Washington United for Marriage Announces Strong Labor Backing

500,000-plus members include machinists, teamsters, teachers, construction trades, restaurant, food and commercial workers

Washington United for Marriage (WUM), the broad coalition working to Approve Referendum 74 and defend the state’s bipartisan marriage law, today announced endorsements from 19 of the state’s labor unions and union councils.  All told, the endorsers represent more than 500,000 members and their families.

In addition to announcing their support, several unions will remind members by email of the need to Approve Referendum 74, and phone banks staffed by union volunteers start this evening in Seattle.  Finally, marriage equality will be among the key issues union members will learn more about as they celebrate Labor Day at picnics across the state this weekend.

To share and honor the broad union support for Referendum 74, WUM has and will be posting union profiles on its website here. http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org/category/blog/

“I’m proud, but not surprised, to see the overwhelming support for marriage equality and Referendum 74 from our union leadership and members,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council. “For at the end of the day, unions support strong families and strong communities, and marriage makes certain that all families have the respect and support they need and deserve.”

Added Dave Schmitz, President of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, which represents 42,000 members statewide: “UFCW 21 is working to ensure that all loving and committed couples have the freedom to marry. This issue is a working families issue that guarantees protections for our members and their families.”

“WEA supports the freedom for all committed couples to marry,” said Mary Linquist, President of the Washington Education Association. “That is one reason why we join others in endorsing R-74.”

“SEIU members have always fought for dignity and respect for all workers and people in our communities, “said Diane Sosne, RN, President of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. We know that committed same-sex couples are our neighbors, our friends, our family and our co-workers. That is why we support the freedom to marry for all loving couples in Washington State.”

“Unions and their members have been a key element of our grassroots effort,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk.  “Their work and advocacy has always centered on what’s best for working families and they understand how important it is for all Washington families to be supported and protected by marriage.”

The unions endorsing the approval of Referendum 74 include: SEIU (state council), Machinists 751, Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE), Teamsters Joint Council 28, Washington Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW 21), UNITE HERE 8, United Auto Workers 4121, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 46, the Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Washington State Labor Council.