Mayor Murray released the following statement today:
When President Lincoln issued the first proclamation calling for a national day of Thanksgiving, he called for the American people “with one heart and one voice” to give thanks for a year “filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.” As our families gather around the table to express thanks, we must remember that thousands of workers in our community and across the country, even on Thanksgiving, are forced to go to work and still struggle to make ends meet nonetheless.
Those workers are standing up for better jobs. I stand up with them.
I’m talking about folks like Cherie, who works at a Walmart in our area. She’s been working full time but still doesn’t make a living wage and struggles to put food on the table and a roof overhead.
I have heard from workers who fear retaliation from Walmart when they speak out, including Jared, who lives nearby. He has raised concerns about workplace safety, but says instead of addressing concerns, Walmart management has tried to silence him. There is no place in Seattle for employers who intimidate workers who speak out to improve working conditions.
On Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, many people who work hard and play by the rules still are depending on public assistance in our region and across the nation. Programs like Medicaid and food assistance are valuable public services, but they should never be used as a deliberate corporate strategy to keep labor costs low and support higher profits.
We’re charting a different course in Seattle. Our city has been working for better jobs and a better life for workers — paid sick leave, a higher minimum wage and improved protections from wage theft. These are the workplace policies that speak to our values and the spirit of the season.