In a show of support and solidarity, Seattle mayoral candidate Jessyn Farrell rallied with I-124 advocates and organizers from UNITE HERE! Local 8 Tuesday afternoon, extolling the benefits of the initiative and the protections it extends to hospitality workers across the city.
Passing by 77 percent, I-124 was a major victory at the polls, also known as the Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative.
Jessyn was joined by numerous hotel workers represented by the union to celebrate the initiative, which took effect in November, 2016, and was recently upheld in King County court after a challenge from the city’s hospitality industry. I-124 sets new workplace safety standards and protections for hotel workers who are susceptible to sexual harassment and assault and workplace injury.
The hotel industry has challenged the validity of I-124 in court, attempting to overturn the initiative. Despite this, Jessyn has vowed to remain on the side of hotel workers and uphold I-124. Her commitment to the initiative won the union’s endorsement and support.
With the Hotel Association appeal before the State Supreme Court and rulemaking still pending at the Office of Labor Standards, the stakes in this election for hotel workers and for the future of Initiative 124 couldn’t be higher,” said Sarah Warren, VP, UNITE HERE Local 8 to the gathered members. “Our union has endorsed Jessyn Farrell because we believe that she can provide that leadership. With a track record of fighting for working women, she has the values, skills, and spine to stand up to those in the City who believe in ‘guests rights’ over the rights of housekeepers to go to work without fear of harassment, assault or injury.”
Lucia Flugencio, an immigrant, single mother, and hospitality worker also proclaimed her support for both Jessyn and the initiative, stating:
“Jessyn Farrell believes immigrant workers like me deserve protection from sexual harassment at work. Jessyn Farrell believes immigrant workers like me deserve to have safe and fair workloads. Jessyn Farrell believes that the mayor’s responsibility is to call on these companies, our bosses, to drop their lawsuit and follow the law passed by 77 percent of Seattle voters. In contrast, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect one of her opponents.”
Farrell has a long history protecting workers’ rights as a three-term legislator from North Seattle. Jessyn chaired the Working Families Caucus in the State Legislature and devoted her time there to advancing the causes that matter most to working families: better pay, workplace protections, sick and family leave, social justice, and the right to organize. She was also a leader on legislation to improve paid sick and family leave, increase the minimum wage, and ensure that workplaces can’t discriminate against women with pay secrecy policies.
Jessyn received the sole endorsement of UNITE HERE! Local 8 on July 11 after signing a letter circulated to the major mayoral candidates urging the hotel industry’s to drop their appeal of the initiative, something five of the six major candidates signed.