Hallie Golden in Seattle reports for us on Colleen Echohawk’s aim to be Seattle’s first indigenous mayor:
Colleen Echohawk, a Native American woman and key advocate in Seattle’s homelessness crisis, is running for mayor of the Pacific Northwest city and laying the groundwork for it to potentially elect its first indigenous mayor.
Echohawk, an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake, is a progressive Democrat, but one, she said, “with strong roots in pragmatism”.
Her success in the race would be truly distinctive. It would mean the city that over 150 years ago approved an ordinance expelling the Native community, would be run by an Indigenous woman.
As the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness, she said she launched her campaign after recognizing over the summer that the city needed to do much more to help its homeless population amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The status quo has been failing a lot of people in this city and we have to find ways to change, we need a fresh face up there in city hall and a prudent person who can make decisive visionary decisions because this is really a once in a generational chance,” said Echohawk, speaking to the Guardian from her campaign headquarters in the basement of her house.
Echohawk is not Coast Salish, but she has lived in Seattle for 24 years. And before she announced her candidacy, she said she called the leaders of a few of the region’s tribes – Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Suquamish Tribe and Tulalip Tribes – to let them know she was considering a run.
“This is their territory and I will continue to lift them up in every way that I possibly can,” said Echohawk, who also founded the Chief Seattle Club, a non-profit aimed at supporting the city’s Native American and Alaska Native residents, through food, housing assistance and health care.
Read more of Hallie Golden’s report here: Colleen Echohawk aims to be Seattle’s first indigenous mayor: ‘We have to find ways to change’
Hundreds of Congressional staff members sign open letter urging Senators to convict Trump
A push to unionize workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama is running into tough opposition as the retail giant, whose profits have boomed during the coronavirus pandemic despite concerns over worker safety, has launched an aggressive anti-union drive.
If workers at the BHM1 warehouse in Bessemer, near Birmingham, succeed in their efforts they would form the first union at an Amazon warehouse in the US.
The warehouse opened in March 2020, during the beginning of the pandemic. By the end of 2020, the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union said over 2,000 workers at the warehouse signed union authorization cards ahead of the election workers filed for in November 2020.
Ballots for the election are scheduled to be mailed out to around 5,800 Amazon workers on 8 February, with vote-counting scheduled for 30 March 2021. Lawyers for Amazon are currently trying to appeal the decision to allow the election to be carried out by mail, and have requested the election be delayed until their appeal is reviewed.
Ahead of the union election, Amazon has strongly encouraged workers to vote against the union through texts, messaging, an anti-union website and several anti-union captive audience meetings with workers at the warehouse.
In the texts, Amazon claims workers will “be giving up your right to speak for yourself” by signing a union authorization card and emphasizing union dues, claiming “unions are a business,” telling workers “don’t let the union take your money for nothing” and prompting them to visit their anti-union website DoItWithoutDues.com.
Amazon has also sponsored ads on Facebook featuring their anti-union website entitled “do it without dues” and telling workers to vote “no” in the union election.
“When it comes to this union busting, it’s severe. We’ve never seen anything like it on this level,” said Joshua Brewer, an organizer with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Read more of Michael Sainato’s report here: Amazon intensifies ‘severe’ effort to discourage first-ever US warehouse union