July 5, 2017 – After 181 days and three special sessions, the Washington State Legislature passed a budget and avoided a government shutdown. Below are some highlights.
The Legislature made significant headway in fully funding K-12 as mandated by the Washington Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. The state is changing the formula for how they calculate funding for school districts, and there is still lots to figure out, but more than $7 billion will go into the K-12 system over four years, with minimum average salaries set for instructional, administrative, and classified staff.
While we are pleased that the state is finally taking K-12 funding seriously, the funding for this package could have been more progressive, such as closing loopholes on capital gains and/or carbon emissions. As it is, the property tax increase will be felt particularly hard by residents of Western Washington.
SEIU 925 members at the University of Washington and family child care providers had our union contracts funded. Members at the UW won a 6% raise, and family child care providers built on previous work to win an additional 2% rate increase, while child care centers caught up with a 6% increase.
The Legislature passed a first-in-the-nation paid family and medical leave bill, which will allow Washington workers to take up to 12 weeks of time off to care for a new infant or sick loved one. For family child care providers who employ teachers, it is important to note that employers with fewer than 50 employees will not pay additional costs.
In addition to these successes, we worked with the broader labor community to kill bad bills that would have undermined worker rights. Senator Hawkins of Wenatchee proposed legislation to allow commercial growers to avoid liability for unpaid wages during farmworker rest breaks, and Senator Baumgartner of Spokane introduced “right to work” and “teen wage” bills which would have undermined the new state minimum wage law by allowing teen workers to be paid less.
Republicans, including many anti-union legislators, control the state senate by a single vote, allowing them to hear bills that would be destructive to workers, our community, and our environment. This year marks the third time our state has faced a government shutdown because of their refusal to seriously negotiate a budget deal that doesn’t harm working families. Enough is enough.
This year, a special election in the 45th Legislative District (encompassing Kirkland, Redmond, and Woodinville) will determine control of the state senate. Union members like you will be making calls and knocking doors to make sure voters know what’s at stake – passing progressive legislation that works for our families, or continued partisanship and gridlock.
You can help. Sign up as a Purple Protector today, and we’ll keep you up to date about what you can do during this critical election!
Saint Martin’s University students and faculty took part in a day-long walkout On March 1, 2017. Classrooms across the campus were empty throughout the day as a majority of classes were cancelled. Faculty and students participated in rallies, marches, panels, and off campus actions in support of worker’s rights.
They called on president Heynderickx to follow labor law, follow the teachings of his church, uphold the Benedictine values his school preaches, and to bargain with the faculty union in good faith.
During a lunchtime panel of women faculty each gave an emotional personal testimony of the ways they’ve been disrespected, ignored, and unprofessionally treated on campus. The crowded lecture hall went between tears and standing ovations in support of the panelists for their courage to speak out. Several faculty and students shared afterward that it was the most powerful moment that they have ever experienced in their years at Saint Martin’s.
In the afternoon, after an off-campus march, delegations of faculty and students traveling in vans visited the workplaces of over a dozen members of the Board of Trustees and delivered letters calling on them to adhere to the law, recognize the faculty union, and come to the bargaining table. Each visit was followed up with phone calls to their businesses asking them to use their influence to bring President Heynderickx to the bargaining table with faculty.
Karen Hart, the president of SEIU Local 925 and Heather Conroy, the International Executive Vice President for SEIU, both spoke at morning rally and gave encouragement from the National Day of Labor Action events for adjuncts in higher education happening all over the country. Members of SEIU 1199NW and the United Faculty of Evergreen State College, who know the benefits that a union can bring to both employees and the institution they serve, also turned out in solidarity.
It’s clear our state and country are at a crossroads. While the majority of families continue to suffer from soaring income inequality, big corporations who’ve rigged the system get richer at the expense of the rest of us. We need elected leaders who will stand up for working families, not the wealthy few.
That’s why our Political Organizing Committee made up of members like me from across the state, painstakingly reviewed questionnaires and interviewed candidates. Some made it clear they’ll be champions for us in Olympia – and some just didn’t make the grade.
Our local has also made I-1433, Raise Up Washington, a top priority this year. This initiative would raise the statewide minimum wage and give over a million hardworking people across the state access to paid sick days. Together, we’ve collected over 9,000 signatures – and if you still have petitions with signatures, mail them back to the campaign today!
