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WSLC Resolutions for 2014

Every year, delegates to the Washington State Labor Council convention discuss, deliberate and act on resolutions submitted by the affiliated union locals and councils. These resolutions establish policy, programs and action for the WSLC. The following were passed by delegates at the WSLC's 2014 Convention held July 22-24 at the Wenatchee Convention Center. (Some resolution numbers are skipped because those proposed resolutions were withdrawn, tabled or rejected by delegates, or combined with another similar submission.)

Previous years' resolutions:
2013 -- 2012 -- 2011 -- 2010 -- 2009 -- 2008 -- 2007 -- 2006 -- 2005 -- 2004 -- 2003 -- 2002 -- 2001 -- 2000 -- 1999


1. IN SUPPORT OF AEROSPACE TAX INCENTIVES ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES

2. RESOLUTION ON SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE CLOSINGS AND SERVICE CUTS  

3. RESOLUTION OPPOSING CUTS TO STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS BUDGET AND SUPPORTING COMMENSURATE RAISES FOR D.O.C. EMPLOYEES

4. REGARDING WASHINGTON STATE FERRY EMPLOYEE PENSION BENEFITS

5. SUPPORT THE WASHINGTON VOTING RIGHTS ACT

6. RESOLUTION ON "LISTEN UP"

7. REGARDING SAFE STAFFING LEVELS IN HEALTHCARE

8. REGARDING IMPLICATIONS OF FATIGUE ON PATIENT, NURSE AND HEALTH CARE WORKER SAFETY

9. Resolution against new U.S. military intervention in Iraq

10. CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR WASHINGTON FILMWORKS

11. Paycheck Fairness Resolution

12. Resolution in Support of Public Works Investment to Create Family Wage Construction Jobs, Upgrade and Maintain Our State Water-Energy Nexus and Transportation Infrastructure, and Improve Education under the McCleary Decision

13. IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION Establishing Prevailing Wages Based on Collective Bargaining Agreements

14. CLOSE THE LOOPHOLE IN THE A.C.A. THAT AMOUNTS TO CORPORATE WELFARE

15. IN SUPPORT OF THE FEDERAL BASIC HEALTH OPTION FOR WASHINGTON STATE

16. Resolution in Support of Public Investment in Higher Education and Against Strategies Which Reduce Public Investment

17. Resolution Condemning Harris v. Quinn U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

18. Resolution Calling for a Transgender and Gender Variant Issues Workshop at the 2015 W.S.L.C. Convention

19. RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE HONORING OF DETAINER REQUESTS UNDER THE "SECURE COMMUNITIES" PROGRAM

20. ENDORSING LEGISLATION AND COMMUNITY ACTION TO STRENGTHEN PROTECTIONS FOR WORKERS AGAINST WAGE THEFT AND MISCLASSIFICATION

21. IN SUPPORT OF TRANSPARENT, ACCOUNTABLE, EFFECTIVE USE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS IN GOVERNMENT OUTSOURCING

22. STANDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH TACOMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICE EMPLOYEES

23. ADVOCATING FOR STATE EMPLOYEE COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS

24. PROTECTING THE RETIREMENT SECURITY OF PUBLIC SERVANTS

25. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF EDGEWATER HOTEL WORKERS

26. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF GOOD JOBS IN DEVELOPMENT USING EB-5 INVESTMENTS

27. Resolution supporting the use of Recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) statewide in the construction and repair of surface transportation infrastructure

28. Resolution supporting the TRANSITION OF uNITED STATES MILITARY VETERANS TO CIVILIAN FAMILY wage JOBS THROUGH THE RECOGNITION AND alignment OF MILITARY SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES TOWARDS CIVILIAN CERTIFICATIONS OF COMPETENCY

29. REGARDING PAYMENT OF L&I BENEFITS DURING APPEAL

30. RECOUPING ATTORNEY FEES upon successful L&I APPEALs

31. REGARDING D.O.S.H. PENALTY CALCULATION RULES

32. In Support of Creating a Union Label Standing Committee of the W.S.L.C.

33. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF REASONABLE AND TIMELY PROCESSES

34. Support of Legislation Applying for a Waiver in 2017 to Establish Comprehensive, Universal, and Affordable Health Care in Washington State as a Fundamental Human Right

35. Resolution in Support of a Jobs with Dignity Agenda

36. Resolution in Support of Increasing the Minimum Wage

37. Resolution in Support of a Shared Prosperity Agenda

38. Supporting Bangladeshi Garment Worker Unions and Calling on Outdoor Retailer REI to End Its Business Relationship with The North Face/VF

39. RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING FARMWORKER UNION FAMILIAS UNIDAS POR LA JUSTICIA AND SUPPORTING FAMILIAS UNIDAS’ BOYCOTT OF SAKUMA BROTHERS BERRIES

40. RESOLUTION REGARDING CHANGES TO CURRENT CONSTITUTION

41. RESOLUTION ON BUILDING THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE

42. RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LEGISLATION REQUIRING A MINIMUM OF TWO PERSONS ON RAILROAD TRAIN CREWS

43. RESOLUTION REGARDING RAILROAD WORKER AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGULATION AND LEGISLATION

44. OPPOSING EROSION OF FAMILY-WAGE JOBS IN LIQUOR DISTRIBUTION

45. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF A DRAYAGE DRIVER REST FACILITY AT THE PORT OF SEATTLE

46. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF PAID SICK DAYS AND FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE INSURANCE

47. Celebrating the 50TH Anniversary of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act



RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF AEROSPACE TAX INCENTIVES ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES

Resolution #1

WHEREAS, during the November 2013 Special Session the Washington State Legislature passed ESSB 5952, AN ACT Relating to incentivizing a long-term commitment to maintain and grow jobs in the aerospace industry in Washington state; and,

WHEREAS, ESSB 5952, contingent upon the decision by the Boeing Company to build the 777X wing and final assembly in Washington state, provides an $8.7 billion tax incentive by extending until 2040 the current preferential aerospace tax rates due to expire in 2023; and,  

WHEREAS, ESSB 5952 declares, “the legislature further finds that the industry continues to provide good wages and benefits for the thousands of engineers, mechanics, and support staff working directly in the industry throughout the state”; and,

WHEREAS, many of 1350 aerospace and aerospace-related firms involved in manufacturing pay wages as low as $10-$13 per hour; and,

WHEREAS, since the November 8th, 2013 passage of ESSB 5952 and said bill was signed into law, the Boeing Company announced 2000 engineering jobs would be transferred outside of Washington State, totaling more than 4,000 engineering design jobs leaving Washington State by the end of 2015; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work with its affiliates, including IAM and SPEEA, to craft legislation to be referred to as the “Aerospace Tax Incentive Accountability Act” ensuring the tax breaks given to the aerospace industry provide the return on investment to the citizens of Washington with the stated legislative outcome of preserving jobs; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC-proposed legislation include engineering, machinists and support personnel employment levels related to aircraft deliveries using the employment levels of November 2013 as a benchmark for accountability purposes; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC-proposed legislation will include minimum wage standards and claw-back language to ensure the employment levels and wage standards are achieved and maintained; and, be it finally 

RESOLVED, that the WSLC make passage of the Aerospace Tax Incentives Accountability Act a top priority for passage during the 2015 legislative session.


RESOLUTION ON SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE CLOSINGS AND SERVICE CUTS

Resolution #2

WHEREAS, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has seen its budget frozen or reduced in each of the past several years, resulting in 11,000 fewer staff to handle an ever-increasing workload of retirement and disability applications; and

WHEREAS, in recent years, SSA has closed more than 70 field offices and hundreds of contact stations around the country, and reduced hours so that office are open to the public only until noon on Wednesdays and close 1½ hours early on other weekdays, and this represents a 28 percent reduction in time spent helping people face-to-face to gain access to their earned Social Security benefits; and

WHEREAS, Social Security beneficiaries have always received, have had the right to receive, and indeed have already paid to receive the highest quality personal service, accessed by the method they choose rather than one chosen for them by the SSA; and

WHEREAS, such high quality service is threatened not only by budget cuts, but also by a concerted effort on the part of the Agency to nearly eliminate field offices and personal, face-to-face and telephone service in favor of Internet self-service, as described in an April 2014 draft “Vision 2025” document produced by a seven-member panel of the National Academy of Public Administration under contract to the Social Security Administration, which included three former high-ranking SSA officials; and

WHEREAS, the SSA 2014-2018 Agency Strategic Plan refers to the “Vision 2025” plan referenced above and thereby has signaled high level SSA support for this approach that is hostile to the interests of the American people and threatens the livelihoods of thousands of SSA workers represented by AFGE; and

WHEREAS, public confidence in SSA’s ability to deliver on its promises is being threatened by the continuous announcements of office closures, reduced office hours around the nation, and service reductions at field offices, making Social Security more vulnerable to privatization and other attacks; and

WHEREAS, SSA has decided to stop providing two essential documents at SSA field offices, the Social Security Number Printout and the Benefit Verification statement, and eleven million people who came in last year to get these documents will be told they must go online and print them out, request that prospective employers verify their Social Security Numbers, ask other service providers to get the information themselves, or contact an SSA call center and wait a week or more to receive these vital verifications needed to receive assistance from other service providers or to verify eligibility to work; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council supports and will work for passage of legislation introduced by Representatives Brian Higgins (D-NY) and John Duncan (R-TN), HR 3997, the Social Security Accountability Act of 2014, to impose an immediate moratorium on further closures until SSA fully explains its rationale for such closings, and provides for public town hall meetings to invite community input before SSA makes the decision to close any office; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will urge all members of the state’s congressional delegation to sign on to the May 2014 Grijalva/Schakowsky letter calling on SSA Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin to allow field office employees to continue to provide Social Security Number Printouts and Benefit Verifications to visitors; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will join with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the Alliance for Retired Americans, the Social Security Works Coalition, and other organizations and unions to advocate for greater resources and frontline staffing for SSA operations, and will support our fight to restore field office service delivery as the most critical part of the SSA infrastructure.


RESOLUTION OPPOSING CUTS TO STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS BUDGET AND SUPPORTING COMMENSURATE RAISES FOR DOC EMPLOYEES

Resolution #3

WHEREAS, approximately 6,000 corrections staff who work in the Washington State Prison System are members of Teamsters Local 117; and

WHEREAS, these workers go to work every day with offenders who pose a significant staff safety risk; and

WHEREAS, no worker should have to go to work every day in fear for their safety or their lives; and

WHEREAS, the average offender in prisons is increasingly more likely to be highly violent and more prone to assaulting correctional staff; and

WHEREAS, the state has closed three institutions since 2010 and eliminated some $240 million from the state corrections budget; and

WHEREAS, the Washington Management Service recently re-banded and gave all management raises while no correctional staff have received raises since 2008, and the State’s own salary survey suggests that most correctional employees are compensated at rates of more than 20% less as compared with their counterparts who work outside of the prisons; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and their affiliates oppose any cuts to funding for the Department of Corrections and support wage increases for DOC employees commensurate with the danger of their jobs.


