The Union Difference

Negotiating a contract with AFSCME means negotiating from a position of strength. 

More cultural workers have unionized with AFSCME than any other union, including workers at the American Museum of Natural History, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Denver Art Museum, and many more.

Most AFSCME contracts generally include annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) and step salary increases, in addition to quality health insurance plans with low or no premium cost to employees.

Union members also have basic rights that non-union employees are not entitled to such as Weingarten rights, just-cause protection, grievance procedures and an arbitration process. In addition to having additional rights, union members have the collective power to have their voices heard and more control over their work, lives and futures.

Additional notable gains through AFSCME union contracts include:

  • Up to 27% raises for all staff in the bargaining unit, with an average 11% raise
  • $2,500 bonus upon ratification of contract
  • Longevity bonuses of $1,024 to $2,576/year depending on years worked for the employer
  • 10%-night shift differentials; time and a half call-back pay
  • Workers who are asked to work temporarily out of class shall be paid at the higher wage for all hours worked in that capacity
  • Clothing/equipment stipends that cover work-related expenses such as boots or protective eyewear

Health/Time Off/Benefits

  • 6 weeks of fully paid parental leave (when there previously was none), including for part-time workers
  • Increased bereavement leave
  • Ample vacation time (10 to 28 days a year) paid sick leave (12 days a year), and personal days (2 to 5 days per year), paid holidays
  • Model lactation policy that provides protection beyond what is required by law
  • Retirement programs such as pensions or deferred compensation plan and disability benefits, life insurance, death benefits

Career Advancement

  • Upward mobility program that provides expanded education and promotional opportunities
  • Advance posting of job openings and priority hiring for internal applicants
  • All job-related trainings and certifications covered by employer, tuition reimbursements of up to $1,700 per employee per year, ability to get approved for unpaid leave to further education. 

Having a Voice on the Job

  • The right not to work in locations with extreme temperature levels, as defined by the contract
  • Establishment of Joint Labor Management Committee to address day-to-day workplace issues

Inclusion of Part-time Employees

  • Part-time employees who work at least 30 to 35 hours per week shall receive pro-rated time off benefits such as health benefits, sick leave, time-off, wage rates, and wage increases

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Across Washington, we’re joining together to improve our workplaces and communities. When we unite with our co-workers, we gain a voice in the workplace.