The MLK Labor Story

Older than the state of Washington, MLK Labor has consistently been a force for social and economic justice in King County.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. County Labor Council is the central body of labor organizations in King County, Washington. We are affiliated with the National AFL-CIO, the central labor organization in the United States, representing more than 13 million working people.

Our mission is to unify all labor organizations in King County to build power and strength for all workers.

History of MLK Labor

Founded in 1888 as the West Central Labor Union (WCLU), MLK Labor has organized workers and fought for improvements to the lives of working people for over 130 years. From the Seattle General Strike of 1919 to the civil rights movement to the $15/hour minimum wage, MLK Labor has played a transformational role in our region’s history.

Today, MLK Labor represents more than 150 unions and 100,000 workers. United, we are a voice for the interests and needs of working people in King County.

Who Runs MLK Labor

MLK Labor is a democratic, worker-run organization. Each affiliated union elects delegates to MLK Labor based on their size. Delegates meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 6 PM to vote on resolutions, endorsements, and other matters.
MLK Labor holds elections for Executive Board members, including Presidents, Vice President, and the top position of Executive Secretary-Treasurer every three years. The Board meets before each delegates meeting. Resolutions and political endorsements made by the board must be ratified by a vote of the delegates.

Our Work

Building Worker Power — History has shown that when workers of all types stand shoulder-to-shoulder for better pay, working conditions, and respect from their boss, they win. We organize workers and help them use collective action to improve the lives of themselves and their families.

Building Citizen Power — Our democracy is at its best when working families have a voice. We work to empower citizens to use their democratic voice to elect pro-worker candidates to public office and hold our elected representatives in check.

Building Consumer Power — The greatest progress happens when workers and businesses work together to benefit our community. We offer resources to inform and encourage our community to support businesses that treat workers with respect.

Our Mission

MLK Labor exists to unify all labor organizations in King County to build power and strength for all workers. We fundamentally value diversity and we are engaged in the fight to challenge bigotry in all forms. We support local unions and affiliated organizations to strengthen and grow as the best way to improve workers’ lives and our communities.

Our Core Responsibilities

MLK Labor helps workers and their unions build power and create better lives for themselves and their families. Our Core Responsibilities are:

  • Enacting and defending groundbreaking pro-worker policies
  • Electing pro-worker candidates to public office
  • Raising the bar for all workers to live a dignified life
  • Bringing the labor community together to share best practices
  • Supporting for new worker organizing campaigns to improve livelihoods

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