There’s too much at stake to sit this one out

Young workers: We need to vote like the well-being of our fellow workers depends on it



(Aug. 1, 2022) — It’s election season. Ballots are in your mailbox, your recycle bin is filling up with mailers, and the phrase “most important election of our lives” is giving you an eye twitch.

And still, you’re not sure it’s worth spending your limited free time filling out and sending in a ballot.

Look, I get it. I was born in the ’90s — the defining political moments of my generation are the war on terror and the 2008 collapse of our financial system, both of which ravaged working communities while the people in power pretty much skated. Workers my age are staring down predatory rental markets, major housing shortages, stagnating wages, more debt than our parents — all against the backdrop of a rapidly worsening climate crisis. Being excoriated to VOTE for the sake of voting is perhaps the most out of touch thing you could say to most young people. (OK, maybe it’s tied with “eating avocado toast is why you can’t afford a house.”)

I’ll be honest: I didn’t vote in the 2020 Presidential election. Don’t get me wrong, I voted in every race down ballot. But personally, I have problems with parts of Biden’s record and I knew Washington state would go blue no matter who. I could sit it out, and it wouldn’t matter.

That is not the case with the 2022 election. There are real, specific reasons why we cannot sit this election out.

Nationally, your vote could be the difference between a Democratic controlled Senate or putting Mitch McConnell — the architect of our disastrously politicized Supreme Court, among other dubious accomplishments — back in power. It could mean the difference between sending representatives to D.C. who want to fight for workers, or keeping in office congresswomen who instead use their considerable power to bash trans kids and queer folks. In Washington state, your vote could be the difference between Democratic control of the State House and increased protection for workers’ rights and reproductive rights — or anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ, anti-women politicians doing their best to dismantle the support systems we have fought so hard to create.

Voting is not a universal salve for all our ills. But electing politicians who will fight for workers in the halls of power is essential for creating the conditions that we need to build power for working people at the bargaining table and in the street.

As waves of regressive national news crash over us here in our Northwest corner, I know many of us feel protected by the blue wall we’ve come to see as unbreakable. But that blue wall is not assured. And the consequences of that wall eroding — for workers, for immigrants, for queer folks, for people who can become pregnant, for disabled folks — are disastrous.

This is what’s at stake for us here in Washington. We need to defend workers’ rights to collectively organize. We need to strengthen access to reproductive care for Washingtonians, and people who travel here. We need to ensure access to unemployment for the working people who keep Washington running, regardless of immigration status. We need to defend our queer siblings and community members from degrading attacks on their very existence. And we need to act now to combat climate collapse while there is still time, carefully threading the needle to ensure that work isn’t done on the backs of working people.

All this is only possible if we maintain and grow pro-worker majorities.

Electoral politics will not save us. But radical solidarity with our fellow workers just might. It is in that spirit that I urge you to vote — like the well-being of your fellow workers depends on it.

The primary is August 2. Drop off your ballot before 8 p.m. Tuesday for your vote to be counted. You can find a full list of WSLC endorsements here and ballot drop box locations here.


Sarah Tucker is the Digital Organizer for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

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