Language Access Providers (Interpreters) Bargaining Structure


The Washington Federation of State Employees Executive Board has established the following structure for bargaining of an agreement with the State of Washington for language access providers.


Only WFSE members in good standing in the Language Access Provider bargaining unit will be eligible to nominate and/or vote in the election of any bargaining team member and to serve on the bargaining team.

Responsibilities of the bargaining team:  The bargaining team will develop the initial bargaining proposal to be presented to the State, and then negotiate with the State of Washington. The bargaining team approves final contract language for makes recommendation for membership ratification or rejection of the tentative agreement or final State offer.  The bargaining team at the table has the power to alter, modify, change, or concede on all issues to obtain the best possible language, and reach a tentative agreement, or declare that the team has reached an impasse. The bargaining team has the power to refer specific issues to supplemental committees.

Responsibilities of the bargaining team members: Bargaining team members are to be accountable, be committed to the process, be open-minded and realistic, be available, and to identify experts or specialists on specific issues or other subject matters. The bargaining team members will be responsible for direct communications with members and reporting out to their constituents regarding the progress of negotiations.  Bargaining team members must be willing to share their contact information with the members they are representing at the table. Bargaining team members will be responsible for communicating with assigned groups of employees.  Bargaining team members will work with Council staff in scheduling meetings.  Bargaining team members are required to spend additional time educating the membership when they are not at the bargaining table.  Bargaining team members must abide by all rules of conduct established by their respective teams. Being a bargaining team member means spending a lot of time over many months (sometimes late into the evening) negotiating, researching, and communicating.

Careful and serious consideration should be given to these responsibilities before any member considers serving on the bargaining team.

The Council officers may attend bargaining sessions of any other bargaining team, as the Council President deems necessary.

The Executive Board has the specific power to call a strike, following a strike authorization vote, and to order a return to work from a strike.


The Collective Bargaining Committee (CBC) will review and approve all election processes for all bargaining teams.

Voting on the bargaining teams will be one (1) vote for each bargaining team member.

The Council President may remove any bargaining team member who, after careful investigation, is determined to have violated the bargaining team’s rules of conduct, the responsibilities of bargaining team members as described in this document or the AFSCME International Constitution (see Article X, Section 2), or who has acted inappropriately as a bargaining team member.  Any bargaining team member removed from a bargaining team may appeal the decision of the Council President to the Council Executive Committee plus one bargaining team member chosen by the appellant’s bargaining team.

Interpreters in the Language Access Provider bargaining unit will elect bargaining team members based on the following allocation:

  • Election Group Number #1: All interpreters in Clark and Skamania counties; 1 Bargaining Team Position
  • Election Group Number #2: All interpreters in Clallam, Cowlitz, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Thurston, and Wahkiakum counties; 1 Bargaining Team Position
  • Election Group Number #3: All interpreters in Pierce county; 1 Bargaining Team Position
  • Election Group Number #4: All interpreters in King county; 2 Bargaining Team Positions
  • Election Group Number #5: All interpreters in Snohomish county; 1 Bargaining Team Position
  • Election Group Number #6: All interpreters in Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom counties; 1 Bargaining Team Position
  • Election Group Number #7: All interpreters in Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima counties; 1 Bargaining Team Position
  • Election Group Number #8: All Interpreters in Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Orielle, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman counties; 1 Bargaining Team Position
  • Election Group Number #9: All Interpreters in the bargaining unit whose primary working language is not Spanish or Russian; 2 Bargaining Team Positions

Candidates may run for only one Election Group.

Election Groups 1-8:

Candidates for bargaining team positions in Election Groups 1-8 will be nominated and elected by the Interpreters residing in counties specified for each Election Group. The Interpreter’s primary residential address shall be used to determine to which Election Group an Interpreter belongs.  Only in cases where the Interpreter does not have a primary address shall post office mailing boxes be used for the basis of determining Election Group membership.  If an eligible Interpreter lives outside of the State of Washington, they shall be considered part of the Election Group with the county geographically nearest to their primary residence address.

Election Group 9:

Candidates for bargaining team positions in Election Group 9 will be nominated and elected by all Interpreters in the bargaining unit.  To be eligible to be nominated and run for either of these two bargaining team positions, the candidate’s working language cannot be Spanish or Russian.

Ties will be decided by run-off.   The Council President may appoint bargaining team members to fill vacant seats.  The Council President may appoint additional members to the team as required.

Should a member of the bargaining team need to be replaced, the position will be filled. The replacement team member will be the next runner-up from the original election.  If there is no runner-up, the Council President will appoint the replacement.


Informing and involving bargaining unit members during the bargaining process will be key to winning support for a strong contract and ratification of a final agreement.

A communication strategy will be developed involving frequent dissemination of information from each bargaining team to a wide net of activists including stewards, local officers and board members, Council executive board members and committee members.  The e-mail network, website and hotline will be available to provide immediate communication.  When necessary, staff may distribute a press release to the mainstream media.  Council 28 Field Offices and Headquarters will be hubs for distribution of information materials and tools for job actions.

At the conclusion of bargaining, a debriefing will occur with bargaining team members to discuss the process. A copy of this document will be made available prior to the debriefing for members to propose amendments to be submitted to the CBC for consideration.

Adopted by Council 28 Collective Bargaining Committee June 4, 2013
Adopted by Council 28 Executive Board July 13, 2013


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