Washington State Elections

2024 Political Action

Standing together to elect healthcare Champions

United
We Win.

The causes we fight for don’t always stop at the walls of our workplace, and that’s why we build the power to win inside and outside of our facilities by helping elect healthcare champions who will stand with us at the bargaining table, the picket line and in the halls of power.

Click here to read the policy priorities we consider when endorsing candidates. 

Primary Election August 2024

Key Dates

July 19

Start of 18-day voting period (through Primary Election Day). Ballots are mailed out.

July 29

Online and mail registrations must be received 8 days before Election Day.

August 6

ELECTION DAY. Mailed ballot must be postmarked by today. Ballot drop boxes are open until 8pm. Deadline for Washington State voter registration or updates (in person only).

Standing together to elect healthcare Champions

Legislative Wins

Taking action and standing together in Olympia, we won transformational new laws in Washington that will help us put safe care, patients, and communities over profits. If we hadn’t used our collective voice to lift each other up and advocate before our elected leaders, these historic wins would not have been possible.

We can celebrate historic legislation to implement hospital safe staffing, expand overtime protections to all frontline hospital workers, PTSD protections for RNs, 15% behavioral health funding increases, major investments in permanent supportive housing and housing options for ALL of us, state investment in apprenticeships and our multi-employer Training Fund, full funding of our State contracts and more. 

And we still have a lot we can accomplish together in 2025 and beyond. Learn more below!

Jump to

Healthcare (& ALL) Workers

Mandatory OT Protections for Frontline Healthcare Workers (HB 2061/Rep. Bronoske)

ALL frontline hospital workers in Washington are now entitled to mandatory overtime protections. We know our patients cannot receive quality care when we are forced to work through dangerous exhaustion. Abusive mandatory overtime risks medical errors and healthcare worker burnout which are both costly and harmful to patients.

Before 2024, only *some* healthcare had a right to these protections. This year, we fought and won these protections for all frontline hospital workers.

Requiring Employers Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries (SB 5217/Sen. Dhingra)

Our union’s EVS and janitorial workers led the labor movement to fight for and win legislation to protect ALL workers’ bodies from repetitive stress injuries. Too often, employers don’t treat us or our bodies with respect and these repetitive stress injuries mean weeks or months off the job, even ending our careers altogether. These conditions account for about a third of all time-loss workers’ compensation claims and workers who suffer these injuries are more likely to suffer opioid use and abuse, bankruptcy and even divorce.

Now, L&I will be able to regulate industries that have the highest rates of musculoskeletal injuries — including healthcare — so that we are preventing injuries from ever happening, not just treating them after the fact.

After surviving a nine-hour Republican filibuster in the House and being denied a floor vote in the Senate in 2022, we came together with EVS workers to win in 2023.

Safe Staffing in our Hospitals (Sen. June Robinson & Rep. Marcus Riccelli)

We have faced the crisis of hospital worker recruitment and retention for years, and we know the pandemic pushed our long-standing staffing problems to a breaking point.

Hospital executives repeatedly failed to prioritize recruitment and retention before this crisis, which is why we’ve fought in our contracts across our union for safe staffing.

Last year, our safe staffing legislation passed the House with a strong bipartisan vote but failed to pass the Senate. This year, we are asking lawmakers to stand with healthcare workers and finish the job so we can do ours: keeping our patients safe.

  • Strengthen accountability to hospital staffing plans set by staffing committees.
  • Eliminate CEO veto power over those plans.
  • Expand staffing committees to include LPNs, CNAs, and other direct patient care staff in addition to RNs.
  • Ensure unions get to select our representatives on staffing committees.
  • Create uniform reporting forms, which will mean that patients and healthcare workers will easily understand how many staff should be present.
  • Require hospitals to report noncompliance to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Allow DOH to issue corrective action plans that could require minimum staffing standards and fines.
  • Expand meal and rest break laws to include all frontline staff.
  • Close loopholes to make mandatory overtime laws fully enforceable.
  • Allow L&I to issue escalating penalties for missed breaks.
  • Funds the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to conduct a study of existing staffing plans.

