Councilmember Sawant demands contractors pay parking costs for Seattle construction workers
After members of the Northwest Carpenters Union approved a contract Monday, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is now pushing for an even greater expansion of paid parking for construction workers in the city.
As part of the accepted agreement with the Associated General Contractors of Washington, the existing parking zone in Seattle for which expenses will be covered has been expanded. It now includes First Hill and a first-ever parking zone to be established in Bellevue by June 2022.
Sawant, however, wants that to go further. She unveiled legislation this week requiring contractors in Seattle to pay the cost of parking for construction workers and called on the City Council to enact it.
The councilmember’s bill would mandate that contractors reimburse 100% of the parking expenses of construction workers in the city. According to a press release from Sawant’s office, some workers currently have to pay $100-150 a week or more for parking near jobs downtown, and many contractors either do not provide free parking or they limit reimbursement.
There are some building trades union members, however, who have won paid parking in their union contracts, which a release about the councilmember’s new legislation says demonstrates that contractors “can indeed provide free parking.”
“Shamefully, construction industry contractors, who have made billions in profits off the backs of workers, have refused to cover the cost of parking for carpenters and many other construction workers,” Sawant said in a written release.
She also noted that parking costs were one of the main reasons for the recent strike by the Northwest Carpenters Union, along with a demand for better wages and benefits.
Sawant has a petition demanding that the city council adopt fully-paid parking for construction workers that she says has been signed by more than 1,000 people so far.