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 2015 Convention held July 23-25 at the the SeaTac DoubleTree Hotel.
(Some resolution numbers are skipped because those proposed resolutions were withdrawn, tabled, rejected, or merged with a similar submission.)
28. CLIMATE AND JOBS
SUPPORT FOR INITIATIVE 735
WHEREAS, in its Citizens United v. FEC decision in 2010, the Supreme Court swept away a century of precedent that barred corporate money in our elections and it revisited the dangerous fiction that corporations have the same Constitutional rights as living, breathing people and;
WHEREAS, extending Constitutional rights to corporations in addition to the privileges of limited liability, perpetual life, and other advantages, essentially gives corporations more rights than people and the ability to trump laws protecting the safety of our food, the air we breathe, our health care, safety, our civil and labor rights, and any law that could get in the way of corporate profits; and
WHEREAS, Citizens United and other decisions invalidated campaign spending reform laws enacted by bipartisan majorities in Congress and thereby unleashed an ever-increasing torrent of special interest money into our political process; and
WHEREAS, this has increased business spending in political elections to at least 15 times greater than labor spending, and the disparity between the two is sure to increase to the disadvantage of working people; and
WHEREAS, the Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution (WAmend) has filed with the Washington Secretary of State an initiative to the Legislature calling for amendment to the U.S. Constitution to:
- Establish that the rights recognized in the Constitution are those of natural persons only, not of corporations, and that the spending of money is not a form of protected free speech; and
- Require prompt, accessible disclosure of all political contributions and expenditures; and
- Authorize federal, state and local governments to regulate such contributions; and
WHEREAS, that initiative, now designated as Initiative 735, would urge Washington’s current and future Congressional delegations to act immediately to propose a U.S. Constitutional amendment to accomplish the three objectives set forth above; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WSLC urge members to support the WAmend effort to obtain the number of signatures necessary to qualify Initiative 735 as an initiative to the legislature; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council supports I-735 during the legislation session and protect it against efforts to weaken it with competing resolutions; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council COPE support campaign efforts in educating voters up to the general election of 2016 once I-735 is put on the ballot.
Resolution Supporting the Repeal or Amendment of I-200
WHEREAS, the median household income for African-Americans in the City of Seattle is $25,700 per year, compared to Seattle’s overall median household income of $70,200 per year for 2013, and Seattle has the largest African-American community in the state of Washington; and
WHEREAS, nationally, African-American households have median earnings of $34,800 annually – which is 35 percent higher than Seattle, and among the 50 largest U.S. cities, Seattle now has the ninth lowest income for African-American households; and
WHEREAS, the passage of I-200 has negatively impacted the African-American community in many areas, including access to higher education, decreased opportunities to secure government contract at all levels, and eliminated reporting of diversity in the workplace; and
WHEREAS, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists has been opposed to legislation that has negatively impacted the African-American’s communities in the state of Washington and across this country; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will encourage its affiliates to adopt this resolution and work to take legislative action to amend or repeal I-200 as one of the strategies to improve the lives of people of color in Washington State; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will facilitate strengthening relationships with like-minded community organizations, elected officials, government agencies at all levels, businesses leaders, civil rights leaders, labor organizations, religious organizations, and others to pursue the goals of equality and economic and social restoration of people of color in the State of Washington.
RESOLUTION ON ORGANIZING
WHEREAS, union density in Washington State has fallen since the “Great Recession,” and some unions have lost membership through corporate off-shoring of jobs and plant closures due to Trade Agreements, e.g., NAFTA, CAFTA, KORUS, which were approved by representatives that labor has supported; and
WHEREAS, many other unions have seen their membership decline because of technological changes in the workplace that have displaced workers with machines and robots, or are in declining industries, or have not been able to organize in their sector; and
WHEREAS, political contributions and lobbying efforts have been unsuccessful in creating the policy changes we need to lift up workers and families, and oftentimes have resulted in representatives voting against the interests of workers and the majority of their constituents in favor of corporate control, for example the recent passage of Fast Track, which was approved by representatives that labor has supported; and
WHEREAS, at the 2013 WSLC Convention, Resolution #2 – Organizing in the Service Sector began a discussion about methods and practices of successful organizing in non-traditional industries; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WSLC President appoint and work with a committee of union and community organizers to plan an organizing conference that focuses on innovative and coordinated organizing strategies to take place before the next WSLC annual convention and to report back to the convention results from this conference for further action; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, forward this resolution and a letter suggesting that the AFL-CIO Executive Committee consider reducing the amount of money International Unions put into politics and redirect some of this money towards coordinated organizing efforts to build our labor movement for the benefit of all workers.
REMOVAL OF REMARRIAGE PENALTY FOR SURVIVING SPOUSES
WHEREAS, it is a tragedy when a family loses a loved one resulting from performing the duties of their job; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature established line of duty death benefits through the Worker’s Compensation system, including a pension to the surviving members of the family that helps to secure the family’s future and provides the needed resources to keep a family stable; and
WHEREAS, however, Washington State statutes include a “penalty” for those spouses and families looking to move on with their lives by suspending pension payments if a spouse remarries; and
WHEREAS, this policy change allows public safety families that suffered a LODD a chance to move on with their lives but created an imbalance between public safety and the rest of workers in Washington State; and
WHEREAS, the strength of unions is derived from standing together and fighting for all workers, including their families; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will craft and seek to implement legislation that removes the remarriage penalty spouses face when they lose their loved ones as a result of a line of duty death and continue the pension through the Worker’s Compensation system.
Redefining Small Business
WHEREAS, small business forms the backbone of our economy, which includes over 99% of employer firms, both locally and nationally; and
WHEREAS, a vibrant and strong economy is essential to ensure the security of the middle class; and
WHEREAS, the deck is pre-stacked against small business, with massive subsidies to large businesses in the form of tax loopholes; and
WHEREAS, there are many examples of this, including the $8.7 billion tax subsidy to Boeing while it actively moves jobs away from Washington State; and
WHEREAS, there are a variety of small business definitions, including the federal government’s definition of an independent business as having 500 employees or less; and
WHEREAS, while a business may have a limited number of employees, it can still see massive profits that do not fall in the auspice of a small business; and
WHEREAS, organized labor issues and government regulations are often cited as hindrances to small business succeeding in today’s economy; and
WHEREAS, right wing groups and think tanks use the plight of small business to sponsor legislation that attacks unions, workers’ compensation, and pensions; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work with its affiliates to craft legislation that clarifies the definition of small business to truly mean a small business, including limiting the number of employees that meet the small business definition or the amount of revenue generated within a business.
RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON INDUSTRY IN WASHINGTON STATE
WHEREAS, the growth of the private prison industry in our country is injecting the profit motive into our system of corrections; and
WHEREAS, private prison firms generate profits by understaffing facilities, paying employees inferior wages and benefits, and providing inadequate staff training; and
WHEREAS, research has shown that assaults on staff in private prisons are nearly 50% higher than in public prisons, while inmate on inmate assaults are almost 65% higher in for-profit prisons; and
WHEREAS, in Washington State the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operates immigrant detention centers contracted out to the private prison company GEO; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Corrections has a contingency contract to house Washington State offenders in a GEO private prison out of state; and
WHEREAS, as residents of Washington State and Union members we will not support or condone the use of private prisons for any reason; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and their affiliates oppose the use of GEO and all private prison companies to house ICE detainees, and be it resolved that we stand in opposition to the Washington State Department of Corrections engaging in any contracts with private prison companies.
