Badaboom, badabing

Amazon thought they made Seattle an offer we couldn't refuse. When the company’s top executives threatened the city's entire economy over a modest tax on large businesses, Amazon broke new ground on out-of-control  corporate misbehavior — all because the richest human in the world would rather evade taxes than do his part to address our homelessness crisis.

GodfatherBezos3.jpg

This was a threat, not an argument. And it was about intimidation, not resources. After all, Amazon's attempt to rough up the city came just weeks after the company announced plans to generate $2 billion in additional revenue by raising their per-head charge on Amazon Prime customers by $20.

But Seattle refused to knuckle under. The public rejected Amazon's subprime mob boss behavior. And the company moved, fast. First Amazon insisted last fall and again earlier this month that in their opinion, the right amount of resources for housing & homelessness was $0. They threatened to take their balls and go home over it... and then they quickly agreed to $25 million. The City Council majority didn't blink, and today Amazon and their allies backed a $50 million tax on big businesses to support affordable housing and services for homeless people.

Badaboom, badabing. The people of Seattle stood up and made real progress on this one.

But there's more to do. Our city, our region, and our state need to make more dramatic investments in affordable housing so everyone has a place to call home; we need to ensure giant corporations and the top 1% pay their fair share; and we need to do what it takes to ensure that never again can the rich and powerful try to take a whole city hostage just because they don't want to be told no.

This week, Seattle showed once again that we can get it done.

Nice little city you got there...

Amazon is literally run by the world's richest person. Of course they should pay their taxes. But in the midst of a homelessness crisis in their hometown, Amazon isn't interested in doing their part.

Instead, they're making it worse.

Amazon is not only opposing a City Council proposal for a progressive tax on the few hundred largest businesses in Seattle. They're actually threatening the people of Seattle by claiming they'll pause construction depending on how and when the City Council votes. That's not just greed — it's behavior you might expect from a subprime mob boss lording it over a company town.

It's also a crime.

Under RCW 9A.76.180, it's illegal to use threats to intimidate public servants and influence their votes. The company should be prosecuted for it.

Sign on to tell Attorney General Bob Ferguson to prosecute Amazon for their mob boss behavior. Then keep on clicking to send a letter straight to City Council members to let them know that you think Amazon needs to pay.

We know that corporations owned by the richest people in the world typically oppose progressive taxes. And we've come to expect that they'll routinely issue misleading info & make all kinds of wrong predictions about the impacts of progressive moves by public officials. While the Chicken Little routine can be tedious, it's not a felony.

But issuing threats to cause harm in order to influence the votes of elected officials is a different matter. It's a criminal act, and it should be treated as such.

If you're sick of putting up with Amazon's bullying, take action by sending a letter to Attorney General Ferguson, and then telling the Seattle City Council why you support the proposed tax for homeless services.

The city has heard enough threats from Jeff Bezos — now they need to hear from us.

8 hours for what we will

Overtime pay after 40 hours of work first became a movement more than 100 years ago. But today it’s no longer a reality for hundreds of thousands of working people in our state. More and more of us are working more and more hours — but we're not getting paid for it.

Read More

Working Washington is hiring an Online Organizer / Digital Campaign Specialist

Online Organizer / Digital Campaign Specialist

Working Washington's mission is to build a powerful workers’ movement that can dramatically improve wages and working conditions, and change the local and national conversation about wealth, inequality, and the value of work. Working Washington fast food strikers sparked the fight that won Seattle’s landmark $15 minimum wage. We successfully drove Amazon to sever ties with the right-wing lobby group ALEC and improve conditions in their sweatshop warehouses. We helped lead the winning campaign in SeaTac for a $15 living wage. We made history once more when Working Washington baristas and fast food workers led the successful fight for secure scheduling in Seattle, and we’ve played key roles in campaigns that won a higher minimum wage, paid sick days, and paid family leave for more than a million workers across the state.

We are seeking a creative, talented, and ambitious person to join a top-notch online organizing & digital campaign program dedicated to substantially grow our movement and build the power of workers in our state.

The successful candidate will demonstrate strong knowledge of online and field organizing tools and tactics; a creative, experimental approach to campaigns; and a strong ability to independently move projects forward.

Working Washington’s main office is located in Seattle, WA. We are open to consider arrangement to work remotely from locations in Washington State but outside the Puget Sound region.

