Washington State Labor Council
(Washington State Labor Council)
314 First Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119
Representing 400,000 union members in more than 600 local unions.
The WSLC is a voluntary organization. All union locals and councils that are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) are eligible to affiliate. Some unions outside the AFL-CIO may also affiliate via the Solidarity Charter program or the AFL-CIO/NEA Labor Solidarity Partnership.
WSLC operates by consensus and has no legal or constitutional authority to impose a position or policy on any local union or trade council.
WSLC officers are elected by affiliated members every four years. The elected officers are the President, the Secretary-Treasurer and the 19 Vice Presidents, who together comprise the WSLC Executive Board. The board meets quarterly and establishes the WSLC’s policies and programs in between conventions.
Conventions are held annually. Delegates to WSLC conventions debate and establish the organization’s positions or policies on issues, candidates and programs by voting on motions and resolutions. Any credentialed delegate may introduce motions to the convention, and any affiliate may submit resolutions to the convention.
Nineteen Vice Presidents are elected by district to the WSLC Executive Board. In addition, At-Large Vice Presidents represent any international union that pays per capita on 10,000 or more rank-and-file members if that union is not already represented on the board. AFL-CIO affiliated constituency groups also have Vice Presidents appointed to represent their unique interests.
Jeffrey G. Johnson, President, AFT
Jeff Johnson was elected President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, in December 2010 and was sworn into office on Jan. 5, 2011. Since joining the WSLC staff in 1986, Jeff has served as special assistant to the president, lead lobbyist, research and organizing director, and as shop steward for his staff unit, a part of OPEIU Local 8.
Jeff began his union life with Local 2190 of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO in 1979, teaching Labor Economics and Labor Studies to apprentices of IBEW Local 3 in New York City. Through the mid-1980s, Jeff taught union and community members at the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, ACTWU (which later became UNITE), the National Congress of Neighborhood Women, and the Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies, a division of Empire State College, State University of New York (SUNY). The Labor College, as the school is known, is the largest college for trade unionists in the United States.
Jeff also represents the Washington labor movement by sitting on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, the Washington State Apprenticeship Council, the board of Washington Community Action Network and as co-chair of the Washington Aerospace Partnership.
Jeffrey Johnson, President
314 First Ave. West, Seattle, 98119
206-281-8901; 360-259-7327 (cell)
Lynne Dodson, Secretary-Treasurer, AFT
Lynne Dodson was sworn into office as Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, on Jan. 5, 2011. Lynne is the first woman to be elected as an executive officer in the history of the Council, which was formed in 1957 with the merger of the Washington Federation of Labor and the Washington Congress of Industrial Organizations Council.
Prior to her election, Lynne was a professor at Seattle Central Community College, President of AFT Local 1789, and First Vice President of AFT Washington. She has a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Washington, an M.S. in Community/Clinical Psychology from Cal State Long Beach, and is a graduate of Inchelium High School in Inchelium, WA.
Lynne serves on the boards of the Washington Labor Education and Research Center, the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, the Economic Opportunity Institute, and the Governor’s Commission for National and Community Service.
Lynne Dodson, Secretary Treasurer
314 First Ave. West, Seattle, 98119
206-281-8901; 206-915-1186 (cell)
(See Appendix 1 for a list of Vice Presidents)
The Washington AFL-CIO (also known as the Washington State Labor Council) has been on both sides of contentious environmental legislation and building projects.
The WSLC supported HB 2561, the Jobs Act of 2010, also known as the Green Jobs Bill. The Bill promised “to create up to 38,000 jobs in every corner of the state by fixing public schools and universities, making them more energy efficient.”
The WSLC also supported the Working for Clean Water Bills in 2010. “The Working for Clean Water bills would have increased the hazardous substances tax to fund stormwater pollution cleanup.” While oil refineries and members of the United Steelworkers union thwarted the passage of this legislation, the WSLC publicly announced its interest in “efforts in the interim to address USW concerns about protecting jobs, while also supporting the creation of thousands of desperately needed construction jobs protecting the Puget Sound and our lakes and rivers from pollutants.”
In an interview for Washington Federation of State Employee’s “Our View,” President Jeffrey Johnson called for a coalition of the business, labor, and environmental communities to come up with a transportation package that would address roads and storm water cleanup, plan for a better ferry system, and create green jobs. In the same interview, members of the WFSE/AFSCME Council 28 were quoted saying “Climate change is a reality…If we do nothing, the disasters of climate change will hit us harder in the future.”
However, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) has also been an outspoken proponent of the controversial Gateway Pacific Terminal Project. Perhaps to appeal to environmentalists wary of the project, the WSLC “[went] on record as supporting a site specific environmental impact study for the Gateway Pacific Project at Cherry Point” in the 13th resolution of its 2012 convention. According to Resolution 13, “the design of the facility will make it the most modern and environmentally sensitive project of its type in the world – designed to be a zero emission terminal.”
The leaders of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) and the Association of Washington Business (AWB) even co-signed “a letter to state lawmakers urging passage of SB 5805, legislation intended to allow large-scale ‘projects of statewide significance’ to get through the permitting process faster without changing or sacrificing environmental or other regulatory requirements.” Environmental groups strongly opposed SB 5805, “suggesting it was about ‘fast-tracking big industrial projects,’ including the controversial Gateway Pacific Terminal project at Cherry Point.”
At a protest against the project, some activists shared concerns about climate change, ocean acidification, traffic, noise and safety, while others, such as members of the Lummi tribe, “are worried about the impacts of coal dust and increased tanker traffic in their fishing areas.”
Appendix 1: Vice Presidents
Todd Crosby, United Food and Commercial Workers (Seattle)
David Freiboth, Inlandboatmen’s Union, PSR/IBU (Seattle)
Lee Newgent, International Association of Iron Workers (Tukwila)
Sandra Schroeder, AFT Washington (Seattle)
Tom Wroblewski, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (Seattle)
Don Houtchens, USW – United Steelworkers of America (Ferndale)
Robert James, National Association of Letter Carriers (Lynnwood)
One VACANT position
Bob Guenther, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Centralia)
Tim Pfeifer, Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (Longview)
Shannon Walker, International Association of Machinists (Vancouver)
Julianne Moore, Washington Federation of State Employees (Selah)
Mark Reavis, Laborers International Union of North America (Pasco)
Eric Thrift, Laborers International Union of North America (Wenatchee)
Beth Thew, Communications Workers of America (Spokane)
One VACANT position
Rick Johnson, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Port Townsend)
Vance Lelli, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (Tacoma)
Patty Rose, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Tacoma)
AT-LARGE VICE PRESIDENT
David Baine, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers
Judy Huntington, Washington State Nurses Association
James Davis, A. Philip Randolph Institute
Nicole Grant, Wash. Young Emerging Labor Leaders
Bob Hasegawa, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Lee Malinda, Pride at Work
Fred Monroe, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists|
Robby Stern, Alliance for Retired Americans
Mari Wyatt, Coalition of Labor Union Women
Appendix 2: Letter from President Jeffrey Johnson to the Seattle City Council