RN PTSD Presumptive Coverage

Similar to fire fighters, nurses can now receive Washington’s workers compensation benefits following a PTSD diagnosis. Nurses on the frontline throughout the pandemic were repeatedly exposed to trauma while under-staffed and over-worked. And even before the pandemic, we know many of us and our coworkers have suffered from repeated workplace trauma and moral injury.

Our union won a presumptive standard that a nurse’s PTSD diagnosis is both caused by traumatic exposure on the job AND is a compensable occupational disease. This will help get treatment and workplace interventions for those who are impacted, and motivate employers to put better policies in place to prevent trauma in the firstplace.

Protecting ALL Workers from Pay Discrimination (HB 1905/Rep. Mena) 

Washington State has had equal pay protections on the books for several years, but to date it has focused on the gender pay gap. But we know that women of color face even more disproportionate pay inequity, as do many other protected classes.

In 2024, we modernized our laws to ensure that the racial pay gap is closed in order to address racism in our workplaces and the long pattern of wealth inequality for Black people and people of color. Now Washington can do better for every worker by modernizing our law to cover ALL protected classes—gender, race, age, sexual orientation, marital status, disability status, immigration status and more.

Preserving Workers’ Rights in Compelled Medical Exams (HB 1068/Rep. Bronoske)

Workers now have a right to record any medical exams compelled by employers and third parties to receive workers compensation benefits. Previously, injured workers were fighting legal cases around their workplace injury while doctors who tilted toward employers were evaluating their injury with little transparency. Now workers can have witnesses and recordings to make sure that any medical evaluation is transparent and valid in their case.

No More Mandatory Union-Busting Meetings (SB 5632/Sen. Keiser)

It takes courage to fight for a better, more fair workplace by joining together with coworkers in a union. And we know the boss will do everything they can to keep us divided. One tactic they use to compel workers to attend coercive captive audience meetings while workers are organizing, where the boss threatens employees and tells them how they should vote.

Now, the Employee Free Choice Act ensures workers who refuse to join these meetings are protected from retaliation or termination, and employers have one less tool to keep us divided.

Healthcare for Striking Workers (SB 5632/Keiser)

We know that going on strike is a last resort, and can force us into tenuous choices like losing income to gain safety and respect in the workplace. These are the kind of choices that benefit the boss, and one of them is the threat of us losing out healthcare while on strike. Not anymore – we fought and won to make sure that any worker on strike who loses their employer healthcare can continue their coverage through a State health plan.

Protecting our Union Communications

The right to privacy in our communications with union delegates and organizers is now Washington State law.

A bad judicial decision left communications and records between our union organizers, delegates and members open to subpoena and potentially weaponized by employers in court cases. This could have had a major chilling effect on the many conversations we need to have on grievances, workplace issues and more. Now, our communications – by law — are similar to attorney-client privilege.

Funding Public Healthcare

Fair & Fully Funded State Contracts

We organized and negotiated state contracts that value our work, and improve our recruitment and retention. And we fought and won to get our DSHS/DOH/DCYF/UW HH contracts fully funded in the state budget.

Protecting the Harborview Bond (HB 2348/Rep. Street

Three years ago, we campaigned and won over 77% of King County voters to approve a $1.7 billion bond package for seismic upgrades, additional bed capacity and expansion of Harborview’s behavioral health and respite services. But because of high inflation, critical projects have been put at risk of delay, and we know our patients, our community, and those of us who work at Harborview cannot afford delays. That’s why we worked with the Legislature to grant King County the authority to use an existing tax to help cover the gap in capital and operating dollars.

Keeping our DSHS Workers Respected & Protected

As our State moves through a behavioral health transformation, something we’ve fought for – for our patients, clients and us – some of us who work for the State with the most intensive patients were at risk of losing access to the Public Safety Employees Retirement System. Our work carries high risk, and we made sure Legislators fixed this oversight to keep us respected and protected at work.

Making it Easier to Organize a Public Sector Union (SB 6060/Sen. Nguyen)

We made more gains in making it easier to organize and form a union in our state — state workers now have the same ability as those in the private sector to sign an electronic card to organize their union, meaning a little more fairness for state workers who want to organize, especially in today’s hybrid and remote workplaces.

Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Apprenticeships

Our behavioral health workforce is in dire need of not just more workers, but workers who reflect the clients and patients they serve. That’s why our union has been working with legislators to authorize and develop behavioral health apprenticeships, which have a proven track record of lowering barriers to entry for BIPOC student-workers.

In 2022, we won the addition of a Substance Use Disorder Professional apprenticeship pathway, which our Training Fund will develop and offer to workers. This adds to to the growing list of behavioral health apprenticeships our union and our Training Fund have fought to make available to workers, including Peer Support Specialist & Behavioral Health Tech apprenticeships.

BH Workforce & Rates

We won 15% across-the-board increases! These are ongoing rate increases, which means more stability for our wages and benefits and our clients. We also won similar increases to PSH and homelessness contracts for our coworkers on the housing side. In addition to core funding, there will be progress on the following.

Additional investments, including but not limited to:

⭐ 988

⭐ Trueblood

⭐ Assisted Outpatient Treatment

⭐ Blake decision

Priority bills that we lobbied on at Lobby Day also all passed and will help the system better support workers and serve clients:

⭐ 1515 — Addresses procurement accountability and network adequacy

⭐ 1260 — Helps ABD/HEN clients by ending repayment upon SSDI.

Housing

⭐ Permitting reform to speed up housing (which removes unnecessary costs)

⭐ Changes to design review and building codes for more kinds of housing at more affordable levels

⭐ Requirement to factor climate into growth planning

⭐ Anticipated housing investments nearing $1 billion in the Capital Budget

Investments in home ownership to right the wrongs of of redlining

Where we live, and whether we even own a home, was racialized in our country through the practice of ‘red lining’ neighborhoods – collusion between developers, real estate agents, banks and local governments to keep our communities racially segregated. Today, our neighborhoods are more segregated than before the Civil Rights movement, and BIPOC Washingtonians are far behind white Washigtonians in home ownership.

HB 1474, sponsored by Rep. Jamila Taylor (D-Federal Way), created the covenant homeownership account to address the history of housing discrimination due to racially restrictive real estate covenants. This historic bill is a first-in-the-nation statewide reparation law. It will provide mechanisms and support for communities that have been discriminated against for generations to qualify for financing and purchase a home. Recognizing that we still have a long way to go, this law is an amazing step in the right direction.

Ending Exclusionary Zoning & Making Housing Affordable (HB 1110/Rep. Bateman)

Our land use laws bear the legacy of racial segregation, leave our communities vulnerable to climate change, and are now causing a severe housing shortage. These practices are perpetuated today by exclusionary zoning laws, preventing any type of housing other than a single detached family home from entire swaths of our cities. These laws have banned “middle housing” options like duplexes, townhouses, courtyard apartments, and more. That’s meant higher rents and, worse yet, the resulting housing shortage is proven to increase homelessness.

HB 1110 has now legalized these housing options in most places in most of our State.

Our Training Fund & Workforce Development

-We won $2 million in matching dollars and to help publicly-funded employers join our Training Fund

-$3 million in resources to continue and expand behavioral health apprenticeships

-The State is required to work with labor-management training partnerships on a 4-year plan to grow the nursing workforce pipeline

Climate Justice

⭐ Eliminating our Carbon Pollution by making Polluters Pay (Climate Commitment Act)

⭐ Requiring Planning for Climate Change at Community Level

⭐ Making it easier to Build Clean Energy Projects in WA

Replacing Dirty Diesel with Pollution-Free Electric School Buses

A win for our environment, our kids, and the SEIU 925 and PSE 1948 school bus drivers: we’ve committed our state to transitioning our polluting school bus fleet with clean electric buses.

Washington State

Voting Information

District Finder

Enter your street address to find your legislative or congressional district in Washington state.

Register to Vote in WA

Getting registered is the first step to making your voice heard on Election Day.

Ballot Drop Box

Completed ballots can be returned by mail. No need for a stamp—postage is pre-paid.