JOB DESCRIPTION:

Principal duties and responsibilities include:

  • Mobilize workers towards campaign goals through online meetings, offline meetings, one-on-one conversations, and other digital and field tactics

  • Lead execution of worker outreach and organizing strategy around key organizational campaign goals

  • Conceive, draft, and execute compelling content for multiple channels and audiences that engage followers and move them to action, engagement, and leadership

  • Dream up and execute creative new ideas for online organizing tools & tactics — because who wants to be a petition factory?

  • Contribute to Working Washington’s social media and web presence, in coordination with communications staff

  • Take part in organizational fundraising, both online and offline

  • Engage workers, Working Washington supporters, and the public at large through multiple modes and tools, both one-to-many and one-to-one

  • Grow our list, maintain online organizing data systems, and track supporters’ level of engagement

  • Develop new online supporters into online leaders with Working Washington

  • Experiment with innovative and forward-thinking tools & tactics to advance our campaigns, and be ready to adjust strategies as campaigns progress

  • Participate in rallies, marches, and other events

  • Work directly with workers and community supporters as needed to fulfill campaign goals, including doorknocking, phonebanking, and other political and campaign work

JOB QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Dedication to carry out the mission of Working Washington

  • Experience working in service industry, gig economy, or other low-wage work a plus.

  • Capacity to write quickly and clearly on a variety of topics without being boring

  • Comfort with various social media and online platforms

  • Ability to move broad and deep engagement towards campaign goals on various digital and field platforms

  • Eagerness to engage with low-wage workers across the state and amplify their voices

  • Willingness to work long and irregular hours when campaign needs require it, including some evenings and weekends

  • Ability to occasionally lift and/or move up to 30 pounds.  

  • Spanish fluency a major plus

COMPENSATION:

Staff union pay scale, with starting pay between $47,476 and $53,847, based on experience, and significant annual step increases each year. Generous benefits package, including fully-paid family health care, employer matched 401k, and vacation and sick leave.

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS:

Please send a resume and cover letter, along with one or two relevant writing samples, social media plans, or organizing raps to jobs@workingwa.org. Applications will be considered as they arrive.

Working Washington is an Equal Opportunity Employer

 

Message in a bottle

"People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being ­disciplined over 'idle time' and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo.” It may sound like a sci-fi reboot of a lesser-known Dickens novel. But it’s a reality at one of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations, based here in Washington state.

Read More

without my boss being able to change it in the snap of the fingers

This morning, Merlee, a parent and Jimmy John's worker in Seattle, came to City Council to testify about how the city's secure scheduling law has affected her life. Here's what she had to say:

merlee.png

"I owe it to my family to provide for them but also to be present and know when I get to invest time. Secure scheduling means I can be home with my kid when I need to — without my boss being able to change it in the snap of the fingers. I know I get to spend that time with my kid when I need to. I get that time for my family.

When I know my schedule I am able to build a life of quality. When I compare jobs and benefits, my secure scheduling & my two weeks' notice are at the top of my list."

“You need to treat them like they’re a human being”: 2 new research reports indicate how workers — and businesses — can benefit from secure scheduling

Together, two new reports out this week — the Seattle scheduling “baseline” report and the Gap "stable scheduling" study — show the extent of scheduling issues workers face, and the potential for policy change to have a positive impact on workers, their families, their communities... and the businesses where they work. As one manager is quoted: “If you want to have a well functioning team... you need to treat them like they’re a human being.”

Read More

We gig workers fall through the cracks in so many ways...

The following post is written by Kimberly, a Working WA member & gig workers' rights activist.


My name is Kimberly, and I've been working for "gig economy" apps like Caviar and Lyft for almost three years. I'm in the process of starting another business, so working in the gig economy pays my bills while I'm getting it off the ground.

There are some things I really like about working for these apps. Chief among them is that I am the master of my schedule and don't need permission from a boss or anyone else as to how and when I work.

However, gig economy workers like me are facing some major issues, too. It's hard to maintain a stable income when the commission structures on our apps change constantly and companies can oversaturate the market at will. Because we're classified as independent contractors, we don't have access to the basic rights & benefits that most other workers in our state enjoy – from a minimum wage to health insurance, from workers' comp and unemployment to retirement. Not only that, but we have to bear all of the costs of doing our work — including additional payroll taxes, gas, wear & tear on our cars, insurance, and more. Many of these costs must be borne regardless of how much or how little we make that month.

Whether you're a gig worker, an app customer, or simply an ally, click here to get involved with our campaign for gig economy workers.

