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Councilmember Mosqueda, Seattle City Council Labor Chair, Statement on Janus v AFSCME

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8 – Citywide) issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in the Janus v. State, County and Municipal employees (16-1466):

“Today’s ruling serves as a reminder that certain moneyed interests, like the Freedom Foundation and the Koch Brothers, are threatened by workers and unions and will use any means necessary to attack them. Make no mistake, the Janus case was an attack on workers, an attack on the democratically-elected institutions, and an attack on the ability to have a collective voice. The Janus case was an attempt to halt workers’ ability to come together to make our communities more equitable, to promote the public health, and increase our economic resilience. But it won’t work.

“Here in Seattle and in Washington State, labor unions are the backbone of the campaign that won paid sick and safe time, paid family and medical leave, and equal pay for equal work. Today, labor unions are the organizations that defend all worker’s ability to access overtime pay, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, workplace safety requirements and protections from harassment. Labor unions are the organizations that advocated for the end of child labor, so that our children can go to school to learn instead of going to toil in factories. Labor unions fight for the rights of all workers, union and non-union members, so that every working family has a fighting chance to make ends meet, have a voice at work, and doesn’t have to choose between a roof over their heads and a meal on their tables.

“I’m proud to live in Seattle where we have strong unions, elected officials who work with our unions, and a community that supports organizing. Our City unions helped pass the nation’s first $15 city-wide minimum wage, are on the forefront of organizing in the gig economy and fighting wage theft, and will now innovate in the face of Janus.

“In the last few months, we’ve seen workers across the country organize in the face of threats and intimidation – from the teachers’ strikes in red states, to the fast food strikes among the lowest wage workers, to Boeing workers organizing and then voting YES to join the union in South Carolina.

“We know that regardless of today’s US Supreme Court decision, workers and community will continue to organize, we will continue to grow union strength and power, will continue to demand better wages and benefits for all – knowing that union jobs support our local businesses and our community’s economy.

“While corporations, billionaires and their political allies, spent countless hours and dollars working to prevent the collective voice of workers and unions, today’s decision only means that we – as a community, elected leaders, the faith community and good businesses – are called upon to continue to proudly stand with unions and workers at the local level to lift wages, bargain fair contracts, and promote equity. So, let’s rise, let’s organize and let’s not give up.”

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has dedicated her career to defending workers’ rights, healthcare access, and to standing up for economic justice. Before she was elected to the Seattle City Council, she served as the Political and Strategic Campaign Director of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. While there, she drafted and later lead the campaign to pass Initiative 1433, guaranteeing paid sick and safe leave for all workers in Washington state, and raising the minimum wage for all low-wage working families. Prior to working for the Washington State Labor Council, she worked at the Children’s Alliance for 10 years, where she led the implementation of Apple Health for Kids.

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