Lessons from the History of “Open Shop” Laws

OWLS Meeting
Tuesday, February 23, 6:30pm

In honor of Black History Month, OWLS looks at the rise of anti-worker laws in the 1940s in response to the successful, anti-racist organizing of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). These laws first emerged in the U.S. South, as unions experienced rapid growth and Black workers played a leading role. Anti-worker forces countered the CIO with deceitfully-named “Right-to-Work” legislation, backed by wealthy industrialists who also opposed women’s suffrage, integration and child labor laws. Labor scholar Don Larson looks at this history and draws lessons for today’s battles against ultra-right groups like the Freedom Foundation.
Join the meeting via zoom by going to bit.ly/Register4OWLSMeeting

Root Out Racism at King County and Beyond!

February 19, 2021

Despite King County’s frequent proclamations of their support for Equity and Social Justice, the reality faced by many workers of color at the County is a far cry from the vision fought for by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Equity in hiring, discipline, promotion and training is not happening on the ground. Outright bigotry – a KKK-style noose placed next to a black figurine at Metro South Base, attacks on the Pride Flag at Metro Bellevue Base, and harassment of workers of color at Solid Waste and other departments – sparked protests led by OWLS and County workers last year. Yet management continues to brush problems under the rug and retaliate against those who speak up. The storming of the U.S. Capitol tells us what happens when those in power enable bigotry. It gets worse.

In 2020, backed by the collective voices of unions, community groups, and social justice activists, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) helped King County workers shine a spotlight on the ongoing racism and bigotry they endure on the job. As part of the campaign to Root out Racism at King County and Beyond! OWLS requested a meeting with County Executive Dow Constantine. Even after phone calls, letters and three rallies and speak-outs, Constantine still refused to meet or hear workers’ concerns.

These workers’ voices must not be silenced. OWLS will take the case for redress and action to the County CouncilChange is urgently needed at King County. As a first step please add your organization’s support by endorsing the campaign and its demands. To endorse, please email OrganizedWorkersLS@gmail.com or call 206-819-2279.

In Solidarity,

Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS)

Juan graphic_______________________________________________

Root Out Racism at King County and Beyond!

To: Martin Luther King Jr. County Executive Dow Constantine, and County Council members

We, the undersigned, demand action NOW to end the epidemic of racism throughout King County worksites.

  • 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.


Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity

OrganizedWorkersLS@gmail.com 0 206-819-2279

OrganizedWorkers.org 0 Facebook.com/organizedworkers

PO Box 94614, Seattle, WA 98124




OWLS Special Meeting: Racial Justice – It’s a Labor Issue!

Juan graphicTuesday, January 26, 6:30pm
In this special meeting to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., a multiracial panel of public-sector unionists examines the history and current struggles of Black, Indigenous and other workers of color in fighting systemic racism, while also demanding good jobs, justice for all workers, and expanded public services. Panelists also report on an exciting campaign initiated by OWLS, to Root Out Racism in the County named for the civil rights leader.
Speakers: Annaliza Torres, Filipina socialist feminist and member of OPEIU 8;
James Pratt, Anti-racist activist and one of the few Black Mechanics at King County Metro;
Adam Arriaga, Latino militant in ATU 587 and member of OWLS Steering Committee
Join the meeting by going to bit.ly/Register4OWLSMeeting

Gearing up to Raise Good Trouble in 2021!

OWLS Solidarity Check-in
Friday, January 8, 6:30pm

OWLS reports on plans to participate in Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year’s celebration includes zoom workshops, a youth event, and culminates in a march and rally to be held on Monday, January 18. Help lay plans for OWLS participation. Also learn the latest on local labor battles, or bring news of yours!  Join the meeting by going to bit.ly/Register4OWLSCheck-In

And mark your calendar for Martin Luther King Day …

This year’s MLK Jr. Day is themed “Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble.” Join the OWLS contingent and bring your union colors! For more info also go to: https://www.seattlemlkcoalition.org/
Meet at Garfield High, 23rd and Jefferson.  Gather for the rally at 11:00am
March at 12:30pm

Racial Justice – It’s a Labor Issue!

Tuesday, November 24, 6:30pm
Despite the raging nationwide movement for racial reckoning, too many workers of color still confront bigotry and discrimination on the job. Often our unions fail to defend those on the front lines. How can we turn it around? Amalgamated Transit Union members Cheryl Jones and Adam Arriaga lead a discussion about revitalizing our unions and the OWLS battle to root out racism at King County.
Join the OWLS meeting by going to bit.ly/Register4OWLSMeetingJuan graphic


Elections 2020: The Battle at the Ballot Box and Beyond

In the run up to the election the Trump Administration, white supremacists, and ultra-rightists have mounted an unprecedented attack on democratic and civil rights, including the right to protest. To stop the assault, the labor movement has called for mass action, including a general strike. (see MLK Labor resolution below)

Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) is part of the mobilizing effort. Please join other labor and community activists at the protests! Bring picket signs and wear your union colors. Look for the big yellow OWLS banner at the gatherings below.

Actions to Stop Trump from Stealing the Election

Sunday, November 1 – 3pm – Action Assembly
Cal Anderson Park, Pine Street and 11th Ave. Co-sponsored by several organizations including OWLS

Wednesday, November 4 – 5pm – March and Rally 
Multiple sponsors. Gather at Westlake Park, 4th Avenue and Pine St.

