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Getting kicked around by an employer or landlord?

Want to do something about it?

Get in touch !

Seattle Solidarity ("SeaSol") is a volunteer network of working people who believe in standing up for our rights. Our goal is to support our fellow workers' strikes and struggles, build solidarity, and organize to deal with specific job, housing, and other problems caused by the greed of the rich and powerful.
Join us!  Let's fight to win.

 
Victory in Wage Theft Fight against the Bombay Grill
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 18:07

José endured seven months as an underpaid cook at the Bombay Grill in the University District, receiving hourly wages between 81 cents and $4. Adding insult to injury, he faced threats and intimidation from bosses Glen Quadros and Kailash Upadhyay on a regular basis. Because his wages were insufficient for rent anywhere else, José had to sleep on the floor of the filthy restaurant during the heat of summer (which Glen called "room and board").

After seeing a SeaSol sticker at his local laundromat, José decided to stand up against his bosses and fight back using direct action. He called SeaSol and we voted to take on his fight.

On January 4, 2014, a large group of SeaSolers filled the Bombay Grill to support José as he delivered a demand to his former bosses. José and SeaSol demanded payment of the equivalent of one month's stolen wages, which came to $2,261.30. Glen ignored the letter, looking with condescension at the faces surrounding him, as a waitress picked it up and read it aloud. During the two weeks following the demand delivery, Glen and Kailash neglected to pay José the portion of his wages he had demanded. As we knew the Bombay Grill would likely be closing down very soon, there was a degree of urgency in SeaSol's approach to this fight which influenced major decisions we made at meetings.

In the following weeks, SeaSol's campaign against the wage thieves Glen and Kailash escalated from small flyerings and posterings around the restaurant to larger, noisier pickets. Our largest picket was on February 14th; we turned away many Valentine's Day customers with high-energy chants and noisemaking, leaving Glen and Kailash visibly upset at their loss of profits for the night and acting like fools in their parking lot. We turned away the majority of their business during every action, and the bosses slowly began to accept that José and SeaSol were not going away until the demand was met.

Throughout the fight, the bosses at the Bombay Grill gave us the run-around, claiming they wanted to meet up and pay at least once a week and then trying to negotiate paying a lesser amount, creepily trying to get José alone in the restaurant with them, and trying to talk José into "not telling anyone" about the conditions he faced working in their restaurant. On Friday February 21, 2014, the sleazy Glen and Kailash set up a meeting with SeaSol and José yet again, writing a check for the full demand. Immediately afterward, as José went to cash the check, the greedy and stupid bosses walked smirking out of the bank. They had canceled the check, and thought their problems were solved.

At noon the following day, a dozen SeaSolers showed up for a picket of the Bombay Grill's lunch buffet. With this, Glen realized that he and his partner in crime had not outsmarted us, and went to the bank to get José a cashier's check for the full amount of the demand, which José walked away with that same day. Thanks to everyone who participated in this fight! Victory is ours!

 
"Don't Rent" campaign builds despite landlord violence
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 06:48

It has been over four months since Danica walked into NW Apartments' offices with a crowd of supporters and calmly handed them a letter demanding that they return her stolen money. Since that time hundreds of current and prospective renters have not only heard her story, but also learned about NW Apartments' broader pattern of abuse against other current and former tenants. Most recently, Danica and other members of SeaSol could be found outside of one of NW Apartments' more visible buildings on Capitol Hill, the Casa Del Rey, handing out festive "slumlordwarning.com" balloons and peanut butter "no-slumlord" cookies to tenants and passers by. The popular support was overwhelming and dozens of people took the "Do Not Rent from NW Apartments" pledge bringing the total count up to--who knows how many.

So, how is NW Apartments responding to these sorts of peaceful demonstrations? They are proudly demonstrating their complete lack of professionalism at every opportunity. The property manager at Danica's old building, the Manchester Arms, has been filling up pitchers of water and dumping them on SeaSol members from the safety of his balcony. If only NW Apartments was equally dedicated to keeping water OUT of their tenant's apartments maybe this whole situation could have been avoided! Needless to say, the posters continued to go up despite his immature antics (incidentally, dumping water on people is considered assault, and is an arrestable offense) and other tenants leaned out their windows to express their support for us and apologize on behalf of their property manager. More concerning are the violent threats from an employee at another NW Apartments building, the Tuscany. Here a NW Properties employee saw a SeaSol member putting up posters and threatened that he would "fuck them up" if he catches them again.

