Labor Stands for Kids
In our training we teach that “power” is the ability to act. It’s the ability to get things done. There are two major ways to get big things done - with a lot of people or a lot of money - and in the Sound Alliance, our power is people power.
One outstanding example of this theory in action comes from the Martin Luther King County Labor Council and local Building Trades unions who are member institutions of the Sound Alliance.
Leaders of the Labor Council hosted a Sound Alliance Best Starts for Kids briefing this summer at their monthly delegate meeting. Part of that briefing is a role play to help participants understand how the whole community suffers when our society allows children to be abused, neglected, or subjected to serious household dysfunction. These children grow up with increased risk for incarceration, serious mental illness, chronic disease, and other avoidable tragic outcomes. Many delegates had direct experiences through their work helping children who had gone through these experiences, or grew up seeing other families who struggled with these issues, or who even lived through these situations themselves. They all felt like it was very important to not let this happen to other children whenever possible. The delegates officially voted to endorse Best Starts for Kids, which funds early intervention and prevention strategies that have a proven record of reducing these bad outcomes.
But this “endorsement” wasn’t just empty words:
Council leaders asked their State Federation to allow them to include Best Starts for Kids information in already-scheduled neighborhood canvass and phone bank sessions. This resulted in two to three thousand voters receiving Best Starts for Kids mailers at their door or receiving the message on their phone! In addition, five thousand union members received Best Starts for Kids information as part of a weekly email bulletin.
Recently, Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the King County Labor Council and Dale Bright, President of the King County Labor Council and Political Director of Laborers 242 jointly led teams who visited construction sites to talk to Building Trades union members. They visited the Amazon construction site where 300 workers are currently building a massive tower in South Lake Union, and also the Lincoln Square Expansion in Bellevue where 200 workers are building a large mixed-use development. These 500 union workers were reminded that their ballots should have arrived already in the mail - and they were specifically asked to support Best Starts for Kids.
“It’s been really positive! Who could be against kids?” said Dale Bright, President of the King County Labor Council and Political Director of Laborers Local 242.
Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Labor Council says this about her organization’s involvement in Best Starts for Kids:
“The issues that Best Starts for Kids tackles affect every single family in the labor movement. There is no one in the labor movement who doesn’t have a family member, friend or neighbor who is struggling with issues such as mental health, domestic violence, or chronic disease. The labor movement is about quality of life, and this campaign is about making sure that our members and families have true quality of life.”
Thank you again to Nicole Grant, Dale Bright, and everyone at the Martin Luther King County Labor Council for your stellar efforts to inform voters about Best Starts for Kids!
In all, the Martin Luther King County Labor Council will inform six thousand to nine thousand of their members. That’s real power. That’s union power. That’s power for the Common Good.