The Washington State Legislature kicked off its 2022 session Jan. 10. This year the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), AFL-CIO, is focused on a “Workers’ Recovery Agenda” that prioritizes workers’ health and safety, and spurs job creation. Proposals include:
- Support frontline health care workers Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, health care is still in crisis. WSLC wants lawmakers to enforce minimum staffing standards to ensure workers can take adequate breaks, and increase compensation across the sector.
- Increase job and apprenticeship opportunities WSLC is pushing for a transportation investment package and support for decarbonized aluminum jobs. The council also called on legislators to support and expand apprenticeship programs for construction and skilled trades, and provide resources to bring joint labor-management programs into new industries.
- Modify energy facility permitting To promote green energy infrastructure, WSLC wants an update to energy facility siting and permitting practices.
- Other priorities Protect rail workers from retaliation when they need to use sick leave; enhance unemployment insurance wage-and-hour reporting laws to fight employer fraud; end ability-based discrimination in prevailing wage; increase access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program; allow injured workers to record their independent medical exams.
The legislative session runs through March 10.