Local Hiring: Good for the Planet and Good for SE Seattle

Unemployed workers and community supporters are planning informational pickets at the site where the Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool are being rebuilt by CE &C, a Tacoma-based contractor. “We’re asking CE&C (the general contractor) to insure members of our community will have an opportunity to work on reconstructing a very popular recreational center that has been closed for over a year” Leonard Sims, area resident and journey-level laborer.

The issue is the contractor’s lack of any local hiring plan that would create jobs in a neighborhood burdened with double the unemployment rates of the City overall and a lack of employment opportunities.

The project is owned by the City of Seattle and funded with $14.8M of local tax dollars.  Members of the South Seattle Jobs Committee* have attempted to secure a commitment to creating job opportunities on this project with City officials and the contractor since last August.  During these meetings, the City said it is committed to the hiring of a local and diverse workforce on City contracts.  “Following our meetings with the contractor and City, we’re skeptical there will be any jobs for workers from this community” according to James Williams, an organizer for Working Washington.

Every day the facility was used by hundreds of southeast Seattle youth, adults, and seniors and served as a focal point for community activity.  Its closure in 2010 and subsequent delays in awarding a contract for construction has drawn both criticism and praise from Rainier Beach community leaders.  The new center and pool will not open until the summer of 2013, leaving its users with few options for nearly 30 months.  “My 8-yr old son and I used the center regularly and I wish I had a rec center nearby … at least our community should get the benefit of jobs during its construction!” Jacquel Redmond, Member of Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition.

Michael Woo, director of Got Green in Columbia City said, “As we’re all more conscious of our environment we’re thankful a newer community center is being built green and will ultimately help conserve resources.  While the project is good for the planet – shouldn’t it benefit the community thru green job creation too?”

What:  Informational Pickets at Rainier Beach Community Center 

When:  January 17, 18, 19 & 20, 2012 starting at 11:30am

Where:  8825 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle

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Join us for the 30th Anniversary MLK Day Celebration @ Garfield High School!

March with Got Green! After the rally, meet us on the steps leading to the main entrance of the school to march together as a group downtown to the Federal Building for a short program.  A snack lunch and free buses back to Garfield will be available too. 

Starting at 9:30AM there will be several interesting and free workshops in the school. You won’t want to miss this program of song and inspirational speeches in the Quincy Jones Auditorium beginning at 11AM.  Look for our Got Green t-shirts and banner in the auditorium to sit with us!


WHAT?   MLK DAY Celebration

WHEN?   Monday, January 16th

     9am Workshops begin

     11am Rally begins

     12:30pm March begins

WHERE?   Garfield High School,

     400 23rd Ave. (23rd Ave & E. Jefferson St.)

     Seattle, WA 98122

***Remember to wear your Got Green t-shirt***

Action on Chase Bank:Stop taking food off of our families’ tables! It’s time to give back!

Great job on the Chase action on Saturday! We delivered a big turkey and letter to the Othello branch manager demanding that Chase give back 10% of the fees they charge on EBT cards to save the Farmer’s Market Nutrition program for low-income women, children, and seniors.

Women, children, and families marched down MLK to Chase bank carrying signs to Chase Bank as we collectively asked them to give back 10% of their contract –nearly $800,000– and to use those dollars to save Farmers Market Bucks and other food programs.

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Photos provided by Inye Wokoma – Ijo Arts Photography


Got Green’s Action on Chase Bank this Saturday demanded attention, calling loudly for Chase to stop benefiting from poor families and seniors.

  • Chase has an $8 million dollar contract with the State of WA to administer EBT cards statewide, profiting each time a new family goes on food stamps. Chase’s contract nearly doubled since the recession started.
  • Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides $20 to WIC families & $40 to seniors per season to buy fresh & healthy foods.
  • If the state of WA cuts $100,000 in administrative costs to the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, low income families will lose $893,000 in federal  food dollars. This is BAD MATH!
  • Farmers Market food is locally grown & travels a much shorter distance from the field to the table.  It is healthier for families, communities, and THE PLANET!

You can make an impact TODAY by calling Phyllis Campbell, the Pacific Northwest Vice President of Chase Bank, and telling her to give back 10% of their Washington EBT card contract to save food  programs. CALL HER NOW!

PHONE: 206.500.1677

“Green Women, Healthy Voices” Event VIDEOS are here!

Our “Green Women, Healthy Voices” report back to the community event was a success! You can now watch VIDEO from the event right here on the Got Green website!

View the Women in the Green Economy Report Recommendations segment in this post and in our videos tab above you can also watch powerful testimonials from SE Seattle women: Jacquel, Katherine, Michelle, Ramata, Sylvia, and Violet.

Green Women, Healthy Voices: Michelle Esguerra

Photography by Inye Wokoma / Ijo Arts Media Group

Michelle Esguerra is a journey-level, union electrician who lost her full-time job in 2009 a few months before her daughter, Clover, was born. She recently became a certified energy auditor through a federal stimulus funded green job training program. Michelle is hopeful that green jobs such as energy auditing can become career pathways for other single mothers.

“Part of the reason why I entered a “green job” and started my new training, is because I wanted a job, any job – and the energy auditing industry is a growing industry, and so if it’s growing, and has some chance of being stable, then that’s where I’m going.

Having accessible training – that I didn’t have to pay for – was very helpful. Don’t get me wrong, I invested a lot in this. I still had to fight tooth and nail to get free daycare for my daughter while I was in class…

For green jobs to be accessible to other single parents, definitely the job hours need to fit daycare hours. I still want to be an electrician, but the hours are crazy. No daycare opens before 6:30 AM and usually you have to be on the job by 6:00 AM.

