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SEIU6 ENDORSEMENTS 2021

The SEIU6 Political Committee recommends the following candidates, approved by the SEIU6 Executive Board. 

Seattle

Seattle Mayor      Lorena González

Seattle City Council Position 8     Teresa Mosqueda

Seattle City Council Position 9     Brianna Thomas

Seattle City Council Position 9      Nikkita Oliver

King County

King County Executive     Dow Constantine

King County Council Position 3      Sarah Perry

King County Council Position 5      Dave Upthegrove

King County Council Position 9      Ubax Gardeheere

King County Hospital District 1      Monique Taylor-Swan 

King County Ballot Initiative — Best Start for Kids      Approve

Spokane

Spokane City Council Position 2      Betsy Wilkerson 

Spokane City Council Position 3       Zachary Zappone

Tacoma

Tacoma Mayor      Victoria Woodards

Port of Seattle

Port of Seattle Commissioner Position 1      Ryan Calkins

Port of Seattle Commissioner Position 3      Hamdi Mohamed

Port of Seattle Commissioner Position 4      Toshiko Hasegawa

SeaTac 

SeaTac City Council Position 2      Jake Simpson

SeaTac City Council Position 4     Mohammad Egal

SeaTac City Council Position 6.    Iris Guzman

 

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SEIU6 CALLS ON STATE TO EXTEND VACCINE ELIGIBILITY TO ALL ESSENTIAL WORKERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: esroka@seiu6.org

 SEIU6 CALLS ON STATE TO EXTEND VACCINE ELIGIBILITY TO ALL  ESSENTIAL WORKERS

As Washington State expands vaccine eligibility next week, essential janitors and security officers will once again be left off the list. While SEIU6 has partnered with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) to appeal to Governor Inslee and the State Department of Health to expedite access for these workers, janitors and security officers are being told to wait.

Representing a largely immigrant, majority BIPOC workforce, SEIU6 understands vaccine access as a racial justice and immigrant rights issue. The same workforce that’s been called upon to report to work every day to clean and protect commercial buildings during a pandemic has been denied early protection against the virus.

“It’s hard to be told to wait your turn when we’ve been on the frontlines of this pandemic since day one. Every day, we leave our families to clean and sanitize essential businesses. Many of us take the bus to work, and a lot of us face crowded break rooms and lax safety standards. At the end of the day, you’re just praying you don’t catch it and bring it back to your family. We’ve been feeling this stress for more than a year. We need this vaccine yesterday.” —Ambar Arellano, Janitor and SEIU6 Executive Board Member

Security officers, many of whom have taken on additional duties including mask enforcement and COVID screenings, continue to wait for vaccine access.

“I can’t stress how important it is for security officers to get vaccinated. Just to breathe that sigh of relief after one year of putting our families in jeopardy, going out every day to do this job. The second I’m eligible, I’m going to be in that line.” —Demetrus Dugar, Security Officer and SEIU6 Executive Board Member

SEIU6 airport workers are included in the current phase of vaccine eligibility. After a year of disproportionately high COVID-19 rates in Black and brown communities, many Sea-Tac passenger service workers are taking steps to get vaccinated.

“It’s been a stressful year at Sea-Tac with too many workers crowded together, too many coworkers getting sick with COVID. We’re grateful we have the vaccine now and we want all essential workers to have the same.” —Edwin Gomez, Sea-Tac Airport Worker

“We appreciate all that Governor Inslee and the Department of Health have done to keep Washington safe during this pandemic. We know that their handling of this crisis has saved the lives of countless Washingtonians, and that their vaccination plan aims to do the same. But we’re calling on them to expand access to essential workers of all ages immediately, because these are the communities who have been hit the hardest, not just by COVID infection and mortality rates, but by the stress of providing for your family as an underpaid essential worker during this pandemic. These are the folks who have kept the lights on for the rest of Washington.” —SEIU6 President Zenia Javalera

 

opeiu8/afl-cio

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AIRPORT WORKERS MAKE PROGRESS at ERMC

RESPECT + CONNECT MEETINGS HELP BUILD A HEALTHY WORKPLACE

After tensions over COVID safety and other issues at ERMC, cabin cleaners and management came together to hold the first of a series of informal meetings they hope will build trust and a healthier working environment. Called “Respect +Connect Meetings,” these talks between coworkers and managment aim to solve problems before they turn into crises.

IMG_2624“We started this meeting to build the relationship between workers and management so we can understand each other. We’re asking to be respected—no matter who you are or where you come from. We are a multicultural workforce and many of us speak English as a second language. The key is communication and respect.”

—Nibhan Gudle

Want to start a Connect + Respect meeting at your airport worksite? Call Marilyn Coronell at 206-448- 7348 ext 324.

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AIRPORT WORKERS SPEAK OUT FOR COVID SAFETY

COVID safety measures were so inadequate for some Sea-Tac cabin cleaners that they had to do something. Workers faced crowded vans, crowded breakrooms, and company secrecy surrounding positive COVID cases.

After uniting around these issues and holding labor management meetings, cabin cleaners have been able to push the companies to adopt stronger worker protections. Workers speaking out played a major role, breaking the story in our newsletter, on social media, in the news and even before Congress. Selam Andarge deserves respect for testifying about her working conditions to the United States House Ways and Means Committe. Likewise, Sadia Bultum (pictured above), spoke out to CNN Travel.

