Several hundred people peacefully marched from downtown through the streets of Capitol Hill and into a Seattle University building Wednesday afternoon as part of a national day of action to support a $15 an hour minimum wage.
In Seattle, where a $15 minimum wage is already on the books, demonstrators also coalesced around local labor fights.
To protest the Seattle U administration’s opposition to adjunct faculty forming a union, a group of professors and students sat down in the intersection of 12th and Madison for about 30 minutes before police calmly took them into custody one by one. Organizers from the group Working Washington say 21 people were arrested in all.
Ben Stork, a Seattle U adjunct film studies instructor, said contingent and part-time faculty are responsible for the majority of teaching at the university but have little to no job security semester to semester. Stork was one of the 21 arrested on Capitol Hill.
As demonstrators began to march from Occidental Park to Capitol Hill, several hundred home care workers and activists gathered for a rally in Cal Anderson Park. The two groups met at the park at around 4 PM and marched down 12th Ave to the Seattle U campus.
Demonstrators then filled Seattle U’s Pigott Pavillion atrium, where City Council members Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien addressed the crowd. Both council members called on the Seattle U administration to drop its legal challenges to adjunct professors forming a union. Sawant, who was instrumental in passing the $15 minimum wage law last year, said the crowd had a lot to be proud of.
“Sisters and brothers, you and I are a part of history,” she said.