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR ORGANIZING
WHEREAS, the National Labor Relations Act excludes workers classified as “Independent Contractors” from organizing under the NLRA; and
WHEREAS, increasingly, more and more employers, especially in the emerging task based economy are misclassifying workers as independent contractors; and
WHEREAS, misclassification exploits workers, weakens Unions, severely hinders worker’s rights, and limits workers’ access to Union representation; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and their affiliates support organizing efforts by workers in the “gig” economy, sharing economy, task based economy, and other sectors of the emerging job market where the use of misclassified independent contractors is pervasive; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates support all actions, legal and political, to ensure that workers are properly classified and no longer subject to exploitation.
IN SUPPORT OF PAID SICK AND SAFE DAYS AND INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE
WHEREAS, income inequality in Washington State continues to increase; and
WHEREAS, low-income workers suffer not just from poverty wages, but also from lack of sick and safe leave; and
WHEREAS, as Unionists, we are committed to the principle that all workers should be able to work full time and not live in poverty, and should have the right to earn paid sick and safe days for themselves and their families; and
WHEREAS, the city councils, other jurisdictions, and other states have successfully adopted paid sick and safe days standards and increased the minimum wage that help local economies, protect public health, increase worker income, and create shared prosperity with businesses and workers; and
WHEREAS, most workers have limited paid leave to deal with their health needs or the consequences of domestic violence, and 40% have no paid sick leave, so that even a minor illness or injury can lead to a family economic crisis; and
WHEREAS, even those workers who do have paid sick leave often face discipline when they use their earned time or cannot access their paid sick leave banks on the first day they are sick; and
WHEREAS, when workers are denied paid sick leave they often have no other choice but to go to work sick, which is bad for the health of the workers, their co-workers and the general public; and
WHEREAS, the impact of low wages on workers is compounded by less-than-full-time hours and unpredictable schedules; and
WHEREAS, once controlling for inflation, neither women’s nor men’s median earnings significantly increased between 2013 and 2014 in the United States; and
WHEREAS, the minimum wage should have reached $21.72 an hour in 2012 if it kept up with increases in worker productivity; and
WHEREAS, low minimum wages negatively impact all workers by dragging wages down in various industries and sectors, and have a disproportionate impact on women and people of color; and
WHEREAS, six in ten poor adults are women, more than half of all poor children live in families headed by women, poverty rates are especially high for single mothers, women of color, and elderly women living alone; and
WHEREAS, more than half (54%) of minimum wage workers are white; one in four is Hispanic (26%), which shows an over-representation of workers of color living in poverty; and
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO originally fought to increase the federal minimum wage and the state minimum wage throughout history; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports the campaigns to pass paid sick and safe days for all Washingtonians and increase the state minimum wage; 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 for current and future legislative and initiative campaigns to increase the minimum wage and pass paid sick and safe leave as expeditiously as possible.
IN SUPPORT OF FAIR CHANCE HIRING LEGISLATION AND POLICIES
WHEREAS, there are an estimated 70 million people with arrest and conviction records in the United States, or nearly one in three adults, many of whom are struggling to support themselves and their families because of the enduring stigma of the record; and
WHEREAS, people with records suffer from pervasive discrimination in many areas of life, including employment, housing, education, and eligibility for many forms of social service benefits; and
WHEREAS, the stigma of a record contributes to increased rates of unemployment and under-employment of people with records and the poor job prospects of people with records has divested our local communities and state economy of millions of dollars; and
WHEREAS, the “box” on the job application that inquires about conviction history creates a chilling effect, such that many jobseekers with records are dissuaded from applying; as well, the checked-box leads many employers to toss out the application of qualified workers; and
WHEREAS, the criminal justice system is biased, such that communities of color are targeted for policing and at every stage in the criminal justice system are disproportionately represented; and
WHEREAS, studies indicate that stable employment is one of the best predictors of post-conviction success; and
WHEREAS, people with records represent a diverse workforce that has skills to contribute and a desire to add value to their communities; and
WHEREAS, the ability of Washingtonians with arrest and conviction records to successfully reintegrate or contribute to their communities produces a stronger economy, reduces recidivism, strengthens families, and leads to healthier, safer communities for all Washingtonians; and
WHEREAS, there has been a national movement, sparked by formerly incarcerated organizers, to “ban the box”, which removes the conviction history question from job applications and delays any conviction history inquiry until later in the hiring process so that people can be judged on their merits first; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to facilitate compliance with federal anti-discrimination law, has recommended as a best practice delaying inquiry of a job applicant’s conviction history, and the EEOC has directed public and private employers to consider the following factors when making employment decisions based on convictions: the job-relatedness of the offense, age of offense, and evidence of mitigation or rehabilitation; and to provide applicants the opportunity to explain or dispute their conviction history information; and
WHEREAS, as of June 1, 2015, seventeen states and over one hundred cities and counties across the country have adopted “ban the box,” with many of these jurisdictions adopting additional fair chance hiring policies to remove barriers to employment of people with records and to promote the hiring of qualified job seekers with records, such as adopting the directives of the EEOC guidance on the use of arrest and conviction history information in employment decisions; now, therefore, may it be
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, promotes legislation, regulation, and policies at the state and local level that applies to government and to the private sector that encompasses “ban the box” and expanded fair chance hiring policies; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, promotes public education and community action that reduces unfair barriers to employment of people with records, thereby promoting the values of human dignity and work; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, its principal officers and staff, facilitate strong relationships with like-minded community partners to support this mutually beneficial agenda.
