UW News

March 25, 2015

Labor Archives of Washington kicks off minimum-wage history project April 11

UW News

Poster for Preserving Solidarity Forever: The Labor Archives Minimum Wage Project kickoff April 11.The Labor Archives of Washington, part of UW Libraries Special Collections Department, is creating an online resource called the Minimum Wage History Project to document the 2013-2014 campaign that succeeded in mandating a $15 minimum hourly wage in the cities of Seattle and Sea-Tac.

The effort kicks off with a public program, “Preserving Solidarity Forever: The Minimum Wage History Project,” 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 11, in Kane Hall’s Walker-Ames Room. James Gregory, UW professor of history, will speak, as will Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant. Other speakers are Heather Weiner of the Yes! for Sea-Tac campaign and Sarah Chernin, political director for UFCW 21, the largest private-sector union in Washington state, as well as a member of union SEIU 775.

“Many people think that because something is online it will be there forever, but that’s not the case,” said Conor Casey, labor archivist for Special Collections. “A great example is the website for the ‘Yes! for Sea-Tac’ campaign. It was up until a few weeks ago and then it disappeared. Luckily, because we were working on this project we took archival snapshots of the website before it went away.”

The mission of the UW labor archives, formed in 2010, is to preserve and keep accessible the history or work, workers and their organizations. “Almost our entire collection is original primary source material from the people and organizations that made this history,” Casey said.

The labor archives are a collaborative project of UW Libraries and the UW Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, with funding from the Simpson Center for the Humanities.

Organizers hope to make the first version of the online archive active in time for the start of classes in fall 2015.

The event is free and open to all and free parking is available, but an online RSVP is required. A reception will follow the program. For more information, contact the organizers at 206-543-7946 or uwlabor@uw.edu.