Dear UAW Member,
Tonight, in a four hour meeting, the King County Labor Council debated and took a vote on the removal of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) from the council. In accordance with our unanimous vote to support this proposition at our last membership meeting, we voted in solidarity with unions across King County to officially remove SPOG. With 55.3% of represented union members in favor of removal (44.7% opposed), the motion passed and SPOG will be expelled from the labor council.
This is a historic step, particularly given that only two years ago, our union was among few in the local labor community willing to speak out against a SPOG contract that flouted basic accountability measures demanded by the community. Today’s win helps advance calls we have already joined to defund police and invest in community services, and ensures that SPOG will no longer have the cover of the labor movement to hide behind — whether during future contract negotiations or otherwise. Combined with important strides made earlier this week to ban police use of chemical weapons, “crowd-control” devices, and chokeholds, it’s clear that our community’s massive protest efforts are working.
However important tonight’s win is, we cannot let it be the end of the conversation. Removing SPOG from the Labor Council does not by itself resolve the structural roots of anti-Blackness that policing is built on, in Seattle or elsewhere. And it does not change the fact that the SPOG contract is still out of compliance with the consent decree and key measures community leaders have been demanding for years.
These changes are too long overdue. We cannot wait any longer. We are committed to continuing to fight with a growing coalition of labor unions to ensure that SPOG and the Mayor’s office are no longer able to evade accountability. For instance, consistent with the resolution passed by MLK Labor earlier this month, we call for the immediate commencement of bargaining between the City of Seattle and SPOG, “to ensure contracts are in place that allow for the full realization of the reforms established in 2017 accountability ordinance.”
We are proud to work in solidarity with so many unions across King County to continue these fights in the movement to end police brutality and racial injustice, and to invest in community solutions to safety and wellbeing. Momentum is rising for real structural change — we just have to keep it up.
To get more involved with our union’s work on these issues, both in the broader community and at UW, join the Anti-Discrimination Working Group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monica Cortés Viharo