The MLK Labor Story

Older than the state of Washington, MLK Labor has consistently been a force for social and economic justice in King County.

MLK Labor (formerly the Martin Luther King County Labor Council) is the central body of labor organizations in King County, Washington. We are affiliated with the National AFL-CIO, the central labor organization in the United States, representing more than 13 million working people.

Our mission is to unify all labor organizations in King County to build power and strength for all workers.

History of MLK Labor

Founded in 1888 as the West Central Labor Union (WCLU), MLK Labor has organized workers and fought for improvements to the lives of working men and women for over 130 years. From the Seattle General Strike of 1919 to the civil rights movement to the $15/hour minimum wage, MLK Labor has played a transformational role in our region’s history.

Today, MLK Labor represents more than 150 unions and 100,000 workers. United, we are a voice for the interests and needs of working people in King County.

Who Runs MLK Labor

MLK Labor is a democratic, worker-run organization. Each affiliated union elects delegates to MLK Labor, who represent their members in decision-making. Delegates meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 First Avenue.

Every three years, MLK Labor holds elections for officers, trustees, trade section representatives, and constituency group representatives. These individuals make up the Executive Board, which meets prior to each delegates’ meeting to consider requests from affiliates and other business.

Our Work

Building Worker Power — History has shown that when workers stand shoulder-to-shoulder for better pay, working conditions, and respect from their boss, they win. We organize workers and help them use collective action to improve the lives of themselves and their families.

Building Citizen Power — Our democracy it at its best when working families have a voice. We work to empower citizens to use their democratic voice to elect pro-worker candidates to public office and hold our elected representatives in check.

Building Consumer Power — Time has shown that the greatest progress happens when workers and business work together to the benefit of our community. We offer resources to inform and encourage our community to support businesses who treat workers with respect.

Our Mission

MLK Labor exists to unify all labor organizations in King County to build power and strength for all workers. We fundamentally value diversity and we are engaged in the fight to challenge bigotry in all forms. We support local unions and affiliated organizations to strengthen and grow as the best way to improve the lives of workers and our communities and we will adapt and grow our movement to meet all new challenges.

Our Core Responsibilities

MLK Labor helps workers and their unions build power and create better lives for themselves and their families. Our Core Responsibilities are:

  • Enacting and defending groundbreaking pro-worker policies
  • Electing pro-worker candidates to public office
  • Raising the bar for all workers to live a dignified life
  • Bringing the labor community together to share best practices
  • Supporting for new worker organizing campaigns to improve livelihoods