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DFI Union | Local 443 | WFSE | AFSCME | AFL-CIO
In the summer of 2022, employees in the Enforcement Unit of the Consumer Services Division of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) realized that by working together we can effect positive change in our workplace much more efficiently, and that is why we ultimately decided to unionize.
About Our Bargaining Unit
Your Labor Rights
Unions legalized, rights of employees, and scope of bargaining
It shall be lawful for working men and women to organize themselves into, or carry on labor unions for the purpose of lessening the hours of labor or increasing the wages or bettering the conditions of the members of such organizations; or carry out their legitimate purposes by any lawful means. RCW 49.36.010.
That was signed into law about one month after the Seattle General Strike in 1919. It wasn't until 2002 though that Washington state government employees fully secured those same rights in RCW 41.80.
Most DFI employees, except those in confidential and WMS bands 3 and 4 positions, have the right to self-organize, form, join, or assist unions, and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing free from interference, restraint, or coercion (See RCW 41.80.005(6) and RCW 41.80.050).
Mandatory subjects of collective bargaining include wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment (See RCW 41.80.020).
Our Collective Bargaining Agreement
Our CBA is a written legal contract between the State of Washington and the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE). It is the result of an extensive negotiation process that occurs biennially between the parties regarding topics such as wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment. Our CBA supersedes specific provisions of agency policies with which it conflicts, and preempts all subjects addressed, in whole or in part, by the Washington State Civil Service Rules (WAC 357). It is important to note that once a CBA is reached, both the employer and the union are legally required to abide by that contract. If you are in a union-represented position at DFI, the CBA is your bible, and you may print and staple a copy of it during work time on state-purchased paper with state-owned equipment.
Garrity and Weingarten Rights
Garrity Rights protect public employees from being compelled to incriminate themselves during investigatory interviews conducted by their employer. This protection stems from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which declares that the government cannot compel a person to be a witness against oneself.
Weingarten Rights guarantees Bargaining Unit employees representation during investigatory and pre-disciplinary interviews conducted by their employer. If you reasonably believe a discussion may lead to disciplinary action or other adverse consequences, you may stop the discussion and request a union representative be present before discussion continues. This protection stems from NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc. and is affirmed by PERC Decision 10761-A in Washington.
"If this discussion could in any way lead to me being disciplined or terminated, or cause an effect on my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my shop steward or other union representative be present at this time. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion."
Grievances and Unfair Labor Practices
A grievance is an allegation by a Bargaining Unit employee or group of employees that there has been a violation, misapplication, or misinterpretation of our CBA. It is in the best interest of all parties to resolve disputes at the earliest opportunity and at the lowest level. If informal dispute resolution is ineffective, the CBA Article 29 Grievance Procedure is a means of formal dispute resolution by which an employee may have their grievances addressed.
RCW 41.80.110 prohibits employers from engaging in some of the following unfair labor practices:
Interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of their rights to organize and collectively bargain.
Dominating or interfering with the formation or administration of a union.
Discriminating against employees for exercising their rights under the state collective bargaining laws.
Refusing to collectively bargain with a union over wages, hours, or working conditions.
The Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) ultimately decides if an unfair labor practice (ULP) has occurred and enforces the law through appropriate remedial orders.
MAT, Shop Steward, and other union info
Member Action Team (MAT)
Union power isn't nested in one individual; the power we build in the workplace determines what we can accomplish at all levels. Our MAT is a tool to build union power on the ground, communicate with coworkers, and mobilize employees into action around issues they care about. Since most DFI employees have the legal right to assist unions, you can still get involved even if you're not in a union-represented position, so feel free to reach out!
Current MAT activists include Kristina Shenefelt, Ken Sugimoto, and Chris Vasseur-Landriault. Please use the contact form to reach out or see the union bulletin boards on the 3rd or 4th floor for direct contact information for each person.
