Working Washington is a statewide workers organization that fights to raise wages, improve labor standards, and change the conversation about wealth, inequality, and the value of work. 

WE LAUNCHED THE FAST FOOD STRIKES THAT SPARKED THE FIGHT FOR $15 IN SEATTLE; we organized airport workers who helped pass $15 in SeaTac; we led the effort to win secure scheduling for Seattle coffee, food, and retail workers; and we continue to fight for workers rights in Seattle, Yakima, South King County, and across the state.

Working Washington uses innovative organizing strategies, creative mobilizations, and visually engaging actions to bring worker voices to the center of public debate. Since our founding in 2011, we have been at the forefront of struggles in Washington State to build power for low-wage workers, transform the conversation about how our economy works, and break the cycle of political domination by corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

Timeline of Key Events

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

  • February 26, 2015: Rep Matt Manweller goes on a rant on minimum wage workers — and his constituents respond.

  • March 12, 2015: "It's the wages": Olympia workers launch campaign for $15 citywide minimum wage.

  • April 1, 2015: Seattle minimum wage increases to $11 for most workers, the first step in the phase-in to $15. We worked with Code for Seattle volunteers to create the What's My Wage app to help people navigate the minimum wage law.

  • April 15, 2015: Movement expands to new industries and goes statewide, with fast food workers, retail workers, homecare workers, Uber drivers, and adjunct professors taking action in Spokane, Pasco, Yakima, SeaTac, Olympia, Federal Way, and beyond.

  • June 3, 2015: Some business owners made chicken little predictions about Seattle winning $15. But a year after the $15 law passed many of these same people are expanding, job growth is high, and the sky remains aloft.

  • July 27, 2015: We made a splash by exposing the big money pouring into Seattle City Council elections — and the interest behind it. More than 30,000 people visited Run For the Money during the 2015 election cycle. Over $670,000 was spent by business groups in the Seattle City Council election.

  • September 2, 2015Fight for $15 spreads to Yakima. Fast food, packing house, and other low-wage workers launch a campaign for higher wages in the Yakima Valley.

  • October 26, 2015: Olympia City Councilmember Jim Cooper introduced legislation that includes a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, and other worker rights for people working in Olympia.

  • October 29, 2015: We asked the candidates for Seattle City Council to compete for our votes with videos, apartment-hunting exercises, and more — and we put all their responses into our Work the Vote voters guide. 

  • November 10, 2015: Workers across the state declared “It’s Our Time” with rallies and marches from Spokane to Seattle, Yakima to Federal Way, and Tacoma to Olympia. We livestreamed it on WorkingWa.org where over 5000 viewers watched.

  • December 14, 2015Seattle City Council passes legislation allowing drivers to negotiate with Uber, Lyft, taxi and for-hire companies — a nationwide first.

2016

  • January 1, 2016Fast food workers saw their wages rise to $13 an hour. They get to $15 on January 1, 2017.

  • February 4, 2016Coffee and fast food workers explain the need for secure scheduling legislation at a worker panel, attended by journalists and Seattle City Councilmembers Gonzalez & Herbold, hosted by Working Washington Executive Director Sejal Parikh. Workers asked the councilmembers what they would do to support workers’ efforts to get secure scheduling passed.
     
  • March 23, 2016: Starbucks annual shareholder meeting is “rescheduled” on short notice in a media stunt drawing attention  to the issue of unstable, insecure schedules for baristas. At the meeting, Starbucks barista Darrion Sjoquist asks CEO Howard Schultz what he plans to do to address scheduling issues.
     
  • April 14, 2016: As part of a national day of action, baristas, grocery store workers, homecare workers, fast food workers, nursing home workers, janitors, adjunct professors, student workers, and other workers come together to “Raise the Alarm” about threats to workers rights. The day culminates with a rally for secure scheduling outside a downtown Seattle Starbucks.
     
