In 2017 alone 5,700 homes, 3.6 million square feet of office space, and more than 600 hotel rooms were constructed in Seattle, netting the construction industry billions. The Associated General Contractors of Washington, who are themselves taking in over $5 million annually, claim there isn’t enough money to provide a decent contract to the International Union of Operating Engineers (the men and women who are helping construct all those buildings). Unsurprisingly, IUOE Local 302 went on strike.
Grassroots Campaigns Incorporated is hiring, stating via their website, “Grassroots Campaigns is growing the resistance in campaign offices all over the country…” Except, of course, in Seattle where they have illegally closed their office in response to their workers forming a union.
After a self-described “employer” declared on Twitter that he found the IWW preamble “kind of scary,” a representative from the Rain City Wobblies composed and posted the following erudite reply: “Good.”
The State of Washington, which spends around $80 million a year on youth incarceration, is so far unable to come up with the resources to adequately compensate the teachers of Washington State so that they may educate our children and help keep them out of prison. Two teachers’ unions have already voted to authorize a strike in the coming weeks.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has decided to outsource more of her critical thinking skills to wealthy capitalists by signing an executive order to form an “Innovation Advisory Council.” The council will be staffed by representatives from Artefact, Expedia, Flying Fish Partners, Microsoft, Tableau, WTIA, Zillow, and of course Amazon. Mayor Durkan already has a Community Technology Advisory Board at her disposal, which is staffed by members of the local community, but who needs input from humans when Seattle has so many corporations in residence?
In a fit of unbridled democracy the good citizens of Missouri voted by a two to one margin to overturn the state’s new right to work law. Missouri senator Bob Dixon, who helped push the law through last year, bemoaned the referendum even taking place saying, “We gave the opposition more time to collect signatures and put it on the ballot for a vote because we got in a hurry.” No word yet on whether Missouri voters were surprised to find out that one of their elected representatives considers them “the opposition.”
One of the largest prison strikes in history is officially underway and includes ICE’s Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. An NWDC spokesman, Pablo Paez, recently stated, “Members of our team strive to treat all of those entrusted to our care with compassion, dignity, and respect.” GEO Group, the corporation that owns the NWDC, earned $2.26 billion in revenue last year while forcing detainees at the NWDC to work for $1 a day, which far less than the minimum wage… in Bangladesh.
Public sector unions are fighting the legality of three executive orders signed by President Trump that seek to strip the rights of public sector union members. The Democrats generally haven’t bothered to put up much of a fight against the orders, but some of them have decided to express their disdain by drafting a polite letter to our practically illiterate president. In terms of fighting for workers, it’s a big step forward for the Democrats who last year actively supported Republican legislation that stripped the rights of employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
IWW membership continues to grow, and Seattle is now home to the largest IWW General Membership Branch in the country. The Pacific Northwest’s capitalist overlords haven’t yet noticed, which is good: Black cats are ambush predators.
[Originally published in issue 3 of the Seattle Worker]