We will not be intimidated by NW Apartments. While we do not enjoy being threatened and attacked, it does make it clearer than ever to us as well as to those we are trying to reach just what kind of company we're dealing with. We will continue to do everything within our power to spread the word about NW Apartments' dubious business practices and thuggish behavior until they agree to do right by Danica.

 
Organized tenants fight back against Cornell & Associates
Monday, 09 September 2013 21:49

A few weeks ago a group of tenants contacted SeaSol because they were fed up with the unsanitary conditions and unresponsive management at Sterling Manor, an apartment complex in North Seattle. For months the tenants had reported problems including extensive mold, leaks, broken or missing appliances, and signs of bedbugs. Property managers ignored them, doing nothing to fix the most serious issues. The mold was the worst problem. Several tenants and their children were chronically sick, and some of their belongings were ruined. One of the tenants remembered that SeaSol had previously supported a relative in a fight against an abusive landlord, and thought that we could help get much-needed repairs and cleaning done at Sterling Manor.

The tenants started meeting with SeaSol, and went door to door in their apartment building to gather the support of their neighbors. Together, we wrote a demand letter addressed to Cornell & Associates, the company that manages Sterling Manor, giving them two weeks to hire a professional mold remediation company. More than half of the residents of the building signed on in support of the newly formed Sterling Manor Tenants' Committee. The demand delivery went down on Thursday, August 22. Two dozen SeaSol supporters accompanied members of the Tenants Committee, occupying the offices of Cornell & Associates to hand-deliver the letter to property manager Susana Manio in front of her bosses.

Cornell & Associates reacted immediately, notifying all the Sterling Manor tenants that they would be performing a "routine" inspection of their units. Long-time tenants in the building say this is the first time the managers had ever done this kind of inspection. Though property manager Susana acknowledged extensive mold and other issues in several units, she made no concrete plans to address the worst problems, much less to hire a professional mold remediation service.

Then Cornell & Associates attacked. Two tenants who had signed the demand letter with the Sterling Manor Tenants' Committee and SeaSol received 10-Day "Comply or Vacate" notices for long-standing issues that the managers had previously ignored. One tenant on a fixed income was hit with a $600 bill for unpaid water bills that management had previously said she didn't have to pay due to protracted repairs to her apartment. (Tenants report a suspicious pattern of high water bills, leaks, flooding, and mold throughout the building.) Another tenant, from whom Susana has been accepting rent for months, was told to vacate because her name is not on the apartment lease, which was signed by a relative who has since had to leave the country.

Needless to say, it is clear that Cornell & Associates' intent is to use any pretext to evict as many organized tenants as possible while intimidating those who remain. This kind of retaliation is illegal under state law, and neither the Sterling Manor Tenants' Association or SeaSol will stand for it. Our fight is just getting started, and we'll keep it up until the retaliation stops and tenants at Sterling Manor get the respect and healthy living conditions they deserve.

 
Quick win in poverty-wages fight at White Center grocery store
Monday, 12 August 2013 18:16

New SeaSol member Antonio worked at a grocery store in White Center for two grueling years. Working regular 6-day, 72-hour weeks, Antonio received no breaks, no overtime pay, and was irregularly compensated at less than $7 per hour (far below Washington State's minimum wage). When he learned of our win at Jumbo Buffet, Antonio got in touch with the Seattle Solidarity Network. After much discussion and research, SeaSol and Antonio voted to fight for 30 weeks of back wages, or $6,710, for Antonio.

On Saturday July 27th 2013, Antonio, his family, and over forty SeaSolers filed into the store to deliver our demand. The atmosphere was tense as the boss read the letter, shaking, and looking around at the stern faces glaring in solidarity with Antonio. The boss was so intimidated by our direct action that he immediately contacted a lawyer friend for help. His lawyer called us the following Monday with weak - and quickly shut down - attempts at bargaining.

On Thursday August 8th 2013, the thieving boss and his lawyer friend met up with Antonio, his daughter, and other SeaSol members. More attempts to bully Antonio into accepting less money were rejected, and Antonio was paid $6,710 on the spot.

The unwavering position presented by SeaSol and Antonio throughout this fight, our refusal to play legal games with a lawyer, and flawlessly carried out direct action quickly resulted in a swift win in this fight. Congratulations to our new comrade Antonio, and thanks to all who showed up to the demand delivery!

 
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