Donald Trump

Seattle Gives City Workers Time Off to Attend Anti-Trump Protests

The resolution also declares May Day a "day of action for worker and immigrant rights."


The Seattle City Council passed a unanimous resolution this week which declares May 1 a "day of action" on which city employees are encouraged to attend planned anti-Trump protests instead of going to work.

The resolution—drafted by Councilmember Kshama Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative party—instructs supervisors of city government departments to remind their workers that they are entitled to take two days of unpaid leave for "days of faith and conscience," and that attending Monday's protests is a legitimate use of this leave.

Sawant's resolution goes on to stress to Seattleites that through strikes and civil disobedience they "have the power to defeat Trump's attacks, because without workers' mental and physical labor no business can make profits and none of the productive forces of the world can be harnessed."

Seattle city rules require supervisors to grant request for these unpaid days off, unless doing so would jeopardize public safety or cause undue hardship.

Somewhat ironically, the Socialist-drafted resolution tacitly admits that a mass of government workers not showing up to do their jobs on Monday would not be an undue hardship for the city. Unfortunately, undue hardship seems to be exactly what Sawant wants to impose on the good citizens of Seattle.

"If we truly want to build a summer of resistance against Trump and the billionaire class," Sawant said in a Tuesday interview on King5, an NBC affiliate, "then we will need disruptive action like shutting down airports, and shutting down highways."

Other Seattle government officials, while eager to sign on to this "day of action," are less keen about Sawant's call for "disruptive action." Mayor Ed Murray provided some rather impotent pushback saying, "We need to keep our freeways and our on and off ramps…the state, of course, needs to keep our on and off ramps open."

Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead had harsher words for Sawant, calling her rhetoric "reckless and irresponsible."

"It's unsafe for both protesters and motorists alike, and we are simply not going to tolerate that unlawful behavior of trying to shut down the interstate or state highway systems," he told local radio station KIRO.

Mead called it "reckless and irresponsible" for an elected official to encourage city workers and residents to engage in illegal behavior and police confrontations. It also seems decidedly pointless as an act of anti-Trump resistance. On Election Day 2016, only 8 percent of Seattleites cast a ballot for Donald Trump, who won a total of zero precincts in the city. Only Washington, D.C., and Detroit were harsher to the current president.

George W. Bush, by comparison, still managed to come away with 20 percent of votes from the city in 2004, suggesting that Trump is particularly anathema to Seattle voters. Given that, it's hard to understand what exactly anti-Trump protesters blocking anti-Trump commuters will do to thwart the president's agenda, or to conjure up a "summer of resistance."

But who knows? Maybe the Trump administration truly is just one traffic jam away from crumbling.