Olympia

Governor Inslee Signs Sexual Harassment Prevention Bill for Janitors, Security Officers, and Hotel Housekeepers

Gov. Inslee signs Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 5258, May 13, 2019. Relating to preventing the sexual harassment and sexual assault of certain isolated workers. Primary Sponsor: Karen Keiser

Gov. Inslee signs Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 5258, May 13, 2019. Relating to preventing the sexual harassment and sexual assault of certain isolated workers. Primary Sponsor: Karen Keiser

OLYMPIA—The Bill to protect isolated janitors, security officers, and hotel housekeepers from sexual harassment and assault was signed by Governor Jay Inslee on Monday afternoon, May 13, with SEIU6 janitors in attendance.

The Sexual Harassment Protection Act will provide isolated workers with sexual harassment prevention training, a list of resources for seeking help, and a panic button to keep them safe on the job.

“This bill will offer workers more protection. We need education in these industries so that everyone knows where to draw the line on inappropriate behavior. This will empower workers who have experienced harassment to speak up, and will help us stop people who are abusing their power.” —Ambar Arellano, SEIU6 Janitor

Washington State will now join California and Oregon in passing some of the most forward-thinking anti-sexual harassment measures for janitors in the country. The bill aims to curb the high incidence of sexual violence in workplaces where women work alone, after hours, and without direct supervision.

A recent review of the bill by the State Board of Health in collaboration with the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities found strong evidence that decreasing workplace sexual harassment and assault will improve health outcomes and impact health inequities for these workers. You can read the report here: https://sboh.wa.gov/Portals/7/Doc/HealthImpactReviews/HIR-2019-15-SB5258.pdf?ver=2019-03-11-163534-137

“We know that a lot of workers in these industries are in survival mode. When you don’t know your rights and you depend on your job to put food on the table, you might be in a mindset to endure anything. This bill will send a signal to everyone in these industries that workers don’t have to just endure – they have the right to be safe and respected on the job, too.” —Zenia Javalera, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU6 Property Services NW

SEIU6 Property Services NW is part of the largest union in the country, Service Employees International Union, which represents over 2 million service workers in North America. SEIU6 represents more than 7,000 janitors, security officers, airport workers, and allied industries workers in Washington State.

# # #

Leave a comment

UPDATE: Washington State Legislature Passes Sexual Harassment Prevention Bill for Isolated Workers

ESSB 5258 House Win

OLYMPIA—The bill to protect isolated janitors, security officers, and hotel housekeepers from sexual harassment and assault has passed in Olympia. The House and Senate concurred on the final version of Senate Bill 5258, and the bill now awaits the Governor’s signature.

The sexual harassment prevention act will provide isolated workers with sexual harassment prevention training, a list of resources for seeking help, and a panic button to keep them safe on the job.

“This bill will offer workers more protection. We need education in these industries so that everyone knows where to draw the line on inappropriate behavior. This will empower workers who have experienced harassment to speak up, and will help us stop people who are abusing their power.” —Ambar Arellano, SEIU6 Janitor

Washington State will now join California and Oregon in passing some of the most forward-thinking anti-sexual harassment measures for janitors in the country. The bill aims to curb the high incidence of sexual violence in workplaces where women work alone, after hours, and without direct supervision.

A recent review of the bill by the State Board of Health in collaboration with the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities found strong evidence that decreasing workplace sexual harassment and assault will improve health outcomes and impact health inequities for these workers. You can read the report here: https://sboh.wa.gov/Portals/7/Doc/HealthImpactReviews/HIR-2019-15-SB5258.pdf?ver=2019-03-11-163534-137

“We know that a lot of workers in these industries are in survival mode. When you don’t know your rights and you depend on your job to put food on the table, you might be in a mindset to endure anything. This bill will send a signal to everyone in these industries that workers don’t have to just endure—they have the right to be safe and respected on the job, too.” —Zenia Javalera, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU6 Property Services NW

Leave a comment

SEIU6 Members Go to Olympia to Protect Workers from Sexual Assault and Harassment

On MLK Day, January 21 2019, workers testified in the state senate on behalf of SB 5258, on why protections against sexual assault and harassment are so badly needed in janitorial, security, and hotel housekeeping.

Women in Washington State experience the third-highest rate of sexual violence victimization in the country, behind Alaska and Oregon. According to the CDC, 53.2% of women in Washington have experienced sexual violence.

