Welcome

Welcome to Local 1857! When you signed your membership card, you became part of an employee Union that represents approximately 1,000 members at KCLS. Membership gives you the right to participate in decisions that affect your wages, hours, and working conditions. Union members participate in the democratic governance of the Union, and have access to member-only benefits.

Local 1857 is part of the Washington State Council of County and City Employees (WSCCCE), often referred to as Council 2. Council 2 represents 17,000 public service employees across Washington State and Idaho, and is part of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) a 1.6 million member Union with members across the United States and Puerto Rico.

Please see our About Us page for more information about the structure and history of our Union, and our Participation page for ways members can be involved. Below is a summary of the most common information new members are interested in. If you have any questions about union membership, feel free to contact us, or the Union Steward at your work location(s).

Who Runs Our Union?

Our members run the day-to-day operations of our Local. Local Union Officers and Union Stewards are KCLS employees who have been elected to serve in various Union positions. Officers are elected by the membership every November.

Officers and Stewards are often volunteering their time, although our contracts allow for certain Union-related activities to happen on work time. They work with our Staff Representative, who is a paid employee of Council 2. Our Staff Rep is responsible for contract negotiations, discipline meetings involving suspension or termination, and working closely with local union officers to represent our membership.

Representation Rights

Represented employees are all employees who belong to one of the bargaining units of Local 1857. A bargaining unit is a group of employees with common interests who receive the same benefits under a collective bargaining agreement, or “Contract.” In Washington State, public employee bargaining units are certified by PERC (Public Employment Relations Commission.)

Represented employees have WEINGARTEN RIGHTS, which means if you are called into a meeting that you have reason to believe could lead to discipline, you have the right to have a Union representative present. Employees have this right if they request it before or during the meeting, and cannot be disciplined for making the request.

Communication

Given our numbers and our many work locations, we rely heavily on electronic communication to stay in touch with our members. Local 1857 members receive meeting notices, election information, and other important official union communications via e-mail or US Mail sent from the Council 2 office.

Union ballots for officer elections and contract votes are sent out by US Mail, so if you move, please remember to update your mailing address with the Union. If you receive e-mails, they will arrive from Stacy Hulse, the Council 2 staff assistant who works with our Union.

We also have a general discussion e-mail list, The Watercooler, available for members interested in online discussion of union-related issues. To be added, send an e-mail to 1857-watercooler+subscribe@googlegroups.com

Meetings

Local 1857 holds quarterly general membership meetings. We try to rotate locations and times so as many members will be able to attend as possible. Finding free or low-cost meeting space throughout the county that is available in the evenings can be difficult, so we often end up meeting at the KCLS Service Center meeting room.

The Local 1857 Executive Board meets approximately every six weeks. All dues-paying members are welcome to attend, even if they are not an Officer.

Union Stewards generally meet two to three times a year to discuss union-related issues, and attend training. Any dues-paying member interested in learning more about being a Union Steward is also welcome to attend these meetings.

Upcoming meetings are listed in the sidebar on this site, and are posted on the Union bulletin board in your work location(s).

Union Benefits

Colonial Life Insurance
Council 2 offers a $10,000 life insurance benefit. This is free for all members of the Union who enroll.

Union Plus
A program from the AFL-CIO offering exclusive member discounts to Union employees on travel, insurance, automobiles, credit cards, movie tickets and more.

AFSCME Free College Benefit
This benefit allows members and their families to earn an associate’s degree online from Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio. The benefit covers any amount for tuition, fees or books that is not covered by Federal or Employer education grants.

Scholarships

There are several scholarships available through the Union.

Council 2 Scholarships – includes a four-year, $20,000 total award. Continuing education scholarships are also awarded to members. Applications are due in March of each year.

AFSCME Family Scholarship – Each year the AFSCME Family Scholarship Program provides $2,000 scholarships to high school seniors that will be renewed for $2,000 each year for a maximum of four years.

Union Plus Scholarships – awards from $500-$4000 for union families, applications due in January of each year.

Gerald W. McEntee Scholarship – awarded annually to an AFSCME member for use towards higher education expenses. It is a one‐time scholarship and may not be awarded twice to the same member.

Member Dues

Member dues are 1.45% of your base monthly salary, with a minimum of $16.51 per month and a maximum of $53.75 per month.

These dues pay the salaries of our Staff Representative and other employees of Council 2, and fund their advocating on our behalf in Olympia. They also fund training for our elected union officers and stewards who represent members in grievance and disciplinary meetings, and at the bargaining table. AFSCME dues fund national research, education, organizing and lobbying on behalf of public employees and working people across the country.

More information about member dues is available on the Council 2 website.

Collective Bargaining Agreements

Our collective bargaining agreements, or contracts, are available on the sidebar of this website, or can be found on the KCLS Intranet under Manuals > Labor Agreements. Our local is categorized into three bargaining units.

  • 1857M (Main Unit ) This bargaining unit represents all staff who are not Supervisors, Pages, or in Facilities. Librarians, PSAs, LTAs, and most Service Center positions in ITS and CMS are in this bargaining unit.
  • 1857P (Page Unit) This unit represents all Pages at libraries, Service Center, and MDS.
  • 1857F (Facilities Unit) This unit represents Maintenance Workers and AMH Service Specialists in FMS.

Contract Negotiations

In the year a contract is due to expire, the Union begins preparing for contract negotiations with KCLS. Our Staff Representative facilitates these negotiations, but we rely heavily on member support, input, and work to make negotiations go smoothly. The Union usually sends an online survey to members to gather information on which topics are most important.

Union Elections

We structure our elections to allow as many members as possible the opportunity to cast a vote. Due to our size and spread out location, this almost always means conducting elections via US Mail. When a vote is required to approve a new contract or to elect Union officers, a ballot will be mailed to the mailing address Council 2 has on file for each member. Ballots are usually returned to the Council 2 office in Olympia to be counted.