To opt out of WFSE (AFSCME Council 28) dues:
- Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
- On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
- Print the form. If you check the appropriate box requesting a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
- Sign and date the form.
- Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
Since 2010, language access providers were required to pay union dues to Interpreters United WFSE/AFSCME Local 1671 as a condition of employment. Union dues were automatically withheld from providers’ paychecks.
However, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2014 decision in Harris v. Quinn, language access providers can now demand that WFSE cease withholding union dues/fees from their wages.
The court referred to the requirement for partial-public employees like language access providers to pay union dues as a money-making “scheme” for the union and ruled that the mandatory dues requirement violated providers’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association.
Frequently Asked Questions
Interpreters who wish to cease paying dues to support WFSE simply have to complete the form above and mail it to the union at the address provided. It’s a good idea to send the letter via certified mail or a similar service that provides you with proof of delivery.
Yes. Under state law, the union contract for language access providers is binding on all interpreters in the state, regardless of whether they want to be WFSE represented and regardless of whether they choose to pay union dues. Opting out of paying dues will in no way affect your ability to work for DSHS and Medicaid enrollees.
According to federal filings, the union’s dues in 2018 were 1.5 percent of gross salary, up to $84.46 per month.
Yes. WFSE has arranged to be the “exclusive bargaining representative” for all language access providers in the state, meaning that it is impossible for interpreters to get out of the terms of the contract, even if they cease paying dues.
While the terms of WFSE’s contract will still apply to you, and your relationship with your clients and the state will remain unchanged as a nonmember of WFSE, you will no longer be able to participate in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings, participating in contract ratification votes or union officer elections.
WFSE is a private organization with minimal obligations to disclose financial information to members.
However, the IRS requires unions’ 990 tax return to be a public document, and these can be found online at sites like this. WFSE reports using the Employer Identification Number EIN 91-6076904.
Additionally, WFSE is required to file annual financial reports with the U.S. Department of Labor that provide more detailed information about the union’s finances, including how much it spends on certain political and lobbying activities. The most recent report filed by WFSE is available here.
AFSCME collected $183 million from its members nationwide in 2020. In that year alone:
- $62 million was spent by AFSCME on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying. This included $115,000 of campaign support for Michael Madigan, former speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, who recently fell into disgrace under accusations of corruption and cronyism.
- $2.9 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This includes $5,000 donated to the Alliance for Global Justice, a left-wing, anti-capitalist organization that grew out of the Nicaragua Network, which supported the Communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
- $1.3 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff.
- $4.6 million was spent on private attorneys and consultants.
- $71,500 was spent on food and catering.
AFSCME paid 484 employees in 2020, 211 of whom were paid six figures. AFSCME’s international president, Lee Saunders, was paid $357,000.