RESOLUTION ON RACE AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT
WHEREAS, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in his address to the Missouri State Labor Council Convention in 2014 that, “Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother, who works in a grocery store, is our sister, an AFL-CIO union member, and Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown, is a union member, too, and he is our brother. Our brother killed our sister’s son and we do not have to wait for the judgment of prosecutors or courts to tell us how terrible this is”; and
WHEREAS, the list of unarmed men of color from all races and ethnicities shot by police in Washington State is too long to name, but includes Latino Antonio Zambrano-Montes, shot this year in Pasco; Native American John T. Williams, shot in Seattle; and African-Americans David Walker, shot in Seattle, and Daniel Covarrubias, shot in Lakewood, and many others; and
WHEREAS, President Trumka went on to say that, “Here in St. Louis, in 1917, powerful corporations replaced white strikers with African-American workers recruited from the Mississippi Delta with offers of wages far higher than anyone could make sharecropping. In response, the St. Louis labor movement helped lead a blood bath against the African-American community in East St. Louis. No one knows how many men, women, and children were killed, and how many houses and businesses were burned. The NAACP estimated up to 200 died and 6,000 were left homeless. Eugene Debs, the founder of the National Railway Union called the East St. Louis massacre – and I quote – ‘a foul blot on the American labor movement”; and
WHEREAS, in 1885 and 1886, the local Tacoma and Seattle labor movements played leadership roles in marching nearly the entire Puget Sound Chinese community to their waterfronts to put them on board ships for expulsion back to China at the cost of monumental hardship to Chinese-American families who had invested in America and in our local communities, including the enormous loss of property; and
WHEREAS, President Trumka also said, “Yet remember, we are here today because labor leaders like A. Philip Randolph and Walter Reuther showed us there was a better way. The test of our movement’s commitment to our legacy is not whether we post Dr. King’s picture in our union halls, it is do we take up his fight when the going gets tough, when the fight gets real against the evils that still exist today?”; and
WHEREAS, President Trumka also said, “When a new immigrant gets mistreated by management because they don’t speak the language – that is our fight. When an African-American workers doesn’t get a promotion or fair pay because of the color of his or her skin, that is our fight. When women are paid less than men for the same work, that is a fight for every single one of us”; and
WHEREAS, President Trumka called on us to “use the occasion of the tragic death of Michael Brown and its aftermath here in St. Louis to begin a serious and open-ended conversation about what we can do, about what we should do. That conversation needs to be about racism and some other things as well.”; and
WHEREAS, just weeks ago, but since President Trumka’s remarks, our nation was rocked and devastated by the racially-motivated killings in a historic black church in South Carolina where nine people were massacred during a Bible study group, and we say to those nine: Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Clementa C. Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson, that we refuse to let their deaths be in vain; and
WHEREAS, right here in Washington State we see the multiple effects of institutionalized racism, implicit bias and white advantage in our own statistics, where Highway 99 is still called the “Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway”; and
WHEREAS, a recent study of Washington State data demonstrates that black students are disciplined at a rate four times higher than white students, and that this disparity begins in elementary school; and
WHEREAS, a recent study of jail and prison inmates in Washington State shows that blacks are incarcerated more than whites at a ratio of 6.4-to-1; and
WHEREAS, a special task force recently co-chaired by Justice Stephen Gonzalez, prior to his appointment to the Washington State Supreme Court (reporting to the Washington State Supreme Court) referring to implicit racial bias, concluded: “We find that racial and ethnic bias distorts decision-making at various stages in the criminal justice system, thus contributing to disproportionalities in the criminal justice system”; and
WHEREAS, implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner; and
WHEREAS, institutionalized racism is defined as a pattern of social institutions, such as governmental organizations, schools, banks, and courts of law, giving negative treatment to a group of people based on their race leading to inequality; and
WHEREAS, consistent with President Trumka’s remarks we must look deeply into ourselves as a movement to assess the institutionalized racism within our movement, within our leadership structures, within our local labor unions, within our workplaces, within our bargaining teams and shop stewards, and within each and every one of us; and
WHEREAS, given that all social institutions contain institutionalized racist components, and explicit and implicit racial bias remains within all sectors of society, and since the labor movement is not exempted among social institutions; and
WHEREAS, the labor movement is responsible for uplifting generations of workers of color, and studies show that unionized women of color earn almost 35% more than non-union women of color, and unionization raises African-American workers’ wages by $2 per hour, demonstrating just by two examples that organizing into unions is a huge advantage for women and people of color; and
WHEREAS, people of color are more supportive of unions than the general population and comprise the fastest growing population in the labor movement; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council has a history of leadership on challenging and important issues; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that WSLC President Jeff Johnson appoint a special committee to expressly take up President Trumka’s call to have “a serious and open-ended conversation about what we can do, about what we should do” regarding race and the labor movement; and be it further
RESOLVED, that this discussion will include the topic of institutionalized racism within the labor movement and researching methods for the delivery of racial equity training that includes a Racial Equity Analysis of our labor movement; and be it further
RESOLVED, that this discussion will also yield policy and legislative recommendations to address the stain of racism and racial inequity for inclusion into the labor movement’s core legislative agenda; and be it further
RESOLVED, that President Johnson fully incorporates the AFL-CIO constituency groups and Diversity Committee into the constituting and leadership of that special committee; and be it further
RESOLVED, that President Johnson invite members of allied Washington State organizations such as leaders of the NAACP, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Washington Christian Leaders Coalition to participate in this special committee; and be it further
RESOLVED, that white labor leaders and white rank-and-file also be encouraged to stand publicly alongside their brothers and sisters of color, because one disturbing aspect of the context of these earlier and recent racist killings is the profound silence of white America; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC forward this resolution to the national AFL-CIO for adoption; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the special committee on racial equity that President Johnson convenes will report back to this body and to the national AFL-CIO by letter no later than February 1, 2016 with specific recommendations, including a proposed funding mechanism to further this work, to affiliates and other various labor organizations within the Washington State Labor movement consistent with President Trumka’s leadership.
RESOLUTION TO CREATE A STATE BANK OWNED BY AND FOR THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON STATE
WHEREAS, the taxpayers of Washington state have demanded greater accountability and wiser use of the taxes they pay to benefit Washingtonians, not Wall Street; and
WHEREAS, a state bank owned by and for the people of Washington State would meet those demands by using taxpayer dollars to invest in infrastructure, create jobs, increase access to capital for small businesses by supporting local community banks, absorb debt capacity, avert long term debt payments to Wall Street, and keep taxpayers dollars in Washington state; and
WHEREAS, a Washington Investment Trust would streamline and create efficiencies of the State’s numerous existing revolving loan programs and leverage their capacity to work for the people of Washington State while lowering overhead and exercising efficiencies of scale, paying its own operating costs, and returning profits back to the state; and
WHEREAS, recent Washington State legislative sessions have exposed a serious lack of resource and bonding capacity to deal with the state’s overwhelming capital needs; and
WHEREAS, a Washington Investment Trust can grow in capacity to be an unparalleled resource for future generations of Washingtonians; and
WHEREAS, a successful model of public banking is the Bank of North Dakota, which was first established in 1919 and is controlled by the people for the benefit of the people and economy of North Dakota; and
WHEREAS, public banking is a bedrock of social development in most high achieving global economies like Germany, Japan, Brazil, Russia, India and China; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, endorse creation of a publicly owned State Bank, which shall be governed by an independent public commission that is accountable and transparent to the people; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC convene a study group to examine the possibility of sponsoring an initiative of the people for the 2016 general election for the purpose of creating a publicly owned state bank; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Governor, House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership, and Leadership of the WSLC for further dissemination to, and education of, affiliates and the general public.
Resolution in Support of Simple Majority for Passage of Bonds for School Construction
WHEREAS, schools across Washington State are in dire need of repair and becoming more and more overcrowded, and this lack of repairs and overcrowded classrooms hurt the education experience for students and hinder our educator’s ability to teach; and
WHEREAS, we have a duty and a responsibility to provide all students with access to safe classrooms with the modern tools they need to succeed today; and
WHEREAS, unfortunately, with the way our school funding system is set up, the school districts are forced to go to their local tax payers for funding for capital projects. Having the requirement set to a supermajority makes it incredible difficult for school districts to get the funding they need for school buildings, technology and new classrooms; and
WHEREAS, 50% plus one is a democracy, the 60% requirement violates one voice, one vote; and
WHEREAS, in the last 15 years, 59% of school construction bond campaigns have lost, leaving our schools in disarray, and 74% of the bonds that fail, fail between 50% and 60%, so it is time for this to change; and
WHEREAS, this supermajority requirement was amended into the Constitution in 1944 under amendment 17; in 2007 the Constitution was amended allowing school maintenance and operation levies to pass at a 50% requirement and it’s time to do the same with school construction bonds; and
WHEREAS, the passing of school construction bonds provides construction jobs and apprenticeships – creating jobs and growing our economy; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports simple majority for school construction bonds.
