Our 2023 Legislative Priorities

**Lee esto en español** ~ **Af-Soomaali ku akhri arrintan**

SEIU 925 is 17,000 members united across education and public service in Washington. We are bus drivers, child care providers, health care professionals, public defenders, paraeducators, custodians, administrative support personnel, and more. We call on our elected leaders to fund our workplace contracts, protect our union rights, and ensure that all families have a place to call home.

Fund contracts for essential workers
For the last three years and for decades before, public service workers have kept hospitals operating, child care facilities available, and schools open for learning. They have put their health and sometimes their lives on the line to maintain services during a global pandemic. The Legislature should fully fund public employee contracts, and provide competitive compensation increases for K-12 jobs. 

Prevent repetitive motion injuries at work
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) represent a third of workers’ comp claims today, costing businesses lost expertise on the job, expenses to hire and train replacement workers, and increased worker’s comp rates. These injuries cause workers pain and suffering, financial instability, and reduced earning power when and if they return to work. And WMSDs like lower back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis are among the leading causes of workplace injuries associated with prescription opioid use and possible misuse. The Legislature should allow the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) to develop rules preventing repetitive motion injuries at work.

Preserve the right to union privacy
Workplace stewards are a critical part of a union job – they help union members and managers resolve disputes before they become major disruptions.  Many union members assume that conversations with a stewardare confidential, which is no longer the case. Union steward records currently have no legal privacy protections, and can be subpoenaed by employers or other entities.

There is a common-sense fix to this problem.  The Legislature should add “union representative” to the list of people – including spouse, attorney, domestic violence advocate, peer support counselor, mental health therapist, and others – who are not required to share details of private conversations.

Expand access to child care
Lack of access to affordable child care is holding back our entire economy.  Parents or caregivers can’t reenter the workforce, and apprentices can’t graduate into higher-paying union jobs without a safe place for their kids during the day.  The Legislature should:

  • Increase the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) bonus for offering child care between 6pm-6am from $90 a month to $500, to truly incentivize providers to offer non-standard hours of care for more families
  • Fund the Imagine Institute with $2.5 million to graduate 150 new child care providers a year through peer-to-peer mentorship, opening as many as 5,000 new licensed child care slots.
  • Authorize registered apprentices who qualified for Working Connections prior to their apprenticeship to access subsidy through their first year of apprenticeship.
  • Prohibit HOAs from banning family child care facilities in their communities.

Ensure homes for All
Too many Washington families struggle to afford a home. A failure to allow and build enough housing has pushed prices and rents out of reach. Low and middle-income families face longer commutes, instability in rental properties, and the inability to build generational wealth through homeownership.  The Legislature should:

  • Increase housing supply:  Dismantle exclusionary zoning laws that prevent affordable housing, and expand zoning laws where secondary/accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are allowed on a property. Increase density near transit; and include climate in the Growth Management Act, so that communities in the future are more protected from floods, fires, and sprawl.
  • Stabilize tenants:  All families should be stable and secure in the homes.The state should protect tenants by requiring longer notice of rent increases, prevent abuse of damage deposits, and enforce existing tenant protections.
  • Increase subsidy to serve very low-income residents.: The kind of deeply affordable, low-barrier housing needed to bring everyone inside will never be solved by a profit-minded marketplace. The state should invest $400 million in the Housing Trust Fund for permanent and truly affordable housing.