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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.

  • e.g. DSHS, University of Washington, etc.
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The Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) is the designated union for over 27,000 state and other public service workers across Washington.

For years, public employees in Washington have been forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment, allowing unions to take their members for granted. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that public employees can no longer be required to financially support a labor union against their will. Janus v. AFSCME, 585 US (2018)

The decision found,

“The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them. Accordingly, neither an agency fee nor any other form of payment to a public-sector union may be deducted from an employee, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

Consequently, public employees may decline to pay these private organizations without losing their jobs or employer-provided benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after I send my resignation to the union?

If your pay stubs show a deduction labeled, “4509 WFSE Member Dues 1.50%,” then the state should cease the deduction as soon as you request it.

Also, because it has a financial interest in continuing to withhold dues from your pay, the union may contact you and attempt to persuade you to keep your membership. Their sales pitch may include untrue claims and scare tactics. It is a good idea to try to document any questionable claims made by union representatives. Do not be bullied! If you stand your ground, there is nothing the union can do to retaliate against you for opting out.

Monitor your paychecks to make sure the dues deductions stop.

What if WFSE says I have to wait to end my payroll deduction?

Since 2017, WFSE has pressured state employees to sign a new membership form containing fine print designed to make it difficult to end your dues deductions. The form states you can only end the deductions during a 15-day period each year. If you’ve signed such a form, your pay stubs will show a deduction labeled, “4575 WFSE Maint of Membership.” Even if you have signed a form like this, submit a cancellation request right away. WFSE should respond by letting you know when your resignation window is.

What to do:

First, request that the union provide you with a copy of the dues deduction authorization you allegedly signed.

Second, provide your employer with a written request to cancel the deduction of dues from your pay. The U.S. Supreme Court was clear that government employers have an obligation to recognize employees’ rights when it held that “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.”

A copy of a letter you can use is available here.

If neither the union nor your employer will end the deductions, contact OptOutToday.com for assistance.

How much are WFSE dues?

According to federal filings, the union’s dues in 2023 were 1.5 percent of gross salary, up to $107.84 per month.

Will the union continue to represent me if I opt out?

Yes. WFSE is the union designated to represent employees in your workplace. Employees are not allowed to negotiate their own compensation or handle their own grievances with their employer, nor can they hire another person or entity to represent them.

In exchange for this unusual benefit, WFSE is legally obligated to represent all employees in the workplace, including those who choose not to join the union as members.

Consequently, the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union and your employer will continue to set the terms and conditions of your employment and the union will continue to represent you in grievances, contract enforcement, discipline assistance or other proceedings governed by the collective bargaining agreement.

Will I lose wages, health care, retirement or other benefits if I opt out?

No. All provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the union and your employer will continue to govern your employment. Your wages, health benefits, retirement and anything else governed by the collective bargaining agreement will remain unchanged if you opt out of WFSE.

How will my relationship with the union change if I opt out?

While the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will still govern your employment, as a nonmember, the union may choose to prevent you from participating in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings or voting in union elections, including contract ratification votes. Unions also commonly withhold any special “members-only” deals or discounts the union has arranged for with businesses. You may no longer receive the union newsletter or similar publications.

Why do people opt out of unions?

People have many reasons for not wanting to support a union. Some simply do not believe the services a union provides are worth the dues it charges. Others may find a union’s one-size-fits-all agenda does not serve them well because they are new to the profession, have a specialty that is not acknowledged in bargaining, or they believe their effectiveness is undercompensated. Some resent unions’ role in enabling and defending underperforming employees. Many find unions’ political activity and use of dues to advance partisan causes, candidates and ideology distasteful. Others believe that union officials are corrupt and unaccountable to their membership.

Unions representing public employees are not governed by the usual consumer protection or anti-trust laws, so abuses are common. Unions can charge whatever they wish. They can spend dues money on anything they want. Often, they do not have to disclose how dues money is spent to members. They can speak for employees without consulting or informing them. They can injure some members’ interests while advancing the interests of others. Unions even have the ability to prevent employees from getting help in their workplace from other sources. They are not governed by any obligation to provide quality service, and almost never have to seek approval of the people they represent in an election to continue as the exclusive representative.

Sometimes people have a faith-based objection to unions’ expenditures. To learn more about some of the major public unions’ expenditures in light of common faith beliefs, click here.

How does WFSE spend my dues money?

WFSE (AFSCME Council 28)

WFSE collected $26.1 million in dues and fees from its members in fiscal year 2023, according to reports the union must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

In fiscal year 2023 alone:

  • $8 million, nearly a third 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.
  • $693,263 was spent by WFSE on political activity and lobbying.
    • $55,000 was given to the Washington State Democratic Party
    • $5,000 was given to the Young Democrats of Washington
    • $5,000 was given to the Washington State Republican party
    • $5,000 was given to the Mainstream Republicans of Washington
  • $487,826 was paid or contributed to various organizations, many of which are ideologically driven.
  • $400,030 was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff.
  • $656,900 was spent on private attorneys and consultants.

WFSE paid 205 officers and employees in 2023, 24 of whom were paid six figures. The Council’s executive director, Leanne Kunze, received $10,884 in “gross salary” and $475,000 in “other disbursements” totaling to $498,054.

Although it currently has a stockpile of $17.3 million in cash assets, WFSE increased the maximum yearly dues rate from $1,195 to $1,294.08 for 2023.

WFSE’s 2020 LM-2 reports are available here: 2023, 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.