Once Again Frontline Workers Are Saving Us

A message from our Executive Director Peter Starzynski about the fires across the Pacific Northwest:

I write to you from Montana, where my wife and I have evacuated our home with our two young children to escape the hazardous smoke and terrifying fires in Oregon. There are people in our family with respiratory issues, so we decided to depart when the smoke rolled in, and we were asked to prepare for evacuation. We’re shaken but safe, grateful for our health and refuge. We’re tired but aware of our privilege as the fires have wreaked havoc on so many lives.  It was nerve-racking to flee our home, with uncontained fires closing in, but our family’s safety, as for most people, is our biggest priority.

Catching my breath for a moment, both figuratively and literally, I am filled with gratitude and amazement for how the people in our state have come together. Our first responders and frontline workers are sacrificing so much to help quell these ravaging fires. Our communities are answering the call to rise up to volunteer and donate to the greater good. However, there are still others, right on queue, who promote unfounded conspiracy theories to forward a political agenda. But they aren’t worth the few breaths we all have left.

We should all focus our attention on working families, especially public workers like firefighters, the Sheriff’s office staff, Department of Transportation staff, forest management specialists, public health staff, and all government workers working day and night to protect the rest of us.

These are the same government workers who some have maligned and denigrated for decades because a cabal of right-wing organizations has spent billions propagating anger at their wages, healthcare, retirement benefits, and voice on the job.

The Northwest Accountability Project exists to expose these extremist groups that try to push divisive agendas and propaganda. These groups are trying to cut the pensions of firefighters and other public workers, slash their “lavish benefits” and “handsome salaries,” and regularly accuse public sector workers of lying, coercion, and corruption. They are bankrolled by billionaires like the Devos family, the Waltons, and the Koch brothers who simply want to pay less in taxes and hoard more wealth.

Those on the front lines today are our neighbors and friends and deserve not only our gratitude but good compensation and adequate protections on the job. They need unions.

Our organization will continue to fight for all working families in the Northwest, and I send a deep thank you to those protecting our communities from the horrific fires. We’ll continue to call out any outfit or front group that seeks to denigrate public workers’ critical work.

As we approach more days of uncertainty, please know that we’re thinking about you all and all of those affected. If you’d like to help support organizations caring for those impacted, displaced, or injured by the fires, please see our links below:

Stay safe. In Solidarity,

Peter Starzynski
Executive Director
Northwest Accountability Project