A ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage for some workers in SeaTac to $15 an hour could mark a major change in the larger labor movement’s strategy in the US.
Marcie Sillman talks it over with New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse. We also hear from David Rolf, the president of SEIU Healthcare 775NW, and Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council.
Last night workers at dozens of Seattle fast food locations began a one-day strike over low wages. It’s the first in Seattle, but walkouts by fast food employees have been happening over the past several months in cities including New York and St. Louis. Alfonso Arellano, who works at the University District Taco Del Mar, tells KUOW’s Ross Reynolds his story.
Nationwide, the percentage of workers who are in unions has dropped to around 11 percent according to January report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s lowest rate in nearly a century. But the Service Employees International Union has been bucking the trend in recent decades – it’s the fastest growing union in the United States.
Since 1996, 1.2 million workers have joined SEIU nationally. Today, SEIU national represents 2.1 million. Here in Washington state the SEUI has six locals with more than 100,000 members, up from about 40,000 in 2001.
The union represents nurses, child care workers, public school employees and janitors. Plus, Local 775 is the biggest, with around 43,000 members who are long-term care workers, home health aides, and nursing home aides.
Ross Reynolds talks with David Rolf, president of the Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union for health-care workers.