Sept. 28: Protest the Ultra-right Freedom Foundation

22141114_10212453833533853_7790552945160429872_nMark your calendar! 
Last year, Several-hundred people turned out for a labor-community picket of the annual gala fundraiser for the “Freedom Foundation.” OWLS is cooking up plans to make their banquet the scene of an even bigger protest this year. If you can help, call OWLS at 206-949-4552. Or come to the OWLS Meeting on Tuesday, September 25 at the Seattle Labor Temple, Hall 6, 2800 1st Ave., at 7pm.

The protest against the Freedom Foundation will be on Friday, September 28, 4:30-6:30pm in front of the Bellevue Hilton Hotel, 300 112th Ave SE.

Stay tuned for updates!

LABOR GROUP PICKETED AGAINST “WORKER RIGHTS ALLIANCE”

On Friday, March 23, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) held a labor-community informational picket to put a spotlight on the “Worker Rights Alliance” (WRA). The picket was from 11am-1pm, at 3rd Avenue and Seneca Street in downtown Seattle.

The picket was in response to the WRA’s sponsorship of two full-page ads, published in February in The Seattle Times, attacking Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The ads accused SEIU of spending $2.4 million on Governor Inslee’s election. Where their numbers come from is a mystery as the state Public Disclosure Commission reported far smaller figures. “This phony alliance is part of a nationwide anti-labor campaign pushing so-called “Right to Work,” laws that are designed to smash the rights of all workers,” said OWLS activist Patrick Burns.  “Dishonesty is one of their tools, and groups like the WRA need to be outed to the public and unsuspecting workers,” said Kirk Duncan, of the OWLS Steering Committee.

 

The WRA “Articles of Incorporation” state they shall have no members. One of their directors is also a leader of the anti-labor Washington Policy Center. The WRA website says a goal of the group is to “protect workers from negative union influence.” The picket was in front of the Alliance’s offices, listed in the Seattle Times as 1201 3rd Avenue, Seattle, Suite 2200. This is also the address of Davis Wright Tremaine, described in its own website as a “full-service firm with more than 550 lawyers.”

 

Picket the Rightwing “Worker Rights Alliance” – Make Your Voice Heard!

 

In February 2018, the “WRA” bankrolled two full-page ads attacking SEIU in The Seattle Times. This is part of a nationwide anti-labor agenda pushing so-called “Right to Work,” designed to kill Unions, and smash the rights of all workers.

These reactionary shadow groups, allies of the Freedom Foundation, need to be confronted. Join the picket in front of their offices, 1201 3rd Ave., Suite 2200 (also offices of Davis Wright Tremaine)

The Picket is Friday, March 23rd, 11am-1pm, 3rd Avenue and Seneca Street, Seattle
fight-union-busters
(From the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel get off at University Street Station)

The Hidden History of Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Right

whitehousemoneyOWLS EDUCATIONAL – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 7PM
Who bankrolls the Freedom Foundation agenda? How do the Koch Brothers wield influence? Are they connected to the racist John Birch Society? These are just a few of the questions tackled in an OWLS educational about the rise of the ultra-right, including “think tanks,” and “Foundations.”
SEIU member Guerry Hoddersen draws from the research in Dark Money, by Jane Mayer, and her own experience as an anti-Nazi organizer and author of One Hemisphere Indivisible, which analyzes the rise of neoliberalism in the Americas. Join the discussion, learn about who is behind groups such as the Freedom Foundation, and arm yourself with facts.
Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 First Ave., Hall #6

Public Workers Score Victory for Privacy Rights

OWLS MEETING – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 7PM

More than a year ago, OWLS packed the court to support public employees privacy rights against the ultra-right Freedom Foundation. In a recent Washington Court of Appeals decision, the bad lower court decision was overturned in favor of a ruling that upholds privacy rights and protects the birth dates and names of public workers. OWLS celebrates this victory and reports on another legal battle just getting off the ground, where the (Anti) Freedom Foundation is attacking Seattle’s right to tax its wealthiest residents as a means to address Washington State’s regressive tax structure, raise money for human services, and provide working class taxpayers some relief.
Also, hear about organizing in the apple orchards of Central Washington, where “guest workers” on H-2A visas waged a successful six-day strike to demand better treatment.

Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 First Ave., Hall #6

Defend Seattle’s high-income earners tax against the ultra-right Freedom Foundation

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Fill the Courtroom! Friday, November 17 Meet up with OWLS in front of the Court House 9-9:30 am. Hearing at 10am.

