The steps leading up to Seattle City Hall

NEWS GLEAMS | Coalition of City Unions Rallies for Better Wages; SDOT Seeks Feedback for Seattle Transportation Plan

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

by Vee Hua 華婷婷

Coalition of City Unions Rallies for Better Wages

Seattle’s Coalition of City Unions (CCU), which represents over a dozen city unions, hosted a City Workers Rally on Sept. 19 at Seattle City Hall that drew over 1,000 City employees. At the rally, they unfurled a 50-foot petition with 6,000 signatures, addressed to Mayor Bruce Harrell and Seattle City Council in demand of higher wages for City workers. The petition was delivered following nearly a year of unsuccessful negotiations. The unions have demanded a 9.2% increase across the board with a focus on #RSPCT, or racial equity, safety, pay and affordability, climate justice, and time and work-life balance.

In an August 2023 email, Jamie Housen, director of communications for the Mayor’s Office, wrote, “Despite forecasts showing significant future revenue gaps, our approach will continue to be rooted in our values that every worker deserves a living wage, and our gratitude for city employees and the service they provide to Seattle neighbors.”

Despite Mayor Harrell’s stated commitments that the City would be committed to raising wages, union workers told Crosscut in August that his offer came in well below their asks.

“Relative to inflation, the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for City of Seattle employees has not kept pace, lagging 5.7 percent between 2015 and 2023 — a relative pay cut,” wrote CCU in The Stand. “Meanwhile, private sector wage growth in the city has nearly matched inflation. The median income for city workers in the CCU is currently $75,000, with half — often women and workers of color — earning far below that rate.”

Following the rally, Housen has not commented further on specifics regarding the negotiations between City workers and the Mayor’s office, but assured The Seattle Times they were continuing “in good faith.”

Photo is attributed to SDOT Photos (under a Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0 license).

Seattle Department of Transportation Seeks Feedback for Seattle Transportation Plan

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is seeking feedback on its recently released Seattle Transportation Plan (STP). It is open for public comment through Oct. 23, 2023, via the Seattle Transportation Plan Online Engagement Hub.

The entire 720-page plan includes links, summaries, maps, and different sections of the plan, as well as a draft of the environmental impact statement (EIS). The report is broken into sections by the following focal points: Transit, Freight and Urban Goods, Bicycle and E-Mobility, Pedestrian, People Streets and Public Spaces, Curbside Management, Vehicle, and New and Emerging Mobility. It also aims to prioritize goals of safety, equity, sustainability, mobility, livability, and maintenance and modernization.

Those who wish to offer feedback can use the Online Engagement Hub to leave notes in a comment box; those who have problems using the website can also download the PDF for easier viewing. 

In a timeline outlined by Seattle City Council’s Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee, the third quarter of 2023 includes the draft plan release for a 60-day comment period, a draft EIS release for a 45-to-60-day comment period, and a Phase 3 community engagement process that will include a draft plan and development of an implementation strategy. Following that, in the fourth quarter, the timeline will include refinement of the STP based on Phase 3 engagement and the development of the final EIS. In the first quarter of 2024, the final EIS will be published, the recommended STP will be sent to the mayor, and the Seattle City Council will consider adoption of the STP, including a required public hearing.

Port of Seattle staff with members and volunteers from Serve Ethiopians Washington at an Angle Lake Park cleanup event in fall of 2022. Serve Ethiopians Washington is receiving $60,000 over three years through Cycle 3 of the South King County Community Impact Fund. (Photo courtesy Port of Seattle)

South King County’s Community Impact Fund Is Open for Environmental Proposals

The Port of Seattle’s South King County Community Impact Fund (SKCCIF) is now open for its fourth cycle. Eligible projects will improve the local environment in South King County neighborhoods near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), including Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila. All applicants can apply for single-year funding of $20,000 or multiyear funding for up to $60,000. All projects must demonstrate a 2-to-1 match. A 2-to-1 match means every grant dollar awarded by the port must be matched by $2 from either the grant recipient or project partners.

The fund was established in 2019 to “develop equity-based partnerships and provide resources and support to historically underserved near-airport communities, addressing noise mitigation, environmental health, and sustainability.” In response to community feedback about more equitable grantmaking practices, the Port has begun working with “multicultural, multilingual liaisons to identify and remove barriers to participation” through co-creation of grant materials and conducting targeted outreach through respected community liaisons.

“[The SKCCIF] is $10 million invested into community-based organizations to be able to have targeted strategies to address their specific community needs,” stated Port of Seattle Commissioner Toshiko Hasegawa in a 2023 interview with the Emerald. “They apply for the grants, they’re vetted, they win them, and then they come back into consortia, where they not only show the Port of Seattle what they’re able to achieve with this culturally specific strategy, but they do it in community with the other grant recipients, where they are able to trade lessons learned and best practices.”

Proposals must be submitted by Monday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m. Full details can be found on the Port of Seattle’s website. Translations of the call for entries are available in 

Amharic, Arabic, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Korean, French, and Vietnamese.

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Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the editor-in-chief of REDEFINE, a co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and a film educator at the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they previously served as executive director and played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences. After a recent stint as the interim managing editor at South Seattle Emerald, they are moving into production on their feature film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy. Learn more about them at

📸 Featured Image: Image is attributed to h2kyaks (under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0 license).

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