Lobbying: Fund our Communities and Contracts!

Our union is taking action during the 2023 Legislative Session to ensure funding for our contracts, whic will benefit our communities, workplaces and families

Action Needed on Key Bills

The pieces of legislation below made it out of their house of origin. They now need to be voted out of their committees by March 29 to stay alive. Take action below.

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HB 1533 - Make it easier for victims of domestic violence and stalking to have their personal information redacted from public records requests.

Thanks to WFSE members like you, HB 1533 passed the House 80-15 and is on to the Senate! Now more than ever, we need to let our State Senators know that they MUST protect our hard working state employees who have been victims of domestic violence, abuse, stalking, and harassment.

We should not have to sacrifice our personal safety or our privacy just because we keep Washington running.

Take Action: Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 & tell your Senator to VOTE YES. You can also comment on the bill here.

Employees who have been victims of the most frightening situations and still show up every day for our state deserve better than their vulnerable information being published online when their abusers and stalkers request it.

HB 1533 will ensure that ONLY vulnerable data that would harm the safety of a victim is not disclosed. This includes their current work location, personal contact information, information about their loved ones, etc.

HB 1533 allows these victims who have already been subject to significant trauma to not have to relitigate their experiences in court, which is what the current law does. We would be asking victims and survivors to take time out of their work day to go to court every time this vulnerable information was requested. This is not an adequate fix for this problem: our agencies can't afford to lose workers, and our workers deserve better than reliving their trauma whenever their abuser decides.

HB 1533 allows for an affidavit to be signed to prevent this information being released, from the employee to their supervisor, under penalty of perjury. This does not allow for employees to take advantage of this policy to hide their information- doing so would be a crime. Only victims are able to utilize this law to protect themselves. Abusers and stalkers can take advantage of Washington's public disclosure laws to gain access to and harm their victims. Current protections create massive barriers to access the protections promised, and we owe our workers more.

Pass 1533 to ensure state employees are safe. We work hard every day to keep Washington safe, organized, and moving. Our state should do the same for us.

Call Your State Senator 1-800-562-6000 & tell them to VOTE YES

SB 5304: Protect Language Equity, Patients and Interpreter Professional Standards 

Thanks to interpreters speaking up, SSB 5304 passed the Senate 48-0-1! It is now in the House. 

SSB 5304 would protect DSHS’s affordable interpreter testing program that interpreters, Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients, and healthcare providers have been relying on since 1995.

Take Action: Call your House Representative at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to PASS SB 5304! You can also comment on the bill here.

The purpose of the bill is to ensure that LEP Washingtonains have access to high quality spoken language interpretation in medical and social service settings. 

Decades of evidence shows that providing LEP patients with quality interpretation in medical settings improves health outcomes for the patient. 

Medical interpretation is more complex than mere translation and it’s critical that only those interpreters who demonstrate this higher level of skill be certified by the state to protect LEP clients. 

SSB 5304 does three things: 

  • Ensures interpreter candidates pass written and oral tests in accordance with established standards before they are certified to serve state medical and social service clients. 

  • Prohibits any private entity with a financial interest in the provision of interpreter services from testing or certifying interpreters. 

  • Establishes a work group to recommend to the legislature strategies to improve access to interpreters in rural communities or languages of lesser demand, strategies for workforce resiliency, and investments needed to implement the plan for online testing. 

This bill is about protecting the standards that define the interpreter profession and keeping patients safe.

DSHS is in support of the substitute bill.  There is no known opposition.

Take Action: Call your House Representative at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to PASS SB 5304! You can also comment on the bill here.

SB 5385: Protect higher ed trades work

Prices have gone up a lot since 2009. Paint has increased in price 100% Plumbing supplies 80%.

But the limit for how much our higher ed institutions can spend with in-house, union labor is still stuck in 2009.

It's time for higher ed to increase the bid limit to ensure the skilled trades workers can keep the buildings and grounds that they know so well running.

Passing Senate Bill 5385 is good for students, good for workers, and good for taxpayers.

Take Action: Tell your House rep to vote YES on House Bill 5385 by calling  the Legislative Hotline at  1-800-562-6000. You can also comment on the bill here.

HB 1122: Grant Washington Management Service employees the right to collectively bargain.