The misnamed “Freedom Foundation” is infamous for pushing racist “Right to Work” (Starve) laws that make it harder to bargain for better wages and conditions. Now, this rightwing think tank is challenging Seattle’s “high-income-earners tax” in court. The new tax, passed by the city council in July, would give some relief from our state’s superregressive tax structure. It would raise $140 million for human services with a 2.5% tax on income over $250,000 per year ($500,000 for couples). King County Superior Court, 516 3rd Ave., in Judge Ruhl’s courtroom22552452_1713791022025764_941691975607690166_n

Picket Draws Huge Crowd to Confront Ultra-right Freedom Foundation

22141114_10212453833533853_7790552945160429872_nOver 500 enthusiastic labor activists flooded the streets around the luxury Westin Hotel in downtown Bellevue on Friday, September 29 to picket the annual fundraising event of the anti-union Freedom Foundation. Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS), a group of rank-and-file activists from several unions and unorganized workplaces, planned the event that was endorsed by more than 25 labor and social justice organizations.

The Freedom Foundation’s rightwing agenda openly declares its aim to “defund and bankrupt public employee unions.” Other objectives include undermining wages and labor standards, gutting anti-discrimination legislation, removing environmental protections, reducing LGBTQ and women’s rights, and blocking taxes on wealth. OWLS organized the protest to defend threatened communities and to raise public awareness.

The public turned out with a rich diversity of race, national origin, age and profession. Hard-hatted carpenters walked the picket line with teachers, painters, laborers, engineers and janitors. Upbeat chants were echoed by tradeswomen, public workers, socialists and Wobblies, and parents with children of all ages. Picket signs and colorful banners from unions, retiree groups, and community organizations demanded “Stop the War on Workers” and other slogans. Huge inflatable effigies of greedy rats and “fat cats” added to the upbeat mood.

Rally speakers pledged to counter the Freedom Foundation with solidarity. OWLS spokeswoman Maxine Reigeltold the crowd, “It is not a foregone conclusion that Trump and his alt-right backers can push through ‘right to work’ laws. Let’s take a page from Black, brown, and female union members – from farmworkers to professional athletes – who have galvanized mass support by taking a stand and refusing to back down. Organized labor has the power and resources to mobilize a mighty counter-offensive that can stop the Freedom Foundation in its tracks.”

Pedro Espinoza, an organizer with the carpenters union, quoted Martin Luther King on the need to “guard against false slogans such as ‘right to work.’” He urged the crowd to continue  building a movement capable of standing up to the increasing menace of fascist and far-right groups.

The Communications Director of the King County Labor Council, Kamaria Hightower, referred to the Supreme Court’s announcement the previous day that it would take up Janus v. AFSCME, a case that seeks to drastically weaken public sector unions. Said Hightower, “They have no idea what is coming for them. They have no idea how strong we are. We stand united, we stand in solidarity, we are going to fight with tooth and nail for everything we have.”

Over the last year, OWLS has confronted the Freedom Foundation in numerous locations. It invites unions, community organizations, and individuals to help build the campaign by attending monthly organizing meetings held every fourth Tuesday at the Seattle Labor Temple. The next planned action is to pack the courtroom this fall when Freedom Foundation lawyers challenge Seattle’s new high-income-earners tax in King County Superior Court

Endorsers of the Freedom Foundation protest: A. Philip Randolph Institute, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, American Federation of Government Employees Local 3197, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1488, Central Puget Sound Carpenters Local 30, Dyke Community Activists, El Comité, Freedom Socialist Party, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 77, Northwest Regional Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Coalition, Not This Time, NW-SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001, Office & Professional Employees International Union Local 8, Olympia Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Professional Technical Employees Local 17, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Puget Sound Chapter Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Radical Women, Retired Public Employees Council Chapter 3, Rosie’s Machinists 751 Caucus, Seattle Gay News, Seattle Human Services Coalition, Teamsters Local 117, Transit Riders Union, Washington Federation of State Employees Locals 304, 341 & 843, Washington Interior Exterior Systems Local 41. 22090048_10155251008607961_1067633150597893870_n20170929_183938_resized

 

To see more photos and video footage of the picket and rally, visit OWLS on facebook at Facebook.com/OrganizedWorkers. 

 

 

 

September 29: Picket the Union-busting Freedom Foundation!

14462939_1213505705387634_3994270768571542523_n-1Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) is organizing a picket of the Freedom Foundation’s annual fundraiser on September 29, from 5-7pm in front of the Bellevue Westin at NE 6th Street and Bellevue Way NE. The ML King Jr. County Labor Council, Carpenters Local 30, Washington Federation of State Employees Local 304, and Coalition of Black Trade Unionists have endorsed. Labor and community groups are invited to endorse and participate.
The Freedom Foundation’s racist rightwing agenda openly declares its goal is to “defund and bankrupt public employee unions.” OWLS is organizing the picket to defend the labor movement and public services, and to raise public awareness around the anti-worker agenda of the Freedom Foundation.
 
