2003 WSLC Resolutions

To Do ListEvery year, the main business of the Washington State Labor Council convention is the deliberation, discussion and action on resolutions submitted by the affiliated union locals and councils.  These resolutions to establish policy, programs and action for the WSLC.  The following were passed by delegates at the WSLC’s 2003 Convention on August 21-23 in Wenatchee.

(Some resolution numbers are skipped because those proposed resolutions were withdrawn, tabled or rejected by delegates, or combined with another similar submission.)

4.  Reduce Actuarial Penalties for Early Retirement from PERS II
5.  Opposing SB 6461, an Act Relating to RANDOM DRUG TESTING
7.  In Opposition to INITIATIVE 841
8.  Pertaining to SENATE BILL 6097
9.  In Opposition to CHARTER SCHOOLS and Other Related Legislation
10.  Stop Wasting America’s Money on PRIVATIZATION
11.  Fight Against Bush Administration Efforts to Erode CIVIL SERVICE
12.  Exploring Initiative of TAX FAIRNESS
13.  Support for Miami Mobilization Against the FTAA
14.  In Support of a Day of Action / WORLD HUMAN RIGHTS DAY on December 10, 2003
16.  Resolution on HEALTH CARE
17.  Proclamation for UNION LABEL WEEK
18.  Regarding INITIATIVE 841 – Ergonomic Repeal
19.  Resolution on New Technologies to Assist INJURED WORKERS
20.  Resolution on Calculation of TIME LOSS BENEFITS
21.  Resolution on Deregulation of SELF INSURED EMPLOYERS
24.  Guiding Principles for ECONOMIC and WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
25.  Resolution on the FTAA
27.  Winning a First Contract for 26,000 HOME CARE WORKERS
28.  Support Our LABOR NEIGHBOR Program in 2004

Resolution #3

WHEREAS, since the inception of legislation creating the public transit benefit area, Washington State has been a partner in public transportation; and

WHEREAS, in the 2000 legislative session the intent of I-695 was codified repealing the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax, of which a portion was used for matching local funds for public transportation; and

WHEREAS, transit properties in the State of Washington lost $213 million per year in operating funds and have not been successful in replacing the state’s portion; and

WHEREAS, transit properties have been, for the most part, successful in raising local taxes, small rural transit systems do not have the tax base to recoup the state funds and larger properties cannot keep pace with the demands; and

WHEREAS, the 2002/2003 legislative session saw a transport package voted upon in Olympia, of which only 11% or approximately $17 million per year would go to rural mobility grants and to “special needs” or para-transit operations, fall far short of the $213 million per year lost because of I-695; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work toward finding a reliable and sufficient funding source for public transportation and will support legislation that provides such a source.

Resolution #4

WHEREAS, participants of PERS II can, potentially, be penalized up to 80% of their pension for early retirement; and

WHEREAS, the current actuarial penalties for early retirement from PERS II are among the highest in the nation; and

WHEREAS, PERS II is fiscally sound and will be for the foreseeable future; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support and work towards legislation to reduce the actuarial penalties for early retirement from PERS II to 3% or less per year for retirees aged 55 to 64 years.

Resolution #5

WHEREAS, federal guidelines have been established for random drug testing for persons who have a commercial drivers’ license; and

WHEREAS, the legislature passed Substitute Senate Bill 6461 during the 2002 session, which complicates and actually exceeds federal guidelines; and

WHEREAS, SB 6461 was so poorly written that HB 1679/SB 5431 was introduced in the 2003 session to “clean up the language”; and

WHEREAS, the current RCW 46.25 (SB 6461) and SB 5431/HB 1679 interferes with existing collective bargaining agreements and grievance procedures; and

WHEREAS, the State of Washington and the Department of Licensing should follow and adhere to federal guidelines, which will ease complicated rules and benefit holders of the commercial driver’s license; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council shall oppose SB 5431/HB 1679, an act relating to random positive drug and alcohol tests, and support legislation that will repeal SB 6461, which will require the state to abide by the federal random drug testing requirements for CDL holders.

Resolution #6

WHEREAS, the future of workers in high technology and engineering is dependent upon investment in domestic capacity – especially in local jobs and the local workers who want these jobs; continuation of a strong U.S. technological knowledge base and skilled workforce; protection of our labor and environmental laws from challenge by other countries through the World Trade Organization and other free-trade bodies; and increased awareness by all workers in every country of the effects of economic globalization on their domestic economy and culture; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council shall support the following:

  • Education of our workforce about the effects of economic globalization, including the exportation of jobs and the practice of importing workers, which further pits worker against worker, reduces wages, and undercuts collective action.

  • Inclusion of workers and their organizations at all levels in the dialogue and decisions about economic globalization.

  • Creation of union-to-union, worker-to-worker, and union-to-company dialogue, both in the United States and elsewhere, about the issue of globalization and offshoring.

  • Strengthening of legislative protections for workers, our environment, and our communities. Challenge to legislation that protects corporations who are undercutting the domestic economy with offshore/outsourcing practices.

  • Strengthening of social safety nets for all people in the United States.

  • Awareness that corporations that benefit from our national policy and local and state tax laws owe a reciprocal obligation to invest in domestic capacity. It is just plain wrong to tax people, and use that tax money to throw those people out of work.

  • Rights for all workers, and especially our high technology and engineering constituents, to organize for their benefit as workers in the United States.

  • A prohibition of the offshoring of government jobs, either directly or through outsourcing agencies or consulting firms.

