WPEC got its start over 20 years ago when a small group of professional state employees met in an upstairs office on Atwood Avenue in Madison to talk about forming a union. Some were already committed to the idea but others were skeptical. It kept coming down to the question “what would we get with a union that we don't already get under the state’s civil service system?”
Our Vision: We are a courageous union whose members collectively forge a future in which working people build just and democratic workplaces and communities.
AFT-W’s structure is based on constituency groups called “Councils”. This is recognition of the fact that while we’re all in this together, we have some differences. For example, state employees and graduate assistants bargain with the Office of State Employee Relations, while K-12 locals bargain with local school boards and Technical Colleges bargain with the technical college’s board. College faculty and academic staff haven’t had the chance to bargain with anyone.
When the Wisconsin Legislature gave state employees the right to collectively bargain in 1959, they created the groups called bargaining units that would independently decide if they wanted to collectively bargain and if so, who they wanted to represent them.
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AFT Public Employees is the division of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) that represents federal, state and local government employees.
Learn the history of the AFT, including the union's founding in Chicago in 1916, its affiliation with the AFL-CIO, its battles for workers and human rights and its continued work to uphold the proud traditions on which the union was created.
Learn more about the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which was founded in 1916 to represent the economic, social and professional interests of classroom teachers and is an affiliated international union of the AFL-CIO.