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WSLC: Interpreters United (WFSE) is the best choice at L&I

L&I interpreters urged to choose experienced union that has proven it can win better wages, working conditions


OLYMPIA (Dec. 16, 2021) — In early 2022, interpreters who provide language services for clients of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) will be deciding on union representation. The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC), the state’s largest labor federation that unites some 600 unions and 500,000 rank-and-file members, is urging interpreters to choose Interpreters United (WFSE).

“Interpreters United (WFSE) is a strong, member-run union and the only organization in Washington with experience representing spoken language interpreters,” wrote WSLC President Larry Brown and Secretary Treasurer April Sims in an open letter to interpreters. “It is the only organization to have negotiated an interpreter collective bargaining agreement and the only professional organization on the ballot with staff and resources to ensure you get the support you need.”

Interpreters United (WFSE) has the backing of nearly 47,000 members represented by the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28. And because WFSE is an affiliate of the Washington State Labor Council, Brown and Sims underscored that Interpreters United (WFSE) would also have the backing of the entire state labor movement when it bargains for better wages and working conditions.

By joining together with Interpreters United, L&I interpreters would have the power to negotiate for:

●  State-Funded Health Insurance
●  Minimum Hourly Pay Rates
●  Protection Against Clawbacks
●  Reimbursement for Late Cancellations/No-shows
●  And more!

Gov. Chris Gregoire signs a historic 2010 bill that gave Medicaid and social services interpreters the right to form a union. In 2018, Interpreters United (WFSE) successfully supported a bill signed by Gov. Jay Inslee to expand interpreters’ right to unionize to L&I.

Interpreters United (WFSE) fought for and won the legislation that allowed independent interpreters to unite in a union in the first place. They have successfully won improvements for interpreters like one-hour minimums and reimbursements for late cancellations and no-shows.

“This opportunity doesn’t come often, so don’t miss it,” wrote Brown and Sims. “You and your fellow interpreters have worked tirelessly over the past several years to secure a voice on the job. Cast your ballot for Interpreters United (WFSE) and you’ll be on your way toward negotiating a contract that improves your profession and your livelihood.”

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!