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Bellingham labor initiatives on November ballot

Bellingham labor initiatives on November ballot

Contractors who work in Bellingham should be aware of a couple of initiatives that will be on that city’s November ballot.

People First Bellingham, a coalition of Bellingham community activist groups, submitted four social-justice initiatives that will appear on Bellingham’s November ballot. Of particular interest to AGC and its members are Initiative #3: Protect the Right to Organize and Initiative #4: Fair Treatment of Hourly-Wage Employees and Gig Workers.

The group collected approximately a third more than the required 6,188 signatures from registered Bellingham voters. The Bellingham City Council had an option to consider whether the measures should be enacted into law or be placed on the November general election ballot to be decided by the voters, which is what they decided to do.

AGC’s local Government Affairs Committee (Whatcom County) will meet on August 25 to discuss the initiatives below which would impact employers doing work in the the City of Bellingham. Below are the details and links for the two labor related initiatives filed with the Whatcom County Auditor’s office for the November voters’ pamphlet.

Initiative #3: Protect the Right to Organize  

Concerns recipients using City funds to discourage unionization efforts

This measure would prohibit any person who receives City funds from using those funds to discourage unionization efforts by that person’s employees or any other employees, require recipients of City funds to segregate those funds, provide a safe harbor for non-managerial staff to engage in union protected activities, provide for administrative investigations of complaints, establish private enforcement actions, change the City’s contracting process, and allow the City to terminate contracts for violations of the prohibition.

Initiative #4: Worker’s Rights: Fair Treatment of Hourly-Wage Employees and Gig Workers

Concerns employee rights for hourly-wage employees and gig workers

This measure would require certain employers including construction to pay their employees a hazard pay supplement of $4 per hour during a declared State of Emergency; require employers to provide good faith estimates of weekly hours to new employees upon hire, require employers to provide work schedules to hourly-wage employees two-weeks in advance, require advance notice of any schedule changes, require employers to compensate employees for changing their work schedules without sufficient notice, and prohibit adverse actions by employers.

People First Bellingham is a coalition of partners including Whatcom Democratic Socialists of America, Jobs With Justice, Imagine No Kages, Riveters Collective, the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force and the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.

If you have questions on these initiatives, contact Northern District manager Lance Calloway.

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