 

REGARDING WASHINGTON STATE FERRY EMPLOYEE PENSION BENEFITS

Resolution #4

WHEREAS, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, District 1-PCD (“MEBA”), is an affiliate in good standing of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and

WHEREAS, MEBA represents two bargaining units, Licensed and Unlicensed, consisting of employees working in the engine rooms of the Washington State Ferry System (“WSF”); and

WHEREAS, employees in both MEBA bargaining units receive public employee pension benefits pursuant to applicable Washington State statutes; and

WHEREAS, Washington State pension statutes and administrative code provisions currently require substantial reductions in pension benefits if the employee retires before age sixty-five (65); specifically, they require a 3% reduction for each year between the employee’s retirement date and his/her sixty-fifth (65) birthday; and

WHEREAS, members of MEBA’s Licensed Engineer Officer bargaining unit must acquire and maintain a Coast Guard License in order to remain employed at WSF; and

WHEREAS, these Licensed Engineer Officers must pass annual Coast Guard medical exams in order to retain their Coast Guard Licenses; and

WHEREAS, the Coast Guard recently changed the standards being applied in its medical exams of Licensed Engineer Officers; and

WHEREAS, as a consequence, numerous WSF Licensed Engineer Officers who were previously capable of passing the medical exams and retaining their Licenses have failed their medical exams; and

WHEREAS, all of these employees are over fifty (50) years of age, have worked for WSF for more than twenty (20) years, and are poorly positioned to find alternative employment within the Washington State public employee pension system; and

WHEREAS, these Licensed Engineer Officers are in jeopardy of losing their jobs through no fault of their own; and

WHEREAS, these Licensed Engineer Officers will be forced to retire in order to get pension benefits necessary to maintain themselves and their families; and

WHEREAS, under current law these pension benefits will be substantially less than full retirement benefits, as described above; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, regards this as an unjust result that should be corrected; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council supports and endorses all efforts to amend Washington State’s statutes and/or administrative code provisions as necessary and appropriate to grant full, unreduced early retirement benefits to Licensed Engineer Officers aboard the Washington State Ferries who are unable to continue to occupy their positions on the basis of the results of a Coast Guard License medical exam; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC urges all of its affiliates and members to lend their full support to these efforts on behalf of our brothers and sisters in MEBA.


 

SUPPORT THE WASHINGTON VOTING RIGHTS ACT

Resolution #5

WHEREAS, the United State is a nation of immigrants, and the history of the growth of labor movement is tied to the integration of immigrants, and the labor movement’s recognition that they are us and they make us better; and

WHEREAS, immigrant workers today contribute to the economic, cultural, and political strength of our country, and are indispensable to the industries – agriculture, service, academic, profession, technical – in which they contribute their labor and are organizing into labors; and

WHEREAS, the labor movement continues to promote the rights of immigrant workers and their families by supporting fair legislative reform that is committed to changing the systematic problems facing immigrant communities; and

WHEREAS, shared prosperity not only necessitates jobs with dignity and rebuilding the middle class, but also protecting the foundation of participatory democracy; and

WHEREAS, not all communities have a fair and equal chance to elect candidates of their choice by using election systems that prevent some communities and neighborhoods from being represented in local government; and 

WHEREAS, unfair voting systems diminish trust in local government; and

WHEREAS, 99% of local elections in Washington use at-large voting systems that allow slim majorities to dominate and thereby prevent other communities from having a fair chance to be heard; and

WHEREAS, protecting the interests of working families in local communities demands that they have a right to be heard in government, to have elected officials listen to their concerns, and their votes count, and that any community can benefit from access to this kind of fair representation; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council endorse and support the Washington Voting Rights Act; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the affiliate members of the Washington State Labor Council be urged to endorse the Washington Voting Rights Act and develop a plan within their respective unions to support the Washington Voting Rights Act; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, go on record as supporting the Washington Voting Rights Act which would allow Washington’s immigrant communities to finally have a fair and equal opportunity to influence elections regardless of the color of their skin or the sound of their last name to create a government that is representative of their workers and communities; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council send a copy of this resolution to Governor Jay Inslee; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council work with our coalition partners to make sure that the Washington State legislature pass the Washington Voting Rights Act.


 

RESOLUTION ON “LISTEN UP”

Resolution #6

WHEREAS, over the past decade US musician employment in on-air broadcasting, sound or video recording has declined by 22%; and

WHEREAS, this decline results in part to off-shoring of post-production work, in which corporations like Lionsgate Entertainment get tax incentives from States, including Washington, to attract filming with no requirement that post-production work (such as making the soundtrack) be done domestically; and

WHEREAS, the result is that we pay more and more at the box office while subsidizing multi-million dollar companies to ship jobs overseas; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), AFL-CIO has agreements with the American Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing film and television studios including Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Picture, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios, Walt Disney Pictures & Television, and Warner Brothers; and

WHEREAS, many of the independent studios that make current films and television programs, including Lionsgate, are not affiliated with major studios, and not signatories to the AFM contract; and

WHEREAS, Lionsgate made $232 million in profits in 2013, and has received $331 million in tax credits from U.S. taxpayers since 2011, while 90% of their films in that period had film scoring done offshore; and

WHEREAS, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer received total compensation in 2013 of $13 million, a 95% increase from the previous year; and

WHEREAS, the AFM, with support from the AFL-CIO, has initiated a national “Listen Up!” campaign to engage Lionsgate to adhere to industry standards for musicians, as they have with other entertainment unions; and

WHEREAS, the AFM in May delivered petitions with more than 10,000 signatures to Lionsgate, asking them to stop sending musicians’ jobs overseas and to meet with the Union to discuss these issues, but Lionsgate has refused to respond; now, therefore, be it  

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, urges all members to send an email to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and other Lionsgate executives by using the link on www.listenupnow.org, demanding that Lionsgate meet with the Union to discuss an end to sending jobs overseas and adherence to established industry standards.



REGARDING SAFE STAFFING LEVELS IN HEALTHCARE

Resolution #7

WHEREAS, a leading cause of death in this country is preventable medical errors, surgical deaths and hospital-acquired infections, and at least 400,000 lives are lost in hospitals every year that can be prevented but hospitals are not adequately addressing the root causes; and

WHEREAS, safe staffing standards and nurse-to-patient ratios ensure patient safety; and

WHEREAS, current health services research continues to demonstrate that higher numbers of Registered Nurses available to care for patients lead to better patient outcomes with less morbidity, mortality and fewer complications; and

WHEREAS, improvements in safety of staff, job satisfaction and reduction of workplace injuries have also been directly linked to higher nurse retention and staffing levels; and

WHEREAS, development of minimum nurse staffing standards and implementation of staffing plans for nursing services are essential to ensure that the classifications, skills, experiences and numbers of health care professionals providing direct patient care are sufficient to meet the needs of patients; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, support safe staffing legislation and/or other safe staffing public policies to safeguard the public and support Registered Nurses and other health care personnel providing direct patient care. 



REGARDING IMPLICATIONS OF FATIGUE ON PATIENT, NURSE AND HEALTH CARE WORKER SAFETY

Resolution #8

WHEREAS, use of extended work shifts, overtime, missed breaks, and inadequate staff scheduling has escalated as hospitals respond to increasing patient care needs and economic constraints; and

WHEREAS, the Institute of Medicine and other recent empirical research has demonstrated that risks of nurses making a patient error are significantly increased when work shifts are longer than twelve hours, when nurses work overtime, when they work without rest breaks or when they work more than forty hours per week; and

WHEREAS, the well-documented hazards associated with sleep-deprived physicians resulted in changes to staff rotation policies; and

WHEREAS, no state or federal regulations restrict the number of hours a nurse may voluntarily work in twenty-four hours or in a seven-day period, even though such laws and regulations exist for air traffic controllers, train engineers, truck drivers, airline pilots and flight attendants, and resident physicians; and

WHEREAS, the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements clearly articulates the obligation of registered nurses to act in a manner that is consistent with maintaining patient and personal safety; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Nurse Practice Act clearly states the obligation of registered nurses to act in a manner that is consistent with maintaining patient and personal safety; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, support communication and other strategies to increase awareness of RNs, health care workers, managers, employers, policy makers and the public of the dangerous impact of fatigue on patient, nurse and public safety; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports efforts to advocate for legislative and regulatory policy to minimize work-related fatigue for nurses and health care workers to ensure patient safety.  


Resolution against new U.S. military intervention in Iraq

Resolution #9

WHEREAS, in a resolution passed February 19, 2003, MLKCLC opposed the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq; and

WHEREAS, union members and leaders have the responsibility to inform all working people about the issues that affect their lives, jobs and families; and to be heard in the national debate on these issues,” as we noted in that resolution; and

WHEREAS, the roots of the current sectarian conflict in Iraq can be traced back to the U.S. occupation; and

WHEREAS, new U.S. military intervention will only add to sectarian divisions and the suffering of the Iraqi people, and will prolong hostilities; and

WHEREAS, a new military intervention in Iraq will rekindle Iraqi hatred of the U.S. and entangle the country once again in the internal affairs of Iraq, to the detriment of both the U.S. and Iraq; and

WHEREAS, Iraqi unionists have rejected sectarianism and interference in their country’s internal affairs by both the U.S. and Iran; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, resolved that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, recommits itself to defend and act in solidarity with the Iraqi working class and labor movement in its quest for a non-sectarian, tolerant, egalitarian, democratic, and prosperous Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors and at peace with itself; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, opposes any new military intervention in Iraq; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will communicate this resolution to its affiliates and the National AFL-CIO and urge them to take similar action.


CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR WASHINGTON FILMWORKS

Resolution #10

WHEREAS, Washington State continues to look to grow revenue and create jobs for Washington resident workers; and

WHEREAS, leaders of both the executive and legislative branches have indicated an intention to intensively review all government programs to determine their economic sustainability; and

WHEREAS, past experience has shown a glaring lack of public understanding of the Washington Filmworks Program which supports the production of television, commercial and motion picture projects; and

WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks has attracted over 92 projects to the State that have had over $232 million of economic impact statewide; and

WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks’ projects have created thousands of union and family wage jobs that provide health and retirement benefits for the state’s actors, technical support workers, and production support businesses; and

WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks committed all $3.5M in available funds by May 2014 and no longer has funds available to commit to deserving productions that provide employment of thousands of workers; and

WHEREAS, more than thirty eight states currently provide similar and even greater financial support for film and video production; and

WHEREAS, there is a rich body of evidence that proves the effectiveness of production incentives in the creation of non-polluting, well paid, sustainable work; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, support legislation ensuring that the State commit to funding Washington Filmworks at a level that increases the competitiveness of Washington State’s motion picture industry and ensures job creation and economic development opportunities across the state. 


