Who Is WAFWP
Washington Association of Fish and Wildlife Professionals (WAFWP), formerly known as Washington Association of Professional Biologists (WAPB), is an independent Labor Union comprised entirely of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) employees with similar working conditions, professional interests, issues and concerns. Larger unions usually generalize in representing an assortment of unrelated professions (such as security guards, police officers, librarians, teachers etc.) throughout various Agencies that sometimes have competing interests. By specializing solely on fish and wildlife professionals in WDFW our members benefit from a union that specializes in representing their interest, and only their interests.
WAFWP uses the labor law firm of FENRICH & GALLAGHER, P.C. This law firm represents independent labor unions that specialize in the needs of their members throughout Washington and Oregon. This is a full-service law firm that provides experienced contract negotiators, salary surveys and many other resources as needed. One of the law firm’s partners, Rhonda Fenrich, has been our primary attorney since our inception in 1992. While other unions may have been in existence longer, they often have a higher rate of turn-over with their legal staff. Our 20+ year relationship with the same attorney has resulted in an unparalleled degree of understanding of our Agency, working conditions and natural resource concerns.
By specializing in a specific class of employee in one Agency, we have developed an excellent working relationship with WDFW management and personnel. By using a cooperative interest-based approach, many issues are resolved expediently through dialogue before they become formalized time-consuming grievances. When satisfactory solutions are not possible we file grievances as appropriate but continue to respectfully work towards resolution in a professional manner.
Some of the multi-conglomerate unions use member’s dues to fund issues that do not benefit the chapter (such as grievances for unrelated professions in other Agencies). Instead of the chapter member’s receiving direct and full benefit of their dues, their chapter may be given a small use-it-or-lose-it allowance. In WAFWP all the dues remain within the control of the elected-member run board.
In WAFWP each member in good standing is entitled to a vote and an opportunity to run for office. Each member has a direct voice in the union. Being a smaller union our member’s voices are not diluted by the bureaucratic layers of chapter representatives or by competing chapters that represent employees in other Agencies. In WAFWP our members are also our coworkers, our colleagues and our friends.