First founded in 1918 by a group of draftsmen employed in the Seattle shipyards, our organization joined the International Federation of Technical Engineers, Architects and Draftsmen’s Unions on October 24, 1927. At that time, the organization consisted of the draftsmen and City of Seattle engineers, and was known as the Seattle Association of Technical Engineers and Architects Local 17.
In 1942, Local 17 gained jurisdiction over the entire state of Washington in order to more effectively represent the needs of professional engineers in the region. At this time, the Local’s official name was changed to the Technical Engineers and Architects Association. In the 1950’s, the International changed its name to the American Federation of Technical Engineers, and Local 17’s name changed again to the Professional and Technical Engineers Association.
Since the early 1970’s, Local 17 has expanded its representation to include a wider range of job classifications – from nurses, social workers, and health specialists, to real estate appraisers, transportation planners, environmental specialists and, of course, engineers. By 1980, there were 3,400 members.
In order to better serve its members in the Pacific Northwest, the Local 17 governing body voted in 2011 to disaffiliate from the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, whose membership costs were increasingly unsustainable. At this time, the name was changed to Professional and Technical Employees, instead of Engineers, to more accurately reflect the professional diversity of the membership. Since that time, the organization has expanded its reach into Oregon and continues to grow. As we marked our 100th birthday in 2018, Professional and Technical Employees Local 17 — PROTEC17, for short — represents nearly 9,000 public employees across Washington and Oregon.