RESOLUTION ON CONGRESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
WHEREAS, the delegates to the WSLC 2013 Convention passed three resolutions on trade agreements, and one resolution linking Political Accountability with federal legislative actions on Trade Agreements; and
WHEREAS, many of our elected federal representative in the State of WA voted against the interest of workers in our country and in favor of Fast Track legislation, and may be supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), causing job loss and community dislocation; and
WHEREAS, the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will force more deregulation, privatization and union busting, will lower wages, degrade health and safety, destroy human and labor rights, override the US environmental laws, keep pharmaceutical prices high, and force participating countries to accept the use of pesticides and GMO products; and
WHEREAS, the corporate-drafted TPP is less about trade and more about empowering the corporations to invalidate local, state, or national laws or regulations they don’t like, for example, laws that mandate prevailing wage, “Buy Local,” or postal banking; or that prohibit child labor, or that restrict such harmful practices as “fracking” and mountaintop removal, these protective laws will be fair game if Fast Track/TPP are approved; and
WHEREAS, the WSLC and its affiliates have lobbied unsuccessfully to turn the tide on these corporate trade agreements, and still Congressional representatives voted against the interests of workers and the majority of their constituents in favor of corporate interests; now, therefore, it be resolved
RESOLVED, that the WSLC hereby censures Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell, and any other congressional member, for their votes in favor of Trade Promotion Authority or Trans-Pacific Partnership; and be it further
RESOLVED, that Congressional member votes will be heavily weighted in the WSLC and affiliated union endorsement deliberations; and be it further
RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution shall be transmitted to all Washington State Congressional members; and be it further
RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution shall be transmitted to the legislative districts and county Democratic Parties in WA and caucuses of the WSDCC as is practical, with a request that they pass similar resolutions and submit them for consideration by the WSDCC at its next meeting; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Executive Board of WSLC shall report to its affiliated unions and central labor councils on any responses received from the Congressional members regarding this resolution, and that during our future candidate endorsement process for Congress, we will take into account this vote and shall have a discussion on whether we continue to support any incumbent.
Support Public Employee Union Actions
WHEREAS, the right to strike is never ‘truly granted’ by any employer; and
WHEREAS, public sector workers are a major portion of WSLC membership; and
WHEREAS, the labor movement proclaims solidarity and unity; and
WHEREAS, the ultimate test of that solidarity and unity involves supporting other union job actions; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council considers any job action taken by public sector workers, which has been duly authorized by the members and leadership of their union, to be a legal action; and be it further
RESOLVED, that WSLC advises its subordinate bodies to take the same stance; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that members of the WSLC and its subordinate bodies will honor picket lines and/or strike actions taken by ANY public sector union in Washington State.
Protection of Washington’s Working Families: Stop Freedom Foundation (Effers) and Right-to-work
WHEREAS, the Freedom Foundation (Effers) is an outside agitator coming into our state determining our community values, and we could spend our precious resources and money on lawsuits and not on our critical public services; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council and many unions have worked to stop Freedom Foundation (Effers) and “Right to Work” laws; and
WHEREAS, we need living wage jobs in our community now and for our future; and
WHEREAS, the Freedom Foundation (Effers) wants to steal our good jobs, enact “Right to Work”, make our jobs unsafe and keep everyday Americans from having a voice and a vote; and
WHEREAS, the Freedom Foundation (Effers) says that they represent our great nation’s values spouting they represent “first principles” of our nation and they say unions take away choice and don’t follow our nation’s democratic values; and
WHEREAS, the Freedom Foundation (Effers) just wants to rig the system, use hatred to divide our state and profit off the best interest of Washingtonians and we can’t let this happen here, we are not Wisconsin; and
WHEREAS, we need to fight back and hold the Freedom Foundation (Effers) and our politicians who want to enact “Right-to-Work” accountable and also educate ourselves about the Freedom Foundation (Effers) and what “Right-to-Work” would do to our state; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will develop educational tools and a road show on the deception of Freedom Foundation (Effers), and other like-minded organizations, and the damage of “Right-to-Work” and also then train-the-trainers to teach the material and provide educational tools at such road shows to educate ourselves; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work to hold politicians who want to enact “Right-to-Work” accountable and use media to educate how these politicians are failing our state; and be it further
RESOLVED, that locals and affiliates work to identify and report local political candidates who support or endorse the Freedom Foundation (Effers) goals and policies to WSLC leadership; and be it further
RESOLVED, that affiliates and locals oppose political candidates running for local office who support or endorse Freedom Foundation (Effers) goals and policies; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will educate the public about and seek to expose corporate lobbyists who are masking themselves as nonprofits, such as the Freedom Foundation (Effers), in service of an anti-worker agenda.
Fair Revenue for Washington State Budget
WHEREAS, state tax collections are growing (slowly), total per capita revenue remains far below pre-recession levels, personal income in Washington State is higher than the national average, and expected to grow even more in the future; however, state revenue has been declining as a share of personal income for more than 20 years; and
WHEREAS, in 1995, state and local revenue collections were equal to 6.6% of total personal income. By 2014 that rate had dropped to 4.9% — and this downward trend is expected to continue in the future. In fact, Washington State has fallen to 35th in the nation in terms of tax collections as a share of personal income, and falling; and
WHEREAS, Washington’s tax system – what we tax and what we don’t tax – simply isn’t capable of meeting the state’s needs any more. Washington is a wealthy state, but we don’t tax wealth. Instead, we rely on the sales tax as our biggest source of revenue; however, the sales tax only applies to goods, not services, and the purchase of goods is a declining share of today’s service-based economy; and
WHEREAS, over-reliance on a sales tax limited only to the purchase of goods is a major reason why studies have shown that Washington has the most regressive tax system in the nation; and
WHEREAS, there are other significant structural problems with our state’s tax system. Over the past 100 years the state has enacted well over 600 tax loopholes worth billions of dollars. As a result, small and marginal business pay far more in business taxes than do large, profitable corporations. Further, hundreds of millions in sales tax revenue is lost to online shopping, and the legislature enacted an arbitrary cap on property tax growth that fails to keep up with inflation; and
WHEREAS, at the same time, state tax collections, as a percent of the overall economy are declining, costs for vital public services are growing. Further, those costs will grow exponentially in the future as demographic shifts toward an aging population will result in even greater demands for health care and public services in the future; and
WHEREAS, current tax revenue is insufficient to fully fund Supreme Court-mandated increases in spending for K12 education, nor are tax collections keeping up with basic cost factors like population growth and inflation; and
WHEREAS, the result is the State of Washington has a structural budget deficit that will only be resolved by increasing revenue and/or permanently reducing state spending, and we will be remain in a state of perpetual austerity, with budget battles in the legislature every year, until our structural budget deficit is resolved; and
WHEREAS, ongoing fiscal austerity has been harmful to all working families; public sector and educator jobs have been lost, public works construction funds have been diverted to other purposes, and vital services have been slashed; our economy and our communities will continue to suffer until the state of Washington creates a sustainable revenue system capable of keeping up with demand for services; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council affirms its support for the new revenue necessary to stabilize the state budget and end the state’s perpetual revenue crisis and fixing the structural budget deficit will be a priority for WSLC’s lobbying and political education efforts; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will oppose proposals that make the structural budget worse, such as revenue reductions or the creation of new tax loopholes, until the state’s structural budget deficit is resolved; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will lead the fight politically, by supporting legislation and candidates that support a fair revenue solution that lessens the regressive nature of our tax system and moves our state toward an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will educate affiliates and members about the regressive, outdated nature of Washington’s tax system, identify working family-friendly ways to fix the problem, and engage affiliates and members in work that supports a solution; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work in coalition with other unions, community organizations and coalition partners – providing financial, messaging, and tactical support – to build as broad a movement as possible for a fair, sustainable revenue system, and WSLC will urge all affiliates to do the same.
