Dozens of Seattle construction workers are seeing workplace-wide accountability for workplace-wide violations of their rights


We know that when there’s one labor rights violation in a workplace, there’s often more.

And that’s exactly what the Seattle Office of Labor Standards found in a recent investigation into two Seattle-area construction companies. After several immigrant construction workers brought concerns about their rights to CASA Latina — a trusted organization in the Latinx community, and one of our close partners — they got connected with City investigators, who in turn started looking into overall labor rights practices at the companies.

OLS found a long-standing pattern of labor rights violations at the two companies, including a widespread practice of ignoring minimum wage and overtime protections. And those violations aren’t limited to the handful of workers who spoke up: all told, OLS is forcing the companies to pay $2,055,204 to 53 workers.

Such robust and wide-ranging enforcement proves the power of our system of community-based labor standards enforcement in Seattle. The immigrant workers in this case already had strong existing relationships and trust with CASA Latina. When they came forward with concerns about their rights, CASA Latina remained involved throughout the entire investigation, helping bridge communication and build trust between workers and the City’s investigators. 

That trust is essential when it comes to ensuring workers can enforce their rights at work — and that’s especially true for immigrant workers of color, who face particularly high rates of labor rights violations, and who often don’t know or believe that government agencies like OLS are there to help.

This collaborative process means big things for workers: backed up by local organizations bringing community-based expertise, and supported by the resources and investigative power of city government, workers are increasingly seeing workplace-wide accountability for workplace-wide problems.

These partnerships between workers, community organizations, and city government are no accident. For years, community organizations like Fair Work Center and CASA Latina have been working with the City of Seattle to fund and build out this cutting-edge approach to labor standards enforcement.

It’s working. Seattle is leading the way by passing first-in-the-nation labor standards. And we’re backing those laws up with an equally innovative approach to enforcement that’s successfully moving money from companies to workers and holding employers accountable.

As the Seattle City Council turns its attention to the annual budget, it is critically important that city leaders continue to support and fund this community-based labor standards enforcement system. Our labor laws are only as strong as our ability to enforce them — and city leaders need only look to recent enforcement victories for workers as proof of just how powerful that enforcement can be.

Welcoming Danielle Alvarado as the new Executive Director of Fair Work Center & Working Washington

Dear Working Washington & Fair Work Center community,

We are thrilled to welcome Danielle Alvarado as the new Executive Director of Working Washington & Fair Work Center.

Danielle has more than a decade of experience working in the movement for racial and economic justice. And she knows our organization inside & out: since 2019, she’s been our Legal Director.

Leading our legal team, she has supported WA workers in recovering over $1.5 million in stolen wages, and has expanded our ability to represent workers in wage theft, harassment, and retaliation cases. She has also shown a deep commitment to putting the needs of immigrant workers and workers of color front and center in our organizing. This past year, she helped co-lead the broad coalition of community organizations that won $430 million in pandemic relief for undocumented workers excluded from government relief programs.

Born and raised in San Jose, California, Danielle became the first lawyer in her Mexican-American family in order to support organizing and build power in communities like the one she grew up in. She has spent her career supporting worker centers all over the country and has dedicated herself to learning about the many different ways workers are successfully building power.

That’s the experience driving Danielle’s vision for the future of Working Washington & Fair Work Center:

I believe that workers are experts in their own lives — that those of us who are closest to the problem should be the ones to identify and build solutions. That idea has long guided our organization’s work and victories, but there’s still so much more we can do to ensure the voices of those who’ve been excluded from conversations and decisions about their lives —  immigrant workers, workers of color, LGBTQ+ workers, disabled workers, and so many others — are put front and center.”


Since Fair Work Center & Working Washington merged in 2018, we’ve come together to win some transformative victories. We’ve passed groundbreaking protections for domestic workers in Seattle. We’ve won first-in-the-nation hazard pay and sick leave laws for gig workers. We’ve successfully expanded overtime protections to cover hundreds of thousands more salaried workers across the state. And we’ve launched new education programs in SeaTac & Yakima, and created a Basebuilding Team to better support worker leaders over the long haul.

Danielle steps into this role at a time of ongoing crisis for workers. But despite the challenges we’re facing, we know this from experience: when we organize together to demand big changes, we win big. Danielle comes prepared and fired up to continue the work of building power and winning transformative changes for working people across WA. 

But we’re up against billionaires and wealthy corporations — and that means victories will take resources. If you are able, show your support for Danielle and her leadership by contributing to a new Transition Fund that will ensure we have the resources we need to continue fighting for a just and equitable recovery from this pandemic crisis.  

Thank you for being a part of it all,

David Rolf
Board President
Working WA & Fair Work Center

Rebecca Saldaña
Board Vice President
State Senator — WA 37 

P.S. Want your full-time job to be building worker power with Danielle and the rest of the team at Working Washington & Fair Work Center? We are hiring for new legal clinic leadership and for two campaign organizing positions.