In her 5 years on City Council, Councilmember Kshama Sawant (a rank-and-file member of the American Federation of Teachers herself) has been proud to use every avenue possible to support workers’ rights. Workers and their unions here and around the country have been moving into struggle and winning victories, demonstrating how when workers organize, we can win.
In recent months, workers have some big victories in Seattle. Last week, Kshama was honored to join security workers at the Frye Art Museum in District 3 who have courageously organized and voted to form a union!
As she said at their press conference:
“My council office and I will do everything in our power to support these workers in their fight for dignity, good pay, respect at work, and for their right to housing affordability in Seattle…I salute their bravery in standing up, and I encourage all workers, no matter where you work, to follow in the footsteps of these workers and form unions if you don’t have a union, so that you can fight for better working conditions.”
Unfortunately, management at the Frye museum is refusing to voluntarily recognize workers’ right to unionize and is employing anti-union tactics. This means that unionization will be decided by an election through the National Labor Relations Board on June 18 - while, in the meantime, management pushes propaganda to try to dissuade unionization. We will continue to stand by Frye workers in their fight!
Kshama has also been organizing in solidarity with SEIU 6 Amazon security workers against discrimination and Islamophobia, flouting of labor laws, and even illegitimate firings. These workers just won a huge victory, defeating the richest man in the world and winning their union.
Earlier this year, Seattle emergency medical technicians (EMTs) organized with Teamsters 763 fought a months-long contract struggle with for-profit American Medical Response (AMR) corporation and won what they described as “one of the best contracts we have achieved with AMR."
EMTs save lives, serving our city with dedication and self-sacrifice. Yet we heard from EMTs who couldn’t afford to live in Seattle and were working multiple jobs just to get by, some even having to donate plasma to make the rent. When the EMTs refused to accept the substandard wages and benefits in their contract, AMR threatened to pull out of Seattle and remove vital emergency services from our city.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant supported the courageous EMTs and helped build a movement that forced City Council to pass a resolution supporting the EMTs against AMR’s corporate bullying.
Kshama's Council Office was honored and humbled to receive a thank you letter from Teamsters 763: "...When our backs were against the wall, you were there for us. We will never forget it." We will continue to fight alongside the Teamster EMTs in their demand to bring all emergency services into full public ownership.
As Kshama Sawant has consistently demonstrated, standing fully on the side of working people also means standing up to their bosses and being unafraid to make powerful enemies. Already, big business has thrown $1 million into corporate PACs. These corporate interests - including Amazon, which single-handedly poured in $200,000 - have a vested interest in keeping wages low and workers’ protections weak. Their top priority this year is to get ‘anybody but Kshama Sawant’ for District 3’s seat.
But the way we won our re-election in 2015 against a record flood of corporate cash, and the way we will win again this year, is with thousands of working people contributing their valuable time and money. We’re incredibly proud that we already have a clear lead with our support from working people, including early endorsements from nine labor unions in Seattle and over $150,000 entirely in grassroots donations, without a dime in corporate cash. Can you chip in $15 today to re-elect Kshama Sawant, a fearless fighter for working people?