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WA YELL elevating our state’s next labor leaders

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler

SEATTLE (June 7) — Special guest AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler proclaimed herself “so inspired” Thursday night by the dramatic show of support for Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders (WA YELL) at its “Sunset Cocktails on the Sound” social and fundraising event at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle.

“We need to change the fact that we have not always done the best job of elevating young workers to leadership positions (in the labor movement),” Shuler told hundreds of WA YELL members and supporters at the event. “And you are doing that here in Washington state.”

As the youngest elected officer in AFL-CIO history, Shuler is committed to increasing the involvement of young adults in the labor movement. A Portland native, she is a strong supporter of WA YELL and its mission to attract young workers, activists and the unemployed into labor and social justice movements, and to provide leadership development opportunities for them.

Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, introduces labor’s endorsed candidate for governor, Jay Inslee.

In addition to Shuler, Thursday’s event featured Jay Inslee, labor’s endorsed candidate for Governor in Washington state.

“All workers in this state deserve a Governor sticking up for the middle class instead of a governor sticking it to the middle class,” Inslee told the crowd, earning a rousing ovation. “Our state deserves someone who is going to create jobs instead of creating wealth for the top one percent. This is why I’m running for Governor.”

Union delegates from across Washington voted in February for an early endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee’s campaign for Governor. Inslee has a lifetime 89% Congressional Voting Record with the AFL-CIO, after serving as U.S. Representative from the 4th District in 1993-94 and the 1st District from 1999 to present. He has consistently voted with working families’ interests on strengthening collective bargaining rights, protecting Social Security and Medicare, expanding access to affordable health care, and protecting labor standards, including the minimum wage, overtime pay, prevailing wage, and workplace safety.

Dressing up for the photo booth

Thursday’s “Sunset Cocktails on the Sound” was organized by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace/IFPTE 2001, which invited representatives of Viking Robotics, a Ballard High School-based robotics team sponsored by the union, to demonstrate a robot that shoots baskets.

Young leaders from a disparate collection of unions mingled and networked at Thursday’s fun event, which also featured a labor trivia contest and photo booth. But it wasn’t all fun and games. The crowd heard updates from the Teamsters Local 117 about the strike at Davis Wire in Kent, now in its third week. Plus, they heard from a housekeeper there at the Edgewater Hotel about the status of their contract negotiations.

Shuler specifically thanked the event’s co-hosts: SEIU Local 775/Working Washington, M.L. King County Labor Council, International Association of Fire Fighters, and UFCW Local 21.

WA YELL President Kamaria Hightower

Other sponsoring organizations were the Washington State Labor Council, Pride at Work, SEIU HealthCare 1199NW, Teamsters Local 117, Thurston Lewis Mason Counties Labor Council, AFT Washington, Graphics Communications/IBT 767M, Aerospace Machinists Lodge District 751, UA Local 32, and the CWA State Council. Also contributing were AFT Local 1789, NALC Branch 79, UNITE HERE Local 8, OPEIU Local 8, Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, and IBEW Local 46.

WA YELL has lots of fun activities, happy hours, events and actions planned for this summer. Get involved! For more information about WA YELL, check out its Facebook page or contact WA YELL President Kamaria Hightower via email or by calling 206-281-8901.


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