15 Now Tacoma Endorses Spokane Worker Rights Initiative

A group called Envision Spokane (ES) is sponsoring a ballot initiative that would enact a so-called “Workers’ Bill of Rights.” The Spokane City Council referred ES’s proposal, Initiative 2015-2 to be placed on Spokane’s November ballot after ES had gathered the required number of signatures to qualify it for the ballot.

However, the Mayor and City Council, at the behest of business and special interests, are now trying to scuttle this initiative. These measures include the Mayor filing a lawsuit to try to knock part of it off the ballot. The City Council also placed several “advisory” questions on the ballot, which are actually poison pill questions. You can read about this cynical and manipulative ploy by clicking here.

At our last Action Group meeting (Aug 1, 2015), after discussing this campaign, our 15 Now Tacoma volunteer teammates unanimously endorsed Spokane’s Workers’ Bill of Rights. The Envision Spokane group had already endorsed 15 Now Tacoma and Initiative Measure 1, in a show of solidarity.

Just what are those indigestible provisions of this initiative measure that have caused Mayor Dave Condon and the City Council so much intestinal gas? You can read the actual language here, and you can read the Envision Spokane’s explanation here. Basically, there are four provisions:

  • The law would require employers to pay a family wage.
  • It would mandate equal pay for equal work (women still receive 72 cents on the dollar in 2015)
  • It would require an employer show “just cause” before firing a worker, together with some kind of action plan in accordance with common practice to help workers keep their jobs if their work performance needs improvement.
  • And the biggie! Corporate powers and personhood rights do not trump the rights of living, breathing humans that measure 2015-2 gives to the workers of Spokane. It is this last provision the Mayor wants to knock off the ballot. He doesn’t like the vulgar sight of a servant slapping the master’s face.

We, the15 Now Tacoma volunteers, stand in solidarity with our fellow workers in Spokane as they fight to achieve their rights and basic justice in the workplace.