Resolution #7

WHEREAS, 50,000 Washington workers a year suffer from work-related, preventable injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, low back strain and tendonitis; and

WHEREAS, these injuries account for nearly one-third of all workers’ compensation claims in our state, and account for 46% of all state workers’ compensation claims costs; and

WHEREAS, a cost-benefit analysis of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries ergonomics rule on work-related musculoskeletal injuries found that the cost savings of implementation will save Washington businesses nearly $340 million per year at a cost for full compliance of nearly $80 million, with a cost-benefit ratio of more than four-to-one; and

WHEREAS, certain business interests have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for paid signature gatherers to place Initiative 841 on the fall statewide ballot to repeal this important workplace safety rule, and news reports indicate these mercenary petitioners routinely lied about the rule and its impact in order to convince people to sign; and

WHEREAS, the ergonomics rule has had the longest phase-in period of any workplace safety rule ever adopted in our state, with special consideration allowed for small business to take up to six years to comply; and

WHEREAS, the National Academy of Science and the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health have both issued scientific reports concluding that ergonomics programs and interventions in the workplace can significantly reduce musculoskeletal injuries; and

WHEREAS, the Governor’s Independent Blue Ribbon Panel, which included representatives from the business community, reviewed the rule in 2002 and found that the rule’s requirements are understandable, that enforcement policies are fair and consistent, that effective education materials are widely available, and that demonstration projects have been successful; and

WHEREAS, the new rule is targeted at real hazards where the most injuries occur, and does not require any action by nearly 50% of employers that have no employees in hazardous jobs; and

WHEREAS, common sense principles of prevention will avoid thousands of painful and debilitating injuries to workers in our state and will make hundreds of workplaces and jobs safer; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council go on record as opposed to Initiative 841; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will assist in the effort to defeat Initiative 841; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that affiliates of the Washington State Labor Council are urged to make contributions to the campaign to defeat I-841 (No on I-841), and also are urged to reach out to individuals and companies who provide services to organized labor and to reach out to allies of organized labor to contribute to the No on I-841 campaign.

Resolution #8

WHEREAS, this year the Washington State Legislature passed, and Governor Gary Locke signed into law, Senate Bill 6097, which changed the Unemployment Insurance System in Washington State; and

WHEREAS, the changes to benefits, with four-quarter averaging and eligibility are particularly harmful to construction workers; and

WHEREAS, under a proposal put forth by the Washington State Labor Council, and supported by the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, employers would have realized comparable savings with less damage to working families; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work to pass legislation in future legislative sessions to repair the damage to our Unemployment Insurance System to the benefit of Washington workers.

Resolution #9

WHEREAS, after ten years of experimentation in almost forty states in this country, we conclude that the hopes many had for charter schools have, sadly, not materialized; and these schools have not been any more creative than many of our public schools or our public alternative schools and programs, or shown any improvement in students’ test scores or achievement, or stimulated any more innovative approaches than already exist in our public schools, and in some cases have resorted to “canned” curricula that anyone could teach; and, most notably, they have not had any particular positive effect on the way in which public schools function; and

WHEREAS, reports show that about 10% of all charter schools have closed because of financial fraud or mismanagement, and these types of closures leave students and staff in terrible chaos which certainly doesn’t foster the kind of safe and consistent education community that studies show are most effective features of a public school system; and

WHEREAS, in cases where public schools may be failing our students, we cannot expect to improve those schools by abandoning them to drastically reduced funding at the same time as we expect them to introduce higher standards and testing; and

WHEREAS, to allow certain schools to diverge from laws and regulations that are claimed to be too burdensome for innovative teaching, but to leave others in schools that have to follow such rules and regulations and are being cut at the same time, sets up a very un-American, two-tiered educational system that we cannot support; and

WHEREAS, the underlying intent of charter schools by its traditional supporters is to undermine and privatize our public education system at all levels; and

WHEREAS, the voters of the State of Washington have twice defeated charter school initiatives in the past ten years; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council oppose the creation or public funding of charter schools.

Resolution #10

WHEREAS, last year, the Bush Administration announced a plan to impose mandatory privatization quotas across the government that threaten the jobs of up to 850,000 federal employees; and

WHEREAS, these privatization quotas are implemented through a process that requires each executive branch agency to submit annual plans to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) describing how many jobs it expects to consider outsourcing and the methods it plans to use to facilitate the outsourcing; and

WHEREAS, although OMB has recently claimed that the privatization quotas are no longer in effect, the fact is that they remain central to the administration’s “scorecard” system for rating the performance of agencies relative to the president’s Management Agenda; and

WHEREAS, the government has for almost 30 years had a policy that required public-private competition before the jobs of federal employees could be outsourced to private firms, and these public-private competitions have been decided on the basis of who could provide the services agencies needed at the lowest cost to taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration has issued new regulations allowing political appointees and managers to decide the winners of public-private competitions on the basis of subjective factors rather than cost, and award government contracts to firms whose bids are both more costly and less responsive than the bids of in-house, unionized federal employees; and

WHEREAS, the privatization threat has been used repeatedly by the Bush Administration, and particularly by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to neutralize congressional opposition to elimination of federal employees’ collective bargaining and appeal rights, and the replacement of the federal pay and classification system with one that gives total control over the pay of each federal worker to supervisors. Secretary Rumsfeld has declared repeatedly that if the Defense Department cannot get the “managerial flexibility” over collective bargaining, hiring, firing, discipline and pay that it demands, it will simply outsource or privatize Defense Department civilian jobs; and

WHEREAS, the rules governing the privatization of federal government jobs give great emphasis to private firms’ ability to undercut federal employees on their pay and benefits; and

WHEREAS, privatization of government jobs has been shown to have a disproportionately negative impact on female and minority workers. The federal government’s diversity has been a hard-won victory for the labor movement, and women and minorities not only make up a larger share of the federal workforce than of the workforce at large, they are also more prominently represented in the ranks of professional, managerial and technical positions in the public sector than in the private sector; and

