Kshama Sawant Wins Key Support Against Recall

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Kshama Sawant — Photo by Ted S. Warren AP
Kshama Sawant — Photo by Ted S. Warren AP

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has won key new support in her campaign against plans to recall her from office.

UFCW Local 21, the largest private-sector union in Washington, with some 45,000 members, endorsed the Kshama Solidarity Campaign on May 4.

UFCW 21 represents workers in grocery, retail, healthcare, laundry, and meat processing. The union has been critical in winning important victories, including hazard pay for thousands of essential grocery workers, who have persevered in often-unsafe conditions during the pandemic.

UFCW Local 21 joins the Seattle Education Association, Teamsters Local 117, SEIU Local 925, SEIU Local 6, UAW Local 4121, the American Postal Workers Union Greater Seattle Area Local, UNITE HERE Local 8, PROTEC Local 17, the Resident & Fellow Physicians Union, WFSE Local 1488, WFSE Local 843, AFSCME Local 2083, the Book Workers Union, and the National Writers Union in endorsing Sawant's campaign.

To date, 15 unions representing more than 125,000 workers have now joined the fight against the recall effort. The recall campaign has received no union endorsements whatsoever.

In addition, the Kshama Solidarity Campaign has received personal endorsements from more than 500 rank-and-file union members from more than 90 union locals.

If the recall petition collects enough signatures to appear on the ballot, only voters in Sawant's City Council District — District 3, which encompasses Capitol Hill, the Central District, and areas east to Lake Washington — will vote on whether to remove her from office. She has been elected in District 3 three times, most recently beating Egon Orion in 2019.

The recall petition was filed last year and approved by the State Supreme Court on April 1. The specific allegations against Sawant stem mainly from Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

The recall drive against Sawant seems to be supported by corporate executives and wealthy Republicans.

Three of the five Washington families described by Forbes as "billionaire dynasties" have donated to the Recall Sawant campaign. Among them are the Nordstroms, whose company used illegal union-busting tactics to drive UFCW out of their stores in Seattle and the surrounding area.

"The recall is an attack on victories like the $15 minimum wage, the Amazon Tax, and the Right to Counsel, among others," the Kshama Solidarity Campaign said in a statement. "Furthermore, these unions recognize that the recall is an attack on the fundamental right to protest."