To: Tacoma Planning Commission

Tell Tacoma not to Block WA State's Lawsuit Against GEO Group!

This campaign has ended.

Tell Tacoma not to Block WA State's Lawsuit Against GEO Group!

Tell the City of Tacoma not to change its municipal code to say that detention centers are correctional facilities! This change would allow GEO Group to avoid paying state minimum wage to detained immigrant workers.

Why is this important?

In March 2017, Tacoma City Council enacted emergency interim zoning regulations pertaining to correctional facilities. The explicit goal at that time was to make it more difficult for correctional facilities to expand. Since it opened with 516 beds in 2005, the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) has expanded twice more to 1,575 beds, and one council member was concerned that it would expand again. In December, the Planning Commission rewrote a proposal to change the municipal code to explicitly state that immigrant detention centers are defined as correctional facilities. We think this will only help GEO Group to fight a lawsuit that demands it pay minimum wage to detained immigrants.

In September 2017, the Washington State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against GEO for failing to pay minimum wage. GEO Group currently pays people $1 per day, and sometimes only snacks, to do most of the work at the facility, including the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. GEO Group claims it doesn’t have to pay workers minimum wage because the detention center is a correctional facility. In the September 20 press conference announcing the lawsuit, however, Attorney General Bob Ferguson pointed out that immigrant detention centers are not correctional facilities -- correctional facilities are for people going through the criminal justice system, not administrative immigration proceedings. If Tacoma changes its municipal code, GEO can use this change as evidence that it should get to keep paying people $1 per day.

Tell the City of Tacoma not to do GEO Group’s bidding, and not to sabotage the state minimum wage!

How it will be delivered

We will deliver the petition to the Tacoma City Planning Commission as part of the January 3 public hearing on correctional facilities.

Tacoma Council Chambers, 747 Market Street, Tacoma, WA

Reasons for signing

  • Because taking advantage of people and their circumstances is simply wrong. Making prisoners work for USD$1 PER DAY is wrong.
  • GEO Group is a for-profit business (funded via promised quotas by the Feds). Cut their inhumane profits in the interest of justice. Bob Ferguson is on the right track.
  • Honestly? This is a no-brainer.

Updates

2018-01-04 21:17:15 -0500

Last chance to sign – we will submit this petition on Friday at 4pm.

Notes from last night’s meeting:
1) The Commission should recommend including immigrant detention centers in the proposed regulations, but clearly differentiate these from correctional facilities.
2) The Planning Commission should recommend strengthened access for state authorities to ensure public health and safety in PRIVATE residential facilities. To date, GEO Group does not allow for testing of soil, water and air conditions and food preparation inspections are always announced ahead of time.
3) Whether correctional facilities or detention centers, the regulations are for places where people have to live. The Planning Commission should not recommend that these be zoned out of family housing districts -- they should be zoned residential, not industrial. In particular, the Port of Tacoma is focused on industrial development, and should not be a site for further development of any kind of residential housing.

2018-01-03 13:17:58 -0500

500 signatures reached

2017-12-27 21:41:37 -0500

100 signatures reached

2017-12-27 03:56:56 -0500

50 signatures reached

2017-12-26 23:25:34 -0500

25 signatures reached

2017-12-26 22:14:55 -0500

10 signatures reached