Paycheck Fairness Resolution

Resolution #11

WHEREAS, the typical woman working full time in Washington earns only 78 cents to a man’s dollar, resulting in an annual wage gap of $11,500; an

WHEREAS, wage disparities exist in almost every occupation, and mothers and  women of color face even larger gaps in earnings; and

WHEREAS, Congress banned discrimination in employment on the basis of race or sex 50 years ago with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, yet recent research has shown that up to 40% of the wage gap cannot be explained by differences in jobs, hours worked, or qualifications; and

WHEREAS, women hold nearly half the jobs in the state and their loss of earnings undermines the economic security of their families and the prosperity of our state; and

WHEREAS, a lifetime of lower earnings mean that women are less able to accumulate assets or provide educational opportunities for their children, and result in lower Social Security benefits and other retirement income, putting senior women at high risk of poverty; and

WHEREAS, many private sector employers maintain strict confidentiality about compensation and practice broad discretion in setting  compensation levels, while prohibiting or discouraging employees from discussing compensation with each other, and further practice broad discretion in scheduling, promoting  and/or tracking employees in particular career paths, thus allowing both conscious and institutional discriminatory practices to continue; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council has a long history of advocating for fairness and equal opportunity in all aspects of employment; and

WHEREAS, Congress has repeatedly failed to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council call on our state legislature and governor to enact legislation protecting workers from retaliation for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of the employee or another employee; and requiring employers to justify differentials in pay, scheduling, and career opportunities based on factors not related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference or religious practice.



Resolution in Support of Public Works Investment to Create Family Wage Construction Jobs, Upgrade and Maintain Our State Water-Energy Nexus and Transportation Infrastructure, and Improve Education under the McCleary Decision

Resolution #12

WHEREAS, the development of our state infrastructure provides an opportunity for the creation of good, family wage jobs during both the initial construction and longer-term maintenance and operations of facilities and structures; and

WHEREAS, the creation and maintenance of these jobs should be recognized as a benefit of great value when distributing capital funds; and

WHEREAS, there is an overwhelming need, as well as a legal mandate under the McCleary decision, to decrease student to teacher ratios in K-3 that will require building expansion and therefore further construction employment; and

WHEREAS, the state water-energy nexus, including water, sewage and electrical system integrity are in need of immediate short term and strategic long-term enhancement and maintenance; and

WHEREAS, global warming trends have led to a change in weather behavior that is increasing precipitation and straining our current water mitigation infrastructure, requiring the construction of dikes, storm water and other runoff improvements; and

WHEREAS, current water distribution systems are flawed and lead to significant water loss through leakage, leading to detrimental environmental conditions, waste and energy loss; and

WHEREAS, an aging and outmoded transportation infrastructure creates daily traffic congestion that rivals that of most states and, as a result, idling vehicles generate excess gas emissions and impede our state’s ability to attract and grow businesses; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that Washington maintain the legacy of past generations by ensuring a dependable and efficient road way and transit system for future generations, as our predecessors have done before us; and

WHEREAS, public investment in infrastructure improvements should ensure the maximum return to tax payers by providing that these family wage construction jobs come under labor standard requirements such as prevailing wage and the use of project labor agreements; and

WHEREAS, responsible and appropriate capital investments in water-energy nexus, transportation and education improvements will benefit our state at every level, including: public safety, global competitiveness, and local economic stimulus; and

WHEREAS, local governments do not have the available funds necessary to improve their local infrastructure and meet federal environmental requirements on their own; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, will work with stakeholders to promote the responsible and timely investment of public dollars toward a comprehensive transportation investment package, the improvement and maintenance of our state water-energy nexus, and meet the needs of the McCleary decision through the construction of additional classrooms, all in an effort to create family wage jobs, enhance public safety and health, and increase prosperity across the state.


 

IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION Establishing Prevailing Wages Based on Collective Bargaining Agreements

Resolution #13

WHEREAS, prevailing wage standards were enacted to keep taxpayer money in the local community as opposed to rewarding out-of-town contractors relying on rock-bottom wages and benefits to win contracts; and

WHEREAS, in recent years the Washington legislature has seen numerable proposals that would critically harm or dismantle the prevailing wage system that exists to protect contractors and construction workers in our state; and

WHEREAS, a transportation cost driver study released in 2013 recognizes that, “adopting the Collective Bargaining Rate for setting the prevailing wage rate for the construction scopes” is a viable cost-saving measure for businesses and the state; and

WHEREAS, the use of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) for wage determination purposes would defer the survey process to a private sector system of negotiation between tens of thousands of workers and thousands of construction contractors; and

WHEREAS, the CBA system has been used successfully in the Washington state construction industry for over one hundred years and, collectively, represents empirical evidence for determining the true, market-driven value of a given scope of work; and

WHEREAS, in 2014 signatory contractors in the business community partnered with labor to promote legislation that would enact this policy due to a shared interest in leveling the playing field across the industry; and

WHEREAS, this industry-negotiated wage rate allows the market to create contracts that embed the true and long term costs of the industry—costs associated with training, safety, health insurance and pensions; and

WHEREAS, this policy will streamline operations for the contractor community and create certainty throughout the industry for Washington state construction contractors and workers; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, will work with stakeholders to promote legislation establishing that prevailing wage rates be based on collective bargaining agreements in place of the current survey system.


 

CLOSE THE LOOPHOLE IN THE ACA THAT AMOUNTS TO CORPORATE WELFARE

Resolution #14

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is intended to expand health care coverage to more Americans by making sure that everyone—individuals, employers, and the government—fairly share in the cost and responsibility; for large employers that means offering affordable coverage to employees or paying a penalty to offset the government’s cost of subsidizing their coverage through Medicaid or the health care exchange; and

WHEREAS, some large corporations are taking advantage of a loophole in the ACA by cutting workers’ hours under the threshold for penalties, pushing low-wage employees onto Medicaid or forcing them to seek taxpayer-subsidized coverage through the state health exchange; and

WHEREAS, the ACA intended to cover the uninsured, not give a loophole to large corporations to create more uninsured or allow corporations to shirk their responsibility under the law, and

WHEREAS, employers who are exploiting this loophole create a burden on taxpayers, harm our communities by eliminating full-time jobs or cutting wages, and undermine responsible employers who do the right thing by providing health coverage and paying their fair share; and

WHEREAS, the lack of a penalty for employers of part-timers or low-wage full-time workers on Medicaid creates a perverse incentive to cut hours, wages and benefits to avoid ACA responsibilities; now, therefore, it be

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support legislation to end the subsidy that large corporations enjoy when they slash hours, end coverage, and push workers onto Medicaid, and impose fines on these large corporations that would fund the state's portion of Medicaid costs, boost Medicaid payments to the doctors and hospitals, and invest in safety net programs throughout the state.


IN SUPPORT OF THE FEDERAL BASIC HEALTH OPTION FOR WASHINGTON STATE

Resolution #15

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Washington State has allowed for almost 1 million workers and families in Washington to receive health coverage through Medicaid Expansion and the health benefits Exchange; and

WHEREAS, while these new coverage levels are impressive, there is still concern that premiums on the Exchange will be too high and families with incomes up to 200% FPL will be unable to afford insurance even with subsidies; and

WHEREAS, these low-income families may forgo insurance and be required to pay the tax penalty, and without insurance, people are less likely to seek medical care, both necessary and preventive care, or when they do, their health issues will be more complicated and costly; and

WHEREAS, the ACA offers states the option to adopt the Federal Basic Health Option (FBHO), which is modeled after Washington State’s very own Basic Health Plan and would cover individuals and families with incomes between 138% and 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL), and also low-income immigrants who are not eligible for Medicaid because they have not resided in the U.S. for more than five years; and

WHEREAS, if a state adopts the FBHO, eligible individuals would participate in this plan instead of the Exchange, and the state would use its purchasing power to negotiate for health plan coverage and use available funds that remain to reduce premiums and cost-sharing and provide additional benefits; and

WHEREAS, according to the Urban Institute, if adopted, more than 160,000 Washingtonians would be eligible for the FBHO and they would have lower premiums than the Exchange and thus be more likely to buy insurance and remain insured, thereby reducing the uninsured population in Washington State; and

WHEREAS, the FBHP would benefit individuals whose incomes fluctuate between being Medicaid-eligible and Exchange-eligible, such as part-time workers or low-income individuals with unpredictable and/or sporadic work; now, therefore it be

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, promotes legislation to adopt and implement the Federal Basic Health Option by January 2016 or sooner to ensure Washington State move forward with the Basic Health Option to create more affordable and coordinated care for our low­wage workers.


Resolution in Support of Public Investment in Higher Education and Against Strategies Which Reduce Public Investment

Resolution #16

WHEREAS, there has been a nationwide pattern of disinvestment in public higher education, such that per student funding has dropped 26.1% between 1990 and 2010; and

WHEREAS, this decline in public investment threatens our democracy, contributes to continued income and wealth inequality and slows progress on undoing institutional racism; and

WHEREAS, the cost of public higher education for students has increased 5.2% per year beyond the rate of inflation for the last ten years; and

WHEREAS, disinvestment has contributed to a greater reliance on contingent faculty, who subsidize the true cost of education through low pay, limited or no benefits and a lack of job security; and

WHEREAS, faculty salaries have stagnated, for example with the average full-time community college faculty salary in Washington state increasing by only $300 between 2008 and 2012; and

WHEREAS, the Pell grant covered 75% of the expense of a four-year college education and 100% of a two-year college education forty years ago but today covers only 30% and 60% respectively; and

WHEREAS, some strategies being proposed to address these issues, such as the so-called Pay It Forward, will decrease further the public investment in higher education, resulting in a disproportionate effect on historically marginalized students; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will investigate legislative, policy and grass roots solutions to public disinvestment in higher education, including but not limited to changes to student lending regulations, identification and analysis of new revenue streams, designation of mandatory instructional spending levels, etc.; and be it further

Resolved, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will ensure that its higher education affiliates are provided information to support legislative and policy efforts to increase public investment, including data, analyses and solutions, and are encouraged to take action to support solutions; and be it further

Resolved, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will pursue partnership with national organizations and facilitate partnerships among affiliates with local and state organizations which share the goal of increased public investment in higher education; and be it finally

Resolved, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will request that its state and local affiliates place the issue of reinvestment in public education on their legislative agendas and take steps to mobilize support for legislative action in support of reinvestment in public education.


