Use your voice at WFSE endorsement interviews

Have you ever wondered how our union makes decisions about who to endorse in political campaigns?

There’s some misleading chatter floating online about unions, dues and politics. So let’s dive in and explore
how political endorsements are made at AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE).

When people ask if our union engages in politics, we say “Yes! We do.”

That’s because no workforce anywhere has more at stake in decisions made by elected officials, who decide our wages, our benefits, our job security and our working conditions.

Earlier this week in Vancouver, member volunteers from Locals 313, 1400, 1225, 2559 and Retired Public Employees Council (WA) participated in endorsement interviews of four candidates from southwest Washington.

WFSE’s endorsement process is inclusive. Interviews are scheduled across Washington by our Legislative and Political Action staff. At local meetings, members volunteer, step forward or are tagged to participate.

To get involved, attend your next local meeting and speak with your local president about participating or contact our Legislative and Political Action Department at 800-562-6002.

Andy Page, a community corrections officer from Vancouver volunteered to participate at his Local 313 (Vancouver) meeting.

“I didn’t know what to expect. Could I ask questions? Yes. The answer is yes. I had a personal voice in this process.”

“It was a great experience to see local participants assess the overall viability and fitness of the candidates.”

Endorsement interviews begin with members reviewing the voting record of lawmakers from the prior legislative session. Did they vote to protect our right to bargain? Did they support outsourcing of public services, public service jobs? Did they support Washington’s retirement system?

Following the interviews, members discuss what they heard, their perspectives before making recommendations.

“I’ve heard other members say they don’t like the union using their dues to support candidates they don’t like.”

I say to them, if you don’t participate you won’t have a voice. But if you do participate, your voice counts. What people may not know is that endorsements don’t always lead to donations.”

“I’m standing with the union. Why? We need a voice at work for fair pay, affordable healthcare and retirement security. Without the union, we wouldn’t have a voice on working conditions, workplace safety, workload, and other workplace issues.”

Want to get involved in WFSE’s endorsement process? Attend your next local meeting and get involved.