The Hellhole – Week of 6/3

7 minute read

Frye Art Museum Workers Form a Union Workers at the Frye Art Museum formed a union and demanded recognition from the museum’s Board of Trustees last Friday. Councilmember Kshama Sawant … Read more

Frye Art Museum Workers Form a Union

Workers at the Frye Art Museum formed a union and demanded recognition from the museum’s Board of Trustees last Friday. Councilmember Kshama Sawant and District 4 candidate Shaun Scott (both Seattle DSA-endorsed) stood in solidarity with the museum’s workers and spoke in defense of organizing to preserve dignity and to improve conditions at work:

The workers organized for very simple reasons: low-wages, unpredictable hours, and unaffordable benefits mean that many simply can’t afford to keep working there and still afford to live in Seattle. The Art Workers Union joins other institutional arts workers from SFMOMA to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to organize for a better life.

Like the Anchor Steam Brewery Union, the workers of the AWU got help from their local DSA Workers Organizing Collective. Want to fight back against your oppressive employer? Stop by any Wednesday and learn the ropes.  

If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, please consider supporting the Art Workers Unions solidarity fund.

Airline food workers nationwide prepare to strike. Mechanics may be next.

Unite Here! Local 8 members as well as their fellow airport food service workers across the country are preparing to strike. This comes as inflection point for labor as flight attendants, cab/ride-share drivers, and surrounding colleagues take back control of their workplaces. Labor realizes it has room to perform a chokehold on capital and that it is an impactful point of leverage.

TWU-IAM, which formed after US Airways and American Airlines merged in 2013, says workers are likewise considering a massive strike & shutdown. According to In These Times:

Workers are desperately trying to avoid what’s called a “self-help” situation under the Railway Labor Act. That means the company would be able to force employees into a contract without union approval if the government condones it.

To heck with that!

Solidarity is a force stronger than gravity, as Sara Nelson — President of the Association of Flight Attendants — once said. Keep an eye out to help support workers, many from the immigrant diasporas of southern King County. Airlines aren’t above locking employees in their job sites.

Medicare for All. Not just when it’s profitable.

San Juan will lose its only insurer next year. Kaiser Permanente Washington is pulling out of San Juan county in 2020. This further cements the fact that the market cannot guarantee coverage to everyone, not even on a paltry current level. From the start of this year, many counties had insurer monopolies or no insurers. Look at these maps, sourced from current 2019 data.

It’s not enough to promise “access” to care. Washingtonians have “access” to housing but most can’t afford Seattle prices. There’s “access” to hospital care but many parents go without coverage or forgo treatment due to cost even if they have the private sector insurance. As our Medicare for All folks often bring up, 30¢ of every dollar spent on healthcare goes to insurance companies. Even if there were more competition, it would be insufficient because healthcare is not a commodity, it should be a right.

A better world awaits. Medicare for All is being championed in the House by Seattle’s own Representative Jayapal and in the Senate by DSA-endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders. No deductibles. No confusing cost-share. No denials. Guaranteed, fully-funded abortion by repealing the Hyde amendment. Transgender coverage from depression/gender dysphoria counseling to hormones to surgery. It’s not perfect — but it’s on the road to fixed.

Note: The Seattle Hellhole represents the views of its writers and does not represent official positions of Seattle DSA at large. Its writers are a collective working on independent pieces, editing, and design to deliver this each week. If you want to volunteer, join us in #wg_comms_design on Slack or email [email protected]