Also mark your calendar for upcoming meetings:

OWLS Solidarity Check In
Elections 2020-The Battle at the Ballot Box & Beyond
Friday, November 13 – 6:30pm
Eyewitness accounts from the election protest. Join the discussion, where to next for the labor and social justice movements. This ain’t over!
Register for the meeting at http://bit.ly/Register4OWLSCheck-In

See the resolution passed by MLK Labor calling labor and community to action to defend democratic rights http://mlklabor.org/resolutions/resolution-on-protecting-democracy/

Labor Unites to Defend Democratic Rights

OWLS Meeting
Tuesday, Oct. 27 – 6:30pmWith Election Day less than two weeks away, unionists are mobilizing to protect the basic freedoms of all workers, including the right to vote and protest without intimidation. At this meeting OWLS reports on efforts to build a United Front with Left and labor forces across the U.S. to fight Trump Administration attacks on democratic rights.OWLS also celebrates the Martin Luther King County Labor Council passage of a resolution – with 97% approval – to “take whatever nonviolent actions are necessary up to and including a general strike” to stop Trump and his ultra-right allies from stealing the election or trampling civil rights and liberties. OWLS members wrote resolutions, made calls, and otherwise urged action and leadership from county and state labor councils. Join OWLS in discussing developments and next steps as the fight to defend democracy and the right to organize heats up! The full text of the resolution is below.
Meeting via Zoom:
To participate by computer or smartphone register                                             at: bit.ly/Register4OWLSMeeting
To participate by phone dial (253) 215-8782
enter meeting ID 851 2769 9070

 *     *     *
Below is the resolution passed by Martin Luther King Jr Labor on Wednesday, 10-21-2020. Thanks to all the union members and council delegates who worked to get this passed!

Whereas, MLK Labor and our affiliates are committed to the defense of democratic rights and the institutions of democracy;
Whereas, President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence have refused to state publicly that they will respect the outcomes of the election and have repeatedly promoted conspiracy theories meant to undermine democracy;
Whereas, President Trump has refused, on multiple occasions, to denounce the activities of white supremacist and fascist militias and organizations that have stated desires to overthrow American democracy and instead has conveyed support for their actions;
Whereas, the Trump administration and Republican allies have a concerted campaign to obstruct, sabotage, and reject a fair and complete count of presidential ballots by creating barriers to voting targeted at people of color, immigrants, women and young people. These tactics include intimidation of BIPOC voters at polling places and requirements to have two people sign a ballot that hurt women voters, as well as dismantling key infrastructure such as the U.S. Postal Service;
Whereas, the Constitution requires voting results and Electoral College tallies to be completed and submitted to Congress by the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, and the new 2021 Congress to validate the results, and voters should be determining the results, not courts;
Whereas, Trump has denied science, resulting in more than 200,000 Americans dying from COVID and millions more facing deep economic pain due to ongoing impact from the virus, and can do irreparable harm during a lame duck session;
Whereas, the extreme risk currently posed to the historic institutions of democracy in our nation may require more widespread and vigorous resistance than at any time in recent history;
Whereas, the Labor Movement and trade unions have played a proud and vital role in protecting democracy and opposing authoritarianism in many nations throughout the world;
Whereas, united working people refusing to work across the nation have a greater power than any political machinations of aspiring despots. The most powerful tool of the Labor Movement in our history has been the power of the General Strike;
Therefore be it resolved that MLK Labor will work with allies in the anti-racist, environmental justice, feminist, and poor peoples movements as well as the LGBTQ+, religious minorities, and immigrant communities to make contingency plans, in response to undemocratic actions by President Trump and his allies;
Be it further resolved that MLK Labor will take actions to prepare for widespread non-violent action including protests and work-stoppages by coordinating peacekeeper and other necessary trainings;
Be it further resolved that MLK Labor will encourage people to sign the Coup Preparation pledge;
Be it further resolved that MLK Labor will call on City and County governments to pledge to protect the protesters defending democracy and commit to not using police action or curfews to curtail these activities and to use all available resources to stand up against against any effort by the Trump administration to steal the election;
Be it further resolved that MLK Labor will call upon the Washington State Labor Council and the AFL-CIO to coordinate development of shared messaging by organized labor and community allies designed to get out the vote and counter misinformation to be implemented immediately and to support affiliate and
community allies efforts to fulfill this resolution;
Be it finally resolved that MLK Labor, in collaboration with other labor and progressive forces, will take whatever nonviolent actions are necessary up to and including a general strike to protect our democracy, the Constitution, the law and our nation’s democratic traditions.

Racism is a Public Health Crisis at King County!

Juan graphicPICKET & SPEAK-OUT!


Since July, Dow Constantine has refused to acknowledge or meet to discuss demands that address the epidemic of racism at King County’s worksites. Since he has refused to meet, OWLS is bringing the meeting to him.

Tuesday, October 6, 4pm
Offices of King County Executive Dow Constantine
Chinook Building, 5th Ave & Jefferson St., Seattle

We Demand:

  • Immediate action to stop racist threats and harassment at King County worksites
  • Restitution for all who have filed complaints on racism without satisfactory resolution; establish an independent office of equal rights for complaints
  • Affirmative Action in hiring, training, promotion. End nepotism!
  • Healthy worksites and PPE for frontline workers
  • Stop lay-offs and service cuts by taxing King County’s super wealth
  • Stop union-busting, honor workers’ rights

Sponsor: Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity

To endorse or for info: email OrganizedWorkersls@gmail.com Or call 206-819-2279.

OWLS Meeting on Friday, October 9 will discuss this campaign and next steps. To attend, register at bit.ly/Register4OWLSCheck-In.