Updated On: Apr 09, 2016

The purpose of the political action program of the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 is to promote the legislative goals of our union at the state and national levels. Many decisions that affect our jobs and working conditions are made by the Legislature. 

Why do we get involved in politics?

Our jobs, wages and working conditions are directly linked to politics. From privatization to budget cuts, politics at the federal, state and local levels affect public services, workers and the people we serve. Only through active participation in the political arena can AFSCME Council 28 members have a say in policy-making and in electing candidates who support laws that benefit our members and the people they serve. We strive to elect politicians who support us and hold those politicians accountable. 

Do my union dues pay for contributions to political candidates?

Revised Code of Washington 42.17A.495 Limitations on employers or labor organizations

(3) No employer or other person or entity responsible for the disbursement of funds in payment of wages or salaries may withhold or divert a portion of an employee's wages or salaries for contributions to political committees or for use as political contributions except upon the written request of the employee. The request must be made on a form prescribed by the commission informing the employee of the prohibition against employer and labor organization discrimination described in subsection (2) of this section. The employee may revoke the request at any time. At least annually, the employee shall be notified about the right to revoke the request.

(4) Each person or entity who withholds contributions under subsection (3) of this section shall maintain open for public inspection for a period of no less than three years, during normal business hours, documents and books of accounts that shall include a copy of each employee's request, the amounts and dates funds were actually withheld, and the amounts and dates funds were transferred to a political committee. Copies of such information shall be delivered to the commission upon request.

How and on what basis does WFSE/AFSCME Council 28 endorse political candidates?

The endorsement process is democratic and participatory. On even years, WFSE/AFSCME Council 28 holds an Endorsement Conference to discuss and make possible endorsements for legislative, congressional, and statewide candidates, and to support or oppose statewide ballot measures. Each WFSE/AFSCME Council 28 union local is entitled to send two voting delegates. In addition to local delegates, Council 28 Executive Board members also can attend as a voting members of the executive board. Travel for local delegates is at the expense of the local. 

WFSE/AFSCME Council 28 does not back one political party over another. WFSE/AFSCME Council 28's member-driven endorsements are based solely on public service worker issues: pay, benefits, contracting-out, working conditions, etc.  You can find the endorsement process online at

What is PEOPLE?

The Public Employees Organized to Promote Legislative Equality (PEOPLE) is AFSCME’s Political Action Committee (PAC). It is a voluntary, independent political organization to lobby on behalf of AFSCME members. PEOPLE is the union’s political, legislative and fundraising arm. It is supported by members’ voluntary donations and is one of the biggest political action committees in the nation. PEOPLE is run by AFSCME members who participate in committees at the local, state and national levels. PEOPLE committees raise funds and work to elect politicians responsive to the needs of public service workers and the people they serve.

PEOPLE contributions are used to support candidates who understand our needs and concerns. PEOPLE dollars have provided valuable support to AFSCME’s lobby efforts on issues such as saving the safety net, fighting for justice and access to health care for all, and countering anti-union initiatives.

Contributions or gifts to AFSCME PEOPLE are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. All contributions to AFSCME PEOPLE are voluntary and will be used for political purposes. Contributions are not a condition of membership or employment and refusal to contribute is free of reprisal. In accordance with federal law, AFSCME PEOPLE accepts contributions only from AFSCME members, executive and administrative personnel, and their families. Contributions from other persons will be returned.

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