RESOLUTION REGARDING RAILROAD WORKERS AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGULATION AND LEGISLATION
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 when combined create a hazardous workplace that also affects public safety, including the following:
- Insufficient and/or poorly maintained walking surfaces, footpaths, and rail yard walkways utilized by railroad crews for safety inspections of trains and other safety-related duties;
- Poor lighting conditions in and around rail yards;
- Lack of maintenance of critical rail appliances and infrastructure, including switches and derails lacking proper ergonomic standards;
- Unregulated contractors providing transportation services for railroad workers;
- Lack of any Hours of Service laws or regulations for the craft of yardmasters, who are the “rail traffic controllers” of train yards; 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 railroad crew fatalities and accidents in contracted transportation vehicles, including the following:
- On March 23, 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 collision in a railroad-grade crossing.
- On October 10, 2013, at 8:00 a.m., a crew transport van with four railroad crew members was traveling 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 the railroad.
- 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, off the road, and into a field. The railroad crew members 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 off 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 screen drivers for adequate vision; do not require drivers to meet DOT 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 an around-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 Administration’s Hours of Service laws, which limits the number of consecutive hours railroad employees operating trains can work to 12 hours, with no less than 10 hours between shifts; and
WHEREAS, many railroad 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 the rail workers they are supervising, the public and themselves; 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, and such authority should be coordinated by one state agency; and
WHEREAS, a clear determination of which state agency will be ultimately entrusted with coordinating 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 2015 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 1808/SB 5797, seeking adoption of state regulatory authority of railroad crew transportation services and any subcontractor utilized by the railroads to provide such services; sets qualifications and safety standards for operators as well as minimum acceptable levels of insurance requirements and
- HB 1284/SB 5696, 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 1809/SB 5697, 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 requiring additional crewmembers on trains containing high risk volatile hazardous materials to be positioned on the rear end of such trains so they can monitor the cargo as well as respond to any incident or emergency; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC recognizes that crude oil 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 and/or 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 its 2016 WSLC legislative agenda.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LEGISLATION REQUIRING MINIMUM RAILROAD TRAIN CREW SIZE
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 but now has resulted in a scenario where new and inexperienced train crews are operating trains without seasoned, well-qualified persons, to the detriment of the safety of the public and 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, and the capability to separate rail cars at crossings to allow emergency responders to cross tracks (a function that cannot be performed by one lone crew member); and
WHEREAS, the decision in 2015 by legislative leadership—at the behest of railroad carriers—to delete provisions that would have reestablished minimum train crew size (while addressing other railroad safety issues) utterly disregarded this most critical component of the safe operation and movement of trains, thereby displaying a willful disregard for the safety of communities where trains operate, opting instead to protect railroad profits over the well-being of the public; 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 spilled, ignited into a firestorm, killed 47 people, and caused 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 a single crew member, derailed at a high speed on a curve, resulting the deaths of 79 persons and 140 injuries; and
WHEREAS, on October 19, 2013, a train with 13 cars carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas derailed near Edmonton, Alberta, causing residents to be evacuated and a fire to cause property damage; and
WHEREAS, on November 8, 2013, a 90-car freight train carrying crude oil from Amory, Mississippi to a refinery in Walnut Hill, Florida, derailed and exploded near Pickens County, Alabama, the flames, which shot upward 300 feet , were left to burn themselves out; 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, on December 30, 2013, Several grain cars from a westbound train derailed into an eastbound train carrying crude oil on an adjacent track near Casselton, North Dakota, several crude oil cars ruptured and exploded, resulting in large fireball and clouds of black smoke, which forced an evacuation of the area; and
WHEREAS, on January 20, 2014, seven cars of a 101-car CSX train carrying crude oil derailed in Philadelphia, over the Schuylkill Expressway, causing the road to be shut down for periods of time as emergency crews drained the tankers;
WHEREAS, on January 28, 2014, 23 of the 69 cars on a CSX train carrying phosphoric acid derailed near McDavid, Florida, resulting in the destruction of the tracks and bridge over Fletcher Creek and chemicals leaking into the water; and
WHEREAS, on January 31, 2014, 18-24 cars of an 85-car Canadian National (CN) train carrying crude oil, methane, and liquid fertilizer derailed near New Augusta, Mississippi, and began leaking, resulting in 12 families being evacuated and four lanes of U.S. 98 being closed; and
WHEREAS, on April 30, 2014, 15 tank cars of a CSX train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire in Lynchburg, Virginia; and
WHEREAS, on May 10, 2014, a train derailed and spilled 6,500 gallons of oil west of LaSalle, Colorado; and
WHEREAS, on August 17, 2014, in Hoxie, Arkansas, two Union Pacific locomotives hit head-on and several cars derailed, killing two crewmen and injuring two others and resulting in a fire that caused the evacuation of 500 residents; and
WHEREAS, on October 5, 2014, a Union Pacific freight train slammed into a lowboy trailer in Mer Rouge, Louisiana, seriously injuring both railroad crew and causing two engines along with 17 cars to derail, as well as the evacuation of 50 homes for two hours due to the leakage of argon gas from the tank car; and
WHEREAS, on October 7, 2014, 26 of the 100 rail cars of a CN train hauling dangerous goods derailed near Clair, Saskatchewan, causing two to leak petroleum distillate and catch fire, as well as the evacuation of approximately 50 residences and farms are evacuated and the closure of Highway 5; and
WHEREAS, on February 3, 2015, A Metro-North Railroad train struck one car at a crossing near Valhalla, New York, and caught fire, killing six people; and
WHEREAS, on February 4, 2015, 14 ethanol cars of a Canadian Pacific train derailed near Dubuque, Iowa, and caught fire; and
WHEREAS, on February 16, 2015, a 100-car CN train derailed near Timmons, Ontario, setting on fire seven of 29 derailed cars and releasing 264,000 gallons of oil; and
WHEREAS, on February 16, 2015, 26 cars of a 109-car CSX railway train traveling at 33 mph derailed near Mount Carbon, West Virginia, setting on fire 19 cars, plunging one car into the Kanawha River, totally destroying one nearby home, and causing the evacuation of 100 people from their homes for four days; and
WHEREAS, on March 5, 2015, 21 cars containing 630,000 gallons of oil on a 103-car Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) oil train traveling at 23 mph derailed near Galena, Illinois, and caught fire; and
WHEREAS, on March 7, 2015, 30 cars of a 94-car CN train derailed near Gogama, Ontario, involving numerous cars in the explosion and fire, destroying a rail bridge, and spilling nearly 265,000 gallons of oil into the Mattagami River system; and
WHEREAS, on May 6, 2015, a BNSF train with 107 cars of flammable crude oil moving at 24 mph derailed near Heimdal, North Dakota, resulting in an oil leak and fire involving three railcars; and
WHEREAS, on May 12, 2015, AMTRAK train #188 with only one crew member in the cab rounded a 50 mph curve at 106 mph near Philadelphia and derailed, resulting in the deaths of eight passengers and injuring more than 200 other passengers and crew members; and
WHEREAS, on July 2, 2015, a CSX train with 57 cars including cars containing loads of hazardous toxic inhalation chemicals as well as highly flammable Liquefied Petroleum Gas derailed and caught fire at Marysville, Tennessee, injuring 52 people who inhaled chemical fumes; and
WHEREAS, on July 16, 2015 a 106-car BNSF oil train derailed near Culbertson, Montana, resulting in 35,000 gallons of oil being spilled; and
WHEREAS, crude oil and hazardous material 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 U.S. 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, in 2014 the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad proposed that freight train crew sizes be reduced to just one person (the locomotive engineer, who would be alone in the locomotive cab and working frequently for as long as 12 hours); the proposal was rejected by a margin of 83% of rail labor union members voting; 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, 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 2015 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 that are already operating in our state on short-line railroads to the detriment of public safety, and enact minimum two-person crew size requirement on all trains, both passenger and freight; and be it further
RESOLVED, that on trains consisting of large quantities of commodities of highly volatile, flammable, combustible, explosive, radioactive materials or hazardous chemicals, additional qualified train crew members be required to be positioned on the rear of these trains to provide constant and ongoing inspection, monitoring hazardous cargos during transit, and appropriate response in the event of an emergency; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the placement of additional qualified crewmembers provides the public with additional levels of safety on trains transporting dangerous commodities, as well as ensuring that adequate qualified crew members are immediately available and in a position to recognize and respond quickly to any trouble that may occur en route, and also available to separate the train as required or expeditiously cut grade crossings to allow emergency response personnel and vehicles to cross tracks; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC supports and advocates that members of our congressional delegation co-sponsor and work to pass HR 1763 (the Safe Freight Act), 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 reenact laws establishing minimum train crew size shall be a priority in its 2016 legislative agenda.
