Updated On: Feb 17, 2024

In 2018, interpreters succeeded in amending the Washington State collective bargaining statute RCW 41.56.030(10)  by asking the legislature through SB 6245 to grant collective bargaining rights to interpreters who render services to injured workers and crime victims (services paid by L&I). This created a bargaining unit for L&I spoken language interpreters (Language Access Providers).

Interpreters United/AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) would like to become the official union for 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. Two other organizations would also like to become the official union of freelance interpreters paid by L&I:


The Pulbic Employment Relations Commission (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.
  • In order for an organization to trigger a union election, PERC must receive 30% of authorization cards signed by eligible voters.
  • To intervene in an election (have its name placed on the ballot) triggered by another group, PERC must receive 10% of authorization cards signed by eligible voters.


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 several WA Interpreters' Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) has filed.

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

On November 23, 2021, PERC's Examiner 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 Commission 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 March 2022, Interpreters Rising endorsed Interpreters United (WFSE) and dropped off the election.

In July 2022, Interpreters United won 81% of the valid votes cast in the 3-way PERC election (Choices on the ballot: No union, WA Interpreters or Interpreters United (WFSE)) and proceeded to the runoff election.

In August 2022, Interpreters United won 81.5% of the valid votes cast in the 2-way PERC election (Choices on the ballot: WA Interpreters or Interpreters United (WFSE)). WA Interpreters filed 14 objections to the election, PERC upheld two objections and vacated the August election.

In April 2023, Interpreters United won the redo of the August 2022 election.  WA Interpreters filed 5 objections to the election. 

On September 13, 2023, PERC disimissed WA Interpreters' objections to the third election and the following day PERC certified Interpreters United / AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) as the legal sole representative of spoken language interpreters rendering services to injured workers and crime victims paid by L&I.


Information about the L&I bargaining team structure, bargaining team elections, and how to make your own contract proposal is posted on this website under the "Our Contract" tab.

On January 17, 2024, nominations for a seat on the L&I bargaining team opened. Interpreters can nominate themselves or their colleagues.

On January 16, 2024, WFSE anounced the results of the bargaining team election.


  • Interpreters United

    Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved.

    Powered By UnionActive

  • Top of Page image