The Foundation’s keynote speaker is fast-food billionaire Andrew Puzder, who was Donald Trump’s first pick for Secretary of Labor.  The former CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. (Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, etc.), is well known for his opposition to minimum wage laws and other worker protections.  He had this to say about replacing his workers with robots: “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”
 
This year the Freedom Foundation has continued efforts to make Washington a “right to work” (for starvation wages) state, and to roll back recent minimum wage increases and other labor gains. The Foundation recently filed lawsuits to stop the City of Seattle’s proposed tax on high income earners, and to prevent unionization of Uber and Lyft drivers. 
The picket aims to loudly denounce the fundraiser and expose the think tank’s agenda and shared goals with big business and wealthy conservative groups, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and National Right to Work Foundation. Goals include gutting wage, labor, and antidiscrimination legislation, removing environmental protections, reducing LGBTQ and women’s rights, and blocking any tax on wealth to fund public services,
To endorse the picket, or for more information, call 206-949-4552 or 206-261-1420, or email OWLS at OrganizedWorkersls@gmail.com

Janus vs. AFSCME – The War on Workers heads to the U.S. Supreme Court

OWLS takes an in-depth look at the so-called “Right to Work” lawsuit, Janus vs. AFSCME. The U.S. Supreme Court could decide to hear this lawsuit as soon as late September.

Sponsored by the National Right to Work Foundation, Janus seeks to overturn a landmark legal ruling, AboodBelshawsolidarity618, and make anti-labor “open shop” laws the rule of the land for all public sector unions.
At stake is the well-being not only of government employees, but also of public services, from schools to public transit and healthcare.

In states where “open shop” laws are already on the books, unionization rates are lower and workers ability to bargain for better wages and conditions is weakened. Come learn about what’s at stake for the entire working class, and join the discussion on how best to fight back against this latest attack.

Tuesday, July 25th,
7:00 PM
Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 First Ave., Hall #6

For more information call 206-261-1420 • Write PO Box 9027 Seattle, WA 98109.

MAY DAY – en Espanol

Estimados activistas laborales y comunitarios,
Todos estamos alarmados por la escalada de ataques contra inmigrantes, refugiados y musulmanes, así como por las amenazas a nuestros derechos civiles y laborales. En respuesta, nuestro sindicato, el Local 304 de la Federación de Empleados del Estado de Washington (WFSE, según siglas en inglés), aprobó la resolución adjunta que apoya la organización de una huelga general el 1 de mayo de 2017.
La resolución describe cómo tal huelga puede unir a los trabajadores para enfrentar múltiples ataques de Trump y de la derecha. Organizaciones de derechos de los inmigrantes están movilizando a sus comunidades a nivel nacional para una huelga general, y debemos estar con ellos.
Por favor, comparte la resolución con los miembros de tu sindicato o comunidad y, si es posible, brinda tu apoyo a esta resolución o aprueba otra similar en tu organización. Claramente, ahora es el momento de unirse y luchar como nunca antes.
En la solidaridad,
Steve Hoffman
Secretario del Registro
WFSE 304
stevhoff@earthlink.net, 206-915-1910

A favor de una huelga general el Día del Trabajo de 2017 para defender los derechos laborales, de inmigrantes y civiles

CONSIDERANDO que el gobierno de Trump ha iniciado inmediatamente el cumplimiento de sus promesas de intolerancia al atacar inmigrantes, refugiados y musulmanes con prohibiciones de viaje y redadas de ICE; y
CONSIDERANDO que millones de jóvenes y trabajadores de todo el país han protestado enérgicamente contra las políticas del Presidente, siendo la marcha de las mujeres el primer día de su presidencia una de las mayores manifestaciones en la historia de los Estados Unidos; y
CONSIDERANDO que los sindicatos, un blanco primordial de la derecha, enfrentan la amenaza real de la legislación de Derecho a Trabajar (con menos sueldo), la cual ya se discutió en una audiencia en la legislatura del estado de Washington y que el Congreso controlado por los republicanos está considerando, y que los sindicatos del sector público pronto podrían ver un fallo de la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos que diezmaría su derecho de negociación colectiva; y
CONSIDERANDO que la agenda de la derecha ha incluido durante mucho tiempo la ruptura de los sindicatos, la eliminación de la red de seguridad social, la privatización de la educación pública, la eliminación de las leyes ambientales, la desregulación de la banca y otras industrias, la militarización de la policía, la guerra interminable y el debilitamiento de las protecciones civiles, y el hecho de que los nominados al gabinete por Trump piensan continuar con esta agenda reaccionaria; y
CONSIDERANDO que las organizaciones nacionales de derechos de los inmigrantes están solicitando movilizaciones nacionales en “Un Día Sin Inmigrantes” el 1 de mayo de 2017; y
CONSIDERANDO que la historia ha demostrado que las huelgas han sido el arma más efectiva en el arsenal laboral y que las mociones que apoyan una huelga general para el 1 de mayo, el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores, han sido aprobadas por la Seattle Education Association y UAW 4121, la cual representa a los empleados/estudiantes académicos de la Universidad de Washington;
POR LO TANTO, SE RESUELVE que la Sección 304 de la Federación de Empleados del Estado de Washington (WFSE) respaldará el movimiento para una huelga general el 1 de mayo de 2017 e insta a sus filiales estatales y nacionales, WFSE y AFSCME a trabajar con otros sindicatos, trabajadores mal remunerados y grupos comunitarios para organizar una huelga de alcance nacional; y
SE RESUELVE ASIMISMO que las demandas de la huelga general serán:
Parar los ataques de Trump contra inmigrantes, musulmanes y refugiados;
Defender los sindicatos – detener las leyes de Derecho al Trabajo, derogar la Ley Taft Hartley;
Conseguir la igualdad para todos – combatir la discriminación contra las mujeres, los trabajadores de color y las personas LGBT, y apoyar la igualdad de las mujeres exigiendo igual salario por trabajo igual, derechos reproductivos integrales y cuidado gratuito de niños;
Empleos para todos a través de la reconstrucción de la infraestructura y los programas de empleo público;
Derrotar los intentos de destruir la red de seguridad social, incluida la asistencia sanitaria subvencionada; y
SEA FINALMENTE RESUELTO que esta resolución sea ampliamente compartida con los sindicatos, los consejos laborales centrales y la comunidad, con el fin de ayudar a generar un amplio apoyo para una huelga general el primero de mayo.
Aprobado en la reunión de miembros generales de la WFSE 304 el 23 de febrero de 2017.