RESOLUTION TO PROVIDE PRE-PAID POSTAGE FOR MAIL-IN BALLOTS
WHEREAS, the State of Washington has been a national leader in the area of voting by mail as a way to increase voter access and participation; and
WHEREAS, by 2012 the State of Washington became a 100% vote by mail state; and
WHEREAS, to cast your vote by mail requires that a postage stamp be affixed to the ballot in order for that ballot to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service; and
WHEREAS, for many people, requiring that a stamp or postage be paid is a hardship and a burden and a barrier to voting, especially for the poor, the homeless and the elderly; one could even say that this is a form of “poll tax” for such individuals; and
WHEREAS, there have been attempts through the legislative process such as SB 5344 introduced in the last legislative session by State Senator Hasegawa and others which would require that all primary and general election ballots have prepaid postage applied for the return ballots, which would make the act of voting free for all registered voters; ; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates support and endorse the idea that the right to vote should be free for all eligible and registered voters in the state of Washington; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates, through their legislative and political action committees, work to support legislation and other activities that would make postage for return ballots prepaid.
Resolution on Support for K-12 At-Risk Youth Funding
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has supported workforce training and education that serves working families and targeted populations including dislocated workers, at risk populations, at risk youth, adults with barriers, veterans, long term unemployed for more than 30 years; and
WHEREAS, this support has promoted applied learning in many forms as a way to link students to work and work concepts; and
WHEREAS, the WSLC has supported an initiative for applied third-year math for student success, drop-out prevention strategies throughout Washington state, and the Equity in Education initiative from our community partners for the legislature; and
WHEREAS, the new federal umbrella workforce education legislation (Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act) has just passed, replacing the Workforce Investment Act, which has been in effect in Washington since 2000; and
WHEREAS, the new WIOA legislation takes a 75%/25% split in funds from at-risk in-school youth (15-18 at 75%) and older, out-of-school youth (18-25 at 25%) and has flipped the formula split, resulting in federal funds going only 25% to youth in-school and 75% going to older, out-of-school youth; and
WHEREAS, the national legislation does not appropriate an increase in these funds to serve youth, but merely re-arranges them, which in our point of view sends a strong message of de-emphasizing our need for a coherent and unbroken pipeline of talent from K-12 to our Career and Technical Colleges, Apprenticeship and direct entry to work; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council views this situation with some concern, and believes that it is imperative to be on the record that funding for these drop-out prevention strategies needs to be made up in state education dollars, not eliminated because of the federal funding initiative change; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will support and promote legislative relief for these unmet Drop-Out Prevention and Education Equity strategies; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will promote and circulate this resolution to legislative, administrative and executive branches of the government, including our federal delegation and the national AFL-CIO.
RESOLUTION REGARDING ANNUAL SUPPORT FOR CONSTITUENCY GROUPS
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO passed Resolution 16, Building Enduring Labor-Community Partnerships at the 2013 International Convention, which called on the AFL-CIO as well as its state federations and central labor councils to support the constituency groups as well as other community partner organizations; and
WHEREAS, the 2013 Resolution 16 resolved as follows:
Therefore be it resolved that the AFL-CIO and our affiliates will:
— Deepen relationships and programs with community;
— Work vigorously on the issues raised by our partners that reflect our shared values;
— Ensure that state federations and central labor councils are well situated to build enduring partnerships with community; and
— Establish ways in which the AFL-CIO can incentivize the development of shared agendas and promote best practices; and
WHEREAS, Resolution 16 noted these steps and others as a way to meet the four goals as resolved and we note that within our labor community, we must educate ourselves about our trade union brothers and sisters and their work and engage with each other as grassroots partners; and
WHEREAS, we pledge to support the Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders, and the WSLC’s constituency organizations, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and Pride at Work as they strengthen our community partnerships and engage our union members in this process; and
WHEREAS, to ensure that labor-community partnerships are enduring and not merely transactional, the AFL-CIO, together with affiliated unions, shall energetically work toward proper funding so that those partnerships are properly resourced and that they are structured in a way that advances these goals; and
WHEREAS, the WSLC has a history of supporting the Constituency Groups through honoring requests for support from the local constituency groups by setting aside $500.00 per Constituency Group for such requests; and
WHEREAS, each Constituency Group has representation by having a Vice President seat on the WSLC Executive Board; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council budget includes annual funds to support the local activities of the WSLC Constituency Groups and WA YELL, in an amount up to $1,000 per organization, to be distributed upon receipt of a budget and plan for proposed activities; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council encourage local affiliates to support the activities of our Constituency Groups.
