WFSE Celebrates Public Service Recognition Week

It’s Public Service Recognition Week, and that means celebration. 

A crowd of public employees gather outside near tents.Crowds of public employees gathered outside the Capitol to eat hot dogs, hear Governor Jay Inslee speak, and connect with the union.

“Today is really about celebrating our members and helping to build our union,” said Kodi Gaddis. Gaddis is a program consultant with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). An active union member, he serves as WFSE Local 443’s organizing chair, is the chief shop steward for DSHS, and sits on the Council 28 Executive Board and Organizing Committee.

 Gaddis spoke about the importance of strengthening the union. He and other volunteers were busy explaining their experiences of union membership to other public employees, many of whom signed membership cards. 

Gaddis cares about his work because he knows firsthand what a difference public services can make in a person’s life.

“I depended on public services as a child,” he said. “I was somebody who was homeless, who lived in camps. I went without food. Without public service workers, I don’t know where I would be now. Being able to give back and help those in need is like paying back the people who helped me.”

Gaddis is not alone in his dedication to his work.

“I like that I am helping our community,” said Amy Peterson. “I get to be a part of something greater that has a positive impact on our community as a whole.”

 Peterson works for the Health Care Authority, conducting post-eligibility reviews for Medicaid recipients in the Medical Eligibility and Review Department.

She is new to WFSE, but she sees the union difference.

“It’s my first time as a union member,” she said. “My father is a union member and my sister is a union member, so I’ve heard good things from them about unions helping to protect employees’ rights. I’m really excited to be a union member myself.”

 Speaking to the throngs of public service workers listening in the sun, Governor Inslee expressed gratitude for their efforts and lauded the diversity and strength of the public workforce. He spoke of the many services public workers provide, from ensuring our state has clean water to building Seattle’s deep bore tunnel.

Public Service Recognition Week will continue till May 11th. Every Washingtonian benefits from the skilled and often challenging work public service employees do. Take some time today to thank a public employee.