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Public hearings set on Seattle’s new Office of Labor Standards

SEATTLE (Oct. 7, 2014) — The Seattle City Council will hold public hearings today and later this month on Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2015-16 budget, which includes establishing a new Office of Labor Standards (OLS) and authorizing it to investigate workers’ wage-theft complaints and help recover any back wages and benefits they earned but were unpaid. The first hearing will begin today (Tuesday, Oct. 8) at 5:30 p.m. at Garfield Community Center, 2323 E. Cherry St.  Another hearing will be held Thursday, Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers at City Hall.

15-Seattle-council-vote-sawantSeattle residents are urged to attend and support Murray’s OLS proposal, which Dave Freiboth, Executive Secretary of the M.L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, says is a critical component not only of the city’s wage-theft standard, but also its paid sick leave and $15 minimum wage ordinances.

“The new Office of Labor Standards is a key element in Seattle’s exciting progress to protect worker rights,” Freiboth said. “This effort complements the significant work already accomplished providing for paid sick leave and cracking down on wage theft. Seattle truly represents ‘best practices’ in terms of employment conditions for working families.”

“Passing fair labor standard laws is only half the solution to improving the working conditions of employees in Seattle; a city-designated office tasked with educating the public and enforcing the law is the other half,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “I look forward to working with the Mayor, my Council colleagues and the broader community to see that one is established, and effective in its mission.”

Said Teresa Mosqueda, Government Affairs Director of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO:

All workers are entitled to be paid for the work that they do. The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO applauds the creation of a new cabinet-level Office of Labor Standards that has the authority and resources to make sure that labor standards are enforced and values the role of community organizations in educating workers about their rights.
Those wishing to provide public comment at tonight’s public hearing at Garfield Community Center must sign up on sheets provided outside the entry of the Commons Area beginning at 4:30 p.m., but no later than 5 p.m. The Budget Committee hearing will be cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and webcast live at

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