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Coalition of Seattle unions endorses Kshama Sawant recall effort

Jun 10, 2021, 1:44 PM
Kshama Sawant recall, threatening emails...
(KIRO Radio/Matt Pitman)
(KIRO Radio/Matt Pitman)

The Seattle Building and Constructions Trade Council (SBCTC) announced Thursday that it would be throwing its support behind an ongoing effort to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

Battle over Sawant recall has now seen over $1 million raised combined

The SBCTC represents roughly 15,000 workers across 19 local construction-related unions. That includes the Ironworkers Local Union #86, which supported Sawant when she first ran for office in 2014, but now backs the recall.

“In 2014 the Ironworkers endorsed Kshama Sawant as a Labor friendly candidate because she had a strong message coming out of the dark days of the 2008 great recession,” the union said in a written release. “Unfortunately, since that time we have found that the actions of this elected official did not embody the message.”

In its announcement, the SBCTC labeled Sawant as “divisive and self-aggrandizing,” claiming that she is “not a true friend of working families.”

Sawant has traditionally garnered wide support from local labor groups, with the “Kshama Sawant Solidarity Campaign” organized to fight the recall receiving endorsements from unions representing hospitality workers, educators, state employees, book workers, physicians, engineers, and more.

How Washington’s political divisions are driving a troubling rise in recalls

Both the Solidarity Campaign and recall effort continue to raise significant funds. As of June 9, the former has brought in over $542,000 in contributions, while the latter trails close behind at over $494,000.

The recall campaign began collecting signatures in late April, triggering a 180-day window to gather 10,739 valid signatures from registered District 3 voters. That number constitutes 25% of total votes cast in the last election for the district’s council seat in 2019. As of publishing, it has yet to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.

Should the group gather the requisite signatures within that 180-day period, it would put a simple “yes” or “no” recall vote on the ballot for the next regularly scheduled election. Given the narrow window, the next likely election the recall would be able to make it onto would be in November of this year.

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Coalition of Seattle unions endorses Kshama Sawant recall effort