Our International Union issued a press statement yesterday about the extraordinary work Teamsters in Washington State have done to advance and protect worker rights. Check it out!

Bills Would Improve Public Safety, Working Conditions, and Address Unfair Labor Practices

Thanks to the dogged advocacy of Washington Teamsters, three pivotal bills aimed at safeguarding workers’ rights, enhancing safety measures, and addressing critical issues impacting the labor movement are making their way through the state legislature.  

“The issues we are advocating for in Olympia will determine the future of the labor movement in our state and nationwide,” said Rick Hicks, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 28. “We will not stop advocating for these bills to be signed into law, and I thank the members of the state legislature who are supporting working people ahead of corporate profits.”

The first bill, SB 5872, requires a skilled human operator in autonomous vehicles (AVs) and ensures AVs adhere to the same federal and state standards as all other motor vehicles. A hearing for the bill was held in the state Senate. Similar bills in nine other states have been introduced, including New York, Indiana, and California.

The second bill, SB 5778, would ban employers from forcing workers to attend captive audience meetings — employer-sponsored presentations filled with anti-union propaganda designed to discourage organizing efforts. SB 5778 passed the upper chamber and is now headed to the state House of Representatives.

The third bill, SB 5777/HB 1893, will provide crucial support for striking or locked-out workers by granting them access to unemployment insurance. The measure will give union members more power to hold employers accountable when they unlawfully refuse to negotiate and attempt to extract unreasonable concessions. The legislation was just recently passed by the state House of Representatives. Similar legislation supported by the Teamsters has been enacted in New York and New Jersey.   

“We are grateful to our allies in the state legislature for their support in advancing our top priority bills,” said Paul Dascher, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “From tackling the safety challenges of autonomous vehicles to closing loopholes that hinder union organizing, Teamsters are steadfast in our mission to enhance the lives of working people in Washington.”

The introduction of the three bills follows a significant victory last year when HB 1762, a bill that implemented restrictions on warehouse worker production quotas, was passed into law.