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Appeal to Labor and Industries RE: SB 5493

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP TO SAVE CHINOOK’s GROUND MAINTENANCE DIVISION

(For additional background on this issue, please click here.)

Please copy and paste the letter below into an email to Mr. Jim Christensen, Industrial Statistician, Prevailing Wage Program, Department of Labor and Industries. His email address is chrj235@lni.wa.gov. If you would prefer to leave a voicemail for him, he can be reached at 360.902.5330. If Emailing, we also suggest sending a carbon copy to our local representative from Governor Inslee’s office, Joe Timmons at joe.timmons@gov.wa.gov.

To email: chrj235@lni.wa.gov
CC: joe.timmons@gov.wa.gov

Subject Line: Please keep disabled workers employed under SB 5493

[Today’s Date]

Dear Mr. Christensen,

I am writing today with specific concerns regarding SB 5493 in which the prevailing wage for LANDSCAPE CONSTRUCTION recently increased from $14.15 to $59.49 per hour.

This increase has harmed companies like Chinook Enterprises, a non-profit social enterprise in Mount Vernon, Washington. Chinook’s mission is to employ people with disabilities. Chinook has a grounds maintenance division that helps further this mission.

Seventy percent of Chinook’s grounds crew is disabled. Chinook’s longstanding municipal clients have been clear they cannot afford to pay $59.49 per hour and will not renew their contracts with Chinook when the new rate becomes effective, which eliminates 70% of Chinook’s landscape maintenance businesses next month and 100% within the next year.

I am greatly concerned that many people with disabilities will lose their jobs, but I believe there is a solution at hand.

Please consider creating a new labor category which better reflects work specific to grounds maintenance. Under a new category of “groundskeeper,” or “lawn care worker” (for example) the Department could establish a prevailing wage commensurate with workers performing similar tasks in Washington State in the range of $13.36 – $15.13 an hour.

Using your influence to make a rapid and immediate fix will not only support people with disabilities, but it will help families, communities, and municipalities.

Thank you for your consideration,

[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION]
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