Author Archives: Lee

Purple Store Fight Update

Our fight alongside the former staff of the Purple Store has been going for more than a year and half so we want to provide a recap of the fight thus far and where things currently stand.

At the beginning of 2019, a group of workers came to the Seattle Solidarity Network with a long list of grievous issues they were experiencing at the hands of their then-employer, Purple Store owner Adam Sheridan. A demand was delivered on March 3rd of that year for the over $10,000 owed by Adam in unpaid wages or as he termed them, “payroll quirks”. Shortly thereafter, the workers began exploring their options of organizing a union and by March 13th, the entire staff was fired via an email that claimed the business was about to go under and could not make payroll. The employees had reported Adam to Labor & Industries and the Office of Labor Standards as well as to the Washington Attorney General and the FTC for potential fraud violations. They had filed for unionization with the National Labor Relations Board. They had asked politely, and repeatedly, for the money they were owed. The state’s Employment Security Department ruled that employees were fired in retaliation. At the same time as this email was sent, Adam had new job postings up on the job listing website Indeed which made it clear that he was attempting to retaliate against his staff for organizing and intended to hire scabs.

Seattle Solidarity Network takes this kind of escalation and retaliation from a boss with the highest level of seriousness. We quickly assumed a posture of taking picketing action as we were moving into the cruise industry season which brings the Purple Store the lion’s share of their foot traffic. Driven by the massive amount of community support behind the workers, we spent the rest of 2019 relentlessly picketing the Purple Store; at times as frequently as two or three times a week. This represented the biggest test of Seattle Solidarity Network’s capacity as an organization in years and we were truly taken aback by the level of community power we were able to mobilize.

Toward the end of the summer of 2019, Adam attempted to file for a harassment protection order against two of his former employees along with another Seattle Solidarity Network member. This laughable attempt to stifle protected organizing activity was quickly dismissed from court but not before Adam entered into the record of evidence of illegal surveillance recordings from outside his store that included audio recording as well as lying on his initial written complaint. With the cruise season reaching a conclusion and the tactic of in-person pickets thus losing much of its power, we opted to begin pursuing legal recourse against Adam for illegally recording our conversations on the picket line without proper notice. While Seattle Solidarity Network seldom chooses to operate in the realm of the courts due to the fact that we know that is a space which entirely favors bosses and landlords, we felt this was a worthy pursuit since we had willing legal representation and it allowed us to begin working on other campaigns as well. Unfortunately, the courts behaved as predicted and ruled in favor of a boss illegally recording conversations on a public sidewalk in his attempts to shut down worker organizing. Our case was dismissed by the court in late October 2020.

After our lawsuit was initiated, the COVID19 pandemic prompted a cessation of in-person organizing activities for us. In addition to that, it canceled just about the entirety of the 2020 cruise industry and tourist season for our area and thus the effectiveness of in-person actions against the Purple Store. We spent that time redirecting Seattle Solidarity Network’s energies into our RentRelief.net project along with several other fights which we will provide updates about in the coming weeks. We want to express gratitude for the contributions of the former Purple Store employees to those fights. It has been truly inspiring to see them set aside their own fight in order to lend support and solidarity to others in need. Now that the legal tactic we pursued has reached an impasse, we are at a crossroads as to the future of this fight.

With COVID19 cases and deaths surging across the United States, this fight will likely remain static for a while. While Seattle Solidarity Network will continue to initiate and engage in new organizing campaigns, we also remain fully committed to continuing our campaign against the Purple Store until the demand is met. We encourage our supporters to continue to leave comments and reviews on all pertinent sites and social media for the Purple Store demanding he resolve the outstanding demands from the workers he retaliated against for organizing. Our website for the fight www.purplestorewagetheft.com will remain online and we appreciate our supporters who continue to share it any time the Purple Store is mentioned. The workers are still pursuing legal options as the Seattle Office of Labor Standards continues their investigation into this matter. Additionally, once our community is healthy enough to return to each other’s company we will certainly see more pickets and other actions. The fight against Adam Sheridan and the Purple Store for wage theft and retaliation against employees will continue.

This long and grueling fight has only been possible thanks to intense support from our network and the broader community. Seattle Solidarity Network along with the former employees of the Purple Store want to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has taken time to support this fight since it kicked off. While this fight has yet to be won, it has already made us all stronger in a myriad of ways and we will continue to build off of it together.

Published by , in Uncategorized.

Unite for Emergency Rent Relief

Most landlords are still charging full rent during the Covid-19 crisis. Tenants all over the world are taking action. We’re doing what we can to help. If you’re in the Puget Sound area and interested in joining with neighbors to fight for emergency rent relief, sign up at https://rentrelief.net.


Published by , in Uncategorized.

