Category Archives: Fight Update

How we stopped a theft by my dog slum boss

by Sam

This guy Bob (not his real name) was running a doggy daycare business. He was going on a trip and wanted someone to take over while he was gone. I like dogs, and I was fairly broke while I was finishing up my degree, so I took the job.

I was supposed to come at 7am, so I got there at 7am. There was a couple already waiting in their car when I arrived. Apparently they normally got there earlier, which I hadn’t been told. So, I helped them get their dogs in, and they rushed off to their job. Bob hadn’t left any instructions. There were dishes piled in the sink, and a container of bleach on the ground where the dogs were. The place was a mess.

Obviously, I got the bleach up from the floor and I did the dishes etc. I ended up watching about 20 dogs in this small space. It was a single family home with a basement and a yard that the dogs had access to. Bob had a fence that prevented the dogs from coming into the living room and that’s basically it. The yard was filled with dog poop. I quickly learned that the fence was also unsecure, because a small dog escaped on my first day. This dog was a regular and Bob seemed unsurprised and unbothered that the dog got out. At this point, I realized that this may have happened before. Basically, the place hadn’t been cleaned much, the dogs seemed to be unsafe, and it was not the best situation.

Customers were coming all the time and I had no idea when things were happening, so it didn’t feel like I could ever leave. Some of the dogs weren’t picked up until 8 or even 9 pm. A few stayed overnight. Bob told me that I didn’t have to stay overnight, but he didn’t tell the owners that. Some made it clear it was expected, so I stayed over most nights. I was uncompensated for that time, but it did make me feel better not to lie.

I did this for five days. On the fifth day, I had someone dropping off a dog in the morning, and they told me that the dog might be in heat, so I should watch for any weird behavior from the other dogs. They gave me their number. They seemed really nervous about it, and I was really nervous about it too. So, the whole entire day I was watching this dog. There were definitely male dogs following this female dog around. Later in the day, when some other people came to pick up their dogs, I learned that some of these male dogs weren’t neutered.

When the female dog’s owner came back to pick up their dog, I explained the situation. After that, they decided to work from home for a while, while their dog was in heat, instead of using the doggy daycare.

When Bob heard that I had been honest with the customer, and that the customer had canceled their booking, he was not pleased. He said I should “just go with the flow” in these situations, because “all you have to do is separate them.” I told him that the way the house was set up, it was impossible to see all the dogs at once, and it would have been compromising my ethics not to be open with the dog owner about the situation. Bob disagreed. He texted, “You shouldn’t be concerned about other people’s animals.” This was surreal coming from a doggy daycare owner.

Then, Bob said something like, if you don’t like the situation you’re dealing with here, then leave. So I was like, alright, awesome. I quit.

Bob paid me for my time up to that point. And then he was like, “oh wait, it would be really cool if you could stay here until tonight so that then my friend can take over. And send me a picture when you leave.” After I sent the picture, he said he’d pay me for that extra time. I didn’t want the dogs to be left alone, so I said okay, sure. I stayed there until that night, then I sent him a picture of me doing a peace sign in front of his house.

The next day I wake up, and he still hasn’t paid me for that extra time. So I was like, “Hey, what’s up? Are you going to pay me for that time?”

His response: “You aren’t getting anything.” At that point I was pretty pissed off.
I was volunteering for SeaSol at the time, so at the following Monday meeting, I told everyone what happened. After explaining the situation, everyone voted to take on the fight. I was super grateful that people wanted to support. At that point, we started strategizing what to do and putting the word out for our first action.

For our action, we all met at a park near Bob’s house, where we distributed a bunch of signs. I think there were about 30 people there. It was really high energy, everyone was excited. At that point, I had been to a few SeaSol actions, but I hadn’t had the experience of solidarity being for me. If I think too hard about it, I tear up– it’s a pretty cool experience. My friends were there, everyone was smiling, and we all marched to his house.

With our fights, there are the smaller actions that happen at the beginning and then they’re escalated. This first action was smaller. It was just meant to be like, hey, we’re here, and this demand letter states something you need to accomplish if you want us to not come here again.

Bob was outside, struggling to start his chainsaw when we arrived. Two SeaSolers had volunteered to deliver the demand letter. They went up to him and asked, “Hey, are you Bob?” And he was like, “Who’s Bob?” I shouted that he was indeed Bob, and he was trying to avoid taking the letter. He kept on avoiding it, so they ended up taping it to the door. The letter gave him two weeks to pay.

We all went back to our meeting spot to debrief, which is something we do after every action. The vibe was celebratory. After our recap and words of encouragement, we all went our separate ways.

Bob emailed SeaSol pretty quickly saying he was consulting a lawyer and planning to sue us. He thought he was going to scare us.