Shop stewards are the face of our union in the workplace. Their role is varied — they are a leader, organizer, communicator, problem solver, educator, investigator, representative, and negotiator. They promote union values, principles, and ideas, which includes service, social justice for all, treating each person with dignity and worth, valuing relationships, having integrity and competence, and honoring confidentiality. When making decisions, shop stewards should put the interest of their coworkers ahead of any personal interest. If this role interests you, please reach out!
DFI currently has one shop steward — Chris Vasseur-Landriault. Please use the contact form to reach out or see the union bulletin boards on the 3rd or 4th floor for direct contact information.
WFSE Local 443
The local union chapter for our geographic area is Local 443. Chartered by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in 1942, Local 443 represents the interests of thousands of state government employees in our area. If you are a dues-paying union member, please consider attending our local's monthly meetings and/or getting involved in one of our committees. As a dues-paying union member, you decide how our local spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, so it behooves you to get involved.
Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE)
WFSE ("woof-see"), also called AFSCME ("afsk-me") Council 28, is our bargaining unit's exclusive collective bargaining representative, and represents tens of thousands of employees at over three dozen state agencies across Washington. WFSE's purpose is:
To organize and empower individuals to create a strong collective voice.
To respond to the needs and directions of the membership.
To achieve and maintain excellent wages, benefits, and working conditions.
To ensure the union is a positive force in workers’ lives, families, and communities.
To unite the WFSE Locals of AFSCME for mutual protection and advancement of workers.
Union-Management Communication Committee
The UMCC's membership consists of DFI management, WFSE representatives, and DFI employee representatives. It meets multiple times throughout the year to foster and maintain a healthy relationship and good communication between the parties. UMCC meetings are not a replacement for collective bargaining, but it is a place to discuss possible resolutions in a collaborative manner for many topics, including, for example, those relating to working conditions such as teleworking, workload, and agency policies and guidelines.
If you want to get involved or have possible topics for discussion, please reach out!
We also publish a report after each UMCC meeting, which can all be found here.
If your position at DFI is represented by WFSE then you are in our bargaining unit. That means you have all the rights, benefits, and protections of our CBA, which are better than the Washington State Civil Service Rules and includes some of the following:
An extra day off each fiscal year called the Personal Leave Day.
A formal and robust grievance procedure that gives you the power to address problems you encounter in the workplace.
Guaranteed pay bump of 10% instead of 5% upon promotion to a class whose salary range maximum is 15% or more higher than the salary range maximum of the former class. Some examples of where this occurs is Financial Examiner 2 to 3, Financial Legal Examiner 2 to 3, Management Analyst 3 to 4, and Program Specialist 2 to 3.
In-training plans run concurrent with your trial service period so you start making a higher wage sooner.
Upon reallocation to a class with a higher salary range maximum, you may be approved for a 10% pay bump instead of 5%.
With the exception of Financial Legal Examiner 2s, employees serve a minimum six-month probationary or trial service period so you attain permanent status sooner.
Employees separated from employment during a probationary period are guaranteed 5 days of pay instead of zero upon notice of separation.
Except for instances where the elimination of a telework agreement is for performance and/or attendance issues, employees get a minimum 7 calendar days notice prior to modifications to their telework agreement.
In addition to our CBA, you gain the ability to effect positive change in our workplace because your voice is combined with and strengthened by others. We take pride in the fact that we stand up for our fellow workers and that our collective efforts continually yield positive results!
Dues-paying union members
Since Janus v. AFSCME, union membership dues are not compulsory for public sector employees in union-represented positions. But all the reasons people get into the public sector — fair pay, good healthcare, secure retirement — are the things our union makes possible. That is why it's important to become a union member. Our union is member driven — members craft, negotiate, and vote on our CBA, hold elected office in our local and in WFSE, lobby the legislature to fund our labor contract, and participate in the democratic governance of our union. Union membership also gives you and your family access to a plethora of members-only benefits and scholarships at the local, WFSE, and AFSCME level.
In accordance with Article VI, Section 1 of the WFSE/AFSCME Constitution, membership dues are 1.5% of a union member’s gross monthly salary (equivalent to less than 8 minutes of your workday), capped at $104.87 per month as of July 1, 2022.