Housing is Healthcare! Seattle needs long term, sustainable solutions for our neighbors, many of whom are our patients in the hospitals we work within. This includes a dedicated, progressive revenue source, not unfunded mandates. RFPU – NW endorses the House our Neighbors campaign, in opposition to the Compassion Seattle Charter Amendment.
#DeclineToSign the “Compassion Seattle” charter amendment! If you’ve already signed mistakenly – it’s not too late to remove your signature (see graphic below for how you can remove your signature).
Check out House Our Neighbors, a coalition of folks who are currently homeless, residents who have experienced homelessness, and advocates who are committed to ending the homelessness crisis in Seattle for more information.
We have the utmost confidence that these candidates will be allies and partners with our union, healthcare workers, and the labor movement at large in the Seattle region.
Read below to learn more about who we endorsed and why we encourage you to vote for these candidates in the August primaries.
Seattle City Council, Position 8: RFPU – NW is honored to endorse incumbent Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda for re-election. CM Mosqueda (she/her) currently serves in this at-large seat, an office she has held since 2017. CM Mosqueda has succeeded in many large accomplishments in her short time on the Council, including championing the country’s first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and most recently leading the passage of JumpStart Seattle – a progressive revenue plan and COVID relief bill that brings in $214M/year to fund affordable housing, equitable development, and green new deal programs that invest in small businesses and our most vulnerable workers. CM Mosqueda has also been a healthcare champion for not only our city, but also our state – having served on the WA Affordable Care Act Exchange Board where she fought for healthcare access for working families, women, people of color, immigrants, and the lowest wage individuals. In addition to her nearly decade long experience working for the state labor council, we are confident CM Mosqueda will continue to fight for all residents and workers in Seattle – and we’re thankful for her past support in our fight for a fair contract (see the video she made for US in our last round of bargaining!) against UW.
RFPU – NW is honored to endorse Nikkita Oliver for City Council, Position 9. Nikkita Oliver (they/them) is a community organizer, cultural worker, artist, and attorney. They have organized with key community groups working towards social justice, including Decriminalize Seattle, Free Them All Washington, and No New Youth Jail. They are currently the executive director of Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration for at-risk youth. Over the past summer, Nikkita Oliver helped advance the participatory budgeting plan through the Seattle City Council, which ultimately invests $30 million in community investments and could be expanded by the next City Council. Nikkita Oliver plans to address the affordable housing crisis, a key issue for our membership, by ending exclusionary zoning, building “missing middle” housing ($400 million units/year for 10 years), and investigating rent control options in association with the Tenants Union “No Debt, No Evictions” campaign. The Nikkita Oliver campaign is further committed to supporting working people by advancing progressive taxation, expanding access to affordable childcare, and implementing legislation to protect workers’ rights. Nikkita Oliver has demonstrated strong support for labor rights and working people and has been endorsed by many local unions, including SEIU Local 925 and UAW Local 4121. Through their work with other UW worker’s unions, they are familiar with the adversarial techniques used by UW to limit contract benefits and believe in ensuring good faith bargaining.
RFPU – NW is honored to endorse Andrew Grant Houston and Lorena González for Seattle Mayor. We are confident both candidates have the skills, experience, and intersectional mindset that Seattle needs for this influential role.
Andrew Grant Houston (“Ace”) (he/him/his) is a queer, black and latino architect, environmental advocate, housing activist, and high-risk individual living on Capitol Hill. Ace is Founder and Head of Design of House Cosmopolitan, board member of Futurewise, and is a member of American Institute of Architects (AIA). He has been a longtime advocate of more housing at all income levels, and highlights the urgency of addressing our homelessness, housing, and climate crises. Andrew has also recently served as the Interim Policy Manager in Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s office. Ace furthers his commitment to housing by advocating for Functional Zero, a rigorous standard for ending homelessness. This standard is a milestone that indicates a community has measurably ended homelessness for a population — and that they are sustaining that end. Ace solidified his platform on advocating for housing issues through his Stay in Seattle Plan, which includes building 2,500 Tiny Homes, fighting for rent control, updating Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), and a $23 minimum wage by 2025. Ace is a strong supporter of worker’s rights, being one of the only mayoral campaign’s with unionized staff and membership in Transit Riders Union (TRU). He has also been fighting for the right of Architects to organize through The Architecture Lobby, a national organization pushing for the unionization of architectural workers. Ace’s personal and professional experience advocating for housing issues, climate issues, and commitment to the labor movement, make him a candidate likely to fight for the communities who need it most.