SeaSol Backs “Purple Store” Workers

Purple Store Picket

On Saturday March 2nd, around 40 Seattle Solidarity Network members and supporters joined workers from “The Purple Store” at the historic Pike Place Market as they delivered a demand making it clear that they were ready to fight with the community at their back for the over $10,000 owed to them by the store’s owner Adam Sheridan. It was a calm and quick yet impactful action that left the workers feeling empowered and ready to organize towards a resolution that worked for everybody. Unfortunately, Adam chose to almost immediately retaliate against the workers. Within a week, the workers from the store were told the store was in dire financial straits and they were not to return to work. In the meanwhile, Adam appears to have brought in scabs to replace the workers he locked out in an attempt to keep the store open until their peak Summer season. Funny how that works, huh?

Retaliation against workers or tenants organizing is something that we here at Seattle Solidarity Network take with the highest level of seriousness. Displacing workers from their jobs by way of lockout, threatening their ability to make ends meet and provide for themselves and their families, and then bringing in scabs to work in their place is unacceptable. A business that robs and retaliates against workers should not be able to continue to operate.

We are calling upon the broader community to get involved and support the workers in this campaign. Getting involved can look a variety of ways depending on your time and abilities. Whether it is simply spreading word of our fights through your own networks, getting added to our mobilizing list to receive calls and emails about actions, or coming to weekly meetings to get your hands dirty with planning and executing campaigns; we could use your support! You can contact us by call, text, email, or by filling out the form found at http://seasol.net/subscribe-contact/ to get plugged in.

Additionally, we are currently in the process of rebuilding our Strike and Legal Defense Fund which will allow us to provide financial support to these workers and people in our future campaigns should the need arise. If you are able to donate to this, you may do so via Paypal by sending donations to finance@seasol.net.

When we fight, we win!

Published by , in Uncategorized.

SeaSol Forces Boss to Give Backpay

Allstate picket

SeaSol ended 2018 with a win as we forced an insurance broker to give one of their employees backpay after paying them less than minimum wage for two months. The worker received the check for almost $500 just before the holidays, which was double the money they had been underpaid, as outlined in Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance.

The worker first came to us in September after they were fired in retaliation for bringing up their wages. We started our fight with a demand delivery in October attended by roughly 25 SeaSol members and supporters. When the deadline to pay up passed, we began postering the neighborhood and flyering passers-by. This escalated into a picket in November after which the boss claimed they wanted to pay up. But after dragging their feet and trying to tie unfair conditions to the check, we held a second picket in December. The worker got their check the next day.

Published by , in Uncategorized.

SeaSol Backs Tenants Against Mega Landlord

ACC picket

After months of targeting and harassment by the landlord, tenants from American Campus Communities (ACC) have organized an association and executed the first of many visible actions. With help from SeaSol ACC tenants held an informational picket attended by 30 tenants and community supporters on Saturday, June 30th from 11 am to 1 pm in front of ACC’s flagship building Hub in the University District. Tenants from ACC first got in touch with SeaSol in April to seek help in their fight against their massive new landlord. Over the next few months we assisted tenants with door knocking, community outreach, and putting together their first association meeting earlier in June.

American Campus Communities, Inc. is an Austin, Texas based publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) with an annual revenue of $796 million and 161 buildings over 68 campuses whose “primary business objectives are to . . . acquire and operate student housing communities”. ACC’s acquisition of Bridges@11th in October 2017 put the company’s dorm-style business model squarely in opposition to the single-family model at Bridges. ACC also purchased two more U-District buildings, TWELVE and Hub, in 2017, with ambitions to acquire ten times as many units should their Seattle market test succeed.
In the company’s first year in the city, ACC tenants have faced non-compliance of contracts and law violations including forcible entry into units by employees, illegal evictions, fraudulent billing practices, and forged documents, among a multitude of other issues. Tenants who spoke out have been targeted with increased surveillance and have even had their mail withheld.

After speaking with over 150 residents, with help from SeaSol and other organizations, tenants decided to form the ACC Tenants Association. In a letter to ACC’s CEO, Bill Bayless, the association demanded that the company “Recognize the Association’s Rights to Collectively Bargain! Stop Fraudulent Fees! Immediate Refunds of all Stolen Money! Stop Landlord Retaliation and Harassment! Rent Freeze now! Remove Illegal and Regressive Clauses From Leases! Safe And Secure Buildings! We Have the Right to Have Guests in our Homes and Spaces! Tenants Rights are Civil Rights!”

SeaSol looks forward to supporting ACC Tenants in their struggle as they utilize a diversity of tactics to win their demands. As some active tenants work to tie ACC’s hands with the legal system, others will work to build a strong direct-action presence in the community.

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!