Working Washington was founded in 2011 as part of the “Fight for a Fair Economy”, guided by the vision of SEIU International’s leadership, as well the leaders and members of SEIU locals, community groups, faith organizations and other labor unions in Washington state.
We quickly established a track record of groundbreaking successes in SeaTac, Seattle, and beyond. As many Fight for a Fair Economy campaigns came to a close, we took the bold step of diversifying our board and funding sources to achieve long-term sustainability so we could continue to unite workers to improve their working conditions. We moved offices and hired a new Executive Director to focus our organization around our vision of building a new form of worker organization for our changing economy.
We are a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, and like most nonprofits we are sustained by a mix of support from foundations, unions, and individual contributions.
Working Washington Leadership
Rachel Lauter, Executive Director of working washington and fair work center
Rachel most recently served as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Appointments for Mayor de Blasio in New York City. In that role, she served as the Mayor’s senior personnel advisor, making hundreds of appointments and hiring the most diverse group of senior leaders in New York City history. She also oversaw the operational, administrative, and fiscal functions of the Mayor’s office, served as a policy advisor to the Mayor on issues related to campaign finance, election administration, and voting, and drafted and negotiated dozens of local laws. Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, she served as an Assistant Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo and as a federal law clerk. Lauter is the co-founder of New Kings Democrats, a Brooklyn-based political organization. She is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, where she served as President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, the oldest student-run legal services provider in the country.
Working Washington Board
David Rolf, Board President
Known nationally as an innovative labor leader, David Rolf is the President of SEIU 775, the fastest-growing union in the Northwest, representing home care and nursing home workers in Washington state and Montana.
He has led some of the largest organizing efforts since the 1930s. From 1995-1999 he led the successful organization of 75,000 home care aides in Los Angeles, the largest union organizing campaign since the 1940’s. He led the historic campaigns to win a $15 living wage ordinance in SeaTac in 2013 and for a citywide $15 minimum wage in Seattle in 2014. The American Prospect calls him “the most successful union organizer of the last 15 years.”
Since founding SEIU 775 in 2002, he has led its growth from 1,600 to 43,000 members through new organizing; helped double the pay of its low-wage members; and bargained contracts that have created health, dental, vision, mileage, PTO, and other benefits for a previously minimum-wage, invisible workforce excluded from most labor and employment law protections.
David is the founder and Chair of the SEIU Healthcare Training Partnership, and was also the founder and Chair of the SEIU 775 Health Benefits Trust. He also serves as an International Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, the international union which represents more than 2.1 million workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. He serves on the SEIU Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Organizing Committee, and Health Care Board. He is chair of the SEIU Home Care Council, representing half a million home care workers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and led the International union’s efforts to include state incentives for expanded home and community based services in the Affordable Care Act.
He is the author of recent articles on the need for labor innovation that have appeared in Democracy Journal, The American Prospect, Spotlight on Poverty and Prosperity, the Aspen Journal of Ideas, and The Nation. His work and campaigns have been widely covered in the U.S. media including by every major news network, many major-market daily papers, and the progressive press.
David was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated from Bard College, and lives in Seattle with his wife Kylie.
Brianna Thomas, Board Vice President and Secretary
Brianna Thomas has been a community activist and organizer in and around Seattle for the last decade. Brianna began her community work at the Church Council of Greater Seattle, and then graduated from the University of Washington. She honed her policy skills in Olympia, and sharpened her campaign skills on campaigns including "No on 1185", against Tim Eyman's unconstitutional two-thirds requirement to raise taxes; and “Yes for SeaTac,” the first initiative in the country to raise a city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. Brianna is formerly the Field Director for the Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund, working across the state to ensure affordable housing for working families and solutions to the growing problem of homelessness. She currently serves as Community Relations Liaison for Seattle City Councilmember Lorena González.
Nicole Grant, Board Treasurer
Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the M.L. King County Labor Council, is the first woman to lead King County’s largest labor organization. While earning a bachelor’s degree in Politics, Economy and Law at the University of Washington, Grant began an apprenticeship with IBEW Local 46 and worked for several years performing commercial, industrial and residential electrical installations. In 2009 she became Executive Director of the Certified Electrical Workers of Washington, leading its political programs and lobbying in support of pro-working family legislation. Grant’s mission is to build power for all workers and grow the labor movement. She currently serves on the Community Economic Revitalization Board, the Puget Sound Labor Agency Executive Board, the Harry Bridges Labor Center Visiting Committee, the Economic Development Council of Seattle/King County Board, the Economic Opportunity Institute Board of Directors, and the Washington State Convention Center Board of Directors.
Andrew Beane is the Director of Strategic Campaigns at SEIU 775, and was the previous Director of Working Washington. SEIU 775 represents more than 43,000 home care and nursing home workers in Washington and Montana and is a leader in advocating for low-wage worker issues across the region.
Andrew played key roles in campaigns to win $15 minimum wages in SeaTac and Seattle. He is a member of the Labor Standards Advisory Commission for the city of Seattle. Andrew also oversees a team that helps home care workers and nursing home workers join together in SEIU 775 to win a voice at work.
Andrew has been at SEIU 775 for over 10 years, and previously worked as a research analyst for SEIU in Ohio. He holds a Master’s Degree in Labor Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. When not leading campaigns, he enjoys spending time with his wife and four-year-old daughter.
Anastasia Christman is a Senior Policy Analyst with the National Employment Law Project (NELP), specializing in issues of pay and training for low-wage workers, access to the labor market for people with criminal records, and the consequences on job quality of occupational outsourcing. Prior to joining NELP, she worked with the Service Employees International Union throughout the West Coast supporting worker organizing and bargaining among janitors and security officers. She has a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, in U.S. history, and in a former life was a college professor at several institutions of higher education in greater Los Angeles. She has volunteered with and sat on the boards for organizations like Back on My Feet, and Girls on the Run, which use physical fitness and self-esteem training to support homeless people and young girls in underserved communities, and on the STAR Project, which supports the formerly incarcerated seeking to reenter the workforce and the community. She is an avid runner and hiker and she struggles through yoga classes in Walla Walla, Washington, where she lives with her overly energetic dog, Piper.
Sherylon Hughes is a certified nurses aide working in Bellingham, Washington and proud executive board member of SEIU 775. As a union advocate and contract negotiation team member in her nursing facility, she has had the opportunity to fight for workers on site in the shop as well as at the bargaining table. In 2015 she testified before a house subcommittee on long-term care in support of what would become a historic legislation to improve nursing home staffing.
Sarah Jaynes has been the Executive Director of the Progress Alliance of Washington since 2006. In this capacity Sarah has helped found some of our region’s most important political engagement organizations including the Washington Bus, Fuse, and the Win/Win Network, and co-led development of the Heroes’ Narrative. Sarah has dedicated over 20 years to organizations and campaigns for shared prosperity, vigorous democracy, and a healthy environment. Prior to joining the Progress Alliance, Sarah served as the campaign director for Climate Solutions, the director of Seattle Alliance for Good Jobs and Housing for Everyone (SAGE), and the political director of the Washington Conservation Voters. She was initially trained as an organizer with Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing. She spends her free time outdoors, biking, gardening, and cheering on her boys from the bleachers.