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration’s privatization quotas affecting specific numbers and types of jobs as well as specific numbers and types of competitions have not been shown to produce either cost savings for taxpayers or improvements in the quality of service delivery; and

WHEREAS, AFGE has filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of OMB’s unilateral redefinition of what constitutes an “inherently governmental” job that should not be privatized. In an action that would increase the number and type of federal jobs vulnerable to privatization, OMB has attempted to narrow the definition of inherently governmental so that contractors will be able to take over work ranging from tax collection to levying fines to evaluating and adjudicating applications for citizenship to handling classified communications relating to national security to overseeing and administering other government contractors; and

WHEREAS, privatization on the federal level is creating an environment that accelerates the drive for privatization on the state and local level, threatening the reliable and cost effective delivery of goods and services; and

WHEREAS, privatization neither saves money nor improves services, and, if anything, the experience is the opposite. The risky proposal advocated by the Bush administration to open air traffic control to privatization ignores the disastrous experiences around the globe, where airline near misses have soared, and governments and consumers have had to bail out flailing contractors. Many states and localities have ended contracts early—Oklahoma’s for highway maintenance and the City of Bridgeport’s for sewer services, as only two examples—because of contractors’ failure to complete work on time and safely and ongoing costs disputes that drain additional public resources. And despite a relentless ideological drive to divert public money into private school vouchers, there has been no improvement in student achievement but public school coffers have suffered; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will join with its affiliated unions that represent federal employees to work to defeat the pernicious quotas for outsourcing and privatization; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support any coordinated efforts by public employee unions to defeat this attack on government and the public sector.

Resolution #11

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration submitted legislation to eliminate virtually all civil service protections for the Department of Defense’s civilian workforce days after it declared victory in the war against Iraq; and

WHEREAS, these 720,000 civilian employees performed heroically, professionally and successfully to prepare not only our troops but also their weapons, military aircraft, ships, vehicles and other supplies for the combat mission just weeks before this assault on their rights and their livelihoods; and

WHEREAS, AFGE represents 200,000 Defense Department civilian employees, and other AFL-CIO unions represent numerous other Defense Department civilian employees whose rights are threatened by this legislation; and

WHEREAS, the legislation passed by the House of Representatives, which was given just two weeks to consider Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s radical plan, allows each successive secretary of Defense unilateral authority to design an entirely new personnel system for 720,000 federal employees; and

WHEREAS, the House-passed legislation allows Secretaries of Defense to eliminate civilian employees’ rights to appeal management decisions to suspend, demote, discipline or fire them, or go to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) if they have evidence that such actions were taken on the basis of prejudice, politics, union status, a distortion of the facts or in violation of MSPB rules; and

WHEREAS, the House-passed legislation allows Secretaries of Defense to decide unilaterally to eliminate civilian employees’ collective bargaining rights, to effectively negate the outcome of employees’ election of union representation through the collective bargaining process, and to decide unilaterally to refuse to bargain at the local level even in cases where the union’s recognition as an exclusive bargaining representative is at the local level only; and

WHEREAS, the House-passed legislation allows Secretaries of Defense to decide unilaterally to rewrite the rules regarding procedures for carrying out Reductions-in-Force that currently require managers to take into consideration performance, employment status, veterans’ status, time served in the military and tenure; and

WHEREAS, the House-passed legislation allows Secretaries of Defense to rewrite the rules on hiring for federal positions that may deviate from the principle of free and open competition, including the bar on the hiring of relatives; and

WHEREAS, both the House and Senate passed legislation that allows Secretaries of Defense to replace the federal pay and classification systems that are based upon the principle of equal pay for substantially equal work, which has gone a long way to prevent pay discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender. Both bills would allow secretaries of Defense to replace the current system’s nationwide, across-the-board annual pay adjustments passed by Congress with individualized “pay for performance” schemes that allow supervisors to decide whether and by how much to adjust the pay of individual workers; and

WHEREAS, the Senate bill retains civilian employees’ collective bargaining rights, and rights to appeal adverse actions to an impartial third party but includes the repeal of the federal pay and classification system and authority to replace it with “pay for performance” that will undermine the principle of equal pay for equal work and the ability to ensure that decisions regarding the distribution of pay and pay raises to federal employees be made on the basis of objective criteria; and

WHEREAS, the undermining of the civil service, collective bargaining rights and the federal pay and classification system envisioned in the Defense Department legislation echoes that enacted in the law establishing the Department of Homeland Security; has been repeated with regard to pay and classification for federal employees who administer the Medicare program and are employed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS–formerly HCFA) in the House-passed legislation providing prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council encourage all of its affiliated unions and organizations to inform the House-Senate Conference Committee working on Secretary Rumsfeld’s “National Security Personnel Plan” that they oppose the administration’s effort to undermine federal employees’ collective bargaining and appeal rights, civil service rights and pay and classification system in the Defense Department and other executive branch agencies; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work in conjunction with the American Federation of Government Employees and other affiliated unions representing civilian employees of the Defense Department to support ongoing efforts designed to defeat this legislation and other legislation that undermines the apolitical federal civil service; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates are urged to immediately contact their elected congressional representatives and senators requesting that they oppose any provisions of HB 1588 and SB 1166 that may emerge from the congressional conference committee now meeting.

