WFSE Members Speak Up at Rally for Safety & Privacy

Hundreds of WFSE members and our allies overflowed the Capitol steps in Olympia on Thursday to demand that legislators pass House Bill 1888, legislation that would protect state employees’ birthdates from public disclosure. The rally was held with the Washington State Labor Council, OPEIU 8, the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters and more.

Tell legislators to vote yes on House Bill 1888.

April Sims, Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, led the assembled workers in a chant: Washington State Labor Council Secretary Treasurer April Sims speaks to the crowd at the HB 1888 rally.“Lawmakers, hear our plea—Don’t release our DOB!”

No stranger to WFSE, Sims began her career as a state employee.

“I used to work as a Child Support Enforcement Officer, which was difficult work and often put me at risk,” she told the crowd.

“I would get threats at the office for the actions that I would take in an effort to support families and collect child support. And if I were still a Child Support Enforcement Officer, and someone could access my private and personal information, that would put not only myself, my safety at risk, but the safety and the security of my family.”

WFSE member Ken Grubb speaks to a crowd of protestors on the Capitol steps.

Ken Grubb, I.T. Data Management Journeyman at LNI and WSFE Local 443 member, spoke about the ubiquityof cyber security breaches, even at corporations with millions to spend on preventing hackers from obtaining sensitive data/. 

“This is simply about safety,” Grubb said. “Safety for the workers, and safety for those who are victims of domestic violence.” 

He related a recent lobby day with two public employees who’d never spoken to legislators in person.

“In talking with the legislators, one of them said,

‘I am a victim of domestic violence. If 1888 does not pass and my information gets revealed, I will literally have to quit my job and leave the state of Washington, because if I don’t, my ex-husband will find me. And kill me.’

That’s how serious this issue is,” Grubb said gravely. “Urge them to pass 1888 now.” 

WFSE member Julianne Moore speaks to a crowd holding protest signs on the steps of the Capitol.Julianne Moore, Orthotics/Prosthetics Technician and WFSE Local 1326 member, came to the mic to share her own experiences of public disclosure requests. 

“It’s about safety,” said Moore. “I’m a victim of identity theft—multiple times—because my information has been given out. Our birthdates are personally identifiable information. Everybody knows this. Our information can be used by identity thieves and cyber criminals.”

Of HB 1888, Moore said, “It’s a common-sense bill. It ensures government transparency and media access only under certain circumstances.”

Moore concluded, “We should not have to give up our personal information because we’re state employees. It’s time to pass House Bill 1888!”

A large and diverse group of public workers carry out jobs that keep our roads safe and so much more. We offer education, care, rehabilitation and access to critical benefits. It’s our job to keep our clients’ data safe and private. The state should provide state employees that same respect.

The bill made it out of its committee of origin on Friday, with only Representative Jim Walsh (Legislative District 19) voting no. We’re moving the needle, but we can’t let up until the bill clears the House and Senate and is signed by the governor. 

Pass HB 1888 Now Action Checklist:

  •    Call your legislators at 1-855-657-9548 and urge them to pass HB 1888.
  •    Write them a letter about why having your private information exposed is totally unacceptable.
  •    Visit the Capitol and meet lawmakers in person to share your story.
  •    Speak with your coworkers about this issue.