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.

Legislative Agenda

The 2018 legislative session begins on January 8 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 2018 legislature, we can make progress to achieving this.

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.


Ensure Uninterrupted Meal and Rest Breaks

Healthcare 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 well enough is not good for providers or our patients. Hospital workers need uninterrupted breaks to make sure patients recieve quality care.

Close the Mandatory Overtime Loophole

It has become the norm for on-call healthcare 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 healthcare workers that
provide direct patient care.

Provide Patients Charity Care

This past year we have seen multiple studies highlight a fraudulent practice occurring in hospitals across the state. Unfortunately, too often those who need help the most are not informed about their right to apply for assistance through Charity Care. As a result people are either forgoing desperately needed medical care or saddling themselves with debt they cannot afford to pay. We need to demand that hospitals do their duty and inform patients of their options.


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.

Protect At-Risk Communities

Over the past year, there has been an alarming increase in anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, homophobic, and racist rhetoric—coming from the highest levels of our government. These communities are the most at-risk and their voices are most often marginalized. Protecting workers from targeted ICE Raids that further this dangerous agenda must be a priority. 

Increase Access to Voting Justice

Addressing the barriers that exist within our voting system is crucial to ensuring that all eligible Washingtonians are able to cast their ballots and that our elected officials are representative of the communities they serve. Through policies like the Washington Voting Rights Act and Automatic Voter Registration we can level the playing field and make sure no communities are being left behind at the ballot box.

Pass Initiative 940 De-Escalate Washington

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. UFCW 21 is proud to have partnered with a coalition of community partners aimed at addressing these problems through an initiative to the Legislature, Initiative 940—De-Escalate Washington. 

Maintain Local Control

As was the case with minimum wage and paid sick and safe leave, we know that having a local pathway to pass labor standards is crucial to continuing to fight for workers’ rights. Ensuring that our cities and counties are able to maintain local control is necessary. Maintaining local control and fighting against statewide preemption on policies also safeguards a local jurisdiction’s ability to craft a policy that is more generous should that more accurately reflect the needs of their citizens.


End 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 of employment are causing an unreasonable strain on workers. These unreasonable restrictions should not be allowed in most employment situations.

Fight for Paycheck Fairness

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 promotion or placement in higher paid departments. Workplace policies that forbid discussion for compensation only further this inequity, so policies that prevent these practices and provide more equity for women must be pushed at all levels of government.

Implement Family & 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. Thanks to the hard work of UFCW 21 members and our allies we successfully passed the most progressive Paid Family and Medical Leave program in the country. Now we must make sure that through every step of implementation the voice of workers is heard.

Enact Secure Scheduling

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.

Pass Worker Retention

More and more often we are seeing companies buying out competitors and merging to form a giant corporation. For them this decision is a line item in a budget, but for the workers performing the crucial work it is their ability to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. When buyouts and mergers happen workers deserve the respect of keeping their jobs after working so hard to keep these companies profitable.

Expand Apprenticeship Utilization

In King County the Meatcutters Apprenticeship has helped promote the need for skilled jobs and the importance of food safety. UFCW 21 is proud to lead the way with this apprenticeship, but we need to work with electeds at every level of government to ensure apprenticeships are being properly utilized by expanding existing programs beyond King County and creating additional programs in other fields.