The following is a statement from Partnership for Working Families Executive Director Nikki Fortunato Bas:
Yesterday, like many of you, I grieved for our country and for those we hold dear. We now face a future in which our previous victories may be dismantled, while hatred and scapegoating of our communities become the norm.
But today is a new day. It’s a day to begin a different kind of organizing demanded by these dangerous times when racism and misogyny are no longer boiling under the surface but brutally exposed and overt. The oppression and threats of violence to our black, brown, immigrant, Muslim and queer friends, family and neighbors is part of our country’s legacy. We reject it as our future. To our communities, we say: we see you and we will defend you.
Over nearly a decade of organizing, we have seen the power our communities have when we stand up together. Through powerful coalitions we have united immigrant workers, union members, communities of color, environmentalists, people of faith, young people and women to win change.
Our national movement must be home to the many whom the economy has left behind and to those who have been unjustly blamed and dehumanized. And this movement must begin at home, where we live, where we work and among those we touch each day. We invite you to join us as we organize, fight and refuse to back down.
Today, let’s be sure to care for one another. Let’s recognize that while many have chosen hate, still more raised their voices for important wins on Tuesday. Here are five victories from the election that show what is possible when we organize together:
#5 Seattle improves the safety of hotel workers.
Voters supported requiring hotels to provide panic buttons to prevent sexual assault and other protections at work. The law requires hotels to help cover staff’s healthcare costs, limit workloads and protect workers’ jobs when a hotel changes hands. Congratulations Puget Sound Sage.
#4 Northern California acts to curb soaring rents.
In Oakland, voters passed an initiative that makes raising rent and unjust evictions harder. Santa Clara County voters approved the largest affordable housing investment ever in the South Bay. Congratulations EBASE and WPUSA.
#3 Voters stand on the side of climate justice and communities of color.
Washington voters defeated a “revenue-neutral” carbon tax signaling support for a future fee that would invest in clean energy, good jobs and disadvantaged communities. Seattle, Atlanta and Santa Clara County voted to expand funding, and therefore access, to public transit. Congratulations Puget Sound Sage, Georgia STAND-UP, and WPUSA.
#2 San Jose wins the opportunity for workers to get more hours.
San Jose approved a ballot measure that requires employers to offer existing qualified part-time employees the opportunity to work more hours before the business can hire new part-time staff. That makes San Jose the fourth city to win an hour and scheduling related fight. Congratulations WPUSA.
#1 Colorado and Arizona both raised their minimum wage.
Two big wins came out of the Four Corners yesterday. In Colorado, voters approved a $12 an hour minimum wage hike by 2020. In Arizona, voters did the same and topped it by making paid sick days a right. Congratulations FRESC and CASE.
While there is no denying that we face scary, uncertain and challenging times, we must recognize the power we have to move forward together. Let’s roll up our sleeves to organize together like never before.
- CASE | Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy
- EBASE | East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
- FRESC: Good Jobs, Strong Communities
- GA STAND-UP | Georgia Strategic Alliance for New Directions and Unified Policies
- Puget Sound Sage
- The Partnership for Working Families
- WPUSA | Working Partnerships USA