A UNION FOR L&I INTERPRETERS
Updated On: Nov 26, 2022

Interpreters United/AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) would like to become the official union of freelance interpreters paid by L&I. In order to become the legal representative of L&I interpreters, we need to ask the State to hold an election. Please sign our card asking PERC (Public Employment Relations Commission) for a union election.

Two other organizations would also like to become the official union of freelance interpreters paid by L&I:

WINNING A UNION ELECTION

PERC is the state agency in charge of union elections.

  • The winner needs 50%+1 to become the legal representative of a group of workers.
  • To trigger a union election, PERC must receive 30% of authorization cards signed by eligible voters.
  • To intervene in an election triggered by another group, PERC must receive 10% of authorization cards signed by eligible voters.

PERC ELECTION PROCESS

In order for an organization to trigger an election to become the legal representative of freelance interpreters, the organization must produce for PERC authorization cards signed by 30% of eligible voters. Any other organization producing at least 10% of authorization cards may intervene the election (have its name placed on the ballot).

On November 23, 2020, WA Interpreters filed a petition with PERC to trigger a union election. 

On November 25, 2020, both Interpreters United (WFSE) and Interpreters Rising filed to intervene.

On December 31, 2020, PERC informed all three organizations that not enough interpreters supported WA Interpreters' petition to trigger a union election. In its Deficiency Notice, PERC announced that WA Interpreters had less than the required 30% of authorization cards signed by eligible voters and that it intended to dismiss WA Interpreters' petition by January 15, 2021.

On January 4, 2021, WA Interpreters asked PERC to give them until February 15, 2021, to gather the missing authorization cards.

On January 13, 2021, PERC granted WA Interpreters an extension until January 22, 2021, to produce the missing cards.

On January 14, 2021, Interpreters United (WFSE) disclosed that WA Interpreters had filed the petition with only 12.5% of authorization cards signed by eligible voters instead of the required 30%.

On March 25, 2021, PERC dismissed one of the WA Interpreters' Unfair Labor Practices (ULP).

On July 1, 2021, PERC blocked the union election while WA Interpreters' legal actions are still pending.

On November 23, 2021, PERC dismissed WA Interpreters' Unfair Labor Practice that sought to stop the scheduling system.

On January 6, 2022, PERC lifted the block and allowed interpreters to proceed with the election of a future labor union.

On February 24, 2022, PERC ruled against WA Interpreters' Unfair Labor Practice by deciding that L&I  did not violate RCW 41.56.140(1) when L&I implemented the new scheduling system while the union representation petition was pending.

In July 2022, Interpreters United won 81% of the valid votes cast in the first round of the 3-way PERC election and proceeded to the runoff election.

In August 2022, Interpreters United won 81.5% of the valid votes cast in the second round of the 2-way PERC election. Now interpreters must wait for PERC to certify the Washington Federation of State Employees (AFSCME Council 28) as the legal sole representative of spoken language interpreters rendering services paid by L&I.


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