Resolution #12

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council is a vital part of the Tax Fairness Coalition, a grouping of labor, faith-based, and community organizations concerned about our state’s unfair tax system; and

WHEREAS, in the 2003 legislative session, tremendous pressure was exerted by business interests to win funding concessions at the direct expense of labor and human services funding, and the same business interests are likely to employ similar pressure to push their agenda in the upcoming 2004 session; and

WHEREAS, for the upcoming 2004 session, a powerful defense of labor and human services funding must be mounted to fend off further cuts and takeaways; and

WHEREAS, to combat this pressure from business interests, labor and human services interests need to develop political leverage of our own, and a large, all volunteer, grassroots statewide initiative campaign taking place while the legislature is in session would help to create such leverage; and

WHEREAS, recent polls publicized by the Tax Fairness Coalition indicate there is support among Washington voters for certain progressive tax reforms whose implementation would promote the interests of labor and human services; and

WHEREAS, at last year’s Washington State Labor Council convention, Resolutions 16 and 19 were passed, indicating WSLC’s strong record of support for a more progressive, robust tax system; and

WHEREAS, the signature gathering component of an initiative to the people would be a strong way in which to further strengthen the Washington State Labor Council’s Labor/Neighbor efforts to prepare them for the vital November 2004 elections; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council’s Initiative Strategy Committee explore the possibility of the WSLC, working in conjunction with allies, to file an initiative to the people in January 2004, to achieve tax fairness and to increase revenue in Washington.

Resolution #13

WHEREAS, he National AFL-CIO has adopted strong resolutions against extending the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) model to the rest of the hemisphere via the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); and

WHEREAS, the National AFL-CIO has issued an “FTAA Call to Action”, co-signed by dozens of Allied groups, calling on trade unionists and their allies to “join thousands of people in Miami…on November 19-21 to say yes to fair trade policies and “no to the FTAA”; and

WHEREAS, over 3 million American jobs have been lost to Trade Agreements, over 700,000 attributed solely to NAFTA, with 25,000 of those lost jobs in Washington State alone; and

WHEREAS, the loss of jobs has also increased exploitation of foreign workers and devastation of the environment; and

WHEREAS, “Fast Track” negotiating authority allows the U.S. President to push the FTAA through Congress with limited debate and no amendments; and

WHEREAS, the United Steelworkers of America, The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, and Coalition partners are organizing an Educational Event on September 26, and a March and Rally in Seattle on September 27, 2003, which begins the March to Miami Mobilization; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council calls upon Washington labor bodies to energetically oppose the FTAA, and adopt a resolution against the FTAA; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, urges our congressional representatives to reject the FTAA and work for fair trade agreements that raise labor and environmental standards; and be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports activities and promotes participation in the scheduled March to Miami Events protesting FTAA, including the events planned in Seattle September 26 and 27, 2003.

Resolution #14

WHEREAS, individual workers do not have the power to negotiate labor contracts and must have collective bargaining rights to meet the power of corporations, as understood by the Supreme Court in 1937 when they ruled that the National Labor Relations Act was constitutional, recognizing in their decision that, “…a single employee was helpless in dealing with an employer, that he was dependent ordinarily on his daily wage for the maintenance of himself and his family; that if the employer refused to pay him the wages he thought fair, he was nevertheless unable to leave the employ and resist arbitrary and unfair treatment,” and therefore, that, “…union is essential to give laborers opportunity to deal on an equality with their employer.” (Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evan Hughes); and

WHEREAS, in the United States fewer than 9% of private sector workers and less than 37% of public workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements; while in every other industrial democracy in the world rates of unionization are at least two times greater for both the private and public sectors; and

WHEREAS, contracts in this country should not be for the protection of the rich and famous alone, like CEOs and professional athletes; and

WHEREAS, the collapse of collective bargaining in the United States is practically a secret, making it necessary to bring this crisis into the open, shed light on it, and initiate a public debate on how to fix it, beginning in our workplaces with our members; and

WHEREAS, the ability of union locals to bargain effectively depends largely on the percentage of employees represented in the workplace; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, urges all affiliate unions to implement a program for member education on the right to organize and collectively bargain, such programs to be aimed at officers, stewards, activists and members; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will support federal and state legislative initiatives to bring back the right to organize and collectively bargain, working with our allies and coalition partners like central labor bodies and Jobs with Justice; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will enlist from elected officials and candidates public support for the right to organize and collectively bargain for all private sector and federal workers (in the tradition of FDR when he said, “If I were a factory worker the first thing I would do is join a union”); and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will assist in organizing and participate in A National Day of Action on December 10, 2003, World Human Rights Day, in order to bring attention to the crisis of workers’ inability to freely organize into unions to achieve collective bargaining and a voice at work as a fundamental human rights issue in the United States.

Resolution #15

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO has officially embraced the cause of immigrant workers in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO actively campaigns for legislative reform to benefit immigrant workers and their families; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO expects that legislation to reform immigration law will be a matter of increasing congressional and executive activity beginning in 2003; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO believes that such legislative reform must include, at a minimum, 1) legalization, including the right of immigrant workers in the United States to live and work in this country and become its citizens; and 2) the right of immigrant workers to unite their families in the United States if they wish; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO understands that a national mobilization of individuals and organizations from all sectors – including labor, business, political, religious, community, immigrant, civil rights and others – is necessary to demonstrate to Congress and the President that there is widespread support in the United States for meaningful legislative reform and for the recognition of the contribution of immigrant workers to the quality of social, cultural, political and economic life in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO believes that an Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride – which will culminate in a mass demonstration of support in the United States for meaningful legislative reform in Washington, DC – will be a powerful vehicle for mobilizing that national constituency; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will adopt the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride (IWFR) as a campaign, will join with the AFL-CIO, affiliated unions, state federations and other central labor bodies in the IWFR and will urge member unions to contribute to this effort and to adopt this same resolution of support of the IWFR.