  • June 16, 2016: Workers join local art & political personalities David Schmader, Hanna Brooks Olsen, and Paul Constant for a secure scheduling story slam featuring true stories of insecure and unpredictable schedules. (Picture an episode of The Moth mashed up with a City Council hearing and add a dash of a traveling carnival.)
     
  • July 22, 2016: It’s official: after Working Washington helps the Raise Up Washington campaign gather more than 300,000 signatures, Initiative 1433 officially qualifies for the November ballot. I-1433 will raise the statewide minimum wage $13.50/hour over four years and provide up to 7 days of paid sick and safe time.
     
  • September 19, 2016: Seattle workers make labor history (again!) as Seattle City Council unanimously passes the secure scheduling ordinance introduced by Mayor Murray, Councilmember Herbold, and Councilmember Gonzalez. Effective July 1, 2017, the groundbreaking new law will ensure people who work for large coffee, retail, and food companies get the right to input into their schedules, two weeks’ advance notice, predictability pay when schedules are changed, a right to rest, and access to additional hours.
     
  • November 8, 2016: Washington voters cast their ballots by nearly 60% to pass Initiative 1433, raising the statewide minimum wage to $13.50/hour by January 1, 2020 and providing paid sick and safe to workers in our state. The minimum wage and paid sick days initiative won a far greater share of the vote than the either candidate for Governor or President.

2017

  • January 1, 2017: The first group of Seattle workers reach $15/hour. As the city’s law phases in, different sets of workers have different minimums of $15.00, $13.50, $13.00, and $11.00/hour, depending on the size of the employer and other factors. The state minimum wage also increases today to $11/hour, the first of four increases provided by Initiative 1433.
     
  • February 14, 2017: After a months-long national campaign, anti-minimum wage fast food CEO Andy Puzder is forced to withdraw his nomination to be the next Secretary of Labor. It’s the first & most prominent public setback for a Trump cabinet nominee.
     
  • March 21, 2017: Every local news outlet is there at Starbucks corporate headquarters to watch baristas Jess Svabinek from Gig Harbor and Kristen Piccolo from Ohio deliver 80,000 petitions to corporate headquarters in protest of a corporate paid family leave program that provides store employees far less than corporate employees would get. Baristas speak out at the next day’s annual shareholder meeting too as local support for paid family leave grows. 

  • April 15, 2017: We launched an online campaign to expose misleading minimum wage surcharges that some companies have been adding to their receipts in an apparent effect to make a political point about the minimum wage. More than 20,000 people across the state have checked out our list and dozens have shared their own reports.

  • June 22, 2017: Workers in the Yakima Valley kicked off a statewide series of health & safety trainings aimed at ensuring workers can analyze safety conditions at work and know what they can to enforce their right to a safe workplace.

  • June 30, 2017: After dozens of workers shared their stories about the importance of paid family leave, and thousands added their voice in support, the Washington State Legislature passed a landmark paid family leave program that will provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member's serious medical condition, and up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for your own serious medical condition. The law takes full effect on January 1, 2020.

  • July 1, 2017: Seattle’s secure scheduling takes effect. Tens of thousands of fast food, coffee, and retail workers now have a right to know when they’re going to work, how many hours they’re going to get, and more.

     

 

 

Media inquiries:

Contact Sage Wilson at sage@workingwa.org 

Looking for our Secure Scheduling Press Kit?


Working Washington regularly earns local, national, and international media attention, including coverage in the New York TimesLos Angeles TimesUSA TodayWashington PostSalonThe NationThe American ProspectPBS NewshourThe GuardianBBC NewsRadio Canada (French-language)Der Spiegel (Germany)Netherlands Public Broadcasting, the Korean Broadcast Service and other outlets


HI-RES Logo Files


Our BOOK: 
Fifteen Stories 

Fifteen workers tell their stories about the struggles & the effort to win $15 for Seattle. Check it out!

Fifteen workers tell their stories about the struggles & the effort to win $15 for Seattle. Check it out!


Media Releases