Resolution to Root Out Racism at King County

November 4, 2021

WHEREAS, MLK Labor has passed resolutions committing our labor organizations to confront racism on the job, in our workplaces, and within our movement; and

WHEREAS MLK Labor Council functions as the collection of over 100,000 union members and one of the largest employers within our Council is King County itself with over 14,000 workers; and

WHEREAS, as stated in King County’s Strategic Plan on Equity and Social Justice, the County is to ‘build a pro-equity organization and workplace culture for every employee-driven by a racially just and culturally responsive workforce at all levels.’ 

 WHEREAS workers of color in King County worksites are facing daily discrimination on the job and retaliation when they raise complaints about discrimination; and

WHEREAS Black, Latino, and queer employees shared testimony of threats, harassment, and racism at three rallies with union members and community partners held between July and October 2020, as well as a September 2020 KUOW in-depth report on extreme racism facing Black King County Correction officers. 

WHEREAS the demands raised by the “Root Out Racism at King County and Beyond” campaign, launched in 2020 by Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS), amplified the need to address racial threats and harassment raised by King County workers

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that MLK Labor will convene King County Labor Unions to address these issues and provide leadership, support, and resources. This organizing committee of unions will work with MLK Labor partners, such as the MLK Labor affinity groups and OWLS to elevate the voices of union members of color at the County and create a list of demands for the employer that may include the following as determined by the organizing committee:

  • The employer must develop a cohesive system to respond to racism in the form of threats, harassment, discrimination, bigotry, and retaliation in a timely fashion. This system should be developed in collaboration with the employer’s labor partners to ensure transparency and efficacy. 
  • The employer will collaborate with labor partners to establish an independent office to provide response and restitution to employees who have filed complaints of racism without satisfactory resolution. 
  • The employer and King County Unions will establish a regular meeting schedule to discuss the list of demands and ongoing work to root out racism. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that MLK Labor agrees with and will strive to support in collaboration with King County Unions the message from King County’s statement on equity (from the Children and Youth Advisory Board in KC) that: 

  • Equity is an ardent journey toward well-being as defined by the affected
  • Equity demands sacrifice and redistribution of power and resources in order to break systems of oppression, heal continuing wounds, and realize justice
  • To achieve equity and social justice, we must first root out deeply entrenched systems of racism
  • Equity proactively builds strong foundations of agency, is vigilant for unintended consequences, and boldly aspires to be restorative
  • Equity is disruptive and uncomfortable and not voluntary
  • Equity is fundamental to the community we want to build

AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that MLK Labor will push King County as one of the largest and most influential public employers to lead other employers in advancing these and other actions to uplift racial equity and social justice within King County workplaces and beyond.

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