Bringing Root Out Racism at KC & Beyond to MLK Labor

The next step in the Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity campaign to Root Out Racism At King County and Beyond! is taking it to the Martin Luther King, Jr. County Labor Council (MLK Labor) tomorrow, 9/15/21 and we need help from each of YOU to get there!

Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Local 1488 and Local 304 have both submitted versions of the resolution below to the Executive Board of MLK Labor. The resolution asks MLK Labor to endorse the campaign. Even apart from the exciting prospect of the resolution passing, a frank discussion of this campaign’s demands on the Council floor would be a huge step toward mobilizing labor to fight systemic racism in ways that are concrete and effective. Some union officials are prioritizing keeping a cozy relationship with politicians like Dow Constantine over taking a public stand against the very serious racism and bigotry that County workers are facing on the job. Let’s show that labor is serious about taking action to root out racism!

The E-Board will decide at its meeting on Wednesday, September 15th whether or not to put the resolution on the agenda for the delegate meeting at 6:00 PM that same evening. Your voice will be vital in helping E-Board members and delegates make the right decision! Here are several ways you can help and participate:

1) Please click this link to email the E-Board to let them know that on September 15th you want MLK Labor to discuss, endorse, and support the OWLS campaign to Root Out Racism At King County and Beyond! — If you are in a union and/or constituency group please mention that in your email to them.

2) Please also contact your union’s MLK Labor delegates and let them know you fully support the OWLS campaign to Root Out Racism At King County and Beyond!

3) If you haven’t already, please also talk to other union members about this campaign and ask them to reach out to their delegates and E-Board members, too.

4) If you’d like to attend the delegate meeting on 9/15 at 6:00 PM or if you have questions, please email OrganizedWorkersLS@gmail.com or call the campaign coordinator at (206) 819-2279.


Resolution to support the “Root Out Racism at King County and Beyond” campaign

WHEREAS, workers of color in King County worksites and beyond are facing daily discrimination on the job and retaliation when they raise complaints about discrimination; and

WHEREAS, MLK Labor and the Washington State Labor Council have both passed resolutions committing our labor organizations to confronting racism on the job and within the labor movement; and

WHEREAS, the demands raised by the “Root Our Racism at King County and Beyond” campaign, launched by Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) in 2020, offer concrete solutions to the grievances raised by workers at Metro, Solid Waste, the King County Jail and more; and

WHEREAS, there is indisputable evidence that racism is epidemic in King County and Seattle workplaces as evidenced by: testimony given by Black, Latino and queer Metro and Solid Waste employees at three  rallies held between July and October 2020 at Metro South Base and the King County Administration Building; a September 2020 KUOW in-depth report on extreme racism facing Black King County Corrections officers, which led to the suicide of Black officer Anthony Eigner; the June 24, 2021 federal jury award of $900,252 to Black senior Metro transit operator Claude Brown for the retaliation he suffered at Metro for bringing complaints of racial discrimination; and most recently, the lawsuit filed by seven Black women union employees at Seattle Parks Department who faced decades of discrimination; and

WHEREAS, after one year of organizing to demand that racism be addressed in King County employment, affected workers have been stonewalled and the King County Executive has refused to meet with them; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that MLK Labor will endorse the “Root Out Racism at King County and Beyond” campaign and its demands:

• Immediate action to stop racist threats, harassment, discrimination, and all forms of bigotry and retaliation at worksites.

• Make management accountable and transparent.

• Establish an independent Office of Equal Rights for complaints; Restitution for all who have filed complaints on racism without satisfactory resolution.

• Affirmative Action in County hiring, training, promotion. End nepotism.

• Stop lay-offs, privatization, and service cuts by taxing King County’s super wealth. Create public works and jobs for housing, healthcare, environmental clean-up, and other human services.

• Stop union-busting, honor workers’ rights.

• No safety, no work! Healthy worksites for all workers.

AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that MLK Labor will support and champion the efforts for King County and Seattle workers facing discrimination to get a hearing at County and Seattle council meetings on the need to implement these demands.

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