Public School Employees of Washington, SEIU Local 1948 (PSE SEIU 1948) is a labor union dedicated exclusively to representing Education Support Professionals in Washington state’s public education system. Our 30,000 members play a vital role in the operation of early learning, K-12, and universities throughout the state. No other labor organization in Washington represents Education Support Professionals with the power and might of PSE. We are constantly working on the front lines to improve the quality of our public education system and to gain better recognition for those who often work behind the scenes to help our students succeed.
It is the mission of PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEES OF WASHINGTON, SEIU/LOCAL 1948 to improve the lives of our members and their families, empowering them to have a greater impact on their communities and the next generation.
Who We Are
In today’s classrooms, instructional assistants and other paraeducators support and enhance the work of teachers in all components of the education process. PSE helps paras navigate and succeed in this rapidly changing and challenging profession. We provide affordable training opportunities and seek greater recognition of their important instructional role in today’s public schools.
Webmasters, network technicians and other technology employees are among the newest classifications in PSE. Today, the instructional process depends on reliable, high-speed Internet connections and computer systems. PSE is there to promote competitive wages and benefits so that our schools can keep the best and brightest technology employees.
School security officers, playground supervisors, and other classified employees face the demanding task of keeping our schools safe and secure for students and staff. PSE believes comprehensive, professional training must be provided to all classified employees involved in campus security and that better state funding is needed to pay for these positions.
Maintenance and grounds
Maintaining a school is not like fixing a commercial property — it requires experts who understand what it takes to keep our schools running smoothly. PSE is working to protect these jobs and increase public works bid limits to prevent everyday maintenance and grounds work from getting contracted out to private companies.
At PSE, we know school bus drivers carry the most precious cargo around. That’s why we helped simplify new CDL testing requirements and are working to increase funding for pupil transportation. We also promoted a bill that would allow school district to place cameras on school bus stop paddles, an idea thought up by our members.
Support for Washington’s youngest learners is crucial to preparing future generations for the rest of their educational journeys. PSE represents several chapters of early learning centers across the state. Paraeducators in pre-k play a huge role in supporting our little ones in their social/emotional learning and the basic skills that are needed to enter into grade school. Although this classification is one of our smallest, we are always working to advocate for and protect these workers and the crucial role they play in the lives of our students.
The technology has changed, but office professionals are still the people who keep our schools running smoothly. PSE has worked to streamline many state reporting requirements, including Becca runaway/truancy laws, and ensures that office professionals receive the training and technology they need to stay on top of their job.
The hardworking nurses and health room supervisors who work in our schools are essential to ensuring Washington’s students can focus on getting a quality education. They ensure every child is taken care of when they’re feeling sick at school, and we work every day to ensure they’re taken care of on the job. We are always working to advocate for safety protocols, PPE, and wages that reflect the incredible importance of this position.
Over time our union has grown larger and stronger by adding different classifications, but we still haven’t lost touch with the needs and concerns of custodians. Since the beginning, we’ve been negotiating better pay and benefits and winning professional recognition for custodians.
School cafeterias and the people who work in them play a critical role in the educational process by providing nutritious meals for children. PSE has been battling for higher nutritional standards against contracting-out of food services. These job classifications represent the majority of the many positions PSE represents, while many other specialized jobs keep our schools running each and every day. Together, we are the foundation of Washington’s public schools.
Our higher education members include classified staff in three of the major universities across Washington State, including Central Washington University, Western Washington University, and Eastern Washington University. Bargaining contracts for employees working in Universities is much different than in K-12. We are constantly working to provide our higher education members with the unique representation they require to win higher wages, quality benefits, and on the job protection.
Over many decades, PSE has fought for classified employees across the state of Washington, here is brief history of how we became who we are today.
Washington Public School Employees, PSE’s precursor, was created in 1948 by a small group of classified employees.
In 1960, the organization changed its name to Public School Employees Association. That same year, the organization president pushed to replace the term “non-certificated” with “classified” to follow the lead of other states.
In 1967, the same year that Washington’s collective bargaining act was passed, the organization officially became Public School Employees of Washington.
In 2005, PSE affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to gain more strength by working with other classified school employees and union members in the state and nationally. We became PSE SEIU Local 1948, and combined with other SEIU locals, we comprise the largest labor organization in the history of our state.