Resolution #16

WHEREAS, health insurance premiums and overall health care spending in Washington State have risen dramatically in recent years, without corresponding improvements in access and quality; average premiums are expected to rise 15% in 2003 alone; and

WHEREAS, tens of thousands of Washington’s working families have lost health insurance due to layoff or job loss; and

WHEREAS, the number of uninsured Washingtonians is therefore rising: in 2000, 15.4% of Washingtonians under 65 had no insurance, (CPS US Census Bureau); and

WHEREAS, in 2003 our elected officials made deep cuts in Washington’s insurance programs for low wage working families (Basic Health)n and for low income seniors and people with disabilities (Medicaid), program cuts which will eliminate health insurance coverage for nearly 100,000 Washingtonians and further reduce access through prohibitive fees for thousands more; and

WHEREAS, costs of health care for the uninsured are shifted to hospitals, through increased emergency room visits and uncompensated care, and to insured Washingtonians through increased premiums to cover medical costs of those lacking coverage for cost effective, preventative care; and

WHEREAS, employers including the State of Washington  are shifting the costs of health care to workers and their families through higher premium shares, deductibles and co-pays,  and eliminating dependent coverage; and

WHEREAS, states have always been policy innovators and laboratories of reform, and in that vein Washington has led the nation in efforts to increase access, control costs and improve quality; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates at this convention go on record supporting efforts to pass legislation that will move us toward achieving the goals of building a health care system for our state which will provide for all Washingtonians, high quality, accessible, affordable health care services; and be it further

RESOLVED, by the Washington State Labor Council that all candidates seeking labor’s endorsement for office will be asked in their candidate questionnaire to state their proposal for addressing the health care crisis in our state and nation; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, by the Washington State Labor Council that no candidate for Governor will be endorsed by this body who does not publicly commit to making solutions to the health care crisis a cornerstone of the platform on which they run for office.

Resolution #17

WHEREAS, AFL-CIO unions build a better America by empowering their members to be better citizens; and

WHEREAS, because unions raise wages, standards and working conditions for all working families, they contribute to the economic strength and vitality of the community, the region and the state; and

WHEREAS, unions are also at the vanguard of efforts to help the community mobilize behind policies which enhance the quality of life for all – from public education and fair taxes to job creation and a stable business environment for the long-range vitality of our nation; and

WHEREAS, the key to maintaining strong and resilient economy at every level is to create and maintain decent jobs – a goal which the Washington State Labor Council shares with our affiliated unions; and

WHEREAS, the union label and union shop card are emblems of the dedication of union members to the principles of team work and commitment to each other and the greater good of the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates; and

WHEREAS, the union label and union shop card indicate that employment standards, wages and working conditions that prevail in a given establishment are derived from the process of collective bargaining, providing workers there with a voice on the job and ensuring them of fair treatment; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, hereby declares the week of September 1st through the 7th to be Union Label Week, and we hereby encourage working families to look for and patronize employers who proudly display union labels on their products and union shop cards in their businesses.

Resolution #18

WHEREAS, the Department of Labor and Industries is now implementing an Ergonomic Rule designed to prevent workers from suffering disabling musculoskeletal injuries and diseases; and

WHEREAS, business associations have paid signature gatherers to place Initiative 841 on the ballot, the impact of which would be to repeal the Ergonomics rule; and

WHEREAS, the proponents of this initiative are showing a callous disregard for the suffering caused by these illnesses and injuries to injured workers and their families; and

WHEREAS, defeat of this initiative will take a mass mobilization of workers in our state to overcome the financial resources business associations have and will put into this initiative; and

WHEREAS, the proponents of this initiative are resorting to lies and half-truths in order to achieve their goal of repealing this critically important health and safety rule; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that this convention go on record as strongly urging all affiliates of the Washington State Labor Council to take immediate action to oppose Initiative 841 by taking the following actions:

  • Participate in a serious educational campaign to provide educational material provided by the State Labor Council to rank and file members.

  • Recruit volunteers to assist with a grass roots field campaign to defeat Initiative 841.

Resolution #19

WHEREAS, new technologies have been developed, such as the spinal cord stimulator and transepidermal neuro stimulator (TENS), that will have a positive impact on the lives of injured workers dealing with intractable pain; and

WHEREAS, the spinal cord stimulator is made available to injured workers in every other state in the country, with Washington being the only exception; and

WHEREAS, the courts have ruled that the industrial insurance laws are to be interpreted liberally on behalf of injured workers; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council shall express to the Director of Labor and Industries and the Medical Director of Labor and Industries our commitment to insisting that the Department of Labor and Industries provide injured workers with the technologies, such as spinal nerve stimulator and TENS stimulator that will be beneficial to those injured workers as those injured workers try to put their lives back together after suffering a work related injury or illness; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the 2003 Washington State Labor Council convention will express our disappointment and anger that the Department of Labor and Industries refuses to provide these new technologies to injured workers.

Resolution #20

WHEREAS, the Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) and the business associations have demonstrated their determination to cut time loss benefits to which injured workers are entitled; and,

WHEREAS, the DLI wants to limit the Cockle decision, requiring the addition of employer contribution to health care into the calculation of compensation when health care coverage is terminated by the employer, to a set amount which is substantially lower than the amount we negotiate in our collective bargaining agreements; and

WHEREAS, the DLI wants to limit employer contribution to pension in calculating compensation for purposes of determining time loss benefits; and

WHEREAS, the DLI proposes to allow 12-month wage averaging for purposes of determining time loss for “temporary workers”; and

WHEREAS, the business associations and their political allies want to eliminate consideration of both Cockle benefits and contribution to pension; and

WHEREAS, the business associations and their political allies want to use 12-month wage averaging rather than wages at time of injury to calculate time loss benefits; and

WHEREAS, the business associations and their political allies propose to use a set multiplier of 65.5% rather than a variable percentage of the worker’s wage at injury; and

WHEREAS, the business associations and their allies would require using the Implicit Price Deflator, which has no relation to wage replacement, rather than growth in the state’s average weekly wage for benefit indexing; and

WHEREAS, the industrial insurance system in our state is among the least expensive to employers in the country, even with the rate increases over the last two years; and

WHEREAS, the rate increases that are being imposed on workers and employers are a result of the downturn in the equities and bond market and also a result of the politically motivated return of $400 million dividend to employers ($200 million in 1999 and $200 million in 2000); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC encourage its affiliates to make every effort to educate their rank and file members on the impending attack on workers’ compensation benefits with the goal of mobilizing rank and file members to contact their legislators with the message that there should be zero cuts in benefits to injured workers in our state; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that organized labor, through resolution of this convention, shall commit ourselves to use all methods we have available to stop any and all attacks on the benefits to injured workers in our state.