In the end, I got paid in two weeks- exactly at the deadline. So everything turned out really well. But yeah, it was just probably the weirdest thing that’s happened to me recently.

A lot of us have to deal with bosses every day, and some of them are way crazier than others. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. But it’s nice to have the support.
Solidarity forever!

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Wage Theft and Worker Abuse at Royal India Restaurants

The Seattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol) is calling for a boycott of the Royal India Fine Dining & Catering restaurants in Kirkland (9714 Juanita Drive NE) and Lynnwood (7531 196th St SW). The restaurants are owned by Mohammad Rashid Bhatti and operated by his daughter, Aeisha Bhatti.

These bad bosses appear to have a long, shameful history of failing to pay their workers and other business debts. We have been approached by nine workers (and counting) with claims of stolen wages, illegal evictions, and other labor abuses.

SeaSol stands with former workers Juan and Pedro and demands that both are paid what they are owed. For more information, see

Demand delivery at Royal India Kirkland
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Victory! SeaSol supports family suffering from moldy apartment

D came to SeaSol because his apartment was making his son sick. 

For years, D has lived in a low-income housing unit with mold problems, but he couldn’t afford to move to a market-rate unit. At certain times of year one wall would turn black and give off a nasty smell no matter what he did. D and his family started leaving the windows open day and night, even in the winter, to try to keep humidity from building up in the unit. But it didn’t work. D’s newborn son began developing respiratory symptoms from the mold.

D contacted property management multiple times. They would first suggest the mold was D’s fault, then eventually send maintenance to clean it without making any repairs. A few months later mold would return, and the symptoms would start again. D asked to be transferred to an equivalent apartment without a health hazard, showing them photos and doctors’ notes, but they refused to even look at the documentation. It was easier to ignore D and do nothing, so that’s what they did.

With a new baby on the way, D knew his family’s health was still at risk and something needed to change. That’s when he found SeaSol and asked us for help. Together with D we wrote a letter from SeaSol to the property management company, and sent it to multiple key people in the organization. We also called them many times to keep the issue fresh in their minds. We started making plans to escalate further if necessary.

At first it was the same old story – the property manager thought it wasn’t their problem. Was D sure he didn’t do something wrong? Maybe it could be D’s problem instead. But after more than four years of persistence by D and two months of help from SeaSol, we got the happy news: D and his family of 5 were being transferred to a new, healthy apartment! They have now moved in and left the (m)old problems behind.

If you’re suffering from a landlord bureaucracy that’s designed to make you give up and go away, you’ll need allies to keep up the pressure. That’s what orgs like SeaSol are for.

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SeaSol wins back nearly $900 in stolen wages

SeaSol members stand outside the boss’s house with picket signs during a demand delivery

When one  worker came to SeaSol, he had done nearly $900 in labor for his boss. When payday came, his boss gave him a check for a mere $448, a little more than half the owed wages. From speaking to some of the worker’s co-workers, we knew that the boss’s checks had a tendency to bounce. Instead of trying to cash the too-small and likely worthless check, the worker came to SeaSol.

 Due to a language barrier, our meetings went slowly, with one SeaSol member interpreting for the whole group. Despite this challenge, we crafted a plan together: We would show up at the boss’s house (which is also his business office) and demand the wages back. 

On September 4th, we did just that. Not wanting to have a whole group on the boss’s property, supporters stood on the sidewalk as a few members presented the demand at the boss’s door. We carried picket signs to amplify our presence and to warn the boss: we can take this further.

Thanks to our reputation and long history of successful direct action fights against wage thieves, there was no need. Despite an initial mix up where the boss thought we were there with a different worker he hadn’t payed, he soon agreed to pay. He met a SeaSol member at the bank and wrote his worker a check. This time, a cashier’s check: a check that won’t bounce. Another member took the check to the worker. Now the worker’s $900 in stolen wages has been paid.

The worker holding a cashier’s check for his back wages

If you have also had wages stolen, by this boss or any other, contact us! (en Espanol) When we fight together, we win. 

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Community fight evicts scumbag manager

Kai (real name redacted) and her kid were happy living at the Helene Apartments in Greenlake, until the new manager, Arnold, arrived. At first he was friendly. Then he was too friendly. After his unwelcome advances were rejected, he started acting hostile. But things only got really bad after Arnold locked the fire exits, and then Kai forgot her keys and became trapped with her daughter in the parking garage.

Someone outside eventually heard their calls for help, and firefighters rescued them, citing Arnold for having illegally locked the fire exits. Furious at Kai, Arnold yelled abuse at her in front of her daughter, who from that day on became scared whenever she saw him in the halls. Arnold developed a deep, all-consuming hatred for Kai and her daughter. His obsessive desire to punish them, combined with the petty authority of being the landlord’s sole representative in the building, made life increasingly hellish for the young family.

