UAW 4121, the union of 8,000 academic workers at the University of Washington, supports the first-in-the-nation ordinance to ban caste discrimination in Seattle, introduced by Councilmember Kshama Sawant with support from over fifty organizations, including our union siblings in the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU-CWA) and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) of the AFL-CIO. We demand that Seattle City Council Democrats vote YES on this ordinance without delays or watering down on Tuesday, February 21.

Caste, as a “structure of oppression that affects over 1 billion people across the world,” shapes workers’ living and working conditions across geographies, workplaces, sectors, and beyond. Working in tandem with other distinct apparatuses of systemic oppression on the basis of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and more, caste-based discrimination is deeply imbricated in, operationalized through, and exacerbated by global capitalism and imperialism.

As our workplaces across sectors such as higher education, tech, and more become increasingly enmeshed in these transnational circuits of capital and labor, we must attend to the ways that different entanglements of systemic oppression structure experiences within them.

UAW 4121 stands with the Dalit community organizers, labor organizers, and allies pushing for change across university campuses, Silicon Valley, and more, and we urge the City Council to join this movement by making Seattle the first city in the country to ban caste discrimination, setting a strong example for others nationwide.

Our labor movement depends on our power to unite in collective actions across divisions created by overlapping systems of oppression. We are proud to stand alongside Councilmember Sawant, AWU-CWA, APALA, Amnesty International, Socialist Alternative, Dr. Cornel West, and dozens of other community leaders and organizations in their support for this historic ordinance. We urge the MLK County Labor Council and the rest of our labor movement in Seattle to stand with us as well.


Feb 23_UAW 4121 demands that City Council vote YES on historic ordinance to ban caste discrimination in Seattle.docx