Resolution Condemning Harris v. Quinn U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

Resolution #17

WHEREAS, Washington state workers stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Illinois following the recent opinion issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v.Quinn; and

WHEREAS, Harris v. Quinn was brought by the National Right to Work Foundation, an extremist group, and is the latest in a decades-long attack on the rights of working people to join together to improve their jobs and the quality of services they provide; and

WHEREAS, the home care and childcare workforce is vital to providing quality care for children, seniors and people with disabilities, and one in five Washington residents will be 65 or older by 2030, according to statistical trends; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, is ready to work with Washington State officials to ensure that Washington’s successful home care and childcare program and all private and public sector jobs will be protected from this extremist attack.


Resolution Calling for a Transgender and Gender Variant Issues Workshop at the 2015 W.S.L.C. Convention

Resolution #18

WHEREAS, the Ingersoll Gender Center, an organization based in Seattle that supports Transgender and Gender Variant people, is a community ally of the M. L. King County Labor Council (CLC); and

WHEREAS, a National Transgender Discrimination Survey released by The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) shows that transgender individuals face extremely high barriers to economic security and a shocking 90% of respondents reported facing discrimination on the job and respondents were four times more likely to live in poverty than cisgender people; and

WHEREAS, the Seattle Transgender Economic Empowerment Project (STEEP) is a key service at the Ingersoll Gender Center that is committed to helping Transgender and Gender Variant people improve their self-employment and career options by offering a twice-monthly break-out group that will focus on issues related to the challenging job market and the special challenges faced by Transgender people; and

WHEREAS, Ingersoll STEEP is a CLC Sponsored Program and the CLC recently joined the Coalition for Inclusive Healthcare, a group advocating for ending discrimination against Transgender people in health insurance; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Executive Board and Delegates of the M. L. King County Labor Council call on the WSLC Diversity Committee to work with the Ingersoll Center to consider a Transgender awareness workshop is included for the 2015 WSLC Convention, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, asks the local labor movement to stand up against discrimination wherever it arises in a state where only recently the rights of same sex couples were protected, and that the labor movement in our state will assert its rightful leadership role on this issue by standing up against economic discrimination of those with alternative gender identities.


RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE HONORING OF DETAINER REQUESTS UNDER THE "SECURE COMMUNITIES" PROGRAM

Resolution #19

WHEREAS, “Secure Communities” creates an automated information-sharing system through which fingerprints collected by local law enforcement at the time of booking are submitted by local jails to the FBI, who in turn shares those fingerprints with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Once ICE identifies someone suspected of being undocumented, it submits a civil immigration detainer request to ask the local County jail to hold the individual so that ICE can take custody of the inmate; and

WHEREAS, neither State nor Federal law requires a County to honor civil detainer requests; ICE itself has confirmed that detainer requests are not mandatory; and

WHEREAS, while the stated purpose of the “Secure Communities” program is to apprehend undocumented persons who have been convicted of serious crimes, the program operates pre-conviction, and according to the report entitled Law Enforcement Leaders Express Growing Concern with Secure Communities Program by the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, the reality is that, more than 60% of all immigrants deported under the program were involved in low-level, minor offenses like traffic violations, or were never convicted of any crime at all; and

WHEREAS, “Secure Communities” hurts community policing initiatives by eroding trust between communities and local law enforcement. When immigrant communities believe that police are involved with ICE or federal immigration enforcement, they may not report crimes, and law enforcement may lose their “eyes and ears” in the community; and

WHEREAS, the role of the federal government is to enforce the national immigration laws and the role of the local law enforcement is to preserve public safety; and

WHEREAS, “Secure Communities” may silence victims of domestic violence by increasing victims' fear of contacting the police; in cases of domestic disputes, police sometimes have arrested both parties and victims have ended up in deportation proceedings as a result; and

WHEREAS, “Secure Communities” destroys families and communities; a report by the Applied Research Center found that “There are at least 5,100 children currently living in foster care who are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents” and “If nothing changes, 15,000 more children may face a similar fate in the next 5 years.”; and

WHEREAS, “Secure communities” can lead to racial profiling as it can give law enforcement an incentive to arrest and book individuals they suspect of being undocumented so their fingerprints can be checked; and

WHEREAS, “Secure Communities” has led to wrongful detention of individuals, including U.S. Citizens, victims, and witnesses of crimes – in fact is, it flags US citizens five percent of the time; some of which have ended up in deportations proceedings; and

WHEREAS, “Secure Communities” burdens county taxpayers by requiring the county to absorb the cost of detaining individuals who would otherwise be released by posting bail; and

WHEREAS, in April 2014, a federal court in Oregon issued a ruling finding that local jurisdictions could be held liable when they detain a community member on the basis of an ICE detainer request (also known as an immigration hold) without a separate finding of probable cause.  As a result of the Oregon decision, most counties in Oregon have changed their practices so that they are not detaining community members solely on the basis of an ICE detainer without additional safeguards. Additionally, 19 out of 39 Washington state counties and local jurisdictions have announced changes to their policy with regard to ICE detainers; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council is in strong opposition to any local government agency contracting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration laws under the Secure Communities program; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council oppose policies that honor detainer requests for persons solely on the basis of an ICE detainer without additional safeguards in accordance with the recent Oregon federal court decision. 


ENDORSING LEGISLATION AND COMMUNITY ACTION TO STRENGTHEN PROTECTIONS FOR WORKERS AGAINST WAGE THEFT AND MISCLASSIFICATION

Resolution #20

WHEREAS, wage-and-hour violations are standard practice across the industries in Washington State and nationally from restaurants to construction, agriculture to janitorial; and

WHEREAS, misclassification of workers as independent contractors and the contracting out of work through an endless chain of subcontractors are growing phenomena that affect virtually all workplaces in America; and 

WHEREAS, millions of dollars of local and state revenue are lost each year through lax and ineffective enforcement of wage-and hour-laws and fraudulent misclassification of employees; and

WHEREAS, legitimate employers are harmed by the bad practices and wage-and-hour violations of underbidding employers and contractors; and

WHEREAS, thousands of Washington State workers suffer financially and emotionally when they are underpaid/not paid at all and are compelled to spend time and money reclaiming wages they have already earned; and

WHEREAS, the forced exclusion from labor law protections through employee misclassification means the difference between middle class life and poverty for Washington State workers; and

WHEREAS, inadequate protections for workers who have claims of wage theft result in high rates of employer retaliation and low likelihood that workers will seek redress for the violation of their rights; and

WHEREAS, close collaboration between organized labor, grassroots organizations and communities of faith is critical in confrontation of workers’ rights abuses; now, therefore, may it be

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, promotes legislation and regulation that enlarges and enforces a penalty structure that deters violations of workers’ rights and promotes policies ensuring aggressive and effective enforcement of wage-and-hour and misclassification protections; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, promotes legislation, public education and community action that develops a culture of accountability to workers – from subcontractors to the beneficiaries of those contracts; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, promotes safeguards to ensure that workers are kept safe from employer retaliation as they seek redress for violation of their rights.


IN SUPPORT OF TRANSPARENT, ACCOUNTABLE, EFFECTIVE USE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS IN GOVERNMENT OUTSOURCING

Resolution #21

WHEREAS, it is a widespread myth that “outsourcing” or “privatization” always mean “better, faster, cheaper”; and

WHEREAS, tax dollars used for services in the public sector are subject to many reporting requirements that are not necessitated in the private sector; and

WHEREAS, taxpayers deserve proof that the work their tax dollars pay for will be performed in a cost-efficient, timely, and effective manner, regardless if spent in the public or private sector; and

WHEREAS, a recent report by In the Public Interest shows through wage data and other evidence that the outsourcing of public services leads to reduced worker wages and benefits while hurting the local economy and overall stability of middle and working class communities; and

WHEREAS, the “Taxpayer Protection Act,” introduced during the 2014 legislative session addresses these concerns by creating more transparent, accountable, equitable contracting requirements for the public and private sectors; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will co-convene a stakeholder table of public sector unions and other stakeholders to build on the Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 in preparation for the 2015 legislative session; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council oppose any legislation seeking to weaken or provide an exemption from the competitive process in RCW 41.06.142 which provides state employees an opportunity to react to management’s decision to contract by showing they can do the work more effectively, more efficiently, or cheaper in-house; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will communicate these positions to the appropriate legislative committees, legislators, and the Governor should such legislation be introduced.


STANDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH TACOMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICE EMPLOYEES

Resolution #22

WHEREAS, Tacoma Community College student service employees voted to form a union and join the Washington Federation of State Employees in 2012; and

WHEREAS, these employees work as Academic Advisors, Running Start Administrators, Early Learning and Career Center Program Coordinators and organized a union to win basic employee rights such as seniority, a process for grievances and promotions, fair work hours and job security; and

WHEREAS, after more than two years of contract negotiations with the college, Tacoma Community College management has failed to complete negotiations and settle this first union contract; and

WHEREAS, Tacoma Community College has refused to grant the most basic fairness provisions such as just cause, seniority rights, and anti-discrimination language even though all other union contracts on campus have these provisions; and

WHEREAS, Tacoma Community College student service employees play a vital role in helping students succeed and deserve fairness and a union contract; and

WHEREAS, these workers and their families have worked without a union contract and without job security for over 2 years; and

WHEREAS, Tacoma Community College is a public higher education institution predicated on the principles of fairness and equity yet refuses to grant basic fairness and a union contract to this group of employees; and

WHEREAS, Decisions made at this bargaining table could set precedence for other unions to gain rights for like employees; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that this body stands in solidarity with the Tacoma Community College student service employees in their struggle for a fair union contract and; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, through leadership and affiliates, will take action in support of these workers by expressing concerns about this issue to Tacoma Community College leadership, and will join the Washington Federation of State Employees in solidarity at rallies, communications and public events ensuring that employers like Tacoma Community College understand that Washingtons labor movement will not tolerate such injustices.


ADVOCATING FOR STATE EMPLOYEE COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS

Resolution #23

WHEREAS, state employees in Washington State have not received a cost of living adjustment in more than six years, but have endured loss of purchasing power through wage reductions, furloughs, higher pension contribution rates and skyrocketing health insurance rates; and

WHEREAS, wages for state employees have failed to keep up with the Seattle Consumer Price Index fifteen of the last nineteen years; and

WHEREAS, 81% of all state employees’ wages are behind comparable jobs in the public and private sector, according to the 2014 salary survey conducted by the state’s human resources office; and

WHEREAS, the population of Washington State has increased by two million people, thereby increasing the demand for state services, while the state workforce has been drastically reduced and workloads increased due to budget constraints brought on by the great recession; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council advocate for the funding of negotiated compensation package in the 2015-17 contract ratified by the members of the Washington Federation of State employees and the state of Washington; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will make full funding of the state employees’ contract a top tier priority in its 2015 legislative agenda.


