On Monday, July 20, as part of the national day of action, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) is sponsoring a Picket and Rally to Root Out Racism at King County & Beyond. Transit workers, and supporters from other unions and the community will gather at The Offices of King County Executive Dow Constantine, located at The Chinook Building, 5th Ave & Jefferson St, Seattle from 4pm-6pm.
This protest is part of an ongoing effort to bring attention to the culture of racism and discrimination that is so deeply entrenched in King County workplaces. Organizers are also calling for an end to budget cuts, layoffs and austerity measures that disproportionally impact Black and other workers of color.
Last month at Metro’s South Base Complex, a Black figurine was placed on a flagpole, near what resembled a noose. On June 25th OWLS held a protest in response to this incident, the latest in a pattern of racial harassment and discrimination spanning many years. King County Metro has not responded to the demands presented at that rally nor taken any concrete actions. Empty promises to “do better” and talk of “renewed commitment” ensure that the toxic climate currently endured by workers of color will remain unchanged.
Speakers from Metro’s Vehicle Maintenance, Operations and Transit Facilities divisions will discuss the need for accountability and immediate action from Executive Dow Constantine to combat the racism that exists within King County workplaces. Part-time drivers will address the layoff notices that were issued by Metro last week, and representatives from other public sector unions will speak about the double impact of racism and austerity measures in their worksites. A growing list of endorsers includes Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587.
Organizers demand the following:
- Immediate action to stop racist threats and harassment at King County worksites
- Restitution for all who have filed complaints on racism without satisfactory resolution
- Affirmative action in hiring, training, promotion. End nepotism!
- Healthy worksites and PPE for frontline workers
- Stop budget cuts, lay-offs and austerity at city, county and state levels
- Stop union-busting! Honor workers’ rights