Puget Sound Sage brings together labor, faith and community to build an economy based on shared prosperity. We ensure all families benefit from economic growth, all workers are free from discrimination in the workplace and all development meets the needs of our communities.
We envision an economy in which all jobs provide hard working people the wages and benefits needed to grow and support a family. We foresee a time when growing inequality has been reversed and democracy strengthened with the participation of all people. We anticipate a region where safe, clean and affordable housing and communities are available to everyone.
To achieve this future, the institutions that represent regular people - unions, faith congregations and community organizations - must work in partnership with government and business to plan responsibly for the future.
Sage will help bring about this future by building stronger institutions for working families, creating policy that balances the drive for economic growth with economic justice and engaging directly in the day-today decisions of government that affect our communities.
Puget Sound Sage first was formed in 2001 as a coalition of labor, faith and community organizations, with the name Seattle Alliance for Good Jobs and Housing for Everyone (SAGE). In 2002, SAGE became a project of the Church Council of Greater Seattle and hired its first staff person. In 2007, Sage relaunched as Puget Sound Sage under a new board and hired an executive director and research director. In 2008, Sage became an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Below is a brief history of the organization's accomplishments.
- Sage partnered with the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition (RBCEC) to launch Leader Link, a civic leadership institute focusing on transit and transit-oriented development (TOD). Participating groups included local churches, unions, communities of color, retirees, housing and social service organizations. The Institute helped increase community capacity, train constituency leaders, and develop a community-based leadership training model. Leader Link was an encouraging beginning to a new partnership with a neighborhood facing growth and displacement issues.
- In December 2010, the nation's most credible workplace legal expert, the National Employment Law Project (NELP), issued the first-ever examination of systematic workplace abuses across an entire U.S. industry sector. The Big Rig report exposes how port trucking companies routinely break the law to disguise employees as independent contractors, and hide serious public safety and health impacts of port trucking.
- Sage expanded its role as a regional leader in drafting new green jobs policies, adopted by the City of Seattle last summer, to ensure city-funded energy efficiency work is done by contractors who hire from programs serving disadvantaged workers, and participate in training and job quality programs.
- Sage and the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEJ) conducted a door-to-door survey of residents in Georgetown and South Park to better understand how Port of Seattle activities were affecting their health and quality of life. The survey found that Port of Seattle neighbors are deeply concerned about the health impacts of Port trucking
- Puget Sound Sage's year-long green jobs campaign reached two important milestones. First, the inaugural class of weatherization installers completed the Laborers' Union weatherization training program, a majority of whom were young adults of color. Second, on November 5th the City of Seattle announced new contractor standards to ensure that new weatherization trainees will find jobs through the City's low-income weatherization program. These were both important developments in achieving the goal of Sage's Green Jobs campaign to generate good jobs and lifetime construction careers to reduce urban poverty and chronic underemployment, while simultaneously decreasing our carbon food print through reductions in our energy consumption.
- Following a two-year campaign, the Dearborn Street Coalition for Livable Neighborhoods signed a landmark, legally enforceable community benefits agreement (CBA) with the developers of the Dearborn Street Project at the Goodwill site.
- As part of the Development with Justice Coalition steering committee, Sage advocated for improvements to the City's proposed Incentive Zoning (IZ) policy. The final policy requires developers who receive an upzone to provide a minimum public benefit, primarily in the form of affordable housing. Council also recognized that upzones should result in employment and training opportunities for low-income residents.
- Sage helped organize a 500 person march through Seattle's Little Saigon to call for community benefits from the Dearborn Street big-box based retail project.
- Sage was part of a coalition led by the M.L. King County Labor Council
and the Manufacturing Industrial Council, which successfully persuaded
the City Council to support a plan to protect industrial lands proposed
by Mayor Greg Nickels.
- Sage brought community support to win better health care and wages at the Westin Hotel, a "Hotel Workers Rising" campaign by UNITE-HERE Local 8.
- Sage and Seattle's "Downtown for All" coalition won a higher incentive fee for low-income housing from residential (condo & apartment) developers receiving building height bonuses up to 500 feet.
- Sage helped launch the Dearborn Street Coalition for Livable Neighborhoods to call for community benefits from the 700,000sf Dearborn Street mixed-use/retail project.
- SAGE hired its first full-time organizer, who launched the "Downtown for All" campaign by building a 17-organization coalition.
- Despite a local economic recession that year, SAGE organized community support for two great victories. Seattle janitors and hotel workers near Sea-Tac airport settled excellent contract agreements that included retention of full health care coverage, improvements in wages and benefits, and critical protections for immigrant workers.
- SAGE organized workers and community partners to pressure the concessions contractor at two of Seattle's publicly financed sports venues, the Seahawks Stadium and the Key Arena, to settle a landmark contract agreement. The agreement provided good wages and benefits to their employees.
- SAGE won an important housing victory with the 2001 changes to Seattle's land use code. We raised the mitigation fee that downtown office developers are asked to pay into a low-income housing fund from $13/ sq ft to $22.50/sq ft. We also ensured that most of these funds are targeted to housing for very low-income workers.