PROTECTING THE RETIREMENT SECURITY OF PUBLIC SERVANTS

Resolution #24

WHEREAS, defined benefit pension plans provide public servants who devote a career to the citizens of our state the stability and lifestyle they deserve in retirement; and

WHEREAS, in the last three legislative sessions there have been bills which threatened to eliminate defined benefit pensions and which undermine the strength of our pension funding mechanisms for public sector plans; and

WHEREAS, the national trends in private sector retirement have been to leave career employees to the unstable and more costly hands of the stock market and brokerage firms by offering only 401k or other defined contribution plans, leaving bottom lines a higher priority than an employee’s retirement security; and

WHEREAS, Washington state has lead the nation in building a public pension system that provides choice to employees, funds itself largely through its investments and provides real value to the total compensation package that could not be replaced strictly through wages; and

WHEREAS, career employees not only deserve security, but a chance for prosperity in retirement for their service; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support public sector career employees by protecting defined benefit pensions against attacks from the legislature and advocating for full funding of the plans; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will stand against attacks on our Social Security program across the nation by advocating for the prioritization of workers retirement security in the AFL-CIO’s national political agenda.


RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF EDGEWATER HOTEL WORKERS

Resolution #25

WHEREAS, the hard-working hotel housekeepers, cooks, servers, dishwashers, front desk agents and other service employees at the Edgewater have worked tirelessly for decades to welcome visitors to the Seattle community; and

WHEREAS, these workers have been represented by UNITE HERE! Local 8 for many years; and

WHEREAS, the Edgewater Hotel is owned by the State of Washington, which maintains a fiduciary interest in the operations of the hotel; and

WHEREAS, the hotel is currently leased to Noble House Hotels & Resorts, who is seeking to extend their lease term with the Department of Natural Resources; and

WHEREAS, UNITE HERE! Local 8 is currently in bargaining with Noble House, who has conducted anti-union meetings and refused to consider job protection provisions or put an economic proposal on the table for workers to negotiate; and

WHEREAS, Edgewater workers have received a wage increase of just 7.5% over the last three years while departmental profits at the hotel have increased 36%; and

WHEREAS, successorship clauses have been negotiated into contracts at nearly every union hotel in the city of Seattle with the exception of the Edgewater; and

WHEREAS, hotel properties undergo frequent changes in ownership and management which make union standards difficult to maintain over time without successorship clauses, labor peace agreements, or worker retention requirements; and

WHEREAS, workers from the Edgewater Hotel met on July 11, 2014 with State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark to request his help in ensuring a fair contract and job protections moving forward; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support the workers at the Edgewater in their ongoing negotiations with Noble House; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support any effort on the part of state officials to encourage a fair resolution to current bargaining and to grant Edgewater workers long-term job security; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council shall transmit this resolution to all relevant elected officials in the State of Washington, including the Governor, members of the State Legislature, the Commissioner of Public Lands, and members of the Seattle City and King County Councils.


RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF GOOD JOBS IN DEVELOPMENT USING EB-5 INVESTMENTS

Resolution #26

WHEREAS, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5) program in 1990 in order to stimulate job creation in the US through foreign investment; and

WHEREAS, EB-5 is a USCIS administered program that allows foreign investors to procure a green card in exchange for a minimum of $500,000 investment in a commercial enterprise; and

WHEREAS, each EB5 investment in commercial enterprises is meant to directly or indirectly create 10 jobs or save 10 jobs; and

WHEREAS, developers use the EB-5 Program to raise funds for development projects, including hotel projects; and

WHEREAS, many non-union jobs within the hospitality industry are low-wage jobs with few benefits; and

WHEREAS, union jobs within the hospitality industry tend to have higher wages, pensions, safer workloads and affordable healthcare; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO supports the creation of quality jobs; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support and encourage development projects which will use EB-5 funds to create good, sustainable union jobs; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council shall transmit this resolution to all relevant elected officials in the State of Washington, including local elected officials, the Governor, members of the State Legislature, and members of Congress.


Resolution supporting the use of Recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) statewide in the construction and repair of surface transportation infrastructure

Resolution #27

WHEREAS, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) supports and promotes the use of recycled highway materials in pavement construction in an effort to preserve the natural environment, reduce waste, and provide a cost effective material for constructing highways; and

WHEREAS, environmental stewardship is designated as a major focus area of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) strategic plan; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) promotes the use of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) because the utilization of RAP can have the greatest economic, environmental, and engineering impact in pavement recycling; and

WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported the addition of Recycled Asphalt Shingles (RAS) to a 20% RAP mixture can reduce the asphalts carbon footprint by 21% to 29%; and

WHEREAS, the use of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) will reduce consumption of the natural resource supply; and

WHEREAS, the use of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) will greatly reduce the amount of discarded pavement in our landfills; and       

WHEREAS, the development, expansion, and operation of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) facilities will create family wage jobs; and

WHEREAS, the use of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) has proven to be a highly cost effective solution at a time of scarce infrastructure funding; and

WHEREAS, in studies conducted by both public and private entities, Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) performed equal if not better than pavement with all virgin material; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) supports the statewide use of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) and the development of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) facilities.


Resolution supporting the TRANSITION OF uNITED STATES MILITARY VETERANS TO CIVILIAN FAMILY wage JOBS THROUGH THE RECOGNITION AND alignment OF MILITARY SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES TOWARDS CIVILIAN CERTIFICATIONS OF COMPETENCY

Resolution #28

WHEREAS, our men and women military veterans are transitioning to civilian life in great numbers and need good family wage jobs as soon as possible; and

WHEREAS, many of our veterans have certified military skills and competencies which are not currently recognized by civilian certifying bodies; and

WHEREAS, our veterans are often required to enroll in civilian programs to acquire certification for skills they already have been certified for in the military; and

WHEREAS, our veterans often spend time and precious GI Bill funds on training for skills they actually already have when they need to support themselves and their families; and

WHEREAS, these barriers can be mitigated by aligning and cross-walking military and civilian skills and competencies wherever possible and; therefore let it be

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) supports working towards aligning and/or changing statewide, local and trade union statutes, regulations and agreements with certified military skills and competencies wherever feasible.


REGARDING PAYMENT OF L&I BENEFITS DURING APPEAL

Resolution #29

WHEREAS, the State of Washington has an industrial insurance system which guarantees sure and certain relief to workers injured due to their duties at work; and

WHEREAS, certain large employers within the State of Washington have opted to self-insure their industrial insurance obligations; and

WHEREAS, the State of Washington has guaranteed workers that their industrial insurance benefits will be paid by self-insured employers during the appeals process so as to not further the physical and economic harm experienced by workers so injured; and

WHEREAS, certain unscrupulous self-insured employers have failed to meet their obligations to pay benefits pending appeal; and

WHEREAS, time-loss payments help workers keep roofs over their heads, keep their families fed, and keep them from economic ruin; and

WHEREAS, timely payment of medical benefits can mean the difference between returning to work and a lifetime of disability, between suffering and comfort, and between life and death; and

WHEREAS, the Labor and Industries Self-Insurance Ombuds has identified the problem of non-timely payment as systematic; and

WHEREAS, the Labor and Industries Self-Insurance Ombuds has identified and recommended the adoption of a graduated penalty structure to ensure timely payments of time-loss and medical benefits pending the adjudication of an appeal; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, its affiliates, its staff, and its principle officers support the adoption of such legislation; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, take any necessary additional step to further support the timely, accurate payment of time-loss and medical benefits to injured workers as such opportunities arise via legislation, agency rule-making, and agency stakeholder efforts; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, include such legislation as part of a Jobs with Dignity agenda for the 2015 Legislative Session.


RECOUPING ATTORNEY FEES upon successful L&I APPEALs

Resolution #30

WHEREAS, Washington State’s workers’ compensation system requires that the state-fund and self-insured employers pay benefits upon appeals; and

WHEREAS, in cases where the worker is successful in her or his appeal, up to a third of their award could go toward the costs associated with pursuing the case as attorneys’ fees are not included in the calculation of awards; and

WHEREAS, the attorneys who take on these cases are ensuring that injured workers are guaranteed their day in court, and have access to justice; and

WHEREAS, these same attorneys are right to expect fair compensation for their time and effort; and

WHEREAS, the costs of pursuing a worker’s entitled benefits are not limited to attorney’s fees, and can include expert witnesses, independent medical exams, and other costs; and

WHEREAS, workers’ should be entitled to the full value of their benefits at the exhaustion of a successful appeal; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, its affiliates, staff, and principle officers support legislation that results in an injured workers’ recuperation of attorneys’ fees and other costs from the state-fund or self-insured employers in instances where their case successfully appealed.


REGARDING D.O.S.H. PENALTY CALCULATION RULES

Resolution #31

WHEREAS, in 2012 the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration adopted new rules requiring state-managed worker safety agencies to develop penalty structures that fall within 25% of a three-year national average; and

WHEREAS, the State of Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries has work place safety and health penalty averages well below those federal requirements; and

WHEREAS, OSHA requires state occupational safety and health departments to come in to compliance within six months of the adoption of Federal rules; and

WHEREAS, it has been nearly two years since the adoption of the Federal rules and L&I has not yet adopted the rule; and

WHEREAS, L&I has re-started its stakeholder outreach process; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, its affiliates, its staff, and its principle officers support the swift adoption of DOSH Penalty Calculation Rules.


In Support of Creating a Union Label Standing Committee of the W.S.L.C.

Resolution #32

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is charged with working to improve the lives and workplaces of Washington’s working men and women and their families; and

WHEREAS, knowing how to find union made goods and services is one way we can raise the standard for all; and

WHEREAS, we cannot expect workers or anyone else to support union made goods and services unless we proactively advertise and identify those services that are produced by workers who enjoy a negotiated and agreed-to wage and conditions of employment; and

WHEREAS, the means to identify and promote those goods and services broadly has been made easier by technology breakthroughs including social media; and

WHEREAS, workers who are educated to select union produced goods and services are empowered to make better economic choices for themselves; and

WHEREAS, we should strive to empower and enfranchise workers in every possible way to keep from being exploited by false rhetoric, or false economy; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, establish a Union Label Standing Committee, whose purpose shall be to identify, publicize and promote, union goods and services in Washington State and the region; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Union Label Standing Committee of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, be given the standing of every other Committee of the WSLC, including appointed members, an Executive Board Chair, and staff assistance to carry out its mission.


RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF REASONABLE AND TIMELY PROCESSES

Resolution #33

WHEREAS, Washington State is the most trade dependent state in the nation with 40% of all jobs linked to trade and trade-related industries; and

WHEREAS, regulatory certainty is an increasingly important factor, affecting more and more unionized jobs, particularly in the aerospace, marine, port, rail, and building trade-related industries; and

WHEREAS, many counties across Washington State continue to experience high unemployment rates and are in desperate need of economic opportunity; and

WHEREAS, the renovation, upgrade, expansion, and new construction of projects associated with manufacturing, trade, and trade infrastructure support many family-wage career jobs, with healthcare and retirement benefits, across several union craft categories; and

WHEREAS, without continued investment and growth in Washington State’s trade infrastructure, we risk falling further behind other U.S. ports, Canada, Mexico and the Panama Canal, where continued improvements to trade infrastructure are significantly outpacing our own efforts; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council has determined that competitiveness and economic viability of Washington State requires a fair, balanced, transparent and timely process for evaluating proposed projects, which should not exceed 18 months in duration, to the extent that is possible; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council shall urge Washington State to commit to maintaining its world class environmental standards in a responsible fashion so as to continue attracting both trade investment opportunities and union job opportunities in all categories for future generations; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council hereby determines that our advocacy for this issue shall be a priority in the 2015 Washington State Labor Council’s legislative agenda.


Support of Legislation Applying for a Waiver in 2017 to Establish Comprehensive, Universal, and Affordable Health Care in Washington State as a Fundamental Human Right

Resolution #34

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, continues to support the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) goal of securing high quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans; and

WHEREAS, since the passage of the ACA in 2010 has led to millions of more Americans receiving affordable health care and has eliminated some of the worst insurance company abuses; and

WHEREAS, we will continue to work for changes to the ACA at the national level that will protect our multi-employer and Taft-Hartley plans from adverse unintended consequences of the ACA and press for all employers to assume responsibility for contributing to the cost of health care for their employees and prevent employers from dumping employees onto Medicaid or the health care exchanges; and

WHEREAS, improving the ACA is an important goal, guaranteeing health care for all, recognizing universal health care as basic human right not as a privilege, is ultimately the best path to take to ensure that all people have health care that meets their needs, without exclusions or penalties; and

WHEREAS, while the market place has a role to play, our  government, as the voice of us all, must play the central role in regulating, financing and providing health care; and

WHEREAS, the experience of Medicare shows us the most cost effective and equitable way to provide quality health care is through a single-payer system; and

WHEREAS, the 2010 ACA allows for states to apply for a federal waiver in the year 2017 to create their own state public options for health care coverage; and

WHEREAS, gridlock at the Federal level for further progressive health care reform has shifted action to the states; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will work in coalition with and help lead affiliated unions, labor councils, community partners, and single payer health care advocates in pursuing legislation to receive a waiver from the Federal Government in 2017 to set up a universal health care single-payer system in Washington State.


Resolution in Support of a Jobs with Dignity Agenda

Resolution #35

WHEREAS, the Great Recession crippled job growth in Washington state, and severely limited opportunities for workers and their families to work toward a more secure future; and,

WHEREAS, the recovery from that recession created jobs of much lower pay and benefits than those jobs which had been lost at no fault of the workers in those impacted industries; and

WHEREAS, all workers have a right to go to work secure in the knowledge that their work place is as safe as possible, and that in the event of an accident they will realize sure and certain relief from Washington’s injured worker safety net; and

WHEREAS, all Washingtonians should have access to basic resources to ensure a dignified, secure, retirement; and

WHEREAS, the modern American economy requires a highly skilled and trained workforce, yet many of Washington’s policy makers have refused to invest in the educational resources necessary to ensure Washington state remains economically competitive without appealing to the lowest common denominator; and

WHEREAS, Washington’s lawmakers have spent thirty years reducing the resources available to invest in high quality healthcare, basic and higher education, sufficient staffing of public services, transportation infrastructure, clean water systems, and clean energy infrastructure, by writing blank-check tax loopholes in to the public’s budget; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, its affiliates, staff, and members, develop and pursue a Jobs With Dignity agenda that will: educate and train our future work force, ensure those workers work safely and retire securely, create jobs for those workers by building new schools, transportation infrastructure, and clean energy networks, and promote a revenue system that supports job creating businesses without paying companies to outsource Washington’s working women and men; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, its principle officers and staff, facilitate strong relationships with like-minded community partners to support this mutually beneficial legislative agenda.


Resolution in Support of Increasing the Minimum Wage

Resolution #36

WHEREAS, income inequality in Washington State continues to increase; and,

WHEREAS, low-income workers suffer not just from poverty wages, but also from historically high transportation costs, college tuition, and child-care costs; and,

WHEREAS, a minimum wage worker in Washington state earns less than $20,000.00 per year even when they are able to access 40 hours of work per week; and

WHEREAS, the Alliance for a Justice Society calculated that a single, childless worker in Washington State needs to make $16.32 per hour to pay for the basics of life, including a one bed room apartment, healthcare, transportation, clothing, and a very modest savings; and

WHEREAS, the average minimum wage worker in Washington state is 35 years old, 88% are not teenagers, 36% are age 40 or older, 56% are women, 28% are parents, and – on average – earn at least half of their total house-hold income; and

WHEREAS, the voters of Washington state have consistently supported increases in the minimum wage when asked at the ballot box; and

WHEREAS, an unprecedented number of workers are struggling to support themselves and their families on minimum wage incomes without the benefit of tips, healthcare, retirement programs, or other fringe benefits; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, its affiliates, staff, and members, support efforts to increase the state minimum wage to at least $12.00 per hour; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council resist efforts to erode the minimum wage through the adoption of tip and healthcare benefits penalties.


Resolution in Support of a Shared Prosperity Agenda

Resolution #37

WHEREAS, millions of American workers suffered under the great recession which has caused income inequality to rise to levels unseen since America’s gilded age; and

WHEREAS, the economic growth created through the slow recovery has benefited only the wealthiest of individuals, corporations, and national banks; and

WHEREAS, the best way to promote long-term, stable, economic growth is to invest in working families; and,

WHEREAS, the vast majority of jobs created in the recovery pay wages lower than those lost during the recession and provide fewer health, retirement, and sick leave benefits; and,

WHEREAS, these same sectors of employment are rampant with workers’ rights violations like theft of earned wages, retaliation for speaking up, and unequal levels of pay for women despite similar skills and experience when compared to male counterparts; and

WHEREAS, these inequities harm our communities by concentrating wealth in the hands of the very few, all while workers who created that wealth are left without the means to patronize their local small businesses, actively support their houses of worship, engage in their neighborhood organizations, and save toward a dignified retirement; and

WHEREAS, specific policies have been identified that would equip workers with the tools to share in the prosperity being generated by their work, including: ending payroll fraud and workers misclassification, providing for wage liens and triple damages in instances of wage theft, protecting workers from retaliation for asserting their rights, protecting workers from predatory fees when they are paid with payroll debit cards, strengthening prevailing wage standards, raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing paid sick and safe leave for workers, protecting pensions and expanding retirement options for workers, and ensuring that women are not the subjects of retaliation for asking about pay equity; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, its affiliates, staff, and members support the adoption of a Shared Prosperity Agenda which is to be pursued during the 2015 legislative session; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, its principle officers and staff, facilitate strengthening relationships with like-minded community organizations to pursue the Shared Prosperity Agenda to rebuild a middle class which benefits workers, their families, their neighbors, their friends, and their local small businesses.


Supporting Bangladeshi Garment Worker Unions and Calling on Outdoor Retailer REI to End Its Business Relationship with The North Face/VF

Resolution #38

WHEREAS, in Bangladesh:

  • Garment workers are the lowest paid in the world, with a monthly minimum wage of $68.

  • 80% of Bangladeshi garment workers are young women.

  • Garment workers are uniformly employed to work under sweatshop labor conditions.

  • The country’s garment export industry is the second largest in the world after China, with 4,000 factories exporting over $24 billion worth of products mainly to the U.S. and Europe; and

WHEREAS, Bangladeshi garment factories are uniformly unsafe, and have experienced notorious workplace safety violations, including:

  • Recurring garment factory fires throughout the industry that have killed an estimated 1,800 people since 2005.

  • The “That’s It Sportswear” factory, which produced for VF Corporation and other brands, where 29 workers were killed in a factory fire with many jumping from the top floors of the building to their deaths, on December 14, 2013.

  • The Tazreen Fashion factory, which produced for Walmart, U.S. Marine Corps and other companies, where 117 workers were killed in a fire on November 24, 2013.

  • The infamous Rana Plaza building, which produced for brands including the Bonmarché, Benetton, Walmart and others, where 1,134 workers were killed in a building collapse on April 24, 2013; and

WHEREAS, in response to this crisis, unions and anti-sweatshop organizations including the IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union, National Garments Workers Federation (NGWF), Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union Federation (BIGUF), Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Federation (BIGWF), Bangladesh Revolutionary Garment Workers Federation (BRGWF), Clean Clothes Campaign, Maquila Solidarity Network, Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and others, have established the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which is a binding agreement on participating companies, requiring independent factory inspections by trained fire safety experts, public reporting, mandatory plant repairs and renovations with financing by brands, a central role for workers and unions in oversight and implementation, and binding arbitration to make these contractual commitments enforceable; and

WHEREAS, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is also championed by the AFL-CIO and its National Partner United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), and has been endorsed by other organizations, including the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) AFL-CIO Constituency Group; and

WHEREAS, over 175 global apparel brands and retailers have become signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, including Adidas, Bonmarché, Benetton, Helly Hansen, H&M and Puma; and

WHEREAS, the primarily college-level advocacy efforts of United Students Against Sweatshops as well as other organizations, have led to the first U.S. apparel brands and retailers recently signing the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, including Fruit of the Loom, Knights Apparel and Philips Van Heusen, among others; and

WHEREAS, one of the largest apparel brands in the collegiate and U.S. markets, VF Corporation, which owns such subsidiaries such as The North Face, JanSport, Lee Jeans, Nautica, Timberland, Vans and Wrangler, has persistently refused to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, leading United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) to launch a campaign against VF Corporation and its subsidiaries; and

WHEREAS, over a dozen U.S. colleges and universities have severed their business relationships with the VF Corporation, until this company becomes a signatory to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, including Washington State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Syracuse, Rutgers, Pennsylvania State University, NYU, Arizona State University and others; and

WHEREAS, instead of signing the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the VF Corporation has joined forces with Walmart to create a company-controlled, public relations oriented, non-binding entity called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which has been heavily criticized by premier anti-sweatshop watchdog groups for its lack of meaningful inclusion of garment workers, and their representatives, and its failure to require brands to pay a single cent towards the repair and renovations of unsafe factories; and

WHEREAS, United Students Against Sweatshops is now calling upon U.S. retailers who sell North Face/VF products to discontinue their business relationship with this company until VF Corporation becomes a signatory to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports and calls on U.S. apparel brands and retailers, especially those in Seattle, such as Costco and Nordstrom, to become signatories of the Bangladesh Safety Accord if they sub-contract clothing from Bangladesh, and/or to require brands they order from, especially the VF Corporation and its subsidiaries, to become signatories; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, calls on Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) and its cooperative members, to stop ordering and selling North Face and other VF products until the VF Corporation signs the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, calls on the University of Washington to follow the lead of Washington State University by terminating its business relationships with all the VF Corporation’s subsidiaries including JanSport, as well as those with other companies, such as Columbia Sportswear, that have not signed the Bangladesh Safety Accord, and may have cut and run from Bangladesh by shifting collegiate production from this country; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports the efforts of United Students Against Sweatshops’ campaigns in solidarity with Bangladeshi garment worker unions, and will forward this resolution to the National AFL-CIO, and all appropriate elected and appointed officials within this body’s jurisdiction, including the City of Seattle and King County Councils, City of Seattle Mayor’s office, King County Executive’s office, University of Washington President’s office and the Board of Regents of the University of Washington.


RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING FARMWORKER UNION FAMILIAS UNIDAS POR LA JUSTICIA AND SUPPORTING FAMILIAS UNIDAS’ BOYCOTT OF SAKUMA BROTHERS BERRIES

Resolution #39

WHEREAS, farmworkers are not afforded the protections of many federal and state and employment laws, such as the National Labor Relations Act; and

WHEREAS, farmworkers perform physically demanding and dangerous seasonal work for low piece-rates, with limited ability to advocate for improvements in wages and working conditions without a union; and

WHEREAS, Farmworkers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington, Washington have experienced hostile work environments, discrimination, poor housing conditions, and wage theft; and

WHEREAS, farmworkers at Sakuma Brothers Farms formed their own union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, during a series of strikes over wages and working and living conditions in 2013; and

WHEREAS, Familias Unidas is an affiliate of the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and

WHEREAS, Familias Unidas has been fighting for recognition and a union contract at Sakuma Brothers Farms for more than a year; and

WHEREAS, Sakuma Brothers has repeatedly retaliated against Familias Unidas members for participating in strikes, boycott activities, organizing, and other union activities; and

WHEREAS, Sakuma Brothers applied, and later withdrew their application for, 438 H-2A agricultural guest workers when there was already an ample workforce of Familias Unidas members; and

WHEREAS, Sakuma Brothers has been ordered by a Skagit County court to stop retaliating against Familias Unidas members by refusing to rehire members who went on strike for five or more days in 2013; and

WHEREAS, Sakuma Brothers has been ordered by s Skagit County court to stop retaliating against Familias Unidas members by no longer providing family housing that it has offered for decades; and

WHEREAS, Sakuma Brothers settled a wage theft lawsuit brought by Familias Unidas members for work performed between 2010 and 2013 for $500,000; and

WHEREAS, Sakuma Brothers co-owner, Steve Sakuma, has publicly announced that he will not sign a union contract with Familias Unidas; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, formally recognizes Familias Unidas por la Justicia as a labor union representing farmworkers in Washington State; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will honor the boycott of Sakuma Brothers berries called by Familias Unidas por la Justicia; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will notify affiliates of the Sakuma Brothers boycott and publicize the boycott; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will work with Familias Unidas por la Justicia to support their efforts in the boycott against Sakuma Brothers Farms.


RESOLUTION REGARDING CHANGES TO CURRENT CONSTITUTION

Resolution #40

WHEREAS, to better reflect and define the scope of the Washington State Labor Council’s evolving purpose and responsibilities to its affiliates, their members and the community at large must, from time to time, amend language contained in its Constitution and Bylaws; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the following shall constitute housekeeping language changes to the WSLC Constitution and Bylaws:

  • In each place where the words, “Central Labor Council” appear, a reference to “Area Labor Councils” will be included;

  • Under Article VIII, Sections 7 and 8 – change the order of such that Section 8, referring to the Board responsibilities is moved to Section 7, and Section 7, referring to individual responsibilities is moved to Section 8 (for consistency as no actual change to language occurs); and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that Article V – Officers and Elections; Section 19(c)(3) be amended to read as follows:

      (c) Transportation of ballots will be by:

            1.   United States Postal Service;

            2.   Transported to the Washington State Labor Council office personally; or

            3.   By facsimile, or signed and scanned electronic mail transmission.

 


RESOLUTION ON BUILDING THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE

Resolution #41

WHEREAS, the members of the AFL-CIO are first and foremost members of their communities; and

WHEREAS, it is mandated through Resolution 16 of the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention that we must form stronger coalitions with our communities; and

WHEREAS, forming alliances with people disproportionately affected by poverty, including communities of color, young people, immigrants, LGBTQ people,  and women is crucial to the future of the movement, and the movement needs to be relevant to these groups; and

WHEREAS, these groups often need additional support and empowerment which Labor can offer; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that during convention, the Washington State Labor Council will organize a community service event, and will invite and encourage affiliates to participate in the community service project to benefit the community in which the convention is hosted, to form stronger coalitions between labor and community, to support vulnerable members of our communities, and to show our solidarity with our communities; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that for the purpose of strengthening labor-community alliances, the Washington State Labor Council will strive to work with groups with which they have not yet established relationships.


RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LEGISLATION REQUIRING A MINIMUM OF TWO PERSONS ON RAILROAD TRAIN CREWS

Resolution #42

WHEREAS, over the past 50 years, US railroads have continuously pursued a reduction in the size of crews operating trains, from six persons down to the current negotiated minimum of two crew members on through freight services; and

WHEREAS, in 1967 Washington State repealed a long-standing law requiring a minimum of six persons on all trains operating within our state, and since that time no standard minimum train crew size requirements have been enacted; and

WHEREAS, the elimination of crew members down to the current negotiated minimum of only two has created a situation that significantly reduces the years of on-the-job experience formerly available on larger crews, which had allowed crew members to develop their skills, knowledge, and territorial familiarity; this has resulted in a scenario where new and inexperienced train crews are now operating trains without seasoned, well-qualified persons, to the detriment of the safety of the public and the employees alike; and

WHEREAS, railroad operational requirements require that train crews perform numerous tasks while concurrently operating moving trains, which the National Transportation Safety Board has labeled “task saturation,” which can result in crews overlooking specific actions related to safe train operation; and

WHEREAS, technology, while improving the safe movement of trains, cannot replace the safety and security of train crews consisting of a minimum of two qualified persons, the presence of which provides additional safeguards, including the ability of crew members to cross-check and verify each other’s actions and activities while operating trains, to adequately respond to accidents and critical incidents, as well as the capability to separate rail cars at crossings to allow emergency responders to cross tracks which is a function which cannot be performed by one person; and

WHEREAS, on July 6, 2013, a Montreal, Maine and Atlantic freight train, staffed by only one crew member, was left unattended and inadequately secured and therefore rolled away, resulting in a major derailment of hazardous oil that caught fire, killing 47 people and causing catastrophic destruction to the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada; and

WHEREAS, on July 24, 2013, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, a train traveling from Madrid to Ferrol, operated by one crew member, derailed at a high speed on a curve, resulting the deaths of 79 persons and 140 injuries; and

WHEREAS, on December 1, 2013, a Metro-North commuter train, operating with a one-person crew, derailed in the Bronx while rounding a curve at 82 mph, resulting in the deaths of four persons and injuring more than 70 passengers; and

WHEREAS, crude oil shipments by rail have increased exponentially in recent years, outpacing rail capacity; first-responder training and state spill response planning are inadequate; and railroad crew fatigue abatement programs are nonexistent, creating public safety and environmental concerns; and

WHEREAS, chronic fatigue is epidemic on US railroads, due to operational requirements that include no regular working schedule for crew members, as well as intentional underemployment policies by the carriers, through which they maximize profits at the expense of public and employee safety, requiring crew members to return to work immediately after the minimum required federal rest has expired; and

WHEREAS, rail carriers have recently imposed draconian attendance policies that punish railroad employees who attempt to take additional time off for rest or family matters, resulting in train crew members reporting for work even when they know they are not rested and ready for duty, creating a serious employee and public safety risk; and

WHEREAS, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad has proposed that freight train crew sizes be reduced to just one person: the locomotive engineer, who will be alone in the locomotive cab and working frequently for time periods as long as 12 hours; and

WHEREAS, Transport Canada, the equivalent of the US Department of Transportation, now requires all trains moving hazardous materials to have a crew of no fewer than two persons, it being recognized that train crews should consist of at least two qualified employees, due to the large number of tasks required of such employees in order to operate a train safely; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC), at its 2014 convention, in the interest of public safety and employee safety, hereby steadfastly opposes any actions to permit one-person train crew operations on Class I railroads operating in our state and elsewhere; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC supports and fervently urges the Washington State Legislature to enact proposed legislation prohibiting one-person train crew operations (HB 2718/SB 6473), which are already operating in our state on short-line railroads to the detriment of public safety; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC supports and advocates that members of our congressional delegation cosponsor and work to pass HR 3040, which would require all trains operating in the United States to be staffed with a crew of no fewer than two persons; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC hereby determines that the enactment of legislation to prohibit one-person train crews shall be a priority in its 2015 legislative agenda.


RESOLUTION REGARDING RAILROAD WORKER AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGULATION AND LEGISLATION

Resolution #43

WHEREAS, railroads are a vital infrastructure and industry in Washington State, critical to commerce and the economy; and

 

WHEREAS, the economic vitality of Washington State is predicated on safe, viable rail networks with adequate capacity to provide freight service for our ports, aerospace industry, maritime cluster, agriculture, and other businesses, as well as adequate capacity for passenger rail; and

 

WHEREAS, railroads employ over 5,000 unionized workers in Washington State and provide stable, family-wage jobs with premium healthcare benefits and retirements; and

 

WHEREAS, significant and serious safety concerns currently exist regarding railroad operations and infrastructure in Washington State, which affect rail union members in various job crafts and which when combined create a hazardous workplace that also affects public safety, including the following:

 

  • insufficient and/or poorly maintained crew railroad footpaths and yard walkways for railroad crews to safely work in and inspect their trains;

  • poor lighting conditions;

  • unmaintained rail appliances, including switches and derails that lack proper ergonomic standards;

  • unregulated railroad crew transportation contractors;

  • lack of any hours of service limitations for yardmasters, who act as rail traffic controllers; and

  • no minimum train crew size requirements; and

 

WHEREAS, our legislature has failed to act to address these problems, resulting in a continuing occurrence of serious railroad crew contractor transportation vehicle fatalities and accidents, including the following:

  • On March 3, 2011, near Kelso, WA, while riding in an unregulated contractor crew transportation vehicle two railroad employees and the contract crew driver were killed, and a third railroad employee was permanently disabled in a tragic and avoidable railroad grade crossing collision.

