Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 2006 NO. 3 > Jan 31 2006

1. State and local public employees, including teachers, have no legally protected right to strike. 2. State statute establishes no specific penalties for unlawful public employee strikes; in some cases, courts may grant injunctive relief to prevent or end unlawful strikes. 3. The Legislature could enact laws establishing penalties for unlawful public employee strikes, provided that such laws are consistent with protected free speech and other state and federal constitutional rights.

AGLO 1975 NO. 23 > Mar 6 1975

Extent to which a refusal by a state legislator to cross a picket line of striking state employees in order to attend a legislative session would constitute a violation of the legislator's oath of office.

AGO 1958 NO. 198 > Jun 5 1958

1.  The legislature has the power to prohibit or restrict the right of employees of private hospitals to strike if a substitute such as compulsory arbitration or mediation is provided to meet the requirement of due process.  2.  Employees of hospitals operated by the state, its political subdivisions or municipal corporations, absent express legislation to the contrary, do not have the right to strike.  3.  The legislature has the power to compel hospitals and hospital employees to submit their labor disputes to arbitration, the award of the arbitrators being binding on both parties, provided that sufficient standards are provided to govern the arbitrators in determining such disputes.