Recently, another car rear-ended me, and my car ended up being out of commission for five weeks. Since I don't have any vacation days or PTO and couldn't access unemployment, I had no income for over a month. The stress of not being able to make my car payment was tremendous. I was worried about the impact of a late payment on my credit score, and even had to beg my landlord to give me more time to pay rent, not knowing if he would say yes or if I'd be out on the street.

If I'd been able to take PTO or even draw a bit of unemployment, I could have at least gotten the rent paid and covered a few basic things. I could have hung in there until I was able to work again, without going into the hole and therefore being even more financially strapped when I was able to get back to work. That's why it's important to me that we advocate for benefits for gig workers. We gig workers fall through the cracks in so many ways – whether it's health, injury, scheduling, or deactivation without investigation – and we all need to get to work and fill in those cracks.

I got involved with Working Washington a few months ago through Facebook. Since then, I've been attending gig worker meetings, speaking out about my experiences, and have emerged as a leader in helping drive our agenda to get fair treatment for all gig workers. Dozens of gig workers like me have come together to advocate for inclusion in the benefits most other workers in our state already get, as well as a fair wage for the work we're doing.

When we're not willing to make a stand and demand that companies treat their workers better, we're passively condoning the exploitation of workers. When workers get access to basic rights, benefits, and a fair wage, we are all lifted up. For real, sustainable change to happen, we've got to raise the floor — and everybody has to be on board.

That's where you come in. There are thousands of workers like me out there who need benefits and better pay. Join us:

This is a serious grassroots effort that must succeed, and once we succeed, we'll be a model for many other states, and even the impetus for a stronger workers' rights movement across the country. It's all about a better future. And to make it happen – we need you.

ICYMI: Diapers @ Seattle City Hall!

In case you missed it: Last Thursday morning, domestic workers with the Seattle Domestic Workers Alliance (SDWA) came together at Seattle City Hall. They assembled a massive village of thousands of diapers and gloves representing nannies & house cleaners across the city. (And Working WA members donated $ to help buy the diapers, which we passed on to WestSide Baby for families in need when the action was over — if you’d like to donate too, click here!)

It was all in the name of making their voices heard in support of a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. And the action was a huge success!

After building the display outside City Hall, workers headed inside to take a seat at the table with City Council members and share their stories. Here’s Ty, a nanny, musician, and Working Washington leader, talking about her experience:

nd here’s Etelbina, a house cleaner, sharing her story:

[For transcriptions & translations of the videos, please click here.]

Workers like Ty & Etelbina have led the way for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights — and City Council members are taking notice:

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 4.49.36 PM.png

When workers unite and speak out, big changes happen — and bringing together house cleaners, home care workers, and nannies in one room under one united voice was a huge step forward in making a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights a reality in Seattle.

The Bill of Rights would ensure domestic workers get basic rights like the minimum wage, paid time off, and protections from harassment and discrimination. Most importantly, it establishes a worker council — a governing body made up of workers, employers, and city representatives — so that workers have a voice in setting higher industry standards. Click here if you’d like to donate to keep us moving forward.

Cheers,
Working Washington

P.S. Want to check out more coverage from the event? Check out the articles in the Seattle Times and the Stranger.

Thousands of diapers, thousands of workers

On Thursday, March 15, domestic workers and supporters will gather at Seattle City Hall to assemble a village of thousands of diapers and gloves to represent the thousands of nannies and house cleaners who work in homes across the city.

Why? Nannies, house cleaners, cooks, & gardeners in Seattle are leading the way for the rest of the state by organizing for a citywide Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. This will ensure domestic workers get the basic rights and benefits every worker needs — like healthcare and retirement, protection from harassment and discrimination, workers’ comp and unemployment, and a voice in the issues that affect their jobs.

Domestic workers have been an invisible part of our workforce for too long — and we need to make sure they’re seen & heard. So workers will be creating a massive display of their tools of the trade outside of City Hall to make sure they’re seen by as many people as possible! Then, they'll be heading inside to share their stories directly with City Council members.

Want to support these workers and help make sure their voices are heard? Click here!

Domestic workers in Seattle are leading the way for Washington. We need to make sure they have a seat at the table when it comes to creating legislation that will improve their working conditions. If you want to show your support for their work and the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, click here!

All kinds of workers are coming together to support the nannies, house cleaners, cooks, and gardeners who have worked in the shadows of our labor laws for far too long. We can’t do it without your support!