Opt Out Today

WFSE (AFSCME Council 28)

To opt out of WFSE (AFSCME Council 28) dues:

  1. Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
  2. On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
  3. Print the form. If you check the appropriate box requesting a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
  4. Sign and date the form.
  5. Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.

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The Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) is the designated union for over 47,000 state and other public service workers across Washington.

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

What do I have to do in order to get WFSE to stop deducting dues from my paychecks?

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.

Will I still be able to serve DSHS and Medicaid enrollees if I stop paying dues to WFSE?

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.

How much are WFSE dues?

According to federal filings, the union’s dues in 2022 were 1.5 percent of gross salary, up to $99.60 per month.

If I stop paying dues to the union, will I still fall under the terms of the contract negotiated with the state?

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.

How will my relationship with the union change if I resign my membership in WFSE and stop 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.

How does WFSE spend my dues money?

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.

WFSE (AFSCME Council 28)

WFSE collected $24.5 million in dues and fees from its members in fiscal year 2022, according to reports the union must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

In fiscal year 2022 alone:

  • $6.5 million, over a quarter of WFSE dues, went to AFSCME’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C. to support its massive political, economic and social agenda. It regularly supports a host of controversial organizations.
  • $779,112 was spent by WFSE on political activity and lobbying.
  • $160,885 was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff.
  • $544,000 was spent on private attorneys and consultants.

WFSE paid 198 officers and employees in 2022, 22 of whom were paid six figures. The Council’s executive director, Leanne Kunze, received $203,424.

Although it currently has a stockpile of $13.7 million in cash assets, WFSE increased the maximum yearly dues rate from $1,135 to $1,195 for 2022.

WFSE’s most recent LM-2 reports are available here: 2022, 20212020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.

A large portion of the dues paid by WFSE members go to support the international AFSCME headquarters.

AFSCME International

AFSCME collected $177 million from its members nationwide in 2022.

In that year alone:

  • $60 million was spent by AFSCME on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying. This included $200,000 paid to the far left organization Action for Liberation and $15,200 of campaign support for Stacey Abrams, a radical left political figure in Georgia.
  • $3.6 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations. This includes $100,000 donated to the Center For American Progress Action Fund, a left-wing organization that promotes radical social and economic policies.
  • $3.3 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff.
  • $976,875 was spent on attorneys and legal fees.
  • $193,310 was spent on food and catering.

AFSCME paid 486 employees in 2022, 224 of whom were paid six figures. AFSCME’s international president, Lee Saunders, was paid $384,155.

AFSCME’s most recent LM-2 reports are available here: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.