Why I Voted No on the 2016 Budget - We Need a Budget That Meets the Needs of Ordinary Working People
"On November 23, 2015, the Seattle City Council cast our final votes on the 2016 budget. The People's Budget movement won a number of progressive budget victories, and I was proud to vote in favor of them. But, even with these progressive amendments, the final budget package remained woefully inadequate. As a workers' representative that was elected on a pledge to stand up against business as usual politics and defend the interests of ordinary working people, I could not support the budget as a whole. For more, see my full remarks below."
Support Priority Hire Pre-Apprenticeship Support for Good Youth Jobs
"We should be helping interested Seattle youth find careers now, straight out of high school, instead of spending money on incarceration when they find themselves at a loss, without any options."
Fund Career Bridge, Fight Racial Injustice
"Career Bridge was created by the Black Prisoners Caucus in order to help prisoners transition into the reliable, well-paying jobs they need to rebuild their lives after the harsh experience of prison. A recent audit demonstrated that 81% of the men who participated in Career Bridge were able to secure steady jobs, despite the discrimination and hardship that comes with past prison experience. We have an obligation to challenge the New Jim Crow at every level. Funding Career Bridge is one such way we can do that."
Ensuring Safe Working Conditions at the Port
"For several years, the Teamsters have been trying to organize the Port truck drivers. The Port of Seattle has been denying basic human rights to the drivers, like bathroom access, and aggressively fining non-union drivers for years now. On September 22, 2015, Councilmember O'Brien and I argued that it was unconscionable to move forward without the Port addressing these basic service needs."
My Response to the Mayor's Budget
"On Monday, September 28, 2015, Mayor Murray presented his version of the budget for 2016. Once again, it falls far short of what working people need. Check out my response, and join me at City Hall on October 27 for a People's Budget Town Hall to build the movement for a budget that reflects the needs of ordinary people."
An Open Letter to Chinese President Xi
"On September 23, 2015, social justice activists and I held a press conference to discuss the visit of Chinese President Xi and send him an open letter. While President Xi is meeting with executives from corporations such as Uber, Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, DuPont, and Pepsi, the violations of rights of workers in both China and the U.S. are being ignored."
Why I Voted No On A Business-As-Usual Budget
"On Friday, November 14th, the Seattle City Council introduced amendments to the Mayor's 2015-2016 budget. Multiple progressive amendments were passed, including my amendments to raise all City workers to $15/hour next year, fund a year-round women's homeless shelter, and provide critical services to transitional homeless encampments. On November 24th, I voted against the budget package as a whole. You can read my press release here, and watch my speeches from the final Budget Committee meeting and Full Council vote below."
Join Me for the Final Budget Vote - This Monday, 2:00 PM at City Hall
"Let's celebrate our hard fought victories. But let's also make it very clear to the Mayor and the Council that a business as usual budget is completely unacceptable. We demand a People's Budget dedicated to satisfying ordinary working people's real, human needs."
Social Justice Victories in Business as Usual Budget
"On November 14th, the City Council Budget Committee discussed and voted on a series of amendments to the Mayor's proposed 2015-2016 budget. Alongside organizing around the need for a fundamentally different approach to the City budget, I introduced amendments to specifically address income inequality and the needs of the most marginalized and oppressed communities in Seattle."
Voices of the People's Budget
"On the evening of October 30th, labor leaders, community organizers, social service providers, and engaged citizens came together for a People's Budget Town Hall. Here they shared their concerns about the Mayor's business as usual budget and began a conversation about what is necessary to make Seattle affordable for all. "
Voices of the People's Budget: Robby Stern, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
"On October 30, 2014, labor leaders, community organizers, social service providers, and engaged citizens came together for a People's Budget Town Hall. Robby Stern, the President of Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, called for significant funding for struggling community institutions, like senior centers."
Voices of the People's Budget: Kshama Sawant Opening Remarks
"On the evening of October 30th, labor leaders, community organizers, social service providers, and engaged citizens came together for a People's Budget Town Hall. Here are my opening remarks."
October 30th 6pm: People's Budget Town Hall with Kshama Sawant
"A people's budget would prioritize the needs of the majority. It would tax big business and the super-wealthy. It would build tens of thousands of affordable homes, invest in world-class mass transit to reduce carbon emissions, and invest in living wage jobs for all. It would provide adequate funding for homeless services, mental health services, and assistance for our most vulnerable community members."
Defend Our Victories - Fully Fund Enforcement
The dash in title on the "Issues" page needs to be fixed, and here is a description to add: "In 2014, Seattle's Office of Civil Rights issued several reports which discussed the limitations that SOCR employees have faced while trying to enforce Seattle's paid sick/safe leave legislation. Seattle City Councilmembers should join me to ensure full funding for enforcement. "
May Day 2014
"This May Day I will march shoulder to shoulder with my sisters and brothers fighting for immigrant rights and for a $15/hour minimum wage. The fight for immigrants' rights is inextricably linked to the struggle of all workers for a dignified life."
15 Months Later, Alaska Airlines is Still Refusing to Pay $15/hr
On February 19 2015, I attended a pretrial rally in defense of workers and fellow organizers who are standing up to Alaska Airlines and the corporation's refusal to follow the law and pay workers the $15/hour minimum wage SeaTac voters approved more than fifteen months ago. I was proud to stand and speak with my fellow "jail mates," Reverend John Helmiere and airport worker Socrates Bravo. Check out video and text of my speech below.
Solidarity with the Seattle University Adjunct Walkout!
Last Monday, I sent out the following letter in solidarity with Seattle University's Adjunct Professors who are walking out to demand better working conditions and defend their right to organize.
Solidarity Statement - Stop the Lockouts of Port Workers
"I call on the Pacific Maritime Association to end their bullying tactics and to accept the reasonable demands of the ILWU. There must be no more lockouts, no more intimidation, and no more attempts to hold our economy hostage. If our longshore brothers and sisters are locked out, we will stand in solidarity at their side."
Victory for custodians at the Harborview Medical Center!
This post is a follow-up on our office's ongoing work with custodians at Harborview Medical Center who had been experiencing discrimination and harassment from their managers. For more background, check out our previous post that contains the letter we sent last month urging Harborview to end the harassment, and this Seattle Times article.
Letter Urging Harborview to End Racial Harrassment
"It has been brought to my attention that UW Medicine custodians at Harborview Medical Center have been subjected to a pattern of racial harassment and discrimination by their managers. I am writing to request that UW Medicine immediately rectify this situation at Harborview and ensure that these workers do not feel intimidated because of their race or language abilities."