________________________________________
Ty Pethe, Presidente WFSE 304
________________________________________
Steve Hoffman, Secretario del Registro WFSE 304
stevhoff@earthlink.net, 206-915-1910

Dear labor and community activists,
We are all alarmed by the escalating attacks on immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, as well as the threats to our civil and labor rights. In response, our union, the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Local 304, passed the attached resolution supporting the movement for a general strike on May Day 2017.
The resolution describes how such a strike can unite working people to confront multiple attacks by Trump and the right wing. Immigrant rights organizations are mobilizing their communities nationally for a general strike, and we must stand with them.
Please share the resolution with members of your union or community, and if possible endorse it or pass a similar one in your organization. Clearly, now is the time to unite and fight like never before.

In solidarity,
Steve Hoffman
Recording Secretary, WFSE 304
stevhoff@earthlink.net, 206-915-1910

For a May Day 2017 General Strike to defend labor, immigrant, and civil rights
WHEREAS the Trump administration has wasted no time in fulfilling Trump’s bigoted campaign promises by attacking immigrants, refugees, and Muslims with travel bans and ICE raids; and
WHEREAS millions of youth and working people across the nation have vigorously protested the President’s policies, with the Women’s March on the first day of his presidency being the largest demonstrations in U.S. history; and
WHEREAS unions, a prime target of the right wing, face the real threat of union-busting Right to Work (for less) legislation, which has had a hearing in the Washington State legislature and is being considered by a Republican controlled U.S. Congress, and public sector unions could soon see a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would decimate their collective bargaining rights; and
WHEREAS the right wing agenda has long included breaking unions, gutting the social safety net, privatizing public education, eviscerating environmental laws, deregulating banking and other industries, militarizing the police, waging endless war, and weakening civil rights protections, and Trump’s Cabinet appointees indicate that they plan to follow this reactionary agenda; and
WHEREAS national immigrant rights organizations are calling for “A Day Without an Immigrant” national actions on May 1st, 2017; and
WHEREAS history has shown that strikes have been the most effective weapon in labor’s arsenal, and motions supporting a general strike on May Day, the international workers’ holiday, have been passed by the Seattle Education Association and UAW 4121, which represents academic student employees at the University of Washington;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Local 304 support the movement for a general strike on May 1st, 2017, and urge its state and national affiliates, WFSE and AFSCME, to work with other unions, low-paid workers, and community groups to organize a strike that is national in scope; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the demands of the general strike will be:
Stop Trump’s attacks on immigrants, Muslims, and refugees;
Defend unions – stop Right to Work laws, repeal the Taft Hartley Act;
Equality for all – fight discrimination against women, workers of color, and LGBT people, and support women’s equality by demanding equal pay for equal work, full reproductive rights, and free childcare;
Jobs for all through rebuilding the infrastructure and public jobs programs;
Defeat attempts to destroy the social safety net, including subsidized healthcare; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution be shared widely with unions, central labor councils, and the community in order to help build widespread support for a general strike on May Day.
Passed at the general membership meeting of WFSE 304 on February 23rd, 2017.
______________________________________
Ty Pethe, President WFSE 304
______________________________________
Steve Hoffman, Recording Secretary WFSE 304
stevhoff@earthlink.net, 206-915-1910