For immediate release
August 14, 2018
SEATTLE, WA– Today, the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund announced UNITE HERE Local 8 as the recipient of a grant to support low-wage workers who have experienced sexual misconduct or related retaliation in the workplace. Local 8 will use this grant to train hotel worker leaders to conduct outreach and hold a series of know-your-rights workshops. The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, which is housed and administered by the National Women’s Law Center Fund (NWLCF), awarded eighteen grants to organizations around the country to build on its commitment to support survivors of sexual harassment and retaliation across all industries and connect them to attorneys and public relations experts.
Local 8’s funded project will result in a series of know-your-rights workshops for low-wage hotel workers in the city of Seattle about their rights regarding workplace sexual harassment and retaliation under national, state, and local law, including the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative, and connecting them to resources like the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.
“The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund believes that no worker at any job should ever have to endure abuse for a paycheck,” said Sharyn Tejani, Director of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. “We want all survivors to know that there are available resources to help them deal with sexual misconduct. The projects awarded today have the potential to change lives, and I could not be more excited for the work that lies ahead.”
“With this grant, members of UNITE HERE Local 8 will be able to continue the important work of training other hotel workers around their rights,” said Local 8 Vice President Sarah Warren. “Since the passage of the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative in 2016, hotel workers in Seattle have had new rights and protections around workplace sexual harassment and these funds will help ensure that workers have the knowledge and power to defend these rights.”
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund received more than 120 applications for these funds. The applications proposed a broad range of diverse public engagement projects, including those offering targeted resources for Latinx workers, Asian immigrants, transgender workers, domestic workers, farmworkers, retail workers, restaurant workers, hotel workers, poultry workers and more.
Awardees were determined based on organizations’ community ties, planned outreach to low-wage workers in target populations, demonstrated commitment to advocacy on behalf of workers’ rights—and with attention to geographic distribution across the United States and diversity in populations served.
About UNITE HERE Local 8
UNITE HERE Local 8 represents 5,000 workers in the hospitality industries of Oregon & Washington State. Local 8 members work in hotels, restaurants, food service, and airport concessions. They include room cleaners, cooks, bartenders, bellmen, food and beverage servers, bussers, and dishwashers. Local 8’s parent union, UNITE HERE, represents hotel, food service, and gaming workers throughout the U.S. and Canada and boasts a diverse membership, comprising workers from many immigrant communities as well as high percentages of African-American, Latino, and Asian-American workers. The majority of UNITE HERE members are women. In 2016, Local 8 successfully passed the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative via ballot measure that created new workplace protections from sexual harassment for hotel workers citywide.
About the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, which is housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center Fund, connects those who experience sexual misconduct including assault, harassment, abuse and related retaliation in the workplace or in trying to advance their careers with legal and public relations assistance. The Fund will help defray legal and public relations costs in select cases based on criteria and availability of funds. Donations to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund are tax deductible through the Direct Impact Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or through the National Women’s Law Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The initiative was spearheaded by actors and others in the entertainment industry, attorneys Tina Tchen and Roberta Kaplan, and top public relations professionals. Women in Hollywood came together around their own experiences of harassment and assault, and were moved by the outpouring of support and solidarity against sexual harassment from women across sectors. This inspired them to help create a Fund to help survivors of sexual harassment and retaliation in all industries—especially low-wage workers. They worked together in an historic first to design a structure that would be both inclusive and effective.