In Coalition with Labor and Community groups across Washington state, PROTEC17 has launched a campaign to fight back against the possible clinic closures at Seattle-King County Public Health (SKCPH) that are slated to occur in 2025 due to a deficit in the General Fund. 

Public Health in Washington state has been underfunded for years due to its reliance on precarious funding sources tied to our state’s upside down tax code. At SKCPH, the General Funds that support community health clinics are depleted, and $23 million dollars are needed to ensure that they remain open in 2025. If the money is not allocated, nearly 80,000 patients a year, including many of our most vulnerable neighbors, will no longer be able to receive the medical treatment they need. In addition, nearly 1,000 public health professionals who’ve dedicated their lives to patient care – including many PROTEC17 members – are at risk of losing their livelihoods.

SKCPH clinics and mobile sites that could be affected are located throughout King County in Auburn, Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Kirkland, Renton, Seattle, and more. Over two thirds of patients at the clinics are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and forty percent of patients speak a language other than English. Twenty-three percent of clients are uninsured, and another twenty percent are experiencing homelessness. These numbers underscore the immense impacts to our communities if the medical care and vital health services provided by the clinics suddenly become unavailable. 

The Coalition that has formed to save SKCPH consists of unions and community groups who understand the devestating and far-reaching effects of these closures. At the time of this writing, the Coalition consists of: PROTEC17, Washington State Nurses Association, OPEIU Local 8, Teamsters 117, Puget Sound Sage, Got Green, MLK Labor Council, Washington State Labor Council, and the Washington State Public Health Association. Together, they are investigating several avenues that could provide both short and long term financial solutions for SKCPH.

PROTEC17 Political Director Brandon Hersey spent part of the 2024 Washington legislative session building support for a bill that would allow cities and counties the ability to adjust property taxes to account for inflation and population growth, which in turn could fund a variety of services, including Public Health. (Read more on p. 11). Unfortunately, this bill did not pass. The Coalition is now exploring other avenues for funding this year, including two possible options that could appear on the November ballot in King County.

 Additionally, over the last several months, PROTEC17 King County Public Health Union Representatives Youssef El Hamawi and Alex Il have been visiting each clinic to mobilize, inform, and update members about what’s happening. Member-leaders from each of the clinics have volunteered to take on a larger role in the campaign, whether it be to communicate updates to the rest of their clinic colleagues, talking to County Council members, participating in text and phone banks, and more. Member-leaders now meet monthly on the first Tuesday of the month to give input and share ideas. 

“Public Health is really a safety net,” says Mary Cate, a Social Worker for Seattle-King County Public Health in the Kids Plus program. 

“Clients rely on Public Health for compassionate care that meets them where they are at, without judgement. The partnerships we form with families are invaluable in creating hope and starting points for families to build positive futures for themselves and their children.” 

In March, the Coalition launched the Save Public Health website, social media accounts, and an online petition to build greater visibility and support for the cause. After less than two weeks, the petition was signed by more than 1,000 supporters. The Coalition continues to push the petition, and will be attending spring and summer community events to gather additional signatures.

There are many ways to get more involved in the campaign to save public health in Seattle-King County, including signing the petition, sharing our materials, following our social media accounts, and sharing a personal story about how public health has impacted you. Visit to learn more. If you’re interested in participating in upcoming actions including other text or phone banks, flyering at a farmer’s market, or testifying at a council meeting, please reach out to Brandon Hersey at 206-328-7321 ext. 112 or .