SEIU 925 opposes effort to crack down on public drug use in Seattle

SEIU 925 opposes effort to crack down on public drug use in Seattle

SEIU 925 opposes effort to crack down on public drug use in Seattle

Last month, the Seattle City Council narrowly rejected legislation that would have allowed public drug use and possession in violation of state law to be prosecuted by the city attorney.

SEIU 925, a public-sector labor union representing Seattle public defenders, evidently opposed the notion of improving the cleanliness and safety of Seattle’s streets. In anticipation of the council vote, the union wrote a letter to the council slamming the proposal as “…more than a misguided yet well-meaning attempt to ‘increase public health and safety’; we believe it to be an unconscionable abuse by the City Prosecutor…”

The general theme of the statement reads more like a political hit job against the city attorney, Ann Davison, than a policy case for maximizing the well-being of Seattle residents.

At the Seattle City Council’s June 6 meeting, the proposal was defeated in a 5-4 vote. Of the five councilmembers voting “no,” all but one received campaign contributions from SEIU 925. Of the four voting “yes,” only one received the union’s financial backing during their last campaign.

While Seattle police can still make arrests for violating state drug laws, prosecutions will have to be handled by the King County Prosecutor’s Office. However, the newly elected prosecutor, Leesa Manion, was endorsed by SEIU 925 and is not expected to enforce drug laws aggressively.

SEIU 925’s position, while apparently favored by the relatively small number of Seattle public defenders it represents, is likely at odds with the views of most of its membership around the state.

Even in Seattle, a recent poll conducted by the Seattle Times found that 60 percent of residents support “arresting people for using illegal drugs in public.”

SEIU 925 members who oppose their union’s pro-drug, anti-public safety advocacy should reconsider whether the dues they’re paying are worth the cost.

Policy Associate
In early 2021, Erin came to the Freedom Foundation as a policy associate to deepen her impact on local and national policy, broaden her capacity to serve fellow Washingtonians and fight boldly for their constitutional rights. She is currently serving as the Washington Outreach Director helping free public employees in Washington state from union bondage. In her free time, her passion for leadership and service led her to serve as both the youngest President of her Rotary Club, and Vice Chair for her county party.