A pathway to high-road employment: MLK Labor’s new union hiring hall
September 23, 2021
This past week, MLK Labor launched a groundbreaking digital hiring hall that will connect job-seekers with good, union jobs in King County. The project, which has been in development for months, will be run in partnership with the workforce development organization Partner in Employment (PIE).
“The Virtual Hiring Hall is designed to offer workers a pathway to high-road careers with a voice on the job while helping employers recruit and retain qualified workers,” explains Rigoberto Valdez, the Coordinator of the Presidents’ Organizing Initiative, which is leading this new project. “The Hiring Hall is a critical component of an equitable recovery from the COVID pandemic. This is a first-of-its-kind program that links underrepresented workers, community organizations, labor organizations, and employers in collaboration and coordination.”
The Hiring Hall is modeled off a model commonly used by unions in the construction trades but seeks to be adapted for a variety of types of work. The initial focus will be on the Downtown Seattle entertainment and retail core.
One of the first tasks of the new platform will be to fill hundreds of jobs at the soon-to-open Climate Pledge Arena.
“As new unionized employers and employers with union pathways, such as Climate Pledge Arena, seek to fill hundreds, sometimes thousands of jobs, our virtual hiring hall can provide a platform to recruit union workers into these high-road opportunities,” explains Nicole Grant, MLK Labor’s Executive Secretary-Treasurer. “We’re making union jobs, and thus better lives, more accessible to all.”
From its inception, the Hiring Hall project was developed with racial and gender equity front and center. By partnering with PIE, the Labor Council has the benefit of working with an organization with a longstanding focus on equity. The key measure of the success of the hiring hall will be opening doors for underserved communities to find work in the labor movement.
“As much as the hiring hall is an employment tool, it is an equity tool,” says Hien Kieu, Executive Director of Partner in Employment. “Historically, the best union jobs have not been accessible to women and people of color. We know that we need to do more to ensure equitable access to good family-supporting employment. That’s why we are excited to be part of this initiative.”
If you’re looking for immediate work, take a look at union-eligible job opportunities at Climate Pledge Arena: www.mlklabor.org/union-jobs/climate-pledge/
If you know of a union employer in King County who is not represented in MLK Labor’s hiring hall, let us know by filling out this form: forms.gle/dHVYZcuhZno96DCa7