SEATTLE — May Day protests are expected to be more tame this year given Washington's social distancing measures as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Seattle city Councilmember Kshama Sawant was expected to lead protesters; car caravan-style, outside of the Amazon Spheres at noon as they fight for the passage of her Amazon tax legislation.
The tax would impact the city's largest businesses, taking less than 1% of profits to provide relief to families during the pandemic and beyond.
The legislation was first introduced on March 4. Then, Sawant proposed a 0.7% payroll tax that would generate $300 million in revenue.
That legislation, which is co-sponsored by Councilmember Tammy Morales, was amended.
The legislation calls for imposing a 1.3% tax on the city's biggest companies with payrolls of $7 million or more annually, in an attempt to raise $500 million dollars a year for housing and homelessness services. However, the first year would use $200 million for coronavirus relief.
The other 98% of businesses, including nonprofits, public employers, small businesses, and grocery stores, would be exempt.
Rather than the legislation taking effect in January 2021 as originally proposed, Sawant wants the tax to start on June 1, 2020
Many also plan to take part in a virtual rent and mortgage protest since May 1 is the rent and mortgage payment deadline for many people.
The movement started with a Facebook group called "Rent and Mortgage Strike Washington."
A group of Seattle tenants are hoping a strike will encourage city leaders to cancel rent payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
Over in Olympia protesters are planning a caravan that will start at the Martin Way Park N' Ride and end at the state capitol building.
Protesters will be social distancing in their own cars while demanding an unemployment fund for excluded workers. They will be asking for the closure of detention centers and the release of detainees.