Announcing: The Mike Sells Labor Champion Award

This award honors retiring Washington State legislator Rep. Mike Sells (D-LD 38)

The Snohomish and Island County Labor Council is proud to announce the creation of The Mike Sells Labor Champion Award, which will be presented for the first time on Oct. 25, 2022, and annually to a deserving recipient who has carried on in Rep. Sells legacy as a champion of organized labor and public service here in Western Washington.

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Mike Sells Labor Champion Award Event

The inaugural award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center in downtown Everett, Rep. Sells’ hometown at a special black tie optional banquet event with invited guests from among elected officials, community and civic groups, higher education leaders and of course, officers and members from among the 64 different AFL-CIO unions that represent more than 42,000 working people in Snohomish and Island Counties.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Council’s Hardship Fund that supports union families affected by layoffs, medical costs or other hardships.

“Mike Sells is truly a distinguished leader and legislator,” said Dan Murphy, Vice President of the Snohomish & Island County Labor Council. “He has dedicated his life to public service, to advancing the labor movement and to bettering the lives of Washington’s working families, and we’re honored to create this in recognition of his legacy.”

Murphy noted that a unique trophy capturing the images of the union movement to lift up working families is being created by a local artist. The trophy will be presented to the recipient each year, Murphy noted, but then brought back the following year.

“It will be like the Stanley Cup,” he said. “The winner gets to display the trophy for a year, then brings it back to present it to the following year’s winner.”

The Labor Champion trophy will have each recipient’s name, affiliation and the date inscribed on the pedestal. In addition, recipients will receive a commemorative model of the trophy as a keepsake.

"We're excited to be able to create this unique award that captures the spirit of Mike Sells,” Murphy said, “someone whose career was dedicated to serving Washington’s working families and who devoted his talents to make life better for everyone in our Western Washington communities.”


For more information, contact Labor Council VP Dan Murphy at (425) 777-6438.

About Mike

FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS, Rep. Mike Sells worked as an elementary and secondary-school teacher in the Everett School District, a tenure marked by his leadership of the Everett Education Association and the source of much of his expertise and passion for education that he brought to the Washington State Legislature.

As a House member for 18 years, Mike has been committed to supporting job creation, workforce training and educational opportunity as the keys to building a strong reginal and statewide economy. In fact, he was the leading force to making the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center at Paine Field a reality and spearheaded creation of a Bachelor of Science nursing program at Everett Community College University Center and WSU-Everett.

In the Legislature, Mike Sells chaired the Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, which developed strategies to align worker training with emerging industries in the state.

He has been married since 1971 to Gayle Stevens Sells, a piano teacher, and they have two children, Andy and Amy. He graduated from Central Washington University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Teacher Certification through the University of Washington.

He served as the elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Snohomish County Labor Council of the AFL-CIO for 28 years. The Council includes delegates from 64 public- and private-sector unions in Snohomish County, representing more than 44,000 working people.

Mike was first elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 2004 as Democratic candidate from LD-38, serving consecutive terms through his last re-election in 2020.

Mike's Community Involvement

Mike served as chairperson of the Everett Housing Authority Board and also served on the boards of numerous other municipal and civic organizations, including:

  • The Central Washington University Board of Trustees.
  • Snohomish County Economic Development Council (1981 to 2000)
  • Snohomish County United Way and Executive Board (1980s).
  • Washington State Governor’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee (1992-1993).
  • Snohomish County Tomorrow (1990-1991)
  • Everett Area Chamber of Commerce Board (1992-1993).


SnoLabor Council 2810 Lombard Everett WA 98201 | (425) 259-7922 |