Seattle city workers fight for wages

Over 1,000 city workers rallied on the steps of City Hall Sept. 20 to demand an improved union contract. Sixteen unions in the Coalition of City Unions (CCU), representing 6,000 workers, took part. It was a huge manifestation of the workers who keep the city running every day. These workers are fighting for a new contract that includes provisions for safety, racial justice and a pay boost.

After bargaining all year with the unions, the city increased its offer for a cost of living wage from 1% to only 2.5%. Workers considered this offer a huge insult, as they suffered under a cost of living increase of 8.7% this year alone. 

Billionaire bosses have opened up a huge wealth gap between the titans of finance and industry and the working class. The Chamber of Commerce members are the big bosses backing the mayor and City Hall. Some 42.9% of the workforce can’t afford to live in the city they serve, according to the CCU.

Among those who keep the city running are parks and recreation workers, transportation workers, librarians, City Light workers at Seattle’s electric utility, court workers, firefighters and many others.

After an hour of rallying, workers started taking over Fourth Avenue in front of City Hall. When the speakers finished, the workers marched down to City Center/Westlake Center, chanting, “Who’s got the power? We’ve got the power! What kind of power? Union power!”

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