 

IMG_2424 2“We need rules,” Bultum told CNN. “Like, avoid close contact employee-to- employee. Respect the rule of 6ft distance. Let the employees know if we’re exposed so we can quarantine. Keep the breakroom clean and our areas clean and disinfected.”

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NEW SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION LAW TAKES EFFECT IN WASHINGTON STATE

 IMG_2625SEIU6 janitors and security officers made history in 2019 when we pushed for greater protections against workplace sexual harassment and assault. Our brave members spoke out in the media and before the Washington State legislature to help pass ESSB 5258, a law that aims to keep workers safe, especially those who work in isolated settings.

The new law requires employers do the following:

—Adopt a sexual harassment policy.
—Require training for all employees, including managers, supervisors, and foremen.
—Provide a list of resources to employees on federal, state, and local enforcement and advocacy groups to reach out to if sexual harassment occurs.
—Provide a panic button to all janitors, hotel housekeepers, and other isolated workers. (Security officers are exempt from this requirement since they already carry similar equipment.)

The new panic button is intended for janitors to use to call for help in case of emergency. If you have questions about how your employer is using it, please contact our union by calling your organizer, sending us a message on Facebook, or calling our main line at (206) 448-7348.

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UNION BARBERS DEFEAT BAD BOSS AT JBLM

Mison & Espy BARBERS
The barbers at JBLM had long enjoyed good contracts with strong union rights. That changed 2 1/2 years ago, when their contract was taken over by a new company. The new boss cut their pay, eliminated their credit card tips, and tried to pit them against each other—all to break their union.

“He came in here with an iron fist,” said Batista. “He had the military police called on us twice in one week, accused us of stealing. It was so stressful. I had a panic attack and had to go to the hospital. My husband and my children are all military. They told me to quit my job. But I couldn’t let someone wreck our lives like that.”

“When he cut our pay, some barbers lost their homes. We fought as a union and won the money back. But in 6 months, he ruined some people’s lives,” said Mamerto.

But the barbers were relentless, tenacious—and united. Our union filed dozens of NLRB charges until the employer finally lost the contract, and a new employer took over. Now the barbers are negotiating a contract that will secure their fair pay and the respect they deserve.

“It’s like people say, United We Stand, Divided We Fall. Support your coworkers and know that your union is your backbone. Don’t ever think, ‘Oh I’m poor, my family is poor,’ or you will stay at the bottom for life. If you have the support of your family and friends, you can change the world,” said Batista.

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Contracted Airport Workers Win $3B for Job Protection in Airline Bailout; SEIU6 Calls for Halt to Layoffs at Sea-Tac

Contracted%20Workers%20Airline%20Bailout%20Win

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JANITORS—THE WORKLOAD STUDY IS COMING TO YOUR MAILBOX!

little janitorBack in 2018, SEIU6 janitors spoke
out in Olympia and in the media
to draw attention to the issue of
unmanageable workloads in janitorial. Lawmakers listened, and now L & I is conducting a janitorial workload study.

The next phase of the study is a statewide survey. All janitors should watch their mail for a letter from SHARP with a PIN#. Be sure to keep this PIN—it will allow you to take the survey, either on paper or online.

Janitors who fill out and send in their surveys will get a $15 gift card.

The more we speak up about workload, the stronger our chances of making a change.

Questions about the workload study? Call Matt at 800 2387348 0r 2064487348 ext 307

 

 

 

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JANITORS CAN LEAD IN THE GREEN ECONOMY

city hall vertical_croppedA green economy would prioritize a healthy environment and social equity. Our current economic system has taken us to a point of extreme economic inequality plus near environmental collapse.

We know it’s time for a new direction, where we begin to rely on clean energy sources, and build an economy where every worker has a safe job that pays a living wage with union rights. Tying our work to building this new green economy is one way to achieve these goals.

The Green Janitor Education Program is a step in the right direction. It would train janitors to be environmental stewards in their buildings, with practices like conserving energy and water, cleaning with non-toxic solutions, and using smart waste diversion techniques.

“I want to have skills to take care of my building as well as the environment,” SEIU6 janitor Lalesa Gurmessa told City Council. “We want to do work that makes the Earth healthier for our children.”

Making our jobs into green jobs means we can gain valuable skills and stay ahead in the transition to a green economy—while doing right by future generations. For more info, call our union or message us on Facebook @SEIU6.

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How to Apply for Free College through SEIU: An interview with SEIU6 security officer Clarissa Valdez

Clarissa ValdezSEIU6: How did you hear about the SEIU Free College Benefit?

Valdez: I heard about it from an SEIU email.

SEIU6: What are you studying in college?

Valdez: Business Administration with a focus on Information Systems. I’d like to become an IT specialist.

SEIU6: What’s it like taking all your classes online?

Valdez: The classes can be rigorous and you have to motivate yourself. It’s more interactive than you’d think. People want to help each other, so it’s easy to make study buddies. It’s mainly adult learners who are changing careers.

SEIU6: Is it hard balancing work and college?

Valdez: It’s made me a better officer because I have to manage my time carefully. It’s made me sharpen my skills and my focus, and figure out what works for my learning style.

SEIU6: How was the application process?

Valdez: Easy. I hadn’t filled out a FAFSA in a long time, but it wasn’t hard. Once my paperwork was submitted, the program administrators were quick to reach out to me and they’ve been very helpful and supportive. You get the feeling that the folks behind the SEIU Free College Program really want you to succeed.

 

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