Hundreds rally to protect safety, privacy of public employees

WSLC legislative conference, public employees urge passage of HB 1888

Reprinted from The StandOLYMPIA (Feb. 7, 2020) — Hundreds of delegates representing unions across the state gathered in Olympia on Thursday to learn about the status of legislation affecting working families and to rally on the State Capitol steps in support of a priority bill to protect the safety and privacy of Washington’s public employees.

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO hosted its 2020 Legislative Lobbying Conference where President Larry Brown, Secretary Treasurer April Sims, and labor lobbyists updated delegates on some key bills’ status.

WSLC President Larry Brown addresses the 2020 Legislative Lobbying Conference.

(Click to enlarge.)

Later Thursday morning, conference delegates joined public employees at a rally on the State Capitol steps in support of HB 1888, which would update the Public Records Act to exempt public employees’ birth dates from disclosure. Rally speakers said HB 1888 is necessary to protect public employees and their families from identity theft, stalkers, and others who may want to target them at home.

“In 2020, if someone has your name and birth date, they can easily get your home address and other private information,” Sims (pictured above) said at the rally. “Other states have acknowledged their duty to protect public employees’ birth dates. Oregon and California, for example, include public employees’ birth dates among the information exempted from public disclosure. It’s time for Washington to protect its public employees’ safety and privacy as well, by passing HB 1888.”

Rally participants and WSLC conference attendees then fanned out across the Capitol to meet with their state legislators and urge passage of HB 1888 and other priority bills.

“Freedom” Foundation vs. Privacy Rights

OWLS Meeting
Tuesday, February 25, 7pm

Are you a union member? The ultraright Freedom Foundation is demanding the birth dates and other personal information from all public employees in the state retirement system. The Foundation has a history of using this information to call, email, door knock, and harass workers into “opting out” of union membership.

Learn what you can do to defend privacy rights and the right to a collective voice on the job. Plus discuss plans on how organized labor can push back against the attacks around this turnover of information.

Seattle Labor Temple, Hall 6,
2800 First Avenueprivacy 2

Join Unions, the Washington State Labor Council, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity, and others in rallying for the privacy rights of public-sector workers. Stand up and speak out against the Freedom Foundation from using the Public Records Act to gain access to the names, birth dates, work emails and locations of all workers in the public retirement system.

Thursday, February 6, 10 AM at the steps of the Capitol

Protect Privacy Rights for Public Workers: Urge the State Legislature to Pass HB 1888 NOW!

House Bill 1888 would update the state’s outdated public disclosure law so that groups
like the Freedom Foundation wouldn’t have access to public employees’ birth dates.
Demand immediate passage of this legislation — and strengthening the bill to include NO disclosure of public employee information. Public oversight of government starts at the top, not through gutting privacy rights of workers and putting them at risk of
management harassment, right-wing attacks, identity theft, stalking, and scams.

Call the WA. State Legislature Hotline at 1-800-562-600