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 2017 legislative session begins on January 9 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 2017 legislature, we can make progress to achieving this.
STANDING UP FOR ECONOMIC FAIRNESS
Thanks to the hard work of UFCW 21 members and our allies, thousands of workers across the state will be receiving significant raises in 2017 and paid sick leave the year after. We must make sure that the overwhelming intent of Washington voters — to ensure all workers have access to a decent wage and protected paid sick leave — is respected.
Ending Unjust Non-Compete Clauses
In an economy where employers are hiring an increasingly part-time work force and many workers are taking second jobs just to make ends meet, non-compete clauses as a condition for employment are causing an unreasonable strain on workers. These unreasonable restrictions should not be allowed in most employment situations.
Women who work full time in Washington State still make .80 cents for every dollar earned by men. In our own workplaces, we see women denied opportunities for promotions or placement in higher-paid departments. Workplace policies that forbid discussion for compensation only further this inequity, so polices that prevent these practices and provide more equity for women must be pushed forward.
Family and Medical Leave
Whether it is welcoming a new child or caring for a family member with a serious illness, there are occasions when we all need a little more than just a few days off. Unfortunately, most workers in our state have little access to paid leave, if any at all. Paid Family and Medical leave is crucial to ensuring that these life events don’t create an unnecessary economic burden on workers in Washington.
Workers cannot make ends meet if they do not get enough hours. Workers cannot plan their lives if they have erratic shifts or do not get advance notice of their schedules. Scheduling is not only an economic issue, but a community issue, an equity issue, and a health issue. Workers need stability, predictability and flexibility in their schedules.
PROTECTING PATIENT & HEALTH CARE WORKER SAFETY
Provide Safe Staffing for Health Care Workers
Under current law, hospital CEOs can and do ignore their staffing committees and cut staffing in favor of increasing revenue for their own salaries. Staffing committees need to be heard and provided more merit to insure that there will be enough health care professionals to care for patients.
Ensure Uninterrupted Meal and Rest Breaks
Health care professionals have to always be prepared and on top of their game — patients’ lives depend on it. Working 10, 12, or even more hours in a row because hospital CEOs didn’t staff enough is not good for providers or our patients. Hospital workers need uninterrupted breaks to make sure patients are well taken care of.
Close the Mandatory Overtime Loophole
It has become the norm for on-call health care professionals to fill in during staff shortages rather than emergency situations. Hospitals need to stop forcing mandatory overtime for non-emergency situations and restrict the use of pre-scheduled on-call. This protection must extend to all health care workers that provide direct patient care.
STRENGTHENING OUR COMMUNITIES
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.
Protecting at Risk-Communities
Over the past year, there has been an alarming increase in anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, homophobic, and racist rhetoric — now coming from the highest levels of our government. These communities are the most at-risk and their voices are most often marginalized. Defending against policies that target these groups and continuing to push our cities and state to become sanctuaries for the most vulnerable must be a priority.
There are serious systemic problems leading to mistrust between our police forces and the communities they are sworn to protect. In order to rebuild the foundation of trust, we need policies aimed at investigating police misconduct, serious accountability measures, and improved training.