Lorena González (she/her/ella) currently serves in the District 9 at-large seat, an office she has held since 2015, and was elected Council President in 2020. Lorena has a lifelong commitment to fighting for workers, having been born & raised in a migrant farm-working family in the Yakima Valley – she received her first paycheck as a migrant farmworker at the age of eight. Lorena went on to work as a civil rights attorney fighting for the rights of workers, victims of wage theft and employment discrimination, and victims of police misconduct and sexual abuse. At the state level, Lorena successfully fought for a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. She has also prioritized childcare funding and accessibility issues in Seattle, an issue of great importance to many of our members. While many mayoral candidates have similar platforms, Lorena has been a consistent advocate for housing issues within Seattle – having passed various funding measures for rental subsidies, incentives for building affordable housing for renters and homeowners, and legislation to protect communities at high risk of displacement due to zoning. Lorena’s personal and professional experience demonstrates her ability to connect with and prioritize those in our community who are struggling to make ends meet. Lorena has also received the labor endorsements of MLK Labor, Teamsters 28, UFCW 21, Unite Local 8, and Laborers Local 242.
The Resident & Fellow Physician Union – Northwest board is proud to join numerous other local and national unions and healthcare advocacy groups in endorsing Washington state representative Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976).
This bill would establish a national single payer universal healthcare system, bringing the United States up to speed with many other nations around the world to provide universal access to affordable healthcare.
Representative Jayapal’s endorsement says it all: “Today’s healthcare system fails to provide quality, therapeutic healthcare as a right to all people living in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans are uninsured, and at least 40 million more cannot afford the costs of their co-pays and deductibles. The quality of our healthcare is much worse than other industrialized countries—the life expectancy in the U.S. is lower than other nations, while our infant mortality rate is much higher. Yet the U.S. spends more money per capita on healthcare than any other industrialized nation. We waste hundreds of billions of dollars every year on unnecessary administrative costs, while healthcare industry executives measure success in profits, instead of patient care. The current healthcare system in the United States is ineffective, inefficient and outrageously expensive. It is time to remove the profit motive in healthcare, to resolve the inefficiencies and to guarantee quality, therapeutic healthcare to every person living in the United States.”
Many residents and fellows and our families have personally been uninsured, underinsured, or impacted by high healthcare costs. We have all seen the effects of lack of insurance, high cost to consumers, and profit-driven insurance decisions on our patients. Yet, US physicians have long failed to advocate for universal coverage. Worse, the AMA has overtly opposed nationalized healthcare for decades. Lack of insurance coverage has the most devastating impact on marginalized communities, including low-wage earners and communities of color. Achieving universal coverage is an issue of health equity, racial justice, and workers’ rights. Complicity with the current system directly violates our ethical imperative to be agents of justice in the practice of medicine.
No bill or system is perfect, but the current Medicare for All bill is a significant step in the ongoing process to achieve universal, affordable coverage and restructure healthcare for patients and workers. As physicians, we must advocate for all ofour patients and our communities by demanding change to our disastrous for profit healthcare system and re-centering the patient-physician relationship. Public trust in physicians has been falling for some time – something we saw contribute to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans during the COVID pandemic. Now is the time to earn back the trust of our communities by joining them in advocating for this important piece of legislation. Still, passing M4A is not enough. We must fight for a seat at the table to shape single payer health insurance and ensure that efficiency, equity, and evidence are prioritized in M4A’s implementation.
We applaud Representative Jayapal for advocating for the most vulnerable in our society, and encourage other physician groups and union partners to join in support of Medicare for All.
As union members, we are lucky to work in one of the most unionized and labor friendly states in the country. That being said, there was a mountain of hurdles we had to overcome to unionize and we still face a huge fight in bargaining our contract and holding our employer accountable.
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is the biggest labor reform bill our country has seen in decades. This bill promotes workers’ rights to organize a union and bargain collectively.
RFPU – NW supports the PRO Act because we believe all workers, regardless of their employer and the state they work in, should have the right to collectively organize and bargain.
The PRO Act has already passed the House of Representatives and still needs three more Senate co-sponsors to be introduced on the Senate Floor. Workers across the country are tirelessly organizing to pressure Senators Mark Warner (VA), Mark Kelly (AZ), and Krysten Sinema (AZ) to join as co-sponsors.
It’s time to start to think about the 2021 elections! Local elections are critical to seeing progress in our local labor movement, and various issues that intersect with healthcare accessibility. RFPU – NW is committed to supporting candidates who will fight to make Seattle and our region equitable for those who live here (including our patients).
We estimate that the endorsements process will be a 3-4 hour commitment, spread over two (virtual) meetings in May. As a member of the political advocacy working group you will assist with updating our candidate questionnaire, review the submitted questionnaires, rate candidates based on criteria that aligns with our mission and values, and make endorsement recommendations. The working groups’ recommendations will then go on to our full dues-paying membership to approve.
You don’t need to have prior political experience, just an interest in supporting intersectional, pro-labor candidates. The working group is open to all dues-paying members, including incoming ‘21-22 members who have filled out a membership card.
The majority of people incarcerated are incarcerated for less than 30 days. This bill updates current language around not suspending Medicaid for those incarcerated for 30 days or less. New language includes that a person’s incarceration status does not affect the person’s enrollment in medical assistance and that a person not enrolled in medical assistance at the time of incarceration will have the ability to apply for medical assistance.
