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Beginning this year, new paid sick and safe leave law goes into effect

Commentary | January 10, 2018 | By Marilyn Watkins | Real Change

Without the protection of paid leave laws, workers in restaurants, retail and construction have been the least likely to have access to sick days, putting not only their own health at risk, but customers and coworkers as well.

Time to focus on retirement options

Commentary | December 13, 2017 | By John Burbank | Sequim Gazette

While millennials feel the gutting of the social contract in their inability to buy homes, older Americans are feeling it in their inability to retire. You have probably heard the outdated slogan that to retire, you need Social Security, personal savings and a pension. But now, most workers in our country don’t have much in savings, and traditional pensions have disappeared.

Want to Fight Sexual Harassment and Discrimination? Unionize.

Commentary | November 22, 2017 | By Marilyn Watkins | Seattle Weekly

Unions make a difference. When university employers fall short, unions give academic researchers a tool to address sexual misconduct and unequal treatment. An empowered workforce can deter arbitrary treatment, and this can help ensure long-term career stability—particularly for women and non-binary employees.

What if we leveraged our aerospace advantages?

Commentary | October 18, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Rather than just sit and watch Airbus put together its new C Series assembly in Alabama, our elected officials, the machinists union and the engineers union, SPEEA, could figure out a package for Airbus in our state.

Seattle’s retirement savings plan worth considering

Commentary | October 4, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Fewer than half of families have any kind of retirement plans. In Washington, that’s more than 2 million workers out of about 3.5 million. Fifty percent of workers aged 55 to 64 don’t have a retirement plan. About 3 out of 5 African-American workers don’t have a retirement plan.

Underfunding college shifts burden, debt to students

Commentary | September 20, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

It’s no surprise that higher education is getting more expensive in this country. But it might be a surprise that it doesn’t have to, if we’d fund education properly. Instead, we encourage students to make up for funding shortfalls with student loans, impeding their ability to buy a home, have children or save for their retirement.

A good education shouldn’t be a matter of wealth

Commentary | September 6, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

This segregated system of private and public schools undermines the sense of common purpose and common commitment to education. People who pay more than $30,000 a year for their kid’s private school have no interest in funding public education for the masses.

Labor Day is a Time for Coming Together

Commentary | September 2, 2017 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

Seattle and Washington State now have some of the most progressive labor laws in the country, with a higher minimum wage, a right to paid sick days, fair scheduling in Seattle, and in a couple years, paid family and medical leave for every worker in the state. Coalitions of community groups, labor unions, and working people came together with elected leaders to develop and enact these standards.

Burbank: Ryan’s tax-break offer will get a warm Boeing welcome

Commentary | August 23, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Boeing gets huge tax breaks in Washington. And it’s hemorrhaging jobs. Taxpayers are basically paying Boeing to lay people off. Paul Ryan is like the Big Bad Wolf trying to convince the Three Little Pigs that investing in a slaughterhouse will turn their fortunes around.

Dear New York: Thanks for Stealing Seattle’s Ideas in Taxing the Rich

Commentary | August 15, 2017 | By John Burbank | Huffington Post

It’s not the first time New York has copied us. Back in 2011, Seattle passed an ordinance mandating paid sick days for workers in our city. That ordinance became the template for New York City’s paid sick days law. Starbucks is the most popular coffee shop in Manhattan. And you’re starting to think polyamory is hip.

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