Delegates voting at COPE 2024
Delegates casting votes at COPE 2024 in South Park (Photo courtesy of the Washington State Labor Council)

Today, the Wash­ing­ton State Labor Coun­cil held its annu­al Com­mit­tee on Polit­i­cal Edu­ca­tion (COPE) Con­ven­tion on Sat­ur­day at IAM Dis­trict 751’s South Park cam­pus. COPE is one of the most impor­tant events on the polit­i­cal cal­en­dar, at least for Democ­rats and pro­gres­sives, because it is the mech­a­nism through which the Wash­ing­ton State Labor Coun­cil decides which can­di­dates it will be supporting.

And they do so in a very demo­c­ra­t­ic fashion.

“Unlike cor­po­ra­tions and busi­ness groups, orga­nized labor has an open and demo­c­ra­t­ic process for can­di­dates and bal­lot mea­sures to earn union sup­port, and rank-and-file mem­bers are encour­aged to par­tic­i­pate,” the Coun­cil not­ed in a news release.

“Can­di­dates seek­ing endorse­ment par­tic­i­pate in a process that includes ques­tion­naires and inter­views with local unions and region­al Cen­tral Labor Coun­cils. Those local union orga­ni­za­tions then make rec­om­men­da­tions for the state con­ven­tion to con­sid­er and vote upon. WSLC endorse­ments require a two-thirds major­i­ty vote.”

“Washington’s labor move­ment is active in our elec­toral process because we know that elec­tions impact lives,” said WSLC Pres­i­dent April Sims. 

“Our move­ment is proud to endorse pro-work­er can­di­dates from every region of Wash­ing­ton. Work­ing peo­ple have a pow­er­ful voice that must be heard.”

The full list of endorse­ments is below, in PDF.

Here are some of the most notable endorsements:

Republicans endorsed at COPE

There are very few Repub­li­cans left who share any of the labor move­men­t’s pro­gres­sive, pro-work­er val­ues, and accord­ing­ly, the WSLC most­ly endors­es Democ­rats nowa­days. How­ev­er, a few Repub­li­cans did man­age to get endorsed at COPE:

  • Jacquelin May­cum­ber, dual endorsed for Con­gress (WA-05) with Demo­c­rat Carmela Conroy
  • Mike Volz, for State House in the 6th Leg­isla­tive District
  • Alex Ybar­ra, for State House in the 13th Leg­isla­tive District
  • Skyler Rude, for State House in the 16th Leg­isla­tive District
  • Sam Low, for State House in the 39th Leg­isla­tive District

Dual endorsements

Aside from dual endors­ing in WA-05, COPE also award­ed mul­ti­ple endorse­ments for:

  • Wash­ing­ton State Attor­ney Gen­er­al (Nick Brown and Man­ka Dhingra)
  • State House, Posi­tion 1, 3rd Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (Natasha Hill & Ben Stuckart)
  • State House, Posi­tion 1, 4th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (Ted Cum­mings & Ed Wood)
  • State Sen­ate, 4th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (Paige Scott & Miguel Valencia)
  • State House, Posi­tion 1, 24th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (Adam Bern­baum & Eric Pickens)
  • State House, Posi­tion 2, 26th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (Tiffiny Mitchell & Josh Smith)

Sole endorsements in open statewide races

Dozens of peo­ple are run­ning for gov­er­nor, and quite a few are also run­ning for Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er and State Supreme Court, but aside from AG, in each of those races, the WSLC endorsed a sin­gle can­di­date. Here’s the list:

  • Gov­er­nor: Bob Fer­gu­son (D)
  • Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er: Pat­ty Kud­er­er (D)
  • State Supreme Court, Posi­tion #2: Sal Mungia

How­ev­er, COPE did not return an endorse­ment for Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands.

Ballot measures

COPE took posi­tions oppos­ing Bri­an Hey­wood and Jim Wal­sh’s slate of destruc­tive ini­tia­tives — I‑2117, I‑2109, and I‑2124, all of which NPI opposes.

The full list

All of the WSLC’s cur­rent endorsees can be seen on this dig­i­tal fly­er:

MAY24-2024-COPE-WSLC-Endorse­ments-May-18-Final

Endorse­ments are accom­pa­nied by “on-the-ground sup­port from union mem­bers statewide, includ­ing house­hold walks, work­site leaflet­ing, and per­son­al (not auto­mat­ed) phone calls to oth­er vot­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly fel­low union mem­bers. It also includes direct mail and oth­er forms of polit­i­cal out­reach intend­ed to explain why endorsed can­di­dates and bal­lot mea­sures have earned labor’s sup­port,” the WSLC notes.

The WSLC may make addi­tion­al endorse­ments in July at its con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion in Wenatchee. Like COPE, that is an annu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tive assem­bly held by the WSLC.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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