Resolution #21

WHEREAS, many of the workers represented by unions are employed by employers who self-insure their industrial insurance liability; and

WHEREAS, there is an effort by self-insured employers to reduce or eliminate oversight by the self-insured division of the Department of Labor and Industries; and

WHEREAS, the experience of many of the injured workers we represent indicate there is insufficient oversight rather than too much regulation and oversight; and

WHEREAS, deregulation of self-insured employers will cause even more abuse of injured workers by self-insured employers or their third party administrators; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council go on record as opposing any efforts to reduce regulation or oversight of self-insured employers and their third party administrators and also recommend to its affiliates to do likewise; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC shall recommend to its affiliates to oppose any such deregulation effort in the upcoming legislative session; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will communicate its opposition to deregulation of self-insured employers to legislators, the Department, and the Governor, and recommend to its affiliates to do likewise.

Resolution #22

WHEREAS, it is a common practice by the state fund and self-insured employers to order Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) for multiple purposes, including determinations of work relatedness of an injury, determining whether a worker is “fixed and stable”, and determining Permanent Partial Disability ratings; and

WHEREAS, the determinations by these IMEs have a major impact on the lives of injured workers; and

WHEREAS, many injured workers have contacted union representatives, indicating their belief that the IME doctor or panel were essentially company doctors with little compassion or sympathy for injured workers; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that injured workers be treated fairly and also feel they have been treated fairly; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council go on record supporting a requirement that any provider selected to perform an IME must have an active practice of seeing their own patients as the predominant source of income for their practice; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC go on record supporting a requirement that all IMEs, including IMEs ordered by self-insured employers, shall be scheduled by the state off of a rotating list of providers who have an active practice, provided that there shall be a process for the injured worker or their representative and the claims manager to schedule agreed upon IMEs.

Resolution #23

WHEREAS, since July, 2000, Washington State lost nearly 55,700 manufacturing jobs or 15.7%; and

WHEREAS, the National Association of Manufacturers shows Washington State with the highest percentage of jobs lost; and

WHEREAS, in the year 2002, Washington State had the third highest ranking for Annual Average Unemployment Rates; and is ranked second with Alaska into June of 2003; and

WHEREAS, energy costs and instability are a significant contributing factor to job loss in many sectors of the economy, but particularly in the heavily-unionized industrial sector; and

WHEREAS, many of the working men and women who have lost their jobs due to rising energy costs are our brothers and sisters in the steel, chemical, aluminum, and forest products industries; and

WHEREAS, heavy reliance on a single source of energy can lead to vulnerability to price spikes that result from a volatile energy market; and

WHEREAS, rising natural gas and electricity prices are making energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable power production much more compelling and economically viable in Washington and across the country; and

WHEREAS, a more diverse energy portfolio could help bring about greater energy security and less reliance on foreign energy; and

WHEREAS, if we turned our attention to the manufacturing of renewable energy systems for use worldwide instead, it would not only make us less reliant on foreign sources of energy, but would also increase economic development at home; and

WHEREAS, renewable energy industries are labor-intensive; can attract jobs to the state, and stimulate the economy; and

WHEREAS, the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries already employ 4,000 people in Washington with annual revenues close to $1 billion; and

WHEREAS, increasing the diversity of our energy supply will create new employment for certified installers and union manufacturing and construction workers and can be linked to prevailing wage, Project Labor Agreements, apprenticeship utilization, and the utilization of domestic materials manufactured in-state; and

WHEREAS, the Apollo Project is a 10-year plan that would invest $300 billion into renewable energy and energy efficiency, research and development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, increasing public transportation options, and preserving regulatory protections measures that would increase family wage jobs in the manufacturing sector and lead the country toward greater energy independence; and

WHEREAS, in June, 2003, twelve prominent international labor unions publicly endorsed the Apollo Project, including:
·        Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)
·        International Association of Machinists (IAM)
·        International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
·        International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE-CWA)
·        Paper and Allied Chemical Employees (PACE)
·        Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
·        Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)
·        Transportation Workers Union (TWU)
·        United Automobile and Aerospace Workers (UAW)
·        United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)
·        Union of Needletrade Industries and Textile Employees (UNITE!)
·        United Steel Workers of America (USWA); now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, endorse the Apollo Project; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will support legislation that meets labor’s principles of economic and workforce development, and will assist its affiliates to explore joint projects and develop formal partnerships with the State of Washington and other public and private employers in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and hydrogen fuel cell research and development.

Resolution #24

WHEREAS, the WSLC and its affiliates have participated in both workforce and economic efforts in order to bring high road strategy benefits home to Washington workers; and

WHEREAS, at both the local and state levels, our labor movement’s economic and workforce strategies have frequently been reactive, rather than proactive; and,

WHEREAS, to assist organized labor in Washington to become more proactive, and to clearly identify the principles within workforce and economic development which our labor movement will support and oppose; and

WHEREAS, the following principles have been developed and adopted in order that labor’s endorsement and support for workforce and economic development initiatives will more closely align the best practices for workforce and economic development throughout our state; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC adopt the following list of Guiding Principles for Workforce and Economic Development serve as parameters to measure such proposals, and determine organized labor’s support and/or opposition to those proposals and encourages its affiliates to do the same.