RESOLUTION DEMANDING L&I FIX AND MAKE EFFECTIVE ITS OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH OSHA STATE PLAN PROGRAM
WHEREAS, the declared legislative purpose of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1973 (WISHA) is “…to create, maintain, continue, and enhance the industrial safety and health program of the state…; and
WHEREAS, under WISHA the term “workplace” means any plant, yard, premises, room, or other place where an employee or employees are employed for the performance of labor or service over which the employer has the right of access or control, and includes, but is not limited to, all workplaces covered by industrial insurance under Title 51 RCW, as now or hereafter amended; and
WHEREAS, under the authority of the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries provided in RCW 49.17.040, “The Director shall make, adopt, modify, and repeal rules and regulations governing safety and health standards for conditions of employment as authorized by this chapter…”; and
WHEREAS, RCW 49.17.050(1) requires the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries to “Provide for the preparation, adoption, amendment, or repeal of rules and regulations of safety and health standards governing the conditions of employment of general and special application in all workplaces”; and
WHEREAS, RCW 49.17.050(3) requires the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries to “Provide a method of encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce the number of safety and health hazards at their workplaces and to stimulate employers and employees to institute new and to perfect existing programs for providing safe and healthful working conditions”; and
WHEREAS, the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries is required under RCW 49.17.050(7) to “Provide for the publication and dissemination to employers, employees, and labor organizations and the posting, where appropriate, by employers of informational, education, or training materials calculated to aid and assist in achieving the objectives of this chapter”; and
WHEREAS, the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries is the “Designee” for the federal OSHA state plan program administered by the Department and is, therefore, responsible for the efficiency, effectiveness and overall administration of the Washington State Plan Program as legislatively authorized in 1973 and codified at Chapter 49.17 RCW; and
WHEREAS, the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries appoints an Assistant Director to head the Division of Occupational Safety and Health within the Department to manage the overall safety and health regulatory program under the guidance and leadership of the Department Director; and
WHEREAS, the Department should more actively solicit the input, advice, and recommendations provided by the most affected stakeholders, i.e. those who suffer or risk injury, illness or death on the job, regarding major issues within the State affecting the health and safety of our workers; and
WHEREAS, workers throughout the state are injured every day due to workplace violence which has received, at best, only cursory attention with no serious effort to protect the at-risk workers of this State; and
WHEREAS, the professional safety and health staff within the Safety Division of the Department are very poorly compensated, leading to retention issues and substantial loss of institutional knowledge and memory, as well as difficulty recruiting highly skilled and trained staff, even though mid-managers and upper level appointed managers remain highly compensated; and
WHEREAS, the Department has the clear responsibility to conduct effective workplace inspections, it has fallen short of meeting reasonable inspection goals and, in fact, within the last few years has lowered its goals at least twice; and
WHEREAS, workplace studies and research conducted by the Department’s own SHARP program has demonstrated that an effective state inspection program will drive down injuries and therefore workers’ compensation costs, not to mention the reduction in pain and suffering; however, the Department has not been able to fully operationalize these findings; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) is instructed to inform Governor Inslee that the working men and women of this state and the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates recognize that the Department of Labor and Industries is woefully lacking the resources necessary to adequately fulfill the requirements of the Washington state plan (occupational safety and health program) which was enacted more than forty (40) years ago to protect workers from injuries, illnesses and deaths in their workplaces; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC and respective bargaining units support actions to substantially increase the compensation of critical personnel classifications who do the difficult and technical work of safety and health inspections, consultations, lend technical expertise and who supervise these individuals, specifically, the critical classifications of Industrial Hygienist 1 through 4 and Safety and Health Specialist 1 through 4; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC work with the Department of Labor and Industries to increase the number of inspections conducted by 15% in state fiscal year 2016 and an additional 15% in state fiscal year 2017 and work to increase the FTE count to allow for this increase; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the labor community work with the Department of Labor and Industries to improve the management and oversight of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) to ensure close adherence to the principles and requirements embodied in Chapter 49.17 RCW (the WISHA law), that appropriate enforcement of safety and health rules is assured, and that quarterly progress reports are provided to the Washington State Labor Council; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC shall transmit this resolution to both the Governor and the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries, stating our support for increased safety and health protection of Washington workers and improvements to the occupational safety and health program administered by the Department no later than thirty (30) calendar days following the conclusion of the 2015 State Labor Convention; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC work to create and fund an ombudsman as an additional FTE to the state fund insurance program of the Department of Labor and Industries with similar functions and objectives as the Labor and Industries self-insured ombudsman; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that there be a requirement of a minimum of two (2) LNI inspectors present when investigating possible complex violations of WISHA/OSHA standards.
RESOLUTION ON BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
WHEREAS, citizen engagement occurs at all levels of government statewide; and
WHEREAS, as worker representatives, our perspective is vital to ensuring this work reflects the needs of working families including advocacy for family wage jobs and community sustaining efforts; and
WHEREAS, a commitment by every union member to get involved beyond their job diversifies our collective voice and impact; and
WHEREAS, positions seeking labor members and the general public often go unfilled; and
WHEREAS, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act includes a strengthened role for apprenticeship programs, an increased degree of labor participation on local boards and requires the state to implement policy changes that will impact service to transitioning workers; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council has a longstanding relationship with Community and Technical Colleges for Advisory Board appointments in partnership with the Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council adopted through Resolution #24 Guiding Principles for Economic and Workforce Development, which set a unified direction for those serving on Economic and Workforce Development boards; and
WHEREAS, the Governor’s office regularly calls upon the Washington State Labor Council and Central Labor Councils to recruit representatives to serve on boards and commissions; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council will prioritize the recruitment and nomination of statewide representatives to serve on Boards and Commissions.
IN SUPPORT OF PREVAILING WAGE ON PUBLIC/ PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS
WHEREAS, the first national prevailing wage law embedded in the National Eight-Hour Day Act of 1868 was designed to create safer working conditions, longer and better quality lives and an increase in the aggregate of human happiness; and
WHEREAS, in 1931, understanding the need to further stabilize local contractors and skilled workers in the construction industry, the United States federal government further established a fair system to monitor and protect local bidders and wages paid on public works construction projects by enacting the federal Davis-Bacon Act introduced by Republicans who garnered strong bi-partisan support for strengthening prevailing wage laws on federal public works; and
WHEREAS, while individual states have understood that the United States Constitution does not allow the federal government to stipulate state construction contract requirements, 42 states have at some time enacted a state’s “little Davis-Bacon Act” as far back as 1891 in Kansas, 1894 in New York, and in 1945, Washington State’s Public Works Act was enacted to promote fair and stable local markets in public works construction for all construction workers and contractors, union and non-union; and
WHEREAS, Washington and other states across the nation are increasingly entering into an era where public and private partnerships are being formed as a mechanism to adequately fund public works construction projects; and
WHEREAS, the 2005 legislature of Washington State passed into law the Transportation Innovative Partnership Act with bi-partisan approval, further specifying the application of prevailing wage laws applies to the entire innovative partnership between public and private entities by including the language, “If public funds are used to pay any costs of construction of a public facility that is part of an eligible project, chapter 39.12 RCW applies to the entire eligible public works project”; and
WHEREAS, utilization of future innovative funding proposals for public and private partnerships can be expected to prevail in Washington’s future to construct, refurbish, and rebuild the necessary projects in transportation, education, health care, energy, housing, water, sewer and other common public investments throughout our state and across our boarders; and
WHEREAS, since the late 19th century, payment of local prevailing wages continues to prove to stabilize the contractor and skilled labor force of a community that, in turn, reinvests in the very tax base that drives public works investment; and
WHEREAS, Washington State’s current and future growth and infrastructure needs for new, refurbished, rebuilt and maintained construction projects is unmatched in any period of Washington State’s history; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that in order to maximize the full value of public infrastructure investments on any project that receives public funds, tax incentives, property exchanges, or projects built on property leased from a public agency, prevailing wage must be applied to continue and produce opportunities for creating livable communities through family wage jobs, education and the promotion of local hire; and be it further
RESOLVED, that every affiliate council and local union affiliated with the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, place in consideration the promotion and clarifying protections of prevailing wage laws on all phases of publicly funded construction projects as a priority campaign to locally elected and appointed public leaders; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, place as priority legislation prevailing wage coverage on all public/private joint ventures and partnerships, and that all public/private projects new, refurbished, rebuilt and maintained, be constructed at the established local prevailing wages for the area in which the work is performed, and at the proper rate of pay and classification of workers; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, transmit a copy of this resolution to all appropriate entities and stakeholders in order to demonstrate its ardent support of promoting, protecting, and enforcing prevailing wage laws in all public and public/private works construction projects.
