People Powered Politics
What is People-Powered Politics?
As a non-partisan group (we don't care whether a person is Republican or Democrat, Independent or non-partisan), UFCW 21 makes sure that working people have a greater say in politics. People-powered politics does the following:
- Trains & empowers leaders to lobby their own legislators on issues like breaks, worker rights, health care, and many others.
- Interviews and makes focused endorsements of candidates who stand up for working family issues, and makes endorsements of some state and local ballot measures.
- Mails and calls members to educate them on candidate/policy proposals. UFCW 21 doesn't tell anyone how to vote, but believes it's important to let union members know where political candidates stand on issues that affect working families. And then works to make sure that the voice of working people is heard loud and clear by those elected officials in our communities and in the state capitol, and in Washington DC. (Last election, in addition to 40,000 phone calls to members and 125,000 pieces of mail, we had in person contact with members at our over 800 work sites across the state.
- Registers members to vote. More voters means more power, UFCW 21 registers as many members sending 18 year-old members a registration form and always working to get more members registered. If you're not registered to vote yet, register now! Register online at the website of Washington's Secretary of State.
- Recruits and trains people to run for office
Get involved in people-powered politics!
- Contribute to the Active Ballot Club (ABC). At most workplaces, you can automatically donate a small amount from your paycheck ($1 - $4 each week) to the UFCW 21 ABC Fund. We use these funds to support elected officials who stand up for us.
- Register to vote.
Tell your elected officials what you think:
- To reach your state legislators in Olympia, call the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000. The operator will direct your call to your member of Congress.
- To reach your member of Congress in Washington DC, call the Congressional Switchboard: 1-202-224-3121. The operator will direct your call to your member of Congress.
The 2015 legislative session begins on Monday, January 12 in Olympia and our lawmakers will once again face important decisions that affect our workplaces. In order to make progress on our priority issues this year, our elected leaders need to hear from us, hear our stories, and hear why these issues matter to us.
As the legislative session continues we will keep you updated on how we plan to keep up the pressure in order to make progress on these issues.
Workers across Washington are standing up for safer working conditions, fair wages, healthier workplaces, and the right to organize. In contract bargains, at the ballot box, and in cities across the state, workers are winning. It is time that state law makers put the needs of Washington workers above corporate greed. We believe that when workers are respected for their labor with fair wages, benefits and working conditions, those workers and the people they serve are all better off. With action by the 2015 legislature, we can make progress to achieving this.
STANDING UP FOR ECONOMIC FAIRNESS
ADVANCE PAID SICK AND SAFE LEAVE: HB 1356 & SB 5306
Cities and States across the country are recognizing that healthy workers are productive workers. No one should have to choose between working sick or losing pay and facing discipline. It is time our entire state follow the lead of Seattle and SeaTac and give all workers the right to a day off work when sick or dealing with the consequences of domestic violence.
CLOSE THE WALMART LOOPHOLE: HB 1931 & SB 5895
Corporations like Wal-Mart are exploiting a loophole in the Affordable Care Act that shifts the cost of health coverage onto taxpayers. By cutting hours, these companies can dump their low-wage employees on to taxpayer-subsidized coverage without a penalty. The Legislature should close this loophole and fine large companies like Wal-Mart for shirking their responsibility.
RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE: HB 1355 & SB 5285
Income inequality in this country is higher than it has ever been. We believe that anyone who works hard at their job deserves a paycheck that covers the basics in life—things like housing, food, and transportation. Unfortunately, our current state minimum wage falls well short of this basic level. Washington’s minimum wage should be raised to at least $12 an hour.
GUARANTEE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS: HB 1646 & SB 5630
In our own workplaces we see women denied opportunities for promotions or placement in higher paid departments. Workplace policies that forbid discussion of compensation only further this inequity. The Paycheck Fairness Act would remove some of these barriers by bringing transparency and accountability to workplaces.
PROTECTING PATIENT & HEALTH CARE WORKER SAFETY
CLOSE MANDATORY OVERTIME LOOPHOLE & ENSURE UNINTERRUPTED REST & MEAL BREAKS: HB 1732
Health care professionals have to be sharp 100% of the time. For too long, healthcare workers have worked 10, 12, or even more hours without a break; mandatory overtime and on-call have become prevalent. These issues extend far beyond emergency situations. This bill requires that hospitals provide uninterrupted breaks, restricts the use of pre-scheduled on-call and prevents using mandatory overtime for non-emergency procedures.
PROVIDE SAFE STAFFING FOR NURSES: HB 1733 & SB 5672
Right now, CEOs can and do ignore their staffing committees and cut nurses in favor of six-figure CEO salaries. This bill sets a “Statewide Safety Standard” that ensures hospitals have enough nurses to care for patients and require CEOs to listen when their staffing committees say more staff is required.
STRENGTHENING OUR COMMUNITIES
IMPROVE VOTER RIGHTS: HB 1745 & SB 5668
The Washington Voting Rights Act will help ensure that every voter has an equal opportunity to elect the candidate of his or her choice. Communities in various parts of our state have effectively had the power of their vote taken away by unfair, broken electoral systems. The WVRA empowers local governments to fix this problem.
FIND PROGRESSIVE REVENUE SOLUTIONS
Because of Washington’s regressive taxation system and our state’s failed corporate tax giveaways, we will once again face a revenue shortfall. Legislators must restore our community safety-net and balance the budget through progressive revenue solutions not by doubling down on regressive taxation.
Decisions made by elected officials - whether it is in the State Capital or Washington D.C., directly impact the lives and paychecks of UFCW 21 members, and their families, and communities.
That's why UFCW 21 has a political program focused on people-power. We have work site protection laws (like minimum wage and workers comp) or laws like the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that help us live better, due to workers standing up and pushing for them - together.