This morning, the City Council voted out of committee four bills, creating new protections for hotel workers, which have been in the works for several months. Once voted into law, it will replace the embattled Initiative 124.
Last Thursday the Council’s Workers’ Rights committee finished amending three of the four hotel workers’ protection bills, co-sponsored by Council members Mosqueda and Gonzalez to replace Initiative 124.
(update 9/9: a couple of corrections below based upon feedback from Council staff. My apologies; several of the amendments weren’t published in advance of the meeting so it was challenging to follow along)
Two of the four bills that Council member Teresa Mosqueda is sponsoring to extend additional protections and rights to hotel workers saw lengthy discussions last Friday, as well as significant amendments adopted that address some of the most pointed criticisms of the bills.
This evening the City Council held a public hearing on four bills that Council members Mosqueda and Gonzalez have introduced as a replacement for Initiative 124. As expected, hotel workers and labor representatives showed up to urge the Council to pass the ordinances. But hotel managers and other small business owners also showed up in numbers to state their opposition to some of the provisions in the bills – particularly the health insurance mandate.
Yesterday the Washington State Supreme Court agreed to hear a review of an appeals court ruling that threw out the voter-approved Initiative 124. I-124 granted protections to hotel workers, and required hotel employers to either provide health insurance coverage to employees or pay them the equivalent cost.
As of today, Initiative 124, which was approved by Seattle voters in November 2016, is nearly dead after the State Court of Appeals invalidated it for impermissibly containing multiple, unrelated subjects. But Council members Teresa Mosqueda and Debora Juarez, along with some of their colleagues, are about to take a look at passing at least parts of it into law the old-fashioned way — and fixing some of its most glaring flaws in the process.
Just before Christmas, the state Court of Appeals ruled that Initiative 124, which codified certain protections for hotel workers and was passed by Seattle voters in 2016, impermissibly contained more than one topic and invalidated the ordinance.
Earlier this week, the City of Seattle and UNITE HERE Local 8, the hospitality workers’ union, announced that they are appealing that ruling to the state Supreme Court.
Today the Washington State Supreme Court issued an order denying a direct appeal of the challenge to the I-124 ordinance instituting protections for hotel workers.
It’s been almost two months since my last catch-all posting on the status of the City of Seattle’s various outstanding legal battles. Stuff has happened, so it’s time for an update.