its attorneys and staff are primarily responsible.
For the last year, we have stated repeatedly why we believe the AGO staff should be allowed to form a labor union. The question now is why doesn't Ms. Swanson believe the AGO staff should be allowed to make this decision?
If the AG is supportive of Labor, she should embrace our efforts and help us get PELRA language modified. If she is ambivalent, then she should step aside while we work with the legislature to modify the PELRA. And if she is opposed, she should explain her reasoning.
While we don't believe it's fair to put staff in the position of revealing to the boss their personal opinon about the union, we expect that any tallying or gauging of the positions of current staff members on the union effort be done in a lawful, democratic and fair manner. We expect that staff's privacy and personal boundaries be respected. We expect that any further meetings regarding this issue be attended or conducted by a neutral third party.