Tag Archives: Unions

NEWS GLEAMS: CDCHC Workers Unionize, New Chief Librarian at SPL, & More

curated by Emerald Staff

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


✨Gleaming This Week✨

Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: CDCHC Workers Unionize, New Chief Librarian at SPL, & More

Storyville Coffee Workers Are Unionizing to Fight for Better Pay

by Guy Oron


Storyville Coffee baristas and bakers filed a petition to unionize on Feb. 17. If successful, the new union would represent a total of 14 workers at two locations: Pike Place Market and Queen Anne. In a public statement, the workers expressed their wishes to collectively negotiate a contract which would ensure a livable wage.

Continue reading Storyville Coffee Workers Are Unionizing to Fight for Better Pay

Construction Stalls Across King County as Concrete Workers Strike for Fair Wages and Health Care

by Tushar Khurana


As the omicron-fueled fifth wave of COVID-19 disrupts schools, grocery stores, airports, and hospitals, construction across King County has come to a standstill as well, albeit for different reasons. For nearly eight weeks now, drivers and workers have been striking at Gary Merlino Construction and the region’s five major concrete suppliers. As a result, many of Puget Sound’s largest construction projects — including affordable housing and the Federal Way Link light rail extension project in the South End — are now on hold.

Continue reading Construction Stalls Across King County as Concrete Workers Strike for Fair Wages and Health Care

Too Many Patients, Too Few Staff Members Create Unsafe Conditions, Unions Announce

by Sally James


Nurses and other hospital-based workers joined union officials Dec. 13 to launch a lobbying effort aimed at creating minimum standards for staff numbers in hospitals.

In an emotional press conference by livestream, several workers shared their own experiences with covering gaps left by short staffing. There were staff shortages before the pandemic began, but the crucible of the outbreak made it worse. The project is called the Washington Safe and Healthy Campaign

Continue reading Too Many Patients, Too Few Staff Members Create Unsafe Conditions, Unions Announce

OPINION: Behavioral Health Workers Took On a Giant Corporation — and Won Big

by Meseret Amare


When I heard about a violent patient escaping and injuring 11 of my coworkers, including one who left the facility on a stretcher, I was terrified — but sadly, not surprised. As a mental health tech at a psychiatric hospital in Tukwila, we work with patients going through recovery at all stages — and sometimes, they can be volatile. My employer, Cascade Behavioral Health, rejected our request for trained security staff to help when crises like these arose. We were at risk — and had had enough.

Continue reading OPINION: Behavioral Health Workers Took On a Giant Corporation — and Won Big

City Reaches Agreement With Unions on Vaccine Mandates; SPOG Agreement Still to Come

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


On the evening of Thursday, Sept. 23, a coalition of Seattle City employee unions reached a tentative agreement with the City of Seattle about the enforcement of the City’s new mandatory vaccination policy. The agreement, which outlines rules for vaccination exemptions and offers paid time off for vaccinated employees, now needs the approval of both the unions’ membership and the City Council. Union members will vote on the agreement this weekend.

On Friday, Sept. 24, both Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City labor leadership heralded the agreement as a key victory in the City’s fight to control the spread of COVID-19. Karen Estevenin, the executive director of PROTEC17, which represents employees across multiple City departments, told PubliCola the union coalition didn’t object to the vaccine mandate itself but wanted to give City employees a hand in shaping how the mandate will play out in their workplace.

“One of the key benefits of having a union is that workers have a voice on policy changes that affect their workplaces and their livelihoods,” she said. “By negotiating the terms of the vaccine mandate, we wanted to ensure that this was a fair, transparent, and equitable policy for all City employees.”

Continue reading City Reaches Agreement With Unions on Vaccine Mandates; SPOG Agreement Still to Come

OPINION: I Had COVID-19 — Why I Still Got Vaccinated

by April Sims

(This article was originally published by The Stand and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


As governments and employers announce mandates, COVID-19 vaccination is center stage. While 60% of eligible folks in Washington State are fully vaccinated, and the vaccination rate is higher in some job sectors, we know some of the working people we represent have not gotten the vaccine. At the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), AFL-CIO, we’re working to provide folks with the answers they need to make an informed choice about vaccination. Talking with union members, a question has come up repeatedly: I already had COVID-19, should I still get vaccinated?

In November 2020, my daughter came home from work feeling unwell. An essential worker, she’s one of thousands of working people in Washington who showed up at her job site even as many of us moved our work lives virtual. Two days later, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Within a few days, despite attempts to isolate, my two daughters, my husband, and I all had COVID-19. I’m someone who rarely gets sick, but the coronavirus took me out. My usually energetic family spent well over a week fighting the virus, and even longer recovering from the lingering fatigue. As secretary treasurer of the WSLC, I have access to paid sick leave, but my daughters and husband had to miss work, unpaid, while they recovered.

One thing I know for sure: I never want to have COVID-19 again. And I’ve seen the research that suggests vaccines provide greater protection against serious illness for folks who’ve had COVID-19 previously. All my family members work in community settings, coming in contact with coworkers or community members, and we have loved ones who are high-risk.

Continue reading OPINION: I Had COVID-19 — Why I Still Got Vaccinated

Picket and Rally Draws Attention to Ongoing Racism in King County Workplaces, Including Metro

by Elizabeth Turnbull

“In the struggle for Black lives, we must also stand for Black workers.”


Waving signs reading, “King County Stop Union Busting,” and “Racism Is A Threat To Worker Safety,” protesters participated in a picket and rally sponsored by Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) on July 20. Held near the office of King County Executive Dow Constantine,  the rally included protesters demanding an end to racial discrimination in King County workplaces. 

“In the struggle for Black lives, we must also stand for Black workers,” said Anna Hackman, a professor at Seattle Central College and member of the American Federation of Teachers. “This racist, capitalist system that takes our lives at the hands of police is the same one that exploits our land and our resources and our labor.” 

Continue reading Picket and Rally Draws Attention to Ongoing Racism in King County Workplaces, Including Metro

OPINION: A New Organizing Approach for Workers in the New Economy

by Sidney Chun

Non-unionized workers, laborers, sex workers, freelancers, nannies, house cleaners, workers living with disabilities, and baristas: the economy is not working for you. Neither are the current labor laws.

Continue reading OPINION: A New Organizing Approach for Workers in the New Economy