Whether it’s interviewing candidates, registering new voters, gathering signatures, or getting out the vote, we all have a role to play in this year’s critical elections. Building our union power is the only way we can secure raises, fix pay scale ceilings, and protect pensions. Will you join me, and get involved politically with our union?
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Jay Inslee (Governor)
Cyrus Habib (Lt. Governor)
Erin Jones (Superintendent of Public Instruction)
Chris Reykdal (Superintendent of Public Instruction)
Tina Podlodowski (Secretary of State)
Jeff Sprung (State Auditor)
Mark Miloscia (State Auditor)
Shelley Kloba (1st LD, Kirkland)
Amy Pivetta Hoffman (2nd LD, SE Pierce County)
Timm Ormsby (3rd LD, Spokane)
Darcy Burner (5th LD, Issaquah and east King County)
Matt Larson (5th LD, Issaquah and east King County)
Jason Ritchie (5th LD, Issaquah and east King County)
Steve Berquist (11th LD, SE Seattle)
JD Rossetti (19th LD, Pacific coast)
Brian Blake (19th LD, Pacific coast)
Strom Peterson (21st LD, Mukilteo)
Lillian Ortiz-Self (21st LD, Mukilteo)
Laurie Dolan (22nd LD, Olympia)
Beth Doglio (22nd LD, Olympia)
Sherry Appleton (23rd LD, Poulsbo/Bainbridge Island)
Drew Hansen (23rd LD, Poulsbo/Bainbridge Island)
Jamie Smith (25th LD, Puyallup)
Michelle Chatterton (25th LD, Puyallup)
Larry Seaquist (26th LD, Kitsap Peninsula)
Jake Fey (27th LD, Tacoma)
Christine Kilduff (28th LD, Lakewood)
Mari Leavitt (28th LD, Lakewood)
David Sawyer (29th LD, Tacoma)
Steve Kirby (29th LD, Tacoma)
Michael Pellicciotti (30th LD, Federal Way)
Kristine Reeves (30th LD, Federal Way)
Cindy Ryu (32nd LD, Shoreline)
Ruth Kagi (32nd LD, Shoreline)
Tina Orwall (33rd LD, SeaTac/Des Moines/Kent)
Mia Gregerson (33rd LD, SeaTac/Des Moines/Kent)
Eileen Cody (34th LD, SW Seattle)
Joe Fitzgibbon (34th LD, SW Seattle)
Irene Bowling (35th LD, Mason County)
Craig Patti (35th LD, Mason County)
Noel Frame (36th LD, Seattle)
Gael Tarleton (36th LD, Seattle)
Sharon Tomiko-Santos (37th LD, SE Seattle)
Eric Pettigrew (37th LD, SE Seattle)
Mike Sells (38th LD, Everett)
June Robinson (38th LD, Everett)
Linda Wright (39th LD, Snohomish County)
Kristine Lytton (40th LD, Bellingham)
Jeff Morris (40th LD, Bellingham)
Tana Senn (41st LD, Mercer Island/Bellevue)
Judy Clibborn (41st LD, Mercer Island/Bellevue)
Nicole Macri (43rd LD, Seattle)
Frank Chopp (43rd LD, Seattle)
John Lovick (44th LD, Lake Stevens)
Roger Goodman (45th LD, Kirkland)
Gerry Pollett (46th LD, Seattle)
Jessyn Farrell (46th LD, Seattle)
Patty Kuderer (48th LD, Bellevue)
Joan McBride (48th LD, Bellevue)
Monica Stonier (49th LD, Vancouver)
Alishia Topper (49th LD, Vancouver)
Mark Mullet (5th LD, Issaquah/east King County)
Angie Homola (10th LD, Camano Island)
Maureen Walsh (18th LD, Walla Walla)
Tim Probst (17th LD, Clark County)
Bob Hasegawa (11th LD, SE Seattle)
Erik Lee (22nd LD, Olympia)
Sam Hunt (22nd LD, Olympia)
Karl Mecklenburg (25th LD, Puyallup)
Jeannie Darnielle (27th LD, Tacoma)
Marisa Peloquin (28th LD, Lakewood)
Kevin Ranker (40th LD, Anacortes)
Annette Cleveland (49th LD, Vancouver)
Shawn Nyman (Cowlitz County Council)
David Estudillo (Grant County Superior Court Judge)
Cathy Moore (King County Superior Court Judge)
Jackson Schmidt (King County Superior Court Judge)
Rico Tessandore (Snohomish County Superior Court Judge)
On Saturday, June 4th, dozens of SEIU 925 members of Asian Pacific descent, along with their family and friends came together to celebrate the contributions and struggles of Asian and Pacific Islander workers in the Pacific Northwest. The keynote speaker was Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who immigrated to the United States from India.
