Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do unions join a Labor Council?

A. Employee organizations need a place to build mutual support for bargaining and organizing efforts.

  • Building relationships between organizations is not a "sometime" thing. It takes time, extra effort and commitment between the partners. Labor Councils provide the network and place to build those commitments.

  • Labor Councils are the only natural constituents for support of employee organizations outside the internal workings of the employee organization itself.

  • Labor Councils build community support for employee organizations. They represent a larger presence in the local community than any one organization can.

  • It is a place to share information and ideas about bargaining, organizing and issues.

  • For the same reason individuals join unions and employee organizations. They want to increase their ability to meet their economic interests and priorities. There is power in numbers.

Q. When does the Council meet?

A. The Snohomish County Labor Council generally meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month. However, in some months, like November and December, the dates have been altered due to holidays.

Q. How is representation at the Snohomish County Labor Council determined?

A. It is determined by the Constitution, which states, "Representation shall be as follows: Local unions having 50 members or less, 2 delegates; from 51 to 100 members, 3 delegates; 101 to 250 members, 4 delegates; 251 to 500 members, 5 delegates. One additional delegate to be allowed for each additional 500 members or major fraction thereof.

Q. How does voting take place at a Snohomish County Labor Council?

A. Generally, voting is generally done by a voice vote. However, a roll call vote in which a local can vote the strength of their membership (the amount on which they pay per capita) can be called upon demand of 30% or more of the delegates present.

Q. What is the structure of the Snohomish County Labor Council?

A. The Council has an Executive Board of 10,which meets on a monthly basis. The offices are President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Reading Clerk, Sergeant At Arms and 5 Trustees. They are elected for two-year terms. To make sure there is balance on the Board the Constitution states, "Nor more than one delegate from the same local union, nor more than two delegates from different locals of the same National or International Union, shall be eligible to hold office at the same time."

The Constitution calls for several committees. However, the most active committees at this time are those set up to meet specific needs. They are:

  • The Community Services Committee, which provides support to community agencies and union members in need.

  • The Organizers Forum that meets monthly to discuss issues of organizing, potential targets, the problems of organizing, and how we can support each other's efforts.

  • The Community Relations Committee, which works to help the Council provide for diverse representation.

  • Mobilization Committee is working on coordinating local support for rallies and job actions.

  • Education Committee which helps put together our Labor Radio Journal on KSER FM 90.7

  • Other ad hoc committees such as a recent one on building a permanent Workers Safety Memorial at the County Courthouse operate from time to time at the discretion of the Executive Board.

Q. How do you communicate information between locals?

A. We currently send at least one electronic newsletter a month to locals and delegates. In between there are a number of specialized electronic communications on issues, meetings and positions we have taken. You can get on the mailing list by writing to snolabor@snolabor.org We also maintain this web site: http://www.snolabor.org. You can also contact us directly at snolabor@snolabor.org or call us at 425-259-7922.

Q. Why do unions pay per capita?

A. There are two simple reasons:

  • It takes money to provide the structure and staff to keep locals working together and meeting on a regular basis.

  • It is also the commitment locals make to ensure an ongoing program that builds trust and unity among the partners. Without per capita, a Labor Council would be similar to a union without dues.

Q. What are delegates responsibilities?

Participation-A conscientious delegate attends the monthly meetings, and consults with his or her local union about policy development before and after final action is taken.

  • To help the Council mobilize members in support of other local union bargaining and organizing activities.

  • To make sure information is carried back and forth between local unions and the Labor Council. This means coming to Labor Council to give updates on important issues to the local, and reporting back to the local's governing bodies information from Council meetings.

  • To qualify themselves to vote in all local, state and federal elections

  • Volunteer for a committee assignment.