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 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.
Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS)
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.