Arnold made up pretexts to try to evict them. When the first eviction attempt failed, quashed by the City of Seattle due to the obviously bogus nature of the supposed “lease violations”, he did not give up. He tried again. And again. Eight times Kai had to deal with his attempts to evict them on false pretenses, eventually getting each of the evictions thrown out. But that wasn’t all: when Kai’s daughter made a jack-o-lantern at a Halloween event in the building, Arnold smashed it, then laughed about it to her face. When she planted a small garden, he tore it up. He stalked Kai via the security cameras he controlled, monitoring her movements and then taunting her about knowing where she had been and what she had been doing.

Unfortunately for Arnold, Kai was not a helpless victim. First she reported him to the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, which started an investigation, but ultimately did nothing. Then she joined SeaSol. We agreed to fight alongside her against the landlord, with one simple demand: Arnold must be removed from the Helene Apartments.

We normally bring a crowd of supporters into the boss or landlord’s office to stand with the worker or tenant as they deliver the demands. However, mid-pandemic, with people not yet vaccinated, we had to find another way to show community support for Kai. So instead, 80 SeaSol members and supporters submitted selfies with their own home-made “Stop Harassing Kai” signs, and we sent them all to the owners of the Helene Apartments, together with the demand letter calling for Arnold’s removal from the building. We soon received a response from Arnold’s boss, Chris: he wanted to “address our concerns”, but Arnold wasn’t going anywhere.

With the issue unresolved, we started gradually escalating the campaign. First we sent postcards to all tenants at the Helene Apartments, letting them know about the dispute and encouraging them to enforce their rights as tenants, especially given the Covid-19 eviction moratorium. We then started putting up posters around the building, warning potential renters what they’d be getting into if they signed a lease with Arnold. Arnold, of course, continually ripped these down, so we continually put them up again. After a while, we started putting up warning posters around the owners’ other buildings as well. We also created a website about the landlords, hosted at our very own domain name, “”.

When none of this was enough to get rid of the abusive manager, we started a calling campaign targeting the two owners’ cell phones. Rather than do the traditional big one-day phone blast, we decided to drag it out and have a handful of people call each week, so that instead of one overwhelming day of calls that would soon be over, the calls just kept coming and coming, week after week, month after month. One owner’s voicemail was soon disabled, but the other owner used his cell as the main number for his real estate appraisal business, so he didn’t have the option of just shutting it down or ignoring it.

Next, we started going after the owner’s real estate appraisal business. The company made bids for contracts with local governments and public agencies, so we started sending emails and letters to city council members, county commissioners, and agency heads, asking them not to do business with this abusive landlord. Each week we sent another batch of these, bcc’ing the landlord on the emails. One of the agencies was Sound Transit, which had the landlord on their contractor list. When Sound Transit ignored our messages, we held a noise picket at their headquarters, then included a photo of that action in the letters that we continued sending to more and more agencies and municipalities each week.

At this point, the landlords made a more serious attempt to get us off their backs. They still weren’t going to remove Arnold, but if Kai agreed to move out instead, they would offer her up to $12,000 dollars in rental assistance. We tried to see if they would go higher, but they wouldn’t. $12k was a tempting offer for a low-income single mother, but ultimately Kai decided, with SeaSol’s full support, that it wasn’t good enough. She had not gone into this seeking money, that was not what we had demanded, and she should not have to move.

The actions continued. We made a flyer with a photo of Arnold and started distributing it in the area around the Helene Apartments, canvassing neighborhood people and business to let them know about the scumbag manager in their midst. Arnold retaliated by moving into the apartment directly above Kai and then stomping loudly in the middle of the night to prevent her and her daughter from sleeping.

We found out that Arnold, in addition to being a wannabe DJ, was also a wannabe dance instructor. A local dance studio had him scheduled to lead an event at Alki Beach. We contacted the studio and asked them to cease working with Arnold. We started preparing to show up to the Alki event.

We also finally started escalating more personally against the owners and the head of the management company, distributing letters to all houses on the blocks where they lived, as well as posting them on telephone poles. The letters said that one of their neighbors was an abusive landlord, and although we didn’t yet name who it was, we promised to visit soon in person to address the issue fully. We began getting ready to canvas the neighbors. Next on the list after that: street pickets in front of their houses.

Before going ahead with all this, we received a new message from Arnold’s boss. They had had enough. Arnold was on his way out.

We were a bit concerned that this message might just be a trick to stall our actions, but a couple weeks later we had the proof we needed: Arnold was gone, and the Helene Apartments had a new manager. Finally, Kai and her daughter could feel safe in their home.

To everyone who took part, thank you. This wasn’t an easy fight or a quick one, but it was worth doing.

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