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 Council. Change 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.
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.
American Federation of Government Employees Local 3197
The Black Caucus of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587
Central Puget Sound Carpenters Local 30
Communication Workers of America Local 7800
Cornish Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 4169
Freedom Socialist Party
Labor for Black Lives
Office of Professional Employees International Union Local 8
Washington Federation of State Employees Local 843
Washington Federation of State Employees Local 1488
Barbara Phinney, retired member of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3197 and delegate to the Martin Luther King County Labor Council*
Daun M Smith, member of the Office of Professional Employees International Union 8
Don Larson, retired member of Central Puget Sound Carpenters 30
Jay Herzmark, SafeWork Washington
Jenna Rheuben, member of the King County Chapter of PROTEC17 and Young Members of PROTEC17*
Juan G. Hood III and Linda Averill, Shop Stewards, Amalgamated Transit Union 587*
Katherine Wiles, retired member of the Office of Professional Employees International Union 8
Kathleen King, retired member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees*
Kevin Allen, member of the Washington Federation of State Employees Local 843 and the Puget Sound Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists*
Paula Lukaszek, president of the Washington Federation of State Employees 1488
Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity
OrganizedWorkersLS@gmail.com n 206-819-2279
OrganizedWorkers.org n Facebook.com/organizedworkers
PO Box 94614, Seattle, WA 98124