New Initiative for Statewide Paid Sick Days & Higher Minimum Wage

UFCW 21 members Ariana Davis, a grocery store worker at Safeway, and Jane Teske, an RN at Providence Everett, both spoke at the press conference in the Secretary of State’s Office in Olympia on January 11 to file a petition for a new state law. We need higher wages. Especially for those with the lowest incomes in the state who find it next to impossible to make ends meet. We also need to have access to paid sick days when we are ill and be allowed to use paid sick days without getting disciplined.

Why are we working on this Initiative? 

For years we have pushed for a higher minimum wage on the lowest wage scales as well as proposed paid sick days without discipline. Neither proposal had gotten very far in most contract negotiations. UFCW 21 members successfully fought to pass higher wage laws and paid sick leave in cities across the State–like Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Seatac. The decision was made that 2016 is the right time to push for this change in our state law to help everyone. 

Higher Minimum Wage Raises Entire Economy

The promise of America should be for everyone, not just the wealthy few. Yet over the years our economy has swung more out of balance. While the richest 1% and big corporations made record profits, working families have been left behind. Recent studies have shown that a fair wage for working families benefits the economy. Individuals would have more money to spend, training costs are reduced, employee turnover rates go down and customer service goes up. Supporting workers in their fight for a living wage will ultimately benefit our entire community.

Paid Sick Leave for All – Better Health, Stronger Communities, Improved Workplaces

At least one in four grocery store workers say they have come to work sick in the last year because sick leave was not available when they needed it. Many health care workers who have paid sick days don’t use them because they get disciplined when they do. Grocery store workers and health care workers and others are on the front lines of food and patient safety. It is important to the health of our entire community that these workers have paid sick leave so workers aren’t forced to go to work sick.


Initiative Filed for Paid Sick Leave and Higher Minimum Wage

Ariana Davis (shown here), a UFCW 21 grocery member from Safeway and Jane Teske, a UFCW 21 health care member from Providence both spoke at the kick off press conference this morning in the Washington Secretary of State's office after the initiative was officially filed.

Today, your union, UFCW 21, along with a coalition of labor, faith, and community organizations introduced a people's initiative with the Secretary of State's office to raise up working standards for all Washingtonians.

The proposed initiative gives workers up to seven earned sick days and phases in a minimum wage up to $13.50.

For years we have negotiated for wage increases and paid sick leave - on the first day you are sick and free from discipline. For years we have tried unsuccessfully to get statewide elected politicians to address these issues. Locally, we have pushed to address these issues in Seattle, Seatac, Tacoma, Bellingham, Spokane and Olympia and already won in some places. But we can't wait any longer for a statewide solution. 2016 is the year to win these for workers all across the state.

UFCW 21 members and workers around this state are rising up together for this change in the law. We are going to need all of us to come together to ensure that this initiative gets passed and the first step will be to gather enough signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot.

Click on the button below to pledge to gather signatures from your friends, family and coworkers to help us pass a law to give all Washington workers paid sick leave and better wages. 




The ability to take a paid day off to care for ourselves or a loved one shouldn't be negotiable, it should be a basic right. When we ensure working people across Washington aren't forced to choose between a pay check and a sick child, we can prevent the spread of disease and make our communities safer, healthier, and stronger.


The promise of America should be for everyone, not just the wealthy few. Yet over the past four years, our economy has swung out of balance. While the richest one percent saw their incomes rise 31 percent and big corporations made record profits, working families have been left behind. We can fix this. Increasing Washington's minimum wage will lift hundreds of thousands of working families out of poverty, respecting people's real contributions with fair wages that help them afford food, a home, and a life for themselves and their kids. Since Seattle and SeaTac passed minimum wage increases, the unemployment rate has fallen, creating more opportunity and a fair shake for working families and putting more money into local small businesses which helps our economy thrive. Everyone across the state deserves this opportunity.