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Seattle Solidarity ("SeaSol") is a volunteer network of working people who believe in standing up for our rights. Our goal is to support our fellow workers' strikes and struggles, build solidarity, and organize to deal with specific job, housing, and other problems caused by the greed of the rich and powerful.
Join us!  Let's fight to win.

Condo owners wake up to wage theft
Friday, 22 May 2015 17:07

Rise and shine, condo owners! Early Sunday morning, May 17, a dozen people gathered with SeaSol member Jose at the sleepy, silent Ballard Condominiums to raise a ruckus about the theft of Jose's wages. With whistles, vuvezelas, and pots and pans, we woke the residents up to the problem. Although some were upset with us, many also expressed support, promising to raise the issue with their condo association.

What's this condo building got to do with wage theft? José did nine days of cleaning and landscaping work for the Meniz Company as a day laborer. The owners of the company, Johnny and Victor Meniz, never paid him. They chose to steal his wages ($1,170) instead, as they had previously done to at least one other worker in 2012 (per a Washington State Labor & Industries citation against them).

Ballard Condominiums is one of the buildings Jose worked at. The building’s condo association paid condo-management company CWD. And CWD paid Meniz Company. But nobody has paid Jose yet, and he’s the one who did the cleaning and landscaping.

Condo residents: this is your wake-up call. No one sleeps in until Jose gets paid.

Fight Against Transgender Discrimination at Peoples Bank
Friday, 15 May 2015 15:24

Seasol is standing alongside member Lizzi in her fight against transphobia at Peoples Bank. Lizzi experienced blatant discrimination at the bank where she has an account. She and Seasol are demanding that Peoples Bank give its employees “Transgender 101” training in acceptance of transgender people as co-workers and customers.

In November, Lizzi called the bank to ask for her account balance. Shayna, the Peoples Bank employee on the other end of the line, refused, saying, “We have this [account] listed as ‘Lizzi ___, female.’” Although Lizzi correctly answered far more than the usual number of security questions, Shayna would not acknowledge that she was speaking to “Lizzi, female.”

Is it a "peoples bank" or only a Cis-Peoples Bank? This bank has been operating in Washington for a century, and three generations of the LeCoq family have served as its officers. Now it's time for Peoples Bank to live up to its name and do the right thing: show that it is learning how to treat transgender people justly and without discrimination.

It's not 1921 anymore. Join Seasol in telling Peoples Bank the news: it’s time for Peoples Bank to accept transgender sensitivity training from a skilled transgender advocacy group. Demand an end to transphobia!

Irwin LeCocq Sr, Peoples Bank President 1938 – 1969
Day laborer takes action after Meniz Co. steals wages
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 16:55

José did nine days of cleaning and landscaping work for the Meniz Company as a day laborer several months ago. The owners of the company, Johnny, Victor, and Oscar Meniz, hired him at a rate of $15/hr for a total of 78 hours. When the time came to pay José for his work, the Meniz brothers decided to steal his wages ($1,170) instead.

Frustrated, José contacted the Seattle Solidarity Network, who voted to take on his fight. We quickly found that the Meniz brothers have a history of abusing workers. The Meniz Company was cited by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for stealing overtime pay, deducting and pocketing extra money from worker paychecks, and writing workers bad checks in February of 2012. One of the brothers, Oscar, owns another business, already on the Labor and Industries contractor "strike list" for wage and hour violations. Clearly, the Meniz brothers have made a habit of greedily exploiting honest workers.

On Monday, December 22, José and a group of SeaSolers confronted Victor and Johnny Meniz at a coffee shop, demanding that José be paid in full. Both thieves were startled and confused as José confidently handed over the demand. We gave the Meniz brothers two weeks to pay up.

After two weeks, the bosses hadn't paid what they owed so SeaSolers put up posters exposing their deeds around the Meniz Company office at 5470 Shilshole Ave NW in Ballard. José and SeaSol are gearing up to take further direct action against the Meniz Company if they do not pay José's wages. If you're interested in helping or have questions, please contact SeaSol.

Seattle Solidarity Network Wins First Multi-Worker Strike!
Sunday, 21 September 2014 22:48

The owners of La Lot restaurant in downtown Seattle didn't last long. Hien, Jeff, and SeaSol are proud to announce that, as of September 1st, La Lot management agreed to meet all of the demands set forth at the start of the strike! This means announcing a policy whereby all tips are distributed to workers, not to bosses, and restoration of Hien to her regular work schedule.

The La Lot strike began after Hien, a server at La Lot, asked management to stop stealing workers' tips. A reasonable enough request, it would seem, but her boss responded by drastically cutting her hours. Unable to survive on her dramatically reduced wages, and unwilling to accept such a glaring injustice, she started talking to her coworkers about fighting back. After some less-than-promising conversations with state and local government entities, Hien and her fellow worker, Jeff, contacted SeaSol to talk about a direct action campaign.

On August 7th, Hien, Jeff, and over 50 SeaSol members marched into La Lot and delivered a letter containing the workers' demands and announcing that Hien and Jeff were on strike against unfair labor practices. Almost immediately, three other workers, who were afraid to join the fight but also unwilling to work during a strike, left the job. Management's attempts to soften the impact of the strike by asking other workers to take extra shifts were unsuccessful.

By August 11th, after just one small flyering action, La Lot's owner was openly expressing concern about the impact of the strike on their business. They asked for a suspension of the campaign while they negotiated to end the strike. After two days of talks, however, it was clear that they were not serious about meeting Hien's and Jeff's demands. Pickets continued during La Lot's happy hours and lunch rush periods, doing increasingly serious economic damage. The number of customers during lunch was often cut in half, while the restaurant was nearly empty during happy hours.

After two more weeks of actions, La Lot's owner contacted SeaSol on August 27th to announce that she was ready to meet all of Hien's and Jeff's demands. Starting at the beginning of the next work week, managers and owners would no longer be entitled to any of the servers' tips, and Hien would be restored to a schedule with the same number of hours she was working prior to the events that led to the strike.

This is a major victory for the workers at La Lot and for SeaSol. The outcome of the strike obviously improves conditions for workers and serves as a potent demonstration of their power as an organized force. It is also a milestone in SeaSol history, as our first strike involving multiple workers. We hope this is the start of a trend of organizing larger numbers of workers to fight for their rights against their bosses. Just as important, this fight was not only about recovering stolen wages, but also about allowing the striking workers to return to work after the strike.

As we celebrate this exciting victory, we remain mindful that the working class' struggle against exploitation always goes on. Make sure you are signed up to receive updates from SeaSol, and keep up to date on this and other opportunities to support struggles by brave workers standing up for their rights!

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