Seattle, Washington - A recently obtained letter reveals further fallout from the Snoqualmie Tribe’s exposing the Seattle-based land conservancy Forterra of misleading the tribe and the federal government in obtaining a grant worth up to $20 million. Last week, 78 Forterra staff members issued a letter expressing their support for Snoqualmie Tribe risking their careers. Now, LRI has obtained by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation that calls for the, “Replace[ment] (of) Forterra’s executive team with an experienced team that can restore trust with partners.” The letter further states, “Communications to the Hilltop community and recent letters from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Forterra’s CEO, and former Forterra employees reveal misrepresentation and plans that were never intended to be delivered on to begin with.Seattle, Washington - A recently obtained letter reveals further fallout from the Snoqualmie Tribe’s exposing the Seattle-based land conservancy Forterra of misleading the tribe and the federal government in obtaining a grant worth up to $20 million. Last week, 78 Forterra staff members issued a letter expressing their support for Snoqualmie Tribe risking their careers. Now, LRI has obtained by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation that calls for the, “Replace[ment] (of) Forterra’s executive team with an experienced team that can restore trust with partners.” The letter further states, “Communications to the Hilltop community and recent letters from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Forterra’s CEO, and former Forterra employees reveal misrepresentation and plans that were never intended to be delivered on to begin with.
Seattle, Washington - Six thousand Seattle educators walked out on strike September 7, which would have been the first day of school. The top issue was the district’s proposal—disguised in social justice language—to end student-teacher ratios for many categories of special education. Also key were struggles over class size, cuts to services, and wages, especially for substitutes and paraprofessionals, who often work most closely with students with disabilities. Late in the day September 12 the bargaining teams announced a tentative agreement, but provided only a summary to members. On September 13, after eight hours of meeting on Zoom, members voted 57 to 43 percent to suspend the strike, even though they still hadn't seen the entire deal. They had voted before the strike to stay out until members approved a contract.
Six thousand teachers and support staff in Seattle, Washington began a strike this morning, cancelling the first day of classes for 50,000 students in the state’s largest school district. The walkout followed a 95 percent vote by teachers, paraprofessionals and office workers to authorize strike action. The Seattle Education Association (SEA) did everything it could to reach a last-minute deal but was unable to prevent a strike. Union officials have pledged to continue talks to reach an agreement to bring teachers “back to the classrooms as fast as possible.” The union also dropped its initial opposition to the district’s demands for the intervention of a mediator.
Teachers and librarians at Seattle Colleges in AFT local 1789 are fighting for a “Thriving Wage,” open negotiations, and a democratic and transparent union. They are beginning contract negotiations with the college administration on Feb. 8. Seattle Colleges include North, South and Central College, which are all part of the former community college system. “Community” was dropped from their name when they started offering four-year degrees. On Feb. 7, at Seattle Central College, they rallied to raise their demands. Dozens of members came out and many more joined on Zoom. The rally was organized by a grassroots group of union members. One key demand is open negotiations. This would allow all members to watch and listen to the contract bargaining and to put maximum pressure on the administration.
As the omicron-fueled fifth wave of COVID-19 disrupts schools, grocery stores, airports, and hospitals, construction across King County has come to a standstill as well, albeit for different reasons. For nearly eight weeks now, drivers and workers have been striking at Gary Merlino Construction and the region’s five major concrete suppliers. As a result, many of Puget Sound’s largest construction projects — including affordable housing and the Federal Way Link light rail extension project in the South End — are now on hold. After their previous labor contracts expired in July and months of stalled negotiations fell flat, the strike began on Nov. 19, when 34 dump truck drivers at Gary Merlino Construction set up picket lines at their facilities in Renton and South Park.
