Represented workers* have a voice
Workers have the right to organize a union to negotiate wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.
- Union members have the right to bargain collectively through representatives of employees' own choosing for a contract that covers wages, benefits, hours, and other working conditions.
- Union members have the right to discuss terms and conditions of employment or union organizing with co-workers to help solve problems and come up with solutions that work.
- Union members have the right to take action with one or more co-workers to improve working conditions by, among other means, raising work-related complaints directly with your employer or with a government agency, and seeking help from a union.
- Union members have the right to go public (demonstrate, rally, sign-wave, wear issue-related buttons, shirts). There are some locational restrictions. Check with your shop steward.
Union members have the right to receive all the benefits achieved by the union in negotiating employment benefits with your employer.
With WFSE, you're empowered with the most effective representation available for state employees and workers in the public service.
WFSE provides representation on individual concerns and on concerns shared by you and your co-workers. WFSE represents employees:
- In negotiations and enforcement of contracts (collective bargaining agreements);
- With the heads of individual agencies, institutions of higher education and private owners;
- Before the state Legislature;
- Before the state's personnel-related boards and other regulatory bodies;
- On grievance actions;
The union helps members with day-to-day problems, as well as reallocation requests, classification and pay issues, and monitoring attempts to outsource public services.
Union contracts protect our rights
Collective bargaining is the process we use to negotiate contracts that determine terms of employment such as pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family and more. Collective bargaining is one way we solve workplace problems.
During negotiations, the input and support of members is key to winning strong contracts. Bargaining teams for each contract are elected from and by union members covered by that contract. Union staff assist as negotiators. Members consider proposed changes to the contract as well as which articles they'd like to preserve.
The bargaining teams then produce a final package of proposals that are presented to management as initial contract proposals.
Negotiations continue through multiple rounds with each side offering proposals and counter proposals until a tentative agreement is reached. Once a tentative agreement (TA) is reached, the ratification process begins.
Members vote to accept or reject the tentative agreement offered by the bargaining team. Ratified agreements that require state funding* are then forwarded to the Office of Financial Management for inclusion to the governor's budget proposal to the Legislature.
*All WFSE contracts except our NLRB contracts require legislative funding.
A critical next step is funding our ratified contracts. Our contract is introduced as a part of the governorâ??s budget proposal considered by the Senate and House where the budget is amended and debated until final passage. Member Lobby Days organize members and prepare them to engage their senators and representatives about funding the contracts.
Member Lobby Days are scheduled throughout the legislative session.
- Shop stewards are the eyes and ears of a union. They make sure that the contract is enforced fairly. If there are problems, it is up to the shop steward to file a grievance or resolve the problems through other means. WFSE.org/certify-as-a-steward/
- Council representatives provide support to stewards when needed and take an active role when the issue cannot be resolved by the steward. This team approach provides a wide enforcement net for members.
- Council 28 labor advocates provide enforcement through advanced grievance proceedings, arbitrations, negotiations and legal remedies as necessary.
REPRESENTED employees are those employees who belong to a WFSE/AFSCME bargaining unit as defined by PERC (the Public Employment Relations Commission). Represented employees enjoy the pay raises, rights and protections under one of our 15 contracts, or collective bargaining agreements.
Two other terms important to represented employees:
WEINGARTEN RIGHTS means that if you are called into a meeting with a management representative and you have reason to believe that you may face disciplinary action, you have rights.
GARRITY RIGHTS cover any instance where you may be ordered (or compelled) to answer questions – they preserve your rights against self-incrimination.