Capitol Hill leather bar settles over city minimum wage and sick time complaint

Capitol Hill leather bar The Cuff has settled a sick time complaint with the Seattle Office of Labor Standards. The relatively small “financial remedy” will make sure dozens employees get their due, of course, but the payout can also serve as an educational moment for other employers who want to do right by the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time and Minimum Wage ordinances.

OLS says it alleged that the Cuff was not paying the correct minimum wage in some instances and was rounding paid sick and safe time accrual down to the hour for 43 employees during the period. Continue reading

This District 3 candidate just won big-time Seattle labor support

(Image: MLK Labor)

One District 3 candidate just won big-time Seattle business support. And these candidates — all of them — just failed to get the backing of the influential 43rd District Democrats. Now this D3 candidate just struck a major blow in the fight thanks to support from the county’s labor council.

MLK Labor announced Wednesday night it has given its support in the D3 primary to school board member Zachary DeWolf. Continue reading

Will workers bring Little Big Burger’s Little Big Union to Capitol Hill? — UPDATE: Now open

(Image: Little Big Union)

Portland’s Little Big Burger is coming to Capitol Hill soon. iIs workers could bring a fast food labor movement here, too.

In mid-March, Little Big Burger workers in Portland, led by staff at one location, went public with their decision to unionize, a rarity for fast food personnel, following issues of safety, scheduling, and what it says are inadequate pay raises. After talking to workers at other locations of the chain, workers realized that their concerns were widespread across restaurants.

“Conditions, you know, needed to change,” said Cameron Crowell, a union member who has worked at Little Big Burger in Portland for two years.

The union’s demands include $5 raises, two weeks of both paid sick leave and vacation time, fair and consistent scheduling ahead of time, and time and a half for all federal holidays, according to its website. Continue reading

City marks 100 years since the Seattle General Strike

Attention young labor agitators, the Seattle City Council’s committee on Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Thursday morning will include a session on the city’s labor history and the 100th anniversary of the great Seattle General Strike of 1919.

“Never before had the nation seen a labor action of this kind. Many in Seattle were expecting revolution — and a few wanted it — but when 65,000 laborers walked off the job that day, the result was more an eerie calm,” Historylink.org writes of the February 6th, 1919 start of the strike. Continue reading

After ‘positive’ talks, New Seasons and community groups opposing new store set for Central District agreement — UPDATE: ‘Disappointed’

UPDATE 11/19/18 12:30 PM: Despite hopes of an agreement from representatives on both sides Friday, Monday, activists and community groups who have been engaged with New Seasons said they are “disappointed” that officials “gave no indication the company is committed to change.”

“We can’t wait around while New Seasons’ corporate leadership thinks a little more about respecting our community’s values, and we’re not going to stop calling on them to respect workers’ rights,” the group writes in a statement sent by the Good Jobs Coalition.

“We’re not going away,” the group writes, “and we call on other community members to join us…”

The full statement has been added at the end of this post.

The grand opening of New Seasons in Ballard included this group of protesters

Original report: Unlike what happened at its May opening in Ballard, you probably won’t see protesters greet New Seasons when it opens at 23rd and Union in 2019.

A company spokesperson said it plans to meet Friday’s deadline for a response after positive talks with community groups aligned to push back on the Portland-based grocery chain’s labor practices and its ownership’s anti-LGBTQ politics as it readies to open in the Central District.

Friday’s deadline is part of a community coalition’s demands for the chain:

During their meeting, organizers gave New Seasons co-president Kristi McFarland and other local reps a list of demands. If the demands are met, they said, their campaign against the company would stop. Among other things, they asked New Seasons to sign a neutrality agreement to let interested workers unionize, disclose workforce demographics, let low-income customers use Fresh Bucks to buy produce, stock affordable staple foods, and donate some of their local profits to affordable housing projects and community land trusts.

Nicole Keenan, executive director of Puget Sound Sage, an advocacy group dedicated to low-income people, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, has been part of talks with New Seasons and also categorized the negotiations as positive in a conversation with CHS Friday afternoon. Keenan joined reps from groups like the Squire Park Community Council in the discussions with New Seasons.