1)     It is organized labor’s intention to support the improvement in the standard of living for all workers through concerted activity. Therefore, we support businesses that engage in activities that contribute to this goal.

  1. Prevailing wage, state approved apprenticeship, apprenticeship utilization and Project Labor Agreements are sound economic development and workforce strategies.

  2. Domestic content, local hire and in- state preference are also sound strategies.

  3. The relationship between  organized labor and good corporate citizens is a community asset.

2)     Public dollars used in economic development and workforce training are an investment made by and on behalf of the public. That investment will require a return to the workers involved and the community in which they live.

  1. When public investments of either dollars or incentives do not return value to the community, public monies must be returned.

  2. Public investment into the economy and the workforce should be transparent:  the public should know exactly what is intended, and if these benefits do not occur, the investment should be returned to the public.

3)     The natural advantages of a community’s resources should be enhanced by the development being proposed.

  1. Each community and workforce has natural advantages and abilities.  Investments in economic development and workforce training should be designed to enhance those advantages.

  2. The economic activity derived from economic and workforce development shall be environmentally sustainable.

  3. Economic development and workforce development strategies should sustain and promote diversity.

4)     Employment generated from economic or workforce investment shall pay livable family wages and benefits.

  1. A priority of workforce and economic development shall be to maintain jobs that pay family wages and benefits, and to create and maintain training that leads to those jobs.

  2. Economic development and workforce training should not be designed to undercut, or remove any union or union negotiated standards of wages, benefits, or working conditions.

5)     No economic or workforce development agreement or funds shall be made to an employer or workforce services provider/contractor who violates the law, violates existing bargaining agreements, and/or exhibits anti-union behavior.

6)     The relationship between organized labor and good corporate citizens is a community asset.

  1. High priority is placed on retaining existing businesses – and fostering new businesses – that are good corporate citizens and community stewards.

  2. The principle that “any job is better than no job” is unacceptable. Therefore the public subsidy of a substandard job and/ or employer is not acceptable.

  3. The subsidizing of low wage jobs is detrimental and puts pressure on state and local governments and communities to provide social services.

  4. The statement “no net loss in number of jobs” without evaluating the quality of those jobs is not acceptable.

7)     Organized labor is engaged in workforce and economic development, and must be engaged in the planning and implementation of workforce and economic strategies and the provision of workforce and economic services.

  1. When organized labor or a signatory employer is a specific customer and/or provider of workforce and economic development services, then organized labor must be fully engaged in the planning and implementation of these strategies.

  2. Success for the worker, the company and the community occur when workers receive training.

  3. Quality workforce and economic development initiatives encourage people to take advantage of life long learning opportunities.

Resolution #25

WHEREAS, the Bush administration is hosting a meeting of trade ministers from throughout the Americas on November 20 – 21, 2003, in Miami to launch the final round of negotiations to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); and

WHEREAS, the FTAA will extend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – which now covers the United States, Mexico and Canada – to every country in the Western Hemisphere except for Cuba by 2005, when Congress will vote “yes” or “no” on the whole FTAA agreement under fast track procedures; and

WHEREAS, the Economic Policy Institute estimates that NAFTA – under which our combined trade deficit with Canada and Mexico ballooned from $9 billion to $87 billion – has cost more than three quarters of a million American jobs and job opportunities since 1994; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Labor has certified for trade adjustment assistance more than 450,000 workers who lost their jobs due to NAFTA; and

WHEREAS, free trade agreements like the FTAA contribute to the rise in income inequality and downward pressure on wages, and employers use the threat of moving overseas to take advantage of new trade rules in order to thwart union organizing drives and exact concessions at the bargaining table; and

WHEREAS, trade deals that cost jobs, lower wages and increase employer threats hurt the African American community, where median wages are lower, overall unemployment is significantly higher and the benefits of union membership are greater than among white workers; and

WHEREAS, NAFTA has also failed to deliver the promised benefits to workers in Mexico, where wages have fallen and poverty is on the rise since NAFTA went into effect; and

WHEREAS, enforceable protections for the International Labor Organization’s core labor standards (freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively and prohibitions on child labor, forced labor and discrimination) are not even being discussed by FTAA negotiators; and

WHEREAS, the FTAA will contain rules on trade in services that could encourage the privatization and deregulation of services, including public services like transportation and utilities, thus threatening an important source of good jobs for working families; and

WHEREAS, the FTAA will contain investment rules based on Chapter Eleven of NAFTA, which give private foreign companies the right to demand taxpayer compensation for public interest regulations which diminish the value of their investments, thus giving foreign investors more rights than domestic investors and small-business owners and threatening important environmental and public health regulations; and

WHEREAS, the FTAA will contain intellectual property rules that could be used by pharmaceutical companies to threaten developing countries with retaliation if they violate patent rules in order to provide affordable access to essential life-saving medicines, even medicines needed to treat people with HIV/AIDS; and

WHEREAS, though drafts of the FTAA text have been made public, negotiators have not taken into account substantial input from trade unions and other allies on the content of the negotiations; and

WHEREAS, trade unions, environmentalists, students, people of faith, women’s groups, indigenous organizations, peasants’ groups and family farmers all over the hemisphere are rejecting the FTAA and demanding a more just alternative; and