Other speakers included Mary Le Nguyen, Co-Executive Director of the Washington Community Action Network; Matt Pang, King County public defense attorney and SEIU 925 leader; and Erin Jones, Director of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) in the Tacoma Public School District. Following the program, attendees enjoyed Indian and Vietnamese food while listening to music by Tony Colinares and Graceland Manila.
Nearly two years ago adjunct and contingent faculty at Seattle University cast ballots in their union election, but their votes remain uncounted. The administration has continued to fight the right of their faculty to unionize dragging the process through a protracted legal battle.
Faculty members remain steadfast in their desire to form a union and held a Fast For Justice on April 14th. They were joined by students and community supporters. The morning kicked off with an energetic picket line followed by speeches by students and faculty who were taking part in the fast.
After the morning rally Mayor Ed Murray joined SEIU 925 President Karen Hart in speaking to faculty participants.
But, we weren’t done yet.
At noon hundreds gathered for a larger picket and rally, attendees included members of Teamsters 117, SEIU 775, and UFCW 21 held a larger picket and rally.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant delivered a rousing speech on behalf of faculty and the rights of working people to unionize. Addressing the crowd Sawant said, “We stand united with SU adjuncts, and all adjuncts throughout this state and this nation, in our demand for a right to form a union, for higher wages, better working conditions, but above all for dignity and respect as working people and as educators.”
Ben Stork a Seattle University film studies lecturer highlighted why the fight to unionize is important to students,
“My working conditions; Your learning conditions. These are bound together. This is what social justice looks like. It looks like us all being teachers and learners together, not customers. ”
The rally then made it’s why through campus where Seattle University students Myra Jackson and Vic Vong eloquently delivered a response to an anti-union letter written by the dean of their college shortly after faculty filed to form a union.
Seattle University faculty led the march off campus to join with other demonstrations for the national day of action for the Fight For $15.
Along the way Sawant led the crowd in chants of “Seattle Is A Union Town, Count The Ballots, Count Them Now!”
Our union is growing stronger every day and last Tuesday is just one amazing example of that fact.
Antioch University faculty voted unanimously to ratify their first contract. In doing so, they became one of the first faculty unions at a private sector university in Washington to do so. This is historic!
University faculty across our state believe that joining a union can help improve the quality of education and help fight against the corporatization of higher education.
Our historic accomplishment at Antioch is an important step forward in continuing to grow a strong union that can help hold schools, corporations and elected officials accountable.
At Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, contingent faculty also took a major step to join SEIU 925 by asking for a union election. They were joined by students and alumni in asking the SMU administration to take a neutral stance as they seek to form a union.
The labor movement has had a challenging year, but time and time again our members have shown the strength of our union. In the last month alone our members have won major victories, including:
As a union we have momentum on our side. When we stick together we can accomplish great things. Now let’s keep the momentum going!
SEIU 925 members joined hundreds of their fellow worker-leaders from SEIU Locals throughout Washington, Oregon, and northern California for a regional IGNITE Conference on April 1 in SeaTac, Washington. IGNITE was an energetic exciting two-day conference focused on leadership development.
Members practiced their organizing skills, shared their knowledge, and built working relationships with SEIU members from across the Pacific Northwest.
“I am a spark!” said Gladys Carlos, EPIC Head Start Teacher addressing the conference. SEIU 925 members are, and will continue to be, strong agents of change in both their workplaces and communities.
Thanks to SEIU, SEIU Local 6, SEIU 1199NW, SEIU 775, SEIU 503, SEIU 99, and PSE Classified 1948 for making IGNITE such a success!
The University Transportation Committee met Monday morning.
At the meeting the following announcements were made by UW Vice Presidents Charles Kennedy and Margaret Shepard:
What does it all mean?
We will bring our transportation demands to the bargaining table if we do not get satisfaction before then.
Contract negotiations start in nine short weeks. Together we can win better transit, fairer wages and more respect. We need to be unified. Click here and sign a unity card so we can this year, together.