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We must extend bargaining rights to legislative branch employees

OLYMPIA (Jan. 21, 2022) — This year, the Washington State Legislature has the opportunity to extend collective bargaining rights to the hard-working people who make the legislative process work at the State Capitol, but have been unfairly denied the right to join together and negotiate for better working conditions: legislative branch employees.

HB 1806 sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) and SB 5773 sponsored by Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell) would allow legislative aides, security, nonpartisan staff, and caucus staffers — the people behind the scenes at the State Capitol and other legislative offices — the freedom to choose whether they want to join together in unions and bargain for better wages and working conditions.

These important bills — which are strongly supported by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO — have public hearings early next week so NOW is the time to urge state lawmakers to extend this fundamental worker right to legislative branch employees.

TAKE A STAND — Here’s what you can do to make sure your Washington state legislators know you support these bills:

Sign in PRO on SB 5773 and sign in PRO on HB 1806. You can also call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs committee and House Labor & Workplace Standards committee members urging them to support SB 5773/HB 1806. If you like, you can submit written testimony on SB 5773 and on HB 1806 about why passing this legislation matters to you. Share your personal story, if you have one. And finally, share this information with at least five family members, friends, and/or co-workers so they can do the same!

SB 5773/HB 1806 don’t mandate or cost anything. They just gives these workers the option to collectively bargain, if they choose. And it’s important that this fundamental right is extended to ALL non-managerial legislative branch workers, as outlined in the legislation.

This is also about workplace equity. People in these jobs work long, irregular hours and can experience high turnover with many experienced BIPOC, poor and working-class workers leaving. The folks who make our state government function should be representative of our communities in Washington state, and that can be achieved if they have the same rights as millions of other public and private sector workers.

SB 5773 will be heard in the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee on Monday, Jan. 24 at 9:30 a.m. HB 1806 will get a hearing in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. (Watch them live on TVW.)

So make sure you take action TODAY to support these important bills.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!