Sexual violence and sexual harassment are pervasive issues across all employment sectors, however, these issues are particularly acute in the janitorial sector where female janitors often work after-hours, alone, and without direct supervision.

50827409_1666151236818174_3390691352353177600_n

Two weeks later, on February 5, members came out again to testify on behalf of the companion house bill, HB 1728. Members like Rahama and Corin bravely stepped forward to provide personal testimony about the importance of protecting isolated workers in the janitorial and security industries.

HB 1728 group photo

What exactly will this bill do?

This bill would require employers to have proven, working proficiency in preventing sexual harassment and violence.

It would require that a property services contractor provide professional training through or approved by the Department of Labor and Industries to managers, supervisors, and employees:

1. To prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace

2. To prevent discrimination in the workplace and promote cultural competency

3. To educate the workforce regarding protection for employees who report a violation of a state or federal law, rule, or regulation

To ensure property services contractors are held accountable, they must provide the following information to the Department of Labor and Industries:

1. Total number of employees employed by the property services contractor who perform janitorial services

2. Physical address of the work location or locations at which janitorial services are provided by an employee of the property services contractor

3. Demographic data that is voluntarily provided by employees relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, and age

Follow us here and on Facebook and Twitter as we continue to advocate for protecting Washington State workers from assault and harassment.

Leave a comment

Midterm Endorsements – Nov 6, 2018

Nov Endorsements 2018

Click for a larger image of the endorsements, or scroll below for the endorsements in text.

The SEIU6 Executive Board endorsements for the 2018 General Midterm Election on November 6 are here!

The SEIU6 Political Committee is a council of members who interviews, endorses, and works for candidates who work for us. With the Political committee’s guidance, the SEIU6 Executive Board has endorsed a record number of 60 candidates running for office. During the months of September, October, and November, our member-led political team has registered members and their families to vote, identified other voters, and are making sure they vote on the upcoming election on November 6.

The Political Committee is proud to share their endorsements, included below, with their union sisters and brothers. Please share these endorsements with your friends and family, and urge every voter you know to vote in the November mid-terms!

You should see your ballot in mid-October! Please reach out to us if you’re worried about not receiving your ballot, and we will help you get it replaced.

For your convenience, the endorsements are included both in image and text form. You can find your legislative district here.

If you have any questions, please contact Political Director Mauricio Ayon at 206-448-7348.

 

Endorsements

YES on I-1631

YES on I-940

3rd Congressional District

Carolyn Long

5th Congressional District

Lisa Brown

7th Congressional District

Pramila Jayapal

8th Congressional District

Dr. Kim Schrier

3rd Legislative District

Timm Ormsby – State Representative, Pos. 2

5th Legislative District

Bill Ramos – State Representative, Pos. 1

Lisa Callan – State Representative, Pos. 2

6th Legislative District

Dave Wilson – State Representative, Pos. 2

11th Legislative District

Zack Hudgins – State Representative, Pos. 1

Steve Bergquist – State Representative, Pos. 2

17th Legislative District

Tanisha Harris – State Representative, Pos. 1

18th Legislative District

Kathy Gillespie – State Representative, Pos. 2

21st Legislative District

Strom Peterson – State Representative, Pos. 1

Lillian Ortiz-Self – State Representative, Pos 2

Marko Liias – State Senate

22nd Legislative District

Laurie Dolan – State Representative, Pos 1.

