Faith communities in South King County have a rich history of social justice and play a distinct role in lifting a moral voice to different injustices.
Thousands of workers from Seattle to South King County are making poverty wages in industries that are profiting by the millions. Workers struggle to support their families, while being subjected to hazardous working conditions and disempowerment on the job.
Puget Sound Sage convened a strong coalition of interfaith leaders from the region as a means of uplifting worker issues for the public, organizing support in faith communities, and helping build power in worker organizing.
The Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition has been influential in various campaigns to ensure the dignity and respect of all workers, including:
In 2009, Puget Sound Sage organized a Clean & Safe Ports coalition comprised of faith leaders, environmentalists, community members and non-profit leaders to support Port truck drivers by building power to address their safety, environmental and equity concerns.
Using a racial, economic and environmental justice lens, Sage developed education materials and a Port Toxics tour to educate and frame the issues for community allies.
In 2012, Sage recruited faith members from the Clean and Safe Ports Coalition to the newly formed campaign Airport Workers Justice campaign to address similar injustices at SeaTac Airport. The Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition (IEJC), which consists of interfaith leaders dedicated to economic justice, was officially formed.
Sage staffed and organized monthly interfaith airport campaign meetings as a way for faith participants to discuss current campaign information and ways that they could support and engage their communities. A strong coalition of interfaith leaders was essential to uplift worker issues for the public, organize support in faith communities, and help build power in worker organizing.
The partnership between workers and interfaith allies proved to be effective in building power in the faith communities of airport workers. In 2012, IEJC members organized a meeting with Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden after sending him a letter signed by over 50 faith leaders from Seattle to South King County.
In 2013, the IEJC started a Faithful Flyers for Justice campaign, a sign-on campaign to faith community members to support airport workers forming unions at the airport. Over 200 members of Faithful Flyers for Justice had signed on their support for SeaTac airport workers by the May 2013 Alaska Shareholders Meeting.
IEJC members, like Rev. Jan Bolerjack, became key spokespeople for the 2013 “Yes for SeaTac” campaign and played a critical role in uplifting worker stories with both their own communities and the media. Imams from the Abu Bakr mosque registered new voters at the mosque and made a DVD showing community members how to vote.
The campaign’s victory in November 2013 showed how systems of economic, racial and environmental oppression in industries can be challenged and changed when workers and faith community members work together.
Now convened by SEIU 6 and UniteHere Local 8, the Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition continues to raise a moral voice for worker injustices throughout King County.
Thousands of workers from Seattle to South King County are making poverty wages in industries that are profiting by the millions. Workers struggle to support their families, while being subjected to poor working conditions and disempowerment on the job.