  • On October 10, 2013, at 8:00 a.m., a crew transport van with four railroad crew members was en route from Pasco, WA, to Vancouver, WA, on I-84 when the driver drove off the road near Hood River, OR, injuring two of the four railroad employees. The driver has been charged with reckless driving, and it has been reported that one of employees was injured so severely that he will never be able to return to work.

  • On November 13, 2013, a driver was assigned to pick up a rail crew at a rural siding near Pasco, WA. The driver, proceeding at 50 mph in dense fog, failed to slow down and stop at a T intersection, driving through the intersection and crashing in a field on the far side. The railroad crews in the van were injured.

  • On February 21, 2014, at approximately 9:15 a.m., crew van #711, operated by QM Shuttle Services, was nearly struck by a southbound Amtrak train in Burlington, WA. The van had just dropped off a BNSF rail crew at a nearby location. The Amtrak engineer reported that the crew van backed up off of the tracks just a split second before they would have collided; and

WHEREAS, most contract crew hauler services utilized by the railroads operate with minimal regulation and/or government oversight, the drivers for these contract service companies have no requisite training or requirements greater than any other private, noncommercial licensed drivers; and

 

WHEREAS, these out-of-state contract operators pay their drivers poverty wages based on waiting times and mileage, resulting in extremely high turnover rates; fail to ensure that their drivers are physically able to perform the duties of the job, nor are drivers screened for adequate vision; are not required to meet DOT driver physical standards; do not adequately check their drivers’ backgrounds for criminal histories and drug or alcohol-related issues; do not require drivers to demonstrate a working knowledge of safe driving practices associated with transporting rail crews in all weather conditions on a round the clock basis; do not insure that their drivers are properly trained for the hazards associated with driving around and near railroad operations; do not implement specific route training and familiarization; and do not have adequate driver fatigue abatement practices; and

 

WHEREAS, railroad yardmasters, who control train movements in and around the various rail terminals and facilities, are not protected by the Federal Railroad Hours of Service laws, which limit the number of consecutive hours other railroad employees can work to 12, with no less than 10 hours between shifts; and

 

WHEREAS, many yardmasters are forced to perform service for 16-hour shifts, with only 8 hours off between shifts, creating dangerous sleep deprivation situations that endanger the lives and safety of both; and

 

WHEREAS, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) inadvertently requested that its own legislative authority over railroad safety be repealed (RCW 81.44.065) in 2007, which has resulted in confusion as to which state agency has authority over various aspects of railroad safety and/or which department is empowered to enforce assorted railroad safety regulations, so that four state agencies and ten local governments have different facets of rail regulatory authority; and

 

WHEREAS, adoption and aggressive enforcement of railroad safety regulations is critical to ensure public and workplace safety, such authority must be reconsolidated within one state agency; and

 

WHEREAS, a clear determination of which state agency will be ultimately entrusted with all railroad safety regulatory and enforcement authority must be made; now, therefore, be it

 

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC), at its 2014 convention, hereby supports and endorses the following legislative efforts (or any newly issued bill numbers with equivalent meaning) related to railroad workplace and public safety:

  • HB 1620/SB 5720, seeking adoption of state regulatory authority of railroad crew transportation services and any subcontractor company utilized by the railroads to provide such services; and

  • HB 1621/SB 5721, seeking adoption of state regulatory authority, equivalent to the Federal Hours of Service Laws that now cover railroad operating craft personnel, for Class I railroad yardmasters working in the State of Washington; and

  • HB 1845/SB 5722, seeking adoption of a process to consolidate all of State of Washington railroad public and workplace safety and regulatory functions possible under a single agency, the WUTC; and providing this agency with the maximum regulatory authority over railroads permissible under federal law, as well as providing adequate funding, which includes additional inspectors with federalized rail enforcement authority; and

  • HB 2718/SB 6473, seeking adoption of a minimum, mandatory railroad crew size of no fewer than two qualified operating craft employees on all trains and railroads operating in Washington State; and be it further

 

RESOLVED, that the WSLC recognizes that crude shipments by rail pose a real and potentially deadly threat to both rail workers and the public, and strongly urges the Washington State Legislature to work in close cooperation with rail labor organizations to critically examine all aspects of crude-by-rail operations; and be it further

 

RESOLVED, that the WSLC supports and urges the Washington State Legislature, as well as all Washington State agencies having such authority, to develop a coordinated, consolidated, expanded, and effective rail regulatory and enforcement program for the purpose of ensuring increased protection of both railroad workers and the public; and be it finally

 

RESOLVED, that the WSLC hereby determines that the resolution of these critical railroad public and employee safety issues shall be a priority in the 2015 WSLC legislative agenda.



OPPOSING EROSION OF FAMILY-WAGE JOBS IN LIQUOR DISTRIBUTION

Resolution #44

WHEREAS, Initiative 1183, the ballot measure that Costco spent tens of millions of dollars to pass, privatized the distribution and retail sale of liquor in Washington State; and

WHEREAS, Costco and other large retailers have proposed legislation that would eliminate the 17 percent fee Costco and other retailers currently pay on liquor sales; and

WHEREAS, this would move Washington to a retail sales model that partially exists in only three other states, including Alaska; and

WHEREAS, the current system ensures maximum safety and accountability by ensuring the safe, legal, and responsible delivery of alcohol to licensed retailers; and

WHEREAS, Teamster-represented distributors, in cooperation with the state, help ensure that alcohol beverage taxes are reliable and efficiently collected wherever alcohol is distributed properly and that only those of legal drinking age are allowed to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages; and 

 WHEREAS, moving to a retail sales system eliminates these safeguards and injects further risk into the system while the impact on public safety is not fully understood; and

WHEREAS, the fiscal impact of this legislation could be a substantial cost to the state through elimination of the 17 percent retail sales fee; and

WHEREAS, the current system protects family-wage Teamster jobs in liquor distribution as well as the public by the accountability and control built into the three-tier system; and

WHEREAS, attempts by Costco and other large retailers to erode Washington’s three-tier liquor distribution system have been opposed by the Washington State Labor Council, the Teamsters Joint Council No. 28, and UFCW Local 21; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, continue to oppose any attempt to move Washington to a retail sales model for liquor distribution or erode the three-tier distribution system currently in place.



RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF A DRAYAGE DRIVER REST FACILITY AT THE PORT OF SEATTLE

Resolution #45

WHEREAS, the Port of Seattle is a major economic engine for our region that creates economic vitality locally, regionally, and nationally; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Seattle’s Century Agenda outlines a commitment to social responsibility and economic opportunity for all; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Seattle should ensure that economic growth is consistent with a commitment to social responsibility so as to improve the quality of life of those working and living in and around the Port; and 

WHEREAS, in February of 2012, hundreds of truck drivers walked off the job demanding better wages, better working conditions, and a rest facility with running water, in protest of exploitative working conditions, discrimination, and safety issues at the Port of Seattle; and

WHEREAS, a full two years later, Port of Seattle drayage drivers still do not have access to a rest facility with running water anywhere on Port property; and

WHEREAS, during a typical shift moving cargo for 10 or more hours a day, Port of Seattle drayage drivers can be stuck in traffic lineups for hours at a time and have trouble finding anywhere to use the restroom; and 

WHEREAS, this past legislative session, Governor Jay Inslee allocated funding for the City of Seattle to conduct a feasibility study on several parcels of land around the Port of Seattle where a rest facility could potentially be sited; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, call on the Governor and the Washington State Legislature to fully fund an OSHA-compliant drayage driver rest facility in the coming legislative session.


RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF PAID SICK DAYS AND FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE INSURANCE

Resolution #46

WHEREAS, most workers have limited paid leave to deal with their health needs, and 40% have no paid sick leave, so that even a minor illness or injury can lead to a family economic crisis; and

WHEREAS, in addition to annual paid sick leave for preventive health care and short term illnesses, from time to time workers need longer periods of time off to welcome a new child, recover from surgery, or care for an aging parent; and

WHEREAS, as Unionists, we are committed to the principle that all workers should have the right to earn paid sick days for routine health needs of themselves and their families, and to periods of paid family and medical leave to care for a new child or serious health condition; and

WHEREAS, the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions have successfully adopted paid sick days standards that protect public health, worker income, and business prosperity; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2007, the Washington State Legislature passed a limited Family Leave and Medical Insurance program, but did not set up a mechanism for funding the program and has repeatedly postponed implementation; and

WHEREAS, other states, including California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have successfully established programs that provide partial wage replacement during extended leaves to care for a new child or sick family member, or for the worker’s own disability or serious health condition, funded through modest payroll taxes; and

WHEREAS, the “Washington Work and Family Coalition” is working to establish statewide standards for paid sick days and to fully fund and expand the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program to include caring for ill family members and the worker’s own disability as well as care of a new child, along with longer periods of leave, higher benefits, and premiums based on a percentage of workers’ pay; ; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports the principle and practice of paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance and will work with the “Washington Work and Family Coalition” to promote Paid Sick Days and an expanded family and medical leave insurance program in the state of Washington; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will forward this resolution to the affiliates of the Council to ask for their support, as well.


Celebrating the 50TH Anniversary of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act

Resolution #47

WHEREAS, civil rights and worker’s rights go hand in hand; and

WHEREAS, AFSCME’s struggles were linked with those of the civil rights movement joining students and civil rights activists as they took to the streets to protest economic and racial oppression; and

WHEREAS, AFSCME has made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of civil rights; and

WHEREAS, AFSCME support Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the goals he set in the fight for civil rights remain unfinished:  creating jobs, protecting worker’s rights, reducing poverty, defending voter rights, ending racial profiling, supporting gay rights and creating a pathway to citizenship for millions who want to share in the American Dream; and

WHEREAS, civil rights laws enacted over the past five decades have strengthened our nation and brought us closer to the fundamental ideal of equal opportunity for all; and

WHEREAS, there is still a lot of work to be done in this realm through educating not only the public but also within the labor movement in order to achieve actual equality for all; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will promote celebration of the anniversary of this historical event through formal recognition by dedicating some aspect of WSLC and affiliate events occurring in the year 2014.



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