Today is Labor Day, and we're taking a moment to look back at the struggles and victories of working people who organized for change this past year.

EMTs Fight for a Fair Wage

On August 13, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan to require better pay for emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Currently the City only directly employs firefighters and medics, but contracts out for EMTs, who are paid by the ambulance company American Medical Response, Inc. The working people who drive the ambulances that we all rely on in medical emergencies are making only $15 an hour, less than a burger cook at Dick's Burgers.

"Blatant Pregnancy Discrimination"

A Snohomish woman is asserting her rights after being fired for being pregnant. Kameisha Denton was fired from Mike's Jersey Subs in Marysville by a text message in which the manager cited her pregnancy as the reason she was being fired. Under Washington law, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their pregnancy. The manager has since been fired, and the owner has offered Denton her job back, but she wants to fight the injustice in court. By telling her story, Kameisha has helped raise awareness that Washington workers have the right to keep their jobs when pregnant.

Housekeepers Get Protections Written into Law

Graph of higher rates of sexual harassment reported by housekeepers

In May this year, we covered the ultimately successful organizing by women, largely Latina, who work in hospitality trades for protection from sexual assault and injury. Initiative 124 provides protection from sexual assault and harassment for hotel housekeepers. It also requires that hotels have proper health care coverage to protect workers from injury. When we initially told the story of these brave women, The Office of Labor Standards had yet to actually implement the protections over a year later. The rules were finally implemented for this law in July.

Eric Bronson

Eric Bronson is the Digital Advocacy and Engagement Manager at YWCA. He manages the Firesteel blog in addition to its social media streams and action initiatives. A graduate of Oberlin College, Eric focuses on the intersection of race and gender within the American political economy.


We tell the stories of those with lived experiences of racism and sexism and invite supporters to take concrete actions to correct the root causes of disparity in our communities.

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Tue, 09/04/2018 - 11:08
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