How county and city employees can opt out of paying dues to the Washington State Council of County and City Employees/AFSCME Council 2
The Washington State Council of County and City Employees/AFSCME Council 2 (WSCCCE) is the designated union for employees of many county, city, library, water district, sewer district, or hospital employees in Washington state.
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 recently ruled 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.
To stop the union from deducting dues from your pay:
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should receive some acknowledgement of your request from the union within a few weeks.
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. Contact the union if the deductions continue more than a couple paychecks after you submit your resignation request.
Some unions have tricked employees into signing membership forms with fine print waiving their right to resign except during a short annual window period. If the union claims you signed such a form and therefore cannot cancel the dues deductions from your pay, ask to be provided with documentation that you ever signed such an agreement.
Union dues for WSCCCE are 1.45% of salary.
Yes. WSCCCE 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, WSCCCE 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.
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 WSCCCE.
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.
People have many reasons for not wanting to support the union. Some simply do not believe the services the union provides are worth the dues it charges. Others may find the 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 the union’s role in enabling and defending underperforming employees. Many find the union’s political activity and use of dues to advance partisan causes, candidates and ideology distasteful. Other people have a faith-based objection to unions’ expenditures on causes like abortion advocacy and attacks on values. Additionally, the core union philosophy of conflict, oath-breaking, disrespect and greed also can be contrary to many religious beliefs. Still 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.
WSCCCE dues allocation have been described in the “New Members Kit.” as 1.45% of salary capped at $53.70 per month which is 1.45% of a salary of $44,483. The monthly breakout of the dues for those paying the typical $645 per year is described as:
- $3.40 to the local
- $13.10 to AFSCME in Washington, D.C.
- $36.57 to WSCCCE/Council 2
- $.45 average to a county labor council
Public employee unions are private organizations with minimal obligations to disclose financial information to members. The lack of accountability makes it easy for unions to take advantage of the easy income.
However, the IRS requires unions’ 990 tax returns to be a public document, and these can be found online at sites like Guidestar.org. WSCCCE reports using the Employer Identification Number (EIN) 91-0638592.
WSCCCE’s 2017 990 form shows it collected $9.7 million in dues and fees from public employees.
Reported compensation of WSCCCE employees:
- $381,249 President, Chris Dugovich
- $320,674 Deputy Director, J.Pat Thomson
- $256,402 General Counsel, Audrey Eide
- $229,916 Organizer, Bill Keenan
- $185,726 Staff Representative, Gordon Smith
- $182,189 Staff Representative, Larry Clark
Between $50,000 and $170,000 worth of dues money is contributed to the union’s political action committee for contributions to candidates and other political funds each year.
In addition to direct political expenditures, WSCCCE calculated on its “Hudson Notice” that 25 percent of the money it receives is used for purposes entirely unrelated to duties as representatives of employees.
Washington State Council of County and City Employees:
A portion of the funds WSCCCE collects are forwarded to AFSCME International in Washington, D.C.
Reports AFSCME must file annually with the U.S. Department of Labor indicate it collected $197 million in 2018 and had a paid staff of at least 463.
- $53 million was spent by AFSCME on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
- $2.3 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
- $3.1 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel.
- $1.7 million was spent on food and catering.
- AFSCME president Lee Saunders was paid $356,692 in 2018.
- Over 240 AFSCME employees were paid six-figures in 2018.
AFSCME also files a 990 tax return. AFSCME reports using the Employer Identification Number (EIN) 53-0237789.
American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees
AFSCME calculated on its “Hudson Notice” that 70 percent of the money it receives is used for purposes entirely unrelated to duties as representatives of employees.