Elections by the Few or by the Many?
We’re seeing a disturbing pattern in recent years as small numbers of ultra-wealthy donors pour money into defeating key pro-worker, pro-science candidates and initiatives. For instance, in 2018, nine oil companies alone spent a record $30 million to defeat I-1631, which would have set a major precedent for climate justice legislation across the country. Earlier this year, independent expenditures (PACs) poured $72,000 to defeat UW graduate student and UAW 4121 member Emily Myers in her primary campaign for Seattle City Council.
Now, Amazon has poured an unprecedented $1.45 million into the Seattle City Council race in an effort to defeat a progressive slate of candidates, including Lisa Herbold, Andrew Lewis, Tammy Morales, Shaun Scott, and Dan Strauss. In particular, the pro-business PAC they’ve supported is targeting Kshama Sawant, a long-time champion of student employees and Postdocs at UW — and working people throughout Seattle.
We’ve endorsed the following pro-worker candidates for Seattle City Council:
- D1 Lisa Herbold
- D2 Tammy Morales
- D3 Kshama Sawant
- D4 Shaun Scott
- D5 Debora Juarez
- D6 Dan Strauss
- D7 Andrew Lewis
For more information about why we’ve endorsed these candidates, and for a list of all of our endorsements, click here.
Political Action Matters
We’ve worked together to fight on all fronts — at the bargaining table with UW Admin, at City Hall, in Olympia, in Washington DC — to support research, education, and equity for all workers. Elected champions make a difference on campus: like when Councilmember Sawant spearheaded a resolution in support of ASE bargaining, or when Councilmember Mosqueda hosted a forum Confronting Discrimination and Harassment during Postdoc bargaining. When we win, we set precedents that are realized nationwide. When we lose, we concede that a small number of ultra-wealthy operators can buy elections. No wonder the entire country is taking notice, including presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
What You Can Do
- Register to vote! You can register online until Monday 10/28 or in person through election day.
- Vote! Get your ballots in asap! Ballots are due November 5th at 8pm. You can drop in the mail (no stamp needed!) or in a ballot drop box. If you can’t find your ballot, get a replacement here.
- GOTV on Campus: We’re helping organize a ballot station on Red Square every weekday between October 28 and November 5. You can stop by to register, print a ballot, and turn it in right there! Seattle 350 Action will provide a scorecard showing candidate’s status on PAC money and climate change issues, and you’ll be able to sign the Seattle Green New Deal petition. To volunteer to help run the ballot station, sign up for a shift here!
- Contribute to our union’s political fund: If you’re eligible to vote in the U.S., consider contributing $1-$5 per month to VCAP (the UAW Voluntary Community Action Program). If we collectively raised an average of $1 per member per month for VCAP, we could begin to counter corporate spending and elect strong allies — ultimately also helping move legislation that will get corporate money out of politics altogether (in Seattle and nationally). Contribute to VCAP today!
- Canvass for candidates: Even if you aren’t eligible to vote, there are other important ways you can participate! When we talk directly to other voters we counter corporate money and forge stronger alliances with candidates so they will be accountable to members’ needs. We have an organized canvass for Dan Strauss (Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford area) this Sunday, Oct 27th at 1 pm at 1914 N 34th St, Seattle, WA 98103. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this and other canvassing opportunities.
- Table for Shaun Scott: The Scott campaign will be tabling outside the HUB about an hour a day starting Monday through election day. Email email@example.com for more information, or if you are interested in participating in Shaun Scott canvasses!
UAW Local 4121 Joint Council
Monica Cortés Viharo