Friday, Sep 22, 2017
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 40 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 21 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 08
Low wage-workers demand fair wage, respect
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Low wage-workers demand fair wage, respect

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

'We want change - and we don't mean pennies!' fast food workers and their supporters chanted outside the McDonald's at Minor and Madison on February 20.

The picket line of some 40 people was timed to coincide with breakfast rush at the fast food restaurant, which once won a corporate award for high breakfast sales.

Outside, workers handed out flyers urging prospective customers to 'Boycott McPoverty.' Inside, a sparse crowd of at most a dozen patrons ate their food, trying not to look out the windows at the protestors.

Wendy's employee Jeff Johnson, one of the picketers, told SGN that although he works 40 hours a week, 'by the time I pay rent and food, there's nothing left over.'

He wants to continue his education, he added, but he only makes minimum wage - $9.32 an hour, as of January 1 - and his employers 'couldn't care less' whether he can pursue his goal or not.

'Fifteen dollars an hour is a fair wage,' Johnson said. 'These are not teenagers,' he added, indicating his fellow picketers. 'These are people who need to make a decent wage to pay their bills and take care of their children.'

Boycott organizers said they would follow up their early morning picket with lunchtime actions at every McDonald's location in Seattle, and end the day with a rally at Westlake Park.

As SGN goes to press, some 250 demonstrators reportedly converged on the McDonald's near Westlake, at Third and Pine, for a picket line and program featuring a keynote speech by City Council member Kshama Sawant.

The fast food boycott was only one of three major events highlighting the demands of low-wage workers for a living wage and workplace protections.

On February 18, UNITE HERE, the hotel and restaurant workers union, held a conference at Seattle University Law School, and on February 15 City Council member Kshama Sawant's '15 Now' campaign held an all-day event at SEIU 775's downtown union headquarters.

Hospitality workers tell their stories
UNITE HERE's conference, titled 'Hospitality Workers Rising!' brought local hotel workers together with a panel including City Council members Tom Rasmussen and Kshama Sawant, Seattle University law professor Charlotte Gordon, veteran LGBT activist Marsha Botzer, and Filipino community activist 'Uncle Bob' Santos.

Their work is difficult, the workers said, management is often unreasonable and disrespectful, and pay is too low, but all said they were glad to be represented by a union and all agreed that a $15 minimum wage would help hospitality workers.

Yuan Ping Tang, a housekeeper at the Hyatt at Olive 8 hotel - now under a boycott called by workers - said that in many ways life is more difficult for him as an immigrant hotel worker than it was in his native China.

'We need the union,' he added, referring to Hyatt workers' ongoing organizing drive, 'so the company can't push us around anymore.'

Hyatt workers complain that local hotel owner Richard Hedreen will not agree to a fair process for them to decide if they want union representation. In this respect, Hedreen is lagging behind Hyatt's corporate office, which reached an agreement with UNITE HERE last summer.

Space Needle workers Julia Dube and Crystal Doll spoke about the two-and-a-half year labor dispute that set Needle management at odds with UNITE HERE, which represents workers there.

Dube said management informed her that her job had been 'eliminated' after she became more active in the union. Doll, a Space Needle cook, said her union contract enabled her to buy her own home, but added 'This is not just about my rights and my future. This is really about my coworkers and what we want Seattle to be.'

In response to a question from the audience, Rasmussen said that in addition to raising the minimum wage, the City could also encourage 'community benefits agreements' with developers that require employer neutrality in future unionization drives.

Sawant added that 'workforce housing' - units that are affordable for average workers - should also be part of future developments.

The campaign for $15 an hour
Two broad coalitions, working with each other but based in different constituencies, are pushing forward with their campaign for a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Union heavyweights Dave Rolf (SEIU 775NW), Dave Schmitz (UFCW 21), and Dave Freiboth (Martin Luther King County Labor Council) are anchoring a 'Labor Table' coalition of labor organizations, officially called the '15 for Seattle' campaign.

Rolf and Freiboth also sit on Mayor Ed Murray's advisory committee on income inequality, and Rolf gave the keynote address at Kshama Sawant's 15 Now event on February 15. The all-day rally and training session was hosted by Rolf's union at their downtown headquarters.

Speaking to a packed house of 200 people, Rolf explained in meticulous detail how the gap between the super-rich and everyone else has increased significantly over the past 40 some years and why that gap is impeding economic growth.

In a rousing speech to her supporters - many of them young activists who broke into politics in her City Council campaign - Sawant criticized Murray's collegial approach to the minimum wage issue.

'They think they can fool us with a token 15 stuffed full of loopholes and exemptions!' she declared. 'What do we say? We say no!' So far, there is broad agreement among all supporters of a minimum wage hike that deal-breakers would include so-called 'tip credit' - counting tips as part of a worker's minimum wage - and 'total compensation' packages that would count the value of additional benefits like health insurance as part of the $15 minimum.

Sawant's 15 Now supporters are organizing neighborhood groups based on the new City Council districts, which will come into effect in 2015, to expand their outreach to Seattle voters.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Musmari charged with first-degree arson
------------------------------
So, am I married now, or what?
------------------------------
Washington Senate considering ban on 'conversion therapy' Bill passed House 94-4
------------------------------
Jesse's Journal: Knocking on history's closet
------------------------------
Earnestine Blue (1949-2014)
------------------------------
War Dispatches
------------------------------
Shortage of heartfelt greeting cards for same-sex couples
------------------------------
Ed Murray lays out ambitious agenda in State of the City speech
------------------------------
Protestors return to Idaho capitol - Demand protection from discrimination
------------------------------
Oregon AG won't defend Gay marriage ban
------------------------------
Lambda Legal files suit to defend insurance coverage for HIV+ patients
------------------------------
Alan Turing and the medical abuse of Gay men - The hidden homophobic shame of the NHS
------------------------------
Let's not bully the bullies
------------------------------
I had no idea it was coming
------------------------------
Low wage-workers demand fair wage, respect
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2013

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News