I was shocked to discover that BECU is a Gold level member of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce (SCOC) (1) because the values of these organizations do not seem to be well aligned. BECU states on their website that they are committed to supporting their community (2), but a membership with the SCOC is a commitment to support large business and profits, often over the needs of the community and environment.
The SCOC defines itself as " largest and most diverse business association in the region." and "an independent organization representing 2,200 companies and a regional workforce of approximately 700,000." But there is no mention of commitment to the local community, the working poor, or the environment.(3) The SCOC has led campaigns against the $15/hr minimum wage increase (4), and against a modest business tax to provide affordable housing for the many homeless people on Seattle's streets.(5) These are specific examples of the SCOC valuing profits of the business community over the needs of workers and poor in our community.
The SCOC has gone beyond single issue politics and is attempting to swing the 2019 Seattle City Countil elections to more business friendly and less progressive candidates with hundreds of thousands of dollars. (6) I personally joined BECU to move away from the profit-over-community buisness model, so this seems to be strange company for BECU to keep.
Whatever your political inclinations, I think BECU should not be a member of any organization which is so politically involved and should quit the SCOC and any other organization which is for political purposes or which donates significant amounts of money to any politician or political action committee. This politically-charged memership with the SCOC only serves to further divide people in our fraught political environment, and BECU should be about building community, not destroying it.
How much did that Gold membership cost BECU and how can BECU defend its membership in such a highly political organization which does not even support the same values? I want answers!