The Freedom Foundation has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards alleging the Washington Federation of State Employees/American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 28 (WFSE) has violated various provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).
Among the allegations made in the 184-page complaint are that the union has failed to properly file reports about its governance and finances as required by the law. The alleged violations span a period of multiple years.
Passed in 1959 after growing reports of corruption within the labor movement, the LMRDA provides baseline requirements to promote transparency and accountability among unions towards their members. It applies to all unions representing at least some private-sector workers but does not encompass unions consisting exclusively of state or municipal employees.
While WFSE is the largest union of state workers in Washington state, it represents some employees subject to the LMRDA and is therefore covered by the law’s requirements.
Though WFSE claims to represent about 46,000 state employees, only about 70 percent are dues-paying members, a percentage that has steadily declined since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME freed public employees from mandatory union dues/fees.