While we don’t yet know the specifics of the New Seasons response, the community campaign against the store which has included a “newseasonstories.com” website and neighborhood yard signs, appears to be approaching a fruitful conclusion.

UPDATE 3:40 PM: A New Seasons representative sent over the company’s response to the community groups. We’ve added the full letter at the end of this post. A company representative also provided the following statement:

At New Seasons, we are proud of our established track record as an active civic partner that is committed to directly engaging in building community in a way that reflects our shared progressive values. We’ve been working with a Central District Advisory Council made up of business leaders, local nonprofit representatives and neighborhood council members to understand the needs of the neighborhood, but when we were contacted by this group we wanted to hear their perspective as well. At the meeting, we shared our commitment to championing higher wages, comprehensive benefits for all kinds of families, an inclusive culture, as well as using our voice to stand up for affordable housing, hunger relief and other important social justice and workplace issues that affect everyone. We also took away some valuable ideas from our conversation that we will be exploring further.

Continue reading

What’s inside Seattle’s tentative deal with its police union

Mayor Jenny Durkan and city officials say the new proposed contract with its more than 1,300 Seattle Police personnel sets the department fully on a path of reform including:

  • Full implementation of body worn cameras by front line officers;
  • Management improvements in transfers and performance evaluations;
  • Improvements and clarity for the 180 timeline for investigations of police complaints;
  • Civilianization of OPA supervisor positions and a HR leadership role in SPD; 
  • Office of the Inspector General provided full and unfettered access to fulfill duties under the accountability; and 
  • The Guild will withdraw several pending Unfair Labor Practice claims.

The mayor sent the proposed six-year, 96-page contract (PDF) with Seattle Police Officers’ Guild to the Seattle City Council for approval Monday. CHS reported in September on the union’s approval of the deal that includes solid raises while also tying further reforms to the package. Continue reading

CHS Pics | ‘Honk for teachers’ — UPDATE: Tentative agreement

 District officials said Friday they are hopeful for a tentative agreement this weekend after the union representing teachers and educators at Seattle Public Schools said it is prepared to strike.

UPDATE 9/1/2018 6:45 AM: Both sides announced a tentative agreement in the negotiations Friday night. The full announcement from SPS is below.

Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill, CHS found a group gathered on the corner of 19th and Galer outside Stevens Elementary to bring attention to their push for increased wages for teachers, librarians, and other school staff. Continue reading

Seattle teachers contract negotiations continue

(Image: SEA)

Seattle Public Schools says scheduled negotiations on a new contract for the district’s more than 3,000 educators ended Saturday without a deal but parents shouldn’t be scrambling to be ready for a strike just yet.

In a statement from the district, officials said they still think a deal will be worked out before Seattle public school kids return to campus after Labor Day:

Scheduled negotiations between the Seattle Education Association (SEA) and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) ended Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, without a tentative agreement. The hard working joint team has made good progress on many issues of common interest and on the difficult budget and compensation issues that confront us in Seattle Public Schools. Continue reading

Seattle school bus drivers reach benefits deal to end strike

(Image: CHS)

The full fleet of yellow buses carrying Seattle Public Schools kids is back on the roads Monday morning after drivers approved a new contract over the weekend.

“We are very pleased that First Student yellow bus drivers have voted to ratify the expanded benefits program included within their contract,” lead negotiator Kim Mingo for First Student, the company that contracts with SPS to deliver the system’s students across the city, said in a statement. Continue reading

Why Capitol Hill’s newest restaurant — and plenty of others — are adding service charges

Chef and owner Brian Clevenger is celebrating the opening of Contadino and its sibling pizzeria on 19th Ave E. While he would prefer to talk about fresh pasta and pizza, he, like a growing number of Capitol Hill food and drink owners, is answering questions about an italicized note at the bottom of his menus notifying diners of a “5% service charge” that is “distributed in full to the employees you do not see” —

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 12.00.52 PM

While pro-labor advocates call the new crop of service charges added by owners like Clevenger protests of “the fact that they have to pay their workers a living wage,” the Contadino restaurateur says he is trying to find a new path to solve an issue close to his heart. And he might soon find some help from the last guy you might expect to lend a hand to a restaurant atop Capitol Hill, Seattle. Continue reading