WHEREAS, trade unions and their allies from throughout the hemisphere will participate in ballot campaigns and activities in Miami from November 19-21, 2003 to voice their opposition to the proposed FTAA; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO recently launched a Stop FTAA ballot campaign, and together with their brothers and sisters throughout the hemisphere, will deliver ballots collected throughout the Americas and deliver them to trade ministers in Miami this November.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council opposes the FTAA based on NAFTA and supports an alternative vision of economic integration in the hemisphere based on respect for workers’ and human rights, equality, democracy, and social justice; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council joins allies throughout the hemisphere in voicing its opposition to the FTAA, and will work with the AFL-CIO to educate working families about the FTAA and collect ballots as part of the AFL-CIO’s Stop FTAA campaign; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will encourage members to participate in the mobilization planned in Miami for November 19-21st which will include the presentation of the ballots to the ministers, a workers’ forum, a forum with labor leaders from throughout the Americas, a cultural event and a march.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council commits to educating and organizing opposition to the FTAA and making this an issue with their elected representatives in Congress; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council educates elected officials and political candidates about the impact of the FTAA on working families and urge them to oppose the FTAA and support fair trade rules that create jobs, protect workers’ rights, and help build strong communities.

Resolution #26

WHEREAS, one of the core principles of the American labor movement is the absolute right of workers to join together to form unions and bargain collectively to improve our wages, hours, and working conditions; and

WHEREAS, until recently, many public sector workers in Washington state were denied the right to “full scope” collective bargaining; and

WHEREAS, all state sector workers, including home care workers, state employees, academic student employees, higher education employees and other public workers now have the right to bargain with their employer on economic issues; and

WHEREAS, the 2003 legislature violated the rights of unionized teachers and home care workers by engaging in direct dealing and by-passing the collective bargaining process; and

WHEREAS, the rights of state sector employees are thusly jeopardized; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED that the Washington State Labor Council shall hold our COPE-endorsed elected officials accountable to the principles of collective bargaining that we hold dear; and be it further

RESOLVED that the Washington State Labor Council shall work for full enforcement of workers rights to organize and bargain collectively, shall advocate for stronger guarantees of the right to full and fair collective bargaining for all public sector workers in the state of Washington, and shall join in national and international efforts to secure organizing and collective bargaining rights for all workers.

Resolution #27

WHEREAS, the largest and fastest growing segment of long term care in Washington state is provided by homecare workers to consumers in their own homes; and

WHEREAS, tens of thousands of low-income seniors and people with disabilities rely on homecare every day to live with dignity and independence in their own homes; and

WHEREAS, homecare workers are an essential but often invisible part of the human services safety net providing quality care to low-income elderly and disabled Washingtonians ; and

WHEREAS, most homecare workers work for $7.68/hr with no benefits, no healthcare, no paid leave, no pensions, no workers compensation; and

WHEREAS, low wages and no benefits, along with low quality standards and inadequate training, contribute to a high worker turnover making it more and more difficult for consumers to find qualified homecare workers; and

WHEREAS, in the largest union election ever in Washington state history, more than 26,000 homecare workers have voted to join a union in order to raise their standard of living, to improve the quality of care for the consumers they serve, and to find solutions to stabilize the workforce; and

WHEREAS, independent provider homecare workers negotiated a first contract with the Home Care Quality Authority in the fall of 2003, and then brought the negotiated contract to the 2003 Legislature for final approval of the economic provisions; and

WHEREAS, the homecare worker contract was the first negotiated agreement to be voted on by the Legislature under recently enacted laws providing collective bargaining rights to homecare workers, state employees, teaching assistants, and faculty; and

WHEREAS, despite tremendous mobilization by home care workers and support from labor, faith and community allies, the 2003 Legislature rejected the economic provisions of the home care contract between the Independent Provider (IPs) home care workers represented by SEIU Local 775 and the Home Care Quality Authority, which would have provided raises from $7.68 and hour to $9.75 an hour, health care for workers who work at least half-time, and worker’s compensation coverage for all  IPs; and

WHEREAS, when it was apparent that the House and the Senate could not reach agreement on a budget which included funding for the home care worker’s contract, the Legislature and Executive branches did not allow the parties to return to the bargaining table to re-negotiate the contractual economic provisions while the Legislature was in session, as required by law; and

WHEREAS, following the final rejection of the contract, the 2003 legislature engaged in direct dealing by implementing an across-the-board pay increase to all state-funded home care workers,  thereby violating the intent of the collective bargaining statute and further subverting the collective bargaining process;  and

WHEREAS, the parties have now returned to the bargaining table to re-negotiate the economic provisions of the agreement for submission to the 2004 legislative session, now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, shall prioritize and give all possible support to the lobbying efforts on behalf of these homecare workers to win legislative approval of their first contract.

Resolution #28

WHEREAS, in 2002 the fall elections were marked by the unprecedented participation of union members from almost every union visiting and calling on union brothers and sisters about the important issues facing our labor movement; and

WHEREAS, the key to a strong electorate is working men and women having the deciding voice and vote in electing representatives to further enact legislation favorable to the interest of working families; and

WHEREAS, the success of the Labor Neighbor campaign is clearly shown by the decisive victories in key legislative districts around our state; and

WHEREAS, the margin of victory in these districts was due to the efforts of our members in the Labor Neighbor Program to increase the voter turnout in labor households; and

WHEREAS, 2004 will be a presidential election year, as well as an election year for governor and other statewide elected officials, and for members of Congress as well as the state legislature; and

WHEREAS, the 2004 elections will be decisive for working families in determining the direction of our state in key areas such as healthcare and education; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council Convention go on record as acknowledging the terrific success of the Labor Neighbor Program throughout our state; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, at this convention commit to continuing to make the Labor Neighbor program a success by signing up to walk in this year’s fall election, and working through Labor Neighbor programs to make sure we elect a governor and president who truly represent the interests of working families; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates prioritize committing to this effort enough resources to provide a strong staff and state of the art technology to manage the vast efforts that it will take to win for our members and for all Washingtonians.

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