The next public hearing is on Thursday, March 11th, at 1:30pm.
RFPU – NW encourages our members to show support for this bill. There are three very easy ways to do so, by (in order of ease to do):
signing in PRO for the legislative record (anytime up until 1:30pm on 3/11)
submitting a comment (anytime up until 1:30pm on 3/11)
Councilmember Sawant has been the most strong, reliable, and inspiring voice for working class and vulnerable people of Seattle. She was one of the first to show up and lend her support to RFPU-NW and exploited physicians in training from our earliest days, long before we had significant success, power or momentum. We are proud to have a Councilmember who so consistently fights for workers like us, and our patients.
As ordinary people face deep inequality, unaffordable housing and evictions, economic crisis, police violence, and climate crisis, we need her voice in Seattle City Hall now more than ever.
This year, RFPU-NW will be making our first-ever endorsements of candidates seeking public office in Washington state.We were impressed by the following candidates’ commitments to the labor movement and to the rights of healthcare workers; they have our sole endorsement. We have the utmost confidence that these candidates will be allies and partners with our union, healthcare workers, and the labor movement at large in Olympia.
Read below to learn more about who we endorsed and why we encourage you to vote for these candidates in November.
We endorse Rep. Jesse Johnson for State House, 30th LD. Rep. Johnson understands the importance of a robust labor movement. Most importantly, he’s demonstrated that he’ll continue to address the issues that face healthcare workers like finding affordable housing & childcare.
We endorse Liz Berry for State House, 36th LD. Berry had been on the picket line supporting our fellow healthcare workers and we were impressed by how her policy platform prioritizes childcare solutions & gender equity. She will be a strong ally to organized Labor in the House.
We endorse Kirsten Harris-Talley for State House, 37th LD. Harris-Talley is committed to raising progressive revenue, to furthering racial justice, and to advancing stronger economic protections for healthcare workers and their families. We cannot wait to see her in office.
We endorse Sherae Lascelles for State House, 43rd LD. Many of our patients face profound barriers to care, and Lascelles works tirelessly to undo these inaccessibilities. Their lived experience and perspective is needed in the state legislature to fight for broad, systemic change.
We endorse Ingrid Anderson for State Senate, 5th LD. Herself a nurse, Ingrid Anderson has been a part of the labor movement for years. We know that she’ll continue to fight for her fellow healthcare workers, particularly as the state continues to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
We endorse T’wina Nobles for State Senate, 28th LD. In her public service and work, Nobles has focused on education and economic empowerment for disenfranchised communities. We know she will be a strong advocate for working families all across Washington once elected.
We endorse Marko Liias for Lieutenant Governor. Sen. Liias has spent his time in office fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and expanding mass transit. He has clearly articulated who his key allies in the legislature would be as he continues to advocate for healthcare workers.
We endorse King County Prop. 1. Harborview serves not only as our region’s most critical public hospital, but also as the training facility for the future physicians of Washington. The future of healthcare in Washington depends on fully funding this critical community institution. We are all stronger when Harborview is, and we fully support the efforts of Prop 1 to make all voters aware of the great need for major investment in Harborview.
Many of us are showing up to protest after working long shifts, bringing our children out with us, making phone calls to elected officials, and having conversations about how we need to change the culture and institution of medicine.
If you have ideas for actions residents can take on an individual or system-wide level, let us know. We will support you.
As a labor union, racial justice intersects with everything we do. The language we use in our contract, the benefits we fight for that ensure that residency at UW isn’t only accessible to those from the most privileged backgrounds, and how we fight against racism and discrimination in our workplace and community.
We also feel strongly that being a leader means speaking out against the way that our city and university continue to uphold systems of oppression.
Remember, we all are UWHA – so if you see actions we can participate in, or demands you want us to advocate for – reach out and let us know how we can help amplify! You can do this by emailing us, posting in the UWHA slack, or tagging us on social media.
This morning we sent a letter to UW Medicine Leadership, including UW President Cauce, Dean Ramsey, Dr. Dellit, and Dr. Joyner regarding our latest contract packet proposal. This proposal was created in response to the negotiation session we had on Tuesday.
In the interest of finishing negotiations at the soonest date possible, UWHA has conceded various proposals. Although we still find these requests important and fair (as they are status quo at our peer institutions), we hope these new requests are amenable to the employer and they meet us in finishing this process quickly.
Reducing the childcare fund ask to $250,000 per year
Accepting the employers definition of a “resident”
Reducing the relocation stipend to $1,000 and limiting to only incoming residents coming from outside of King County
Accepting the employers meal reimbursement amounts
Tentatively agreeing to the employers proposal on “Leave – Miscellaneous”
Removing the ability to be paid out for unused sick leave
Removing the procedure for discovering purpose for unused vacation leave
Reducing base salary of R1 to $62,000 (respectively for R2-R9)
Reducing ask for housing stipend to $13,000 per year, and accepting flat rate between contract years