While the City of Seattle swept her home at Ballard Commons, an unhoused woman cried out to the city workers, mutual aid groups, and other community members packing up the park. “Why don’t they come up with a solution that actually makes sense?” she said of the city. “Put people indoors. Do they think we want to be out here in the middle of winter? No! We’re not crazy.” That was three weeks ago. It was 40 degrees that day. Monday, Dec. 27, the city shivered under a high of 23 degrees, the coldest day in 31 years. The risk associated with hypothermia in the cold weather was greater than the risk of contracting COVID-19, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. That afternoon, Dr. Stephen Morris, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UW Medicine, told the Seattle Times that Harborview Medical Center saw one cold weather-related death, two “critically ill” patients, and approximately six people admitted for hypothermia.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Westlake Park in Seattle on the afternoon of July 24 for the Healthcare Equity March. This was the most recent of a series of protests centered around Kaloni Bolton, a 12-year-old Black girl who died tragically at the beginning of this year as a result of medical negligence. The protests have been organized by Kaloni’s family and local organization Decolonizing Science, who Kaloni’s mother and aunt Kristina Williams and Francis Bowman say have been very helpful in bringing people out. Williams and Bowman spoke with Liberation News to bring attention to Kaloni’s story. On December 29, 2020, Kaloni’s older sister brought her to the Renton Landing Urgent Care clinic in Renton, Washington, run by Valley Medical Center of University of Washington Medicine.
On May 15, the families of missing and murdered Indigenous people and their supporters gathered in Seattle from around the North West for a day of prayer and action for “Justice for MMIP families.”
The Seattle City Council unanimously voted Monday to guarantee free legal counsel to poor tenants facing eviction, a system similar to the right to representation already enshrined in the country’s criminal courts. In passing the measure, members of the council hope to keep as many people in their current homes as possible and avoid the devastating and expensive downstream consequences — including homelessness — that often follow when someone is forcibly removed from where they live. "This legislation will not enough be itself and we know that we need a lot more," said Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who originally proposed the legislation. "We know that eviction destroys communities, wrecks households and even kills."
December 16, 2020 - Seattle Police appeared to be a no-show for a planned homeless encampment sweep at Cal Anderson Park, as the rain started to fall on a cold December afternoon. Activists built an elaborate series of barricades around the central part of Cal Anderson Park, encompassing the Shelter House and blocking sections of 11th Ave and Nagle Place. Protesters took inspiration from Red House on Mississippi in Portland with their ongoing action to prevent the homeless sweep. As dawn rose over Seattle, spirits were high as mutual aid fed the unhomed and activists. Someone set off a firework in the early morning hours, creating tension in the encampment.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is pledging $100 million from the city’s general fund to invest in communities of color. But where is that money going to go? And who is going to advise the mayor’s office on how it should be spent? Sean Goode, the executive director of Choose 180, a local organization that provides alternatives to incarceration for young people, was asked to be part of the task force that will look into how this money should be spent. He has since declined the invitation.
After a summer of explosive demonstrations that saw protesters take over several city blocks for weeks, the Seattle City Council approved a budget “revision” package on Monday that will cut $3 million from the police budget and eliminate up to 100 positions from the department. The move both fell far short of the demands of activists, and was so forcefully opposed by the city’s establishment that the police chief resigned almost immediately. Seattle police chief Carmen Best wrote a letter to members of the department announcing her retirement late Monday, effective September 2.
A federal judge late Friday halted the implementation of a Seattle ban on police use of tear gas, pepper spray and other so-called less lethal weapons used for crowd control. His decision gives more latitude to law enforcement to use the tools ahead of what could be a weekend of protests, as federal agents arrive in Seattle with the stated orders of protecting federal property. A separate court injunction against use of the crowd control weapons remains in place, although that order allows for their targeted and limited deployment in certain circumstances.
The Tax Amazon movement and Seattle’s working class won a historic victory on Monday, July 6. Following a three year struggle against the richest man in the world – Jeff Bezos – and his political establishment, we’ve won a tax on big business in the Seattle City Council that will raise an estimated $210-240 million a year, creating tens of thousands of green union jobs by building permanently affordable social housing. This victory was entirely due to the power of our movement and our threat to take the Amazon Tax to the ballot if the City Council failed to act. This offensive win is a historic example of the power of class struggle, and it could not come at a better time. Cities and states across the country are pushing extreme austerity budgets in response to the pandemic-triggered budget shortfalls as we enter into another deep crisis of capitalism.
There are examples of where occupying a piece of land has resulted in success. It involves taking control of real property and that property is not critical to the needs of another community. It literally moves a protesting groups’ objective from being against a number of social and political existing conditions to wanting a real physical object in order to better mobilize a community to change those conditions. It moves from controlling an open public space, which may have little or no connection to directly addressing their grievances, to controlling a particular building to help them pursue those grievances. By making that change, leadership and an organization are required to focus on a finite, measurable, and achievable goal.