Housing Justice Now: Deposit Reform PASSES!

We’ve been pushing for months for the Seattle City Council to address the exorbitant move-in costs landlords charge tenants. In a housing report we published, high move-in costs were listed as the top barrier to finding affordable housing.

Monday, the Seattle City Council approved the bill that will put a cap on move-in fees and allow renters to pay installments. This is a huge win for Washington CAN! and for Seattle’s low-income communities and communities of color. We are so grateful for our members who stood in front of the council and put a face to this problem as they told their stories of rental struggles.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant championed this bill and her tireless efforts to push it through were admirable. The unanimous vote by council members sent a great message to the city that they recognize the housing crisis that’s happening now and they are here to do their part.

This bill goes into effect in 2017. We will have more details on how it will be enforced and what renters should know.

What the media is saying:

Seattle Times: City Council approves limits on renters’ move-in costs, taking aim at housing crisis

The Stranger: Your Next Landlord May Be Required to Offer You a Payment Plan for Deposits and Other Move-In Fees

Crosscut: Council makes life easier for renters, caps move-in costs

KOMO: Seattle approves plan to ease rental move-in fees

Seattle Weekly: Council to Vote on Limits to Renter Move-In Fees

My Northwest: Landlords lament: Council caps move-in costs for Seattle renters

Day of Action: $15 is Just the Beginning

 Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets Wednesday, April 15, along with Washington CAN! members and leaders to stand up for workers’ rights. A march through the city started at Pioneer Square and made its first stop at Uber headquarters to rally for higher fees for Uber drivers. “Who’s streets? Your streets,” was the chant here.

Marchers moved past Seattle City Hall and the King County Courthouse as they made their way through downtown. A large contingent of SPD officers watched the peaceful parade of protesters pass on their way to Macy’s. “Macy’s magic has gone sour. Give us 15 and more hours,” said chanters.

Westlake2

Chant: “No Justice. No Peace”

Chant: “Show me 15”

The Day of Action ended at Seattle University on Capitol Hill where adjunct professors, McDonald’s workers, and Walmart staffers told stories of their low-wages and encouraged the fight for income equality to continue.

21 people were arrested as the protest moved to 12th and Madison just off campus. Jeff Johnson, head of the Washington State Labor Council and Robby Stern of Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action were among those arrested. The list of 21 also included a student, a professor and an airport worker.

15 Now Rally and March

21 Arrested

Day of Action for Women’s Reproductive Rights in Olympia

Washington CAN! organizer Xochitl Maykovich joined forces with NARAL Pro-Choice Washington for a Day of Action in Olympia to demand State Senators stop standing in the way of women’s reproductive rights. Visits to several Senator’s offices and a rally outside Senate Chambers called for the passage of the Reproductive Health Act.

Write a Letter to the Editor about TPP

Interested in writing a letter to the editor about the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Letters to the editor are one of the most read sections of the newspaper. Also, when an editor receives numerous letters about a particular issue, even if those letters do not get published, this increases the likelihood that the editor will produce more coverage of the issue that those letters address.

We have two goals. One is to get letters about opposing the TPP and Fast Track published statewide. The second is to also put pressure on local newspapers to increase coverage of this critical issue.

If you feel confident in your abilities feel free to draft a letter. The most successful letters are ones that are in a person’s own words and do not feel ‘cookie-cutter’. Below are some talking points to include.

If you would like help please provide your contact information: NAME, PHONE NUMBER or EMAIL or contact Kevin Knutsen at kevknutsen@gmail.com or Teresa Clark at Teresa@washingtoncan.org and they will work with you to produce and submit a letter.

Thanks!

Talking Points

  • Working families oppose traditional “Fast Track”. It is a license to continue the same failed trade and economic policies that have left working people behind for the past 20 years.
  • Fast Track limits Congress to a single up or down vote on trade agreements that contain provisions (like extraordinary rights for foreign investors) that would never pass Congress on their own.
  • Fast Track limits Congress’s ability to develop trade policy and to hold administrations accountable for negotiating good trade deals that benefit America’s workers and grow the middle class.
  • Fast Track has given us deals like NAFTA that have led to a U.S. global trade deficit of $505 billion in 2014, millions of lost jobs, and communities devastated in the wake of closed factories and lost economic opportunities.
  • Fast Track will only lead to more bad trade deals — like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) appears to be. America’s workers deserve better.
  • Fast Track could make it easier for corporations to send American jobs overseas, and will undermine our wages by forcing Americans to compete with Vietnamese workers making fifty-six cents an hour.
  • Fast Track could put our health at risk by allowing unregulated food products into our country, such as seafood from Malaysia where contaminants and banned toxic chemicals have been found in seafood. Under the TPP, being negotiated with numerous Pacific Rim nations, we could not hold these imported foods to U.S. food-safety standards.
  • For years, those in Congress who support the current trade model have used Fast Track to virtually guarantee passage of trade and investment deals that have ballooned our trade deficit, hollowed out our manufacturing sector, pushed wages down, and enhanced corporate influence over our economy.
  • America’s workers are sick and tired of trade policy made by and for the global corporations — trade policy that does nothing more than shrink our paychecks and make it less likely that our children can climb the ladder of success.
  • Fast Track needs to be reformed — to put transparency, accountability, and democracy into the trade negotiation process — reforms that would result in trade deals that would support the growth of the middle class.
  • Instead of the same old Fast Track, America’s workers want a trade policy that ensures that Congress has a fair opportunity to influence trade deals and to send bad trade deals back to the negotiating table.
  • Instead of the same old Fast Track, America’s workers want a trade policy that’s not made behind closed doors at the behest of special interests. Trade policy that works for all must be open to all for input, discussion, and amendment.
  • America’s workers want an open, democratic, and accountable trade policy, with checks and balances on the Administration’s negotiating power — not a rubber stamp.
  • Trade bills must also contain robust jobs, skills, and investment packages that will allow U.S.-based companies and their workers to take advantage of any benefits of trade. Such a jobs package should include things like:
    • improvements in trade enforcement, including enforceable disciplines on currency manipulation, so that workers don’t lose jobs when overseas competitors cheat
    • a robust infrastructure investment package to create new jobs and facilitate the increased flow of goods to and from the U.S.
    • reauthorization of critical job-creation agencies and programs, including the Export-Import Bank
    • a well-funded export advancement programs that promote products and services “Made in America”
    • comprehensive job training, education, and worker safety net programs to ensure America’s workers can reap the benefits of trade and not just suffer the loss of well-paid, middle class jobs
  • Fast Track means more broken U.S. trade policy. It’s bad for democracy and bad for America.