Caregiver Melissah Watts helps her son with breakfast

Monday, September 18, 2023

In 2024, Washington voters will elect a new governor to run our State government. This election will impact our lives as caregivers, and it’s up to us to ensure caregivers and our key issues are top priorities for our future governor. For years, before Governor Inslee, we fought for raises. We fought to be recognized. Under Governor Inslee, caregivers saw regular raises and respect for our work as healthcare professionals. 

After researching all the candidates, our SEIU 775 Executive Board unanimously supports endorsing Bob Ferguson for Washington state governor in the 2024 governor election. In a recent survey of SEIU 775 members he was also by far the most supported candidate for governor. The decision to endorse Bob was made based on his long record of supporting caregivers in Washington as Attorney General, and his alignment with our Union Values which we voted on in 2022:

Unity: Bob has demonstrated his alignment with caregivers, workers, and the workers movement through his work leading Washington in protecting the privacy of caregivers against the Freedom Foundation’s illegal efforts to obtain union members’ personal information. 

Dignity: Bob partnered with Labor & Industries (L&I) to combat wage theft against farmworkers, winning $500,000 in back wages. He also stood up for the $15 per hour minimum wage in SeaTac, in which his office’s brief was cited in the 5-4 Majority Opinion which helped pave the way for the $15 minimum wage statewide.

Leadership: Bob supported Washington’s capital gains tax to improve education funding and address our regressive tax code. He stood up to the big banks and business interests to successfully defend Washington’s capital gains tax and the Big Banks tax in the State Supreme Court. 

Equity: Like 775 caregivers, Bob believes there is no justice without racial justice. He is devoted to protecting communities of color throughout Washington. He also co-led the successful fight to protect DREAMERS from the presidential efforts to eliminate DACA and abolish lawful protections for DREAMERS that allow them to attend schools and work in our communities without fear of deportation.

Accountability: We know Bob will not back down from a fight. He rejected a nationwide settlement and took Purdue Pharma and the three largest opioid distributors in the country to trial for fueling Washington’s opioid epidemic. Because of this, he won more than $700 million – $150 million more than Washington would have received if he had agreed to the nationwide settlements.

Persistence: He won landmark protections for Hanford workers by challenging the Department of Energy to improve worker protections at Hanford after workers were exposed to toxic fumes. Bob partnered with UA 598 (Hanford’s workers union) to pass two new laws to ensure Hanford workers receive the workers’ compensation benefits they earned if they get injured on the job.

Last month Bob answered tough questions from our Executive Board, and last week, Bob joined Parent Provider and SEIU 775 member Melissah Watts on a Walk-A-Day, where he learned more about the day-to-day tasks involved in being a caregiver and to better understand our concerns and needs as caregivers. 

It is essential that we have an ally in the governor’s office who understands the importance of long-term care, fights alongside caregivers and all workers, and works with us to ensure our voices are at the table. That is why we have endorsed Attorney General Bob Ferguson for Washington State Governor in the 2024 election. Having strong working relationships with the governor’s office is critical to ensuring caregivers’ wages and benefits are fully funded in the state budget, and we believe Bob Ferguson will be this ally.

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