Beth Doglio – State Representatve, Pos. 2

23rd Legislative District

Sherry Appleton – State Representative, Pos. 1

25th Legislative District

Brian Duthie – State Representative, Pos. 1

26th Legislative District

Emily Randall – State Senator

27th Legislative District

Laurie Jinkins – State Representative, Pos. 1

Jake Fey – State Representative, Pos. 2

28th Legislative District

Mari Leavitt – State Representative, Pos. 1

Christine Kilduff – State Representative, Pos. 2

29th Legislative District

Melanie Morgan – State Representative, Pos. 1

30th Legislative District

Mike Pellicciotti – State Representative, Pos. 1

Kristine M. Reeves – State Representative, Pos. 2

Claire Wilson – State Senate

31st Legislative District

Victoria Mena – State Representative, Pos. 1

Immaculate Ferreria – State Senator

33rd Legislative District

Tina Orwall – State Representative, Pos. 1

Mia Su-Ling Gregerson – State Representative, Pos. 2

Karen Keiser – State Senator

34th Legislative District

Eileen Cody – State Representative, Pos. 1

Joe Fitzgibbon – State Representative, Pos. 2

Joe Nguyen – State Senator

35th Legislative District

Irene Bowling – State Senate

36th Legislative District

Noel Christina Frame – State Representative, Pos. 1

37th Legislative District

Rebecca Saldaña – State Senator

38th Legislative District

Mike Sells – State Representative, Pos. 2

John McCoy – State Senate

39th Legislative District

Ivan Lewis – State Representative, Pos. 1

40th Legislative District

Jeff Morris – State Representative, Pos. 1

41st Legislative District

My-Linh Thai – State Representative, Pos. 2

42nd Legislative District

Justin Boneau – State Representative, Pos. 1

Sharon Shewmake – State Representative, Pos. 2

43rd Legislative District

Nicole Macri – State Representative, Pos. 1

Frank Chopp – State Representative, Pos. 2

44th Legislative District

John Lovick – State Representative, Pos. 1

Jared Mead – State Representative, Pos. 2

Steve Hobbs – State Senator

46th Legislative District

Gerry Pollet – State Representative, Pos. 1

Javier Valdez – State Representative, Pos. 2

David Frockt – State Senate

47th Legislative District

Debra Entenman – State Representative, Pos. 1

Pat Sullivan – State Representative, Pos. 2

Mona Das – State Senator

48th Legislative District

Patty Kuderer – State Senator

49th Legislative District

Sharon Wylie – State Representative, Pos. 1

Monica Stonier – State Representative, Pos. 2

Leave a comment

Washington State to Study Janitorial Workload

SEIU6 Janitors have been speaking out on workload in recent months, and Olympia is listening.

 

SEIU6 fights for janitors in Olympia

SEIU6 fights for janitors in Olympia

On January 15, three of our union janitors testified in the senate to let lawmakers know what janitors know all too well: that extreme workloads put janitors’ health and safety at risk. After the senate testimony, a budget proviso passed in the Washington State legislature to study the physical impacts of janitorial workload.

“This study is urgently needed, especially for women janitors. Many of us work alone at night and face impossible workloads with ill-fitting equipment like vacuum backpacks that can weigh more than 30 pounds. I am grateful to the State of Washington for recognizing the need to study what we janitors have known for a long time—that heavy workloads put us in danger.”—Maria de Lourdes Carrillo Sánchez, SEIU6 Janitor

As of now, some Seattle janitors clean as much as 50,264 square feet per night—roughly the equivalent of 34 houses for each janitor per shift. Work intensification has resulted in many janitors working alone, putting them at additional risk for injury. Isolation compounds the risk of sexual harassment for women janitors, many of whom are undocumented. Janitorial workload also presents a gender equity issue in that women make up about 1/3 of the janitorial workforce but account for 1/2 of compensable workers’ compensation claims.

The budget proviso will order the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries to study current square footage requirements and assess the impacts on janitors’ health and safety.

“It’s frustrating when you have to go to work every night knowing that you can’t get any help. I have to put a lot of physical effort into cleaning bathrooms, and when you’re almost 60 years old, that’s not an easy thing to do.” —Kim Lee, Former SEIU6 Janitor

“Our union has persisted in getting the legislature’s attention on this vital issue for our members. When we protect janitors from workplace injuries, we’re protecting their ability to earn a living, to be there for their families, and to retire with dignity. It’s a long road, but this study is an important step.”—Zenia Javalera, SEIU6 Secretary-Treasurer

Leave a comment

Washington’s New Paid Sick Leave Law

Good news for Washington workers: paid sick leave is now protected by law. As of January 1st, 2018, workers in Washington State earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Workers can use this paid time off to take care of themselves or family members with physical or mental illness.

The law also allows paid time for doctor visits and preventive care for you and your family. If grandma needs help at the doctor’s office, you can take paid leave and be there with her. The same is true for siblings, stepparents, adopted children and other extended family. Under the new law, employees will not be required to find their own replacements for sick days.

Workers can begin using their paid sick leave after 90 days of employment. Unused leave can be rolled over, up to 40 hours each year. The law ensures that employers pay sick leave at your regular wage, and bosses who retaliate against employees for using sick leave will be held accountable. Paid time-off can also be used when your workplace or child’s school is closed for public health reasons or to address domestic violence issues.

This law sets a minimum standard, but workers can always come together and bargain to earn more!

Have questions? Check out WA Labor & Industries’ guide to paid sick leave.

Leave a comment