Workers across our state agencies (DOC, DSHS, etc.) in management positions perform difficult and often dangerous work. They lack a voice on the job, regular raises and everything else that comes with belonging to a union. HB 1122 would give WMS employees the ability to unionize.

Many WMS staff have made it clear that they need a path to advocate for themselves. While the pay for the staff WMS supervise continues to rise, WMS pay has stayed stagnant and compression in pay hasn’t been addressed by agencies or the state legislature.

That’s why our union has introduced House Bill 1122 that would give collective bargaining rights to ALL WMS staff — to finally be able to sit down at the bargaining table and address pay inequities from a position of power as a union.

Take Action: Tell your Senator to vote YES on House Bill 1122 by calling the Legislative Hotline at  1-800-562-6000. You can also comment on the bill here.

HB 1151 - Mandating coverage for fertility services

House Bill 1151 would mandate insurance coverage for fertility services. Fertility services are about the ability to start a family, women's health and a vital rectruitment and retention tool foir our state.

Take Action: Tell your Senator to vote YES on House Bill 1151 by calling the Legislative Hotline at  1-800-562-6000. You can also comment on the bill here.

Other Priority Bills

  • SB 5187 / HB 1140 –Ratify collective bargaining agreements to ensure the state can hire and retain the workforce necessary to provide the vital public services we all depend on.
  • SB 5440 - Providing timely competency evaluations and restoration services to persons suffering from behavioral health disorders. - Passed the Senate 44-5, moved to House Civil Rights and Judiciary. Awaiting committee hearing.
  • HB 1187  – Ensure communications between an employee and the union who represents them are privileged.  A unions’ duty of fair representation is diminished if employees are unable to have frank and honest dialogue with their exclusive bargaining representative. - Status: Passed the House 95-0-3, moved to Senate Law and Justice. Awaiting committee hearing.
  • SB 5015 – Reestablish the Productivity Board to incentivize and reward proposals by state employees to make government more efficient and effective. We successfully secured funding for this program during the last Legislative session, and need to get it in the budget again to officially bring the program back. - Status: Passed the Senate 49-0, moved to House State Government and Tribal Affairs. We are currently working to get the bill voted out of committee. 

Why Lobbying Matters

Our contracts are the written agreements negotiated by WFSE members elected to our bargaining teams.

This fall, WFSE members voted to ratify (accept) contracts that include much-needed raises that will positively impact staffing levels, workplace safety, and the Washingtonians we serve.

But we aren’t to the finish line yet.

Until our state Legislature votes to ratify and fund our contracts, they remain tentative. If the Legislature rejects our contracts, we go back to the bargaining table and start over, delaying our pay raises for a year at best.

Many elected officials will look at the size of our contracts and say, “No way! We can’t afford it.” It is our job to show them that our state cannot afford NOT to fund our contracts.

We must educate them that our contracts are not just about us; they’re about fixing years of understaffing, ensuring our state can attract and retain the best, and making vital services available to all Washingtonians.

That’s why we always say: No workforce has more at stake in the decisions made by elected officials than state employees.

The Governor and the Legislature control our wages, health care, pensions and job security. We need to make sure the voices of public servants are heard!

Download this page as a PDF to put up in your worksite or bring to a local meeting. 8.5x14 paper.

Population Outpacing State Workforce

As you can see, fewer and fewer public workers are available to provide Washingtonians with the services they depend on. State government has yet to recover from the Great Recession.

In 2002 there were just over 6 million residents with 63,975 general government employees serving them. In 2022, population has ballooned to 7.8 million residents but the state employee headcount has failed to keep pace, currently sitting at just 67,721.

These aren’t just numbers. They represent mandatory overtimes and burnout for dedicated public workers and fewer services for the most vulnerable Washingtonians.

WFSE’s 2023-25 contracts are a good first step in addressing this crisis.

Fixing Washington's Inability to Recruit and Retain the Best

The flipside of the staffing crisis is compensation. Washington is currently unable to attract and retain the skilled and dedicated public servants that Washingtonians deserve.

The state’s own 2022 salary survey found that the state’s overall compensation lags the market by over 16%.

This number is the average. The disparity is even greater in many job classifications.

To begin addressing this pay disparity and the resulting staffing crisis, our 2023-25 contracts include financial incentives that will make it easier for qualified applicants to choose public service.

This is the message we need to take to legislators.