…While I’m a licensed electrician, that’s not necessary to do the energy auditing job. Yes, there are some physical elements and you do have to be willing to get dirty; however there is also a ton of paperwork and a certain amount of organization and meticulousness you need to possess to succeed. We need to argue that many of these skills – that women workers might already possess – would be helpful in this industry.

I think what would need to happen on the industry end, to make these jobs more accessible to women, is for them to recognize what many women’s work backgrounds can bring to the auditing process. It can be just as easy to train a woman with strong computer skills and a sales background to audit a home as it is to train a person with a strong construction background to navigate unfamiliar computer programs and make a sale.”

Got Green will be celebrating the international day of action on climate change on September 24th a little differently than other actions nationwide by releasing a report on what low-income women and people of color have to say about their priorities for the green movement- to change the climate of our communities.

Click here to join Got Green on Saturday, September 24 from 12-2 PM at South Lake High School in Rainier Beach (8601 Rainier Ave S, 98118) as we release our report, Women in the Green Economy: Voices from SE Seattle. Free healthy lunch and childcare provided.

Green Women, Healthy Voices: Ramata Diebate

Photography by Inye Wokoma / Ijo Arts Media Group

Ramata Diebate is a committed parent of two young children, Dominic and Ella. A 2007 graduate of the University of Washington, she volunteers at the Kent Family Court Parent-to-Parent Peer Advocates program. Since participating in an urban environmental education program in high school, she has worked to educate herself about our food system and its impact on family health and the environment.

At that time I took the survey, I was breastfeeding my daughter, and I was worried about having the proper nutrients; not having pesticides in my system and just generally having a healthy diet. I would say it’s of top importance to me and my family – and to every family – that we get access to healthy food.

We want our children to be healthy, to grow the way they are supposed to; and they can’t do that off of processed foods. I don’t think any family prefers to eat processed foods; but at certain times of the month, it’s what’s consumed because there’s not the funds to buy the fresh produce.

At the end of the month – it’s the hardest. At the end of the month you have to scrimp on fruits and vegetables and meat; and it shouldn’t be that way. Healthy food should be affordable enough so that families can eat well all month; not just in the first two or three weeks.

I’m struggling economically, but I’m an educated woman. And yet I don’t understand why it should be this way.

At the government level, farmers and producers of fruits and vegetables should be subsidized, and more should be grown; I read that if on one perfect day, everyone in the United States decided to follow the food and nutrition guidelines and eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, there wouldn’t be enough fresh produce in this country to go around. Which is a shame; they subsidize corn but not most fresh produce.

Local farmers – organic farmers – we should get them involved. Together we should be able to figure out how to make good food affordable.

Got Green will be celebrating the international day of action on climate change on September 24th a little differently than other actions nationwide by releasing a report on what low-income women and people of color have to say about their priorities for the green movement- to change the climate of our communities.

Click here to join Got Green on Saturday, September 24 from 12-2 PM at South Lake High School in Rainier Beach (8601 Rainier Ave S, 98118) as we release our report, Women in the Green Economy: Voices from SE Seattle. Free healthy lunch and childcare provided.

Green Women, Healthy Voices: Sylvia Sabon

Photography by Inye Wokoma / ljo Arts Media Group

Prioritize green jobs and opportunities for low income women and people of color

Sylvia Sabon got her start in the construction industry through a community hiring agreement won by the Seattle-based grassroots group LELO that prioritized low income women and workers of color for Sound Transit jobs. In 2008 Sylvia was laid off from her job as an office worker with Kiewit Construction – a major contractor with Sound Transit.

I think a lot of women are asking ‘are there really green jobs?’ They’re out there looking for cashiers jobs, restaurant jobs, and clerical jobs; because when you’re looking for jobs you don’t really see a category called ‘green jobs.’

I’m an Alaskan Native, and on Sound Transit when I was working in the construction trailer, I was the only brown face around… We won a contract that made those companies hire women and people of color. That’s how I got in the door.

But more companies need to have requirements to hire people from the Rainier Valley and our communities. They should have the requirement to hire local women, local workers; Without agreements like these and buy-in from the contractors, you submit your resume, application and they most likely say ‘thank you for your time.’ And they’re going to hire someone from outside the city limits – from Gig Harbor, Auburn. And we’re saying, ‘we’re right here. Why don’t you hire us? The job site is only ten minutes away from my house’… a lot of us are going to those job shacks, signing the list, but we’re not getting hired. And we want jobs. All we want is an opportunity for a chance.

Now we have to talk about green jobs and what they mean for women of color. It rains a lot in Seattle, it’s damp and cold and it creates a lot of mold – especially if you don’t have a lot of ventilation and insulation. It will create a healthier environment if buildings can get weatherized, our children will have less asthma, and it will create more green jobs…

A number of us single parents, we went to training, we’re ready to work, but we need a more fair economy.

Got Green will be celebrating the International Day of Action on Climate Change on September 24th a little differently than other actions nationwide by releasing a report on what low-income women and people of color have to say about their priorities for the green movement- to change the climate of our communities.

Click here to join Got Green on Saturday, September 24 from 12-2 PM at South Lake High School in Rainier Beach (8601 Rainier Ave S, 98118) as we release our report, Women in the Green Economy: Voices from SE Seattle. Free healthy lunch and childcare provided.