Climate and Jobs
WHEREAS, working people and our communities have been under a broad and relentless assault from an economic, political, and climate crisis that has manifested itself in the form of extreme income and wealth inequality, loss of family-wage union jobs, a vanishing middle class, a failure to fairly tax the 1% and to broadly share prosperity, increasing health and environmental problems from excess carbon emissions and greenhouse gases (GHG), and disruptions in our economy, public health, and social safety net systems due to severe weather episodes due to climate change; and
WHEREAS, the same political forces that refuse to transform our economy through raising wages and benefits, and much needed public services are also responsible for preventing the enactment of laws, policies, and regulations that would cap and lower carbon emissions and other GHG that are responsible for climate change and oppose most other goals of the labor movement such as job safety and right to know legislation; and
WHEREAS, 85% of the public in Washington State believe that climate change is real and largely manmade and that 55% believe that climate change will negatively impact them; and
WHEREAS, climate change is responsible for nine of the hottest twelve years in recorded history in this new century, increasing rates and severity of forest fires, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, the closing of shellfish production in Puget Sound and Willapa Bay, accelerating glacial melting leading to increased flooding and storm water problems, increased frequency of droughts, and extreme storms like hurricane Katrina, Sandy and Yolanda in the Philippines; and
WHEREAS, Governor Inslee has declared much of Washington State to be in the grip of an economically devastating drought emergency; and
WHEREAS, the cost of extreme weather events, (e.g., there have been more than a dozen extreme weather events in the years 2010/2011 that have cost over $1 billion, the cost of Hurricane Sandy cost at least $50 billion, and the cost of fighting forest fires is averaging $50 million a year in Washington State), diverts needed revenue from other public services – education, affordable housing, long term care, etc.; and
WHEREAS, all of the scientific research indicates that the problems created by climate change, impacting us all, will continue to grow, affecting our jobs, environment and health, and that to reverse climate change much of the world’s proven oil reserves need to remain in the ground; and
WHEREAS, carbon and GHG pollution is responsible for an explosion of respiratory diseases in those most vulnerable – our children and seniors – and asthma-related expenditures have reached $73 million per year annually in Washington State; and
WHEREAS, direct line workers in the fossil fuel industries and vulnerable populations in immigrant communities and communities of color are most susceptible to health problems caused by carbon pollution, with two to three times the rates of asthma than in other communities; and
WHEREAS, droughts worldwide are causing the forced migration of millions of people in search of food, water, and economic security, and droughts in the United States are having significant impact on food production and on workers and their families who depend on agriculture for a living; and
WHEREAS, equity must be at the center of principles and policies addressing climate change such that neither direct line fossil fuel workers nor vulnerable communities of color should bear the health or economic costs of moving from an economy dependent on fossil fuels to one primarily based on alternative renewable energy sources ; and
WHEREAS, equity in the transition to a renewable energy economy with a minimum of economic disruptions and to maximize employment of direct line fossil fuel dependent workers during the transition, requires a degree of compliance flexibility as fossil fuel dependent industries meet the new lower carbon emissions standards as well as policies to prevent the “leakage” of jobs and investments from these industries to other states, regions, or countries where carbon reduction standards don’t exist; and
WHEREAS, equity in the transition to a renewable energy economy requires direct line fossil fuel workers be provided with income and benefit support as well as family wage job opportunities and training if a truly “Just Transition” is to take place, at an appropriate time and equity requires addressing the needs of entire communities currently dependent on income from fossil fuel industries; and
WHEREAS, equity in the transition to a renewable energy economy requires that revenue raised through any carbon reduction program be invested, in part, in such a way that the benefits to vulnerable populations and communities of color must outweigh the policy’s economic burdens, including protection from rising energy costs during the transition, investing in public transportation and creating opportunities for jobs and training in green infrastructure development and the renewable energy economy to mitigate against climate change impacts and to improve the quality of life for low income communities; and
WHEREAS, to make sure that any carbon reduction program is actually meeting the carbon reduction goals, investing revenues in ways to protect vulnerable communities, creating infrastructure and renewable energy jobs, and providing a truly “Just Transition”, an economic and environmental justice board with true representation from direct line workers and communities of color will need to be created; and
WHEREAS, during the transition to a renewable energy economy repairing our failing infrastructure will help create tens of thousands of family wage union jobs and lower our carbon footprint; and
WHEREAS, domestic sourcing our materials for both infrastructure projects and renewable energy projects will maximize domestic job creation and significantly lower the carbon footprint of the content for these projects; and
WHEREAS, the labor movement, in order to alter the current political climate in favor of labor rights and accomplish our own electoral and policy goals towards a more just and sustainable economy, must continue to build alliances and coalitions with faith based, environmental and social justice communities, to create one coordinated movement for change; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliated local unions and councils go on record supporting Washington State’s 2008 science based carbon emission reduction goals, by or before the dates set in statute, in order to do our part to lower carbon emissions and to reverse climate change while adhering to the principles of this resolution regarding protecting fossil fuel dependent workers during the transition to a renewable energy economy, using an equity lens to evaluate carbon policies, reinvesting carbon revenues in ways that protect and support workers and vulnerable populations, investing in repairing our infrastructure and building the renewable energy economy, using domestic content whenever available, creating an economic and environmental justice board, and providing a truly “Just Transition”; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will evaluate and support science based carbon reduction goals and policies including, but not limited, to cap and invest, clean fuel standards, and energy efficiency viewed through the equity lens in this resolution.
Resolution for a Workers Bill of Rights
WHEREAS, attacks on collective-bargaining are spreading across the country and threatening the well-being of all workers; and
WHEREAS, the anti-Union policy known as “right-to-work” is misnamed with the purpose of tricking workers who want to protect and expand their rights; and
WHEREAS, it is time for the Labor Movement to take back the conversation and go on the offensive; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WSLC work with interested Unions and Community Groups to promote a “Workers Bill of Rights”; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC support the adoption of the “Workers Bill of Rights” detailed below with the understanding that it is a living document subject to development and improvement; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that a copy of the final “Workers’ Bill of Rights” be transmitted to the Governor, House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership, and sent to all WSLC affiliates for further dissemination to, and education of, affiliates and the general public.
Work has value for the employer and the worker and it must have dignity, or it’s just exploitation.
It is our duty to advance ideas that create livable communities, great lives for the individual and the collective, and workplaces that work for workers. We strive to advance values that bring people together, that promote diversity, that enhance equity throughout society, and that create the greatest quality of life for working families.
All of us work to better the lives of our families, to better our communities, and to better the future for all of humanity. We expect that we will have to strive together for the common good. It is only through collective action that people can create justice, respect, and dignity. The goals of shared prosperity, strong communities, a sustainable future, and fair work are within our grasp. Another world is possible.
We believe in the following principles:
1. Collective Action
2. Fair Wages
3. Fair Scheduling
4. Assuring Safe Work
5. Health Care for All
6. Dignity in Life
COLLECTIVE ACTION: Unions are how we improve our workplace and build a more fair society.
We have the right to form and protect our Unions. Our employers may not interfere with us or try to stop us or punish us. All workers (including domestic workers, farm workers and contingency workers such as truckers, ride-share drivers, and click workers) share this fundamental democratic freedom.
We are all working to improve our lives and communities, therefore we will not engage in races to the bottom. Collective bargaining is a crucial tool for striving for the common good.
FAIR WAGES: All workers must be compensated fairly. No job should pay less than a living wage.
No matter what the job or who the employer, all work has value. An honest day’s work should provide an affordable place to live, healthy food on the table, and the means to procure the other necessities of life. Poverty wages destroy the dignity of work.
We all should be paid for the work that we do, at the rate agreed to, and on time. When we are not paid, or not paid on time, or paid less than we earned, or cheated on overtime, that’s wage theft. That’s a crime.
We must be paid for what we do, not for the color of our skin, or our gender or for the milieu we grew up in. Women in Washington State get paid eighty cents when men get paid a dollar. This is also theft, and bigotry.
FAIR SCHEDULING: Our work schedule and hours must be fair. We should have work schedules that support our lives as parents, citizens, and members of communities. For most of us, that means access to full-time work with job security. For others of us, fair, predictable, and sufficient scheduling for part-time work is key.
Any work beyond eight hours must be paid at time and a half, any hours over ten must be paid double. Swing and grave yard shift must also be paid extra. If we work extra, we must be paid extra. For part-time workers, schedules and hours must be sustainable and humane.
ASSURING SAFE WORK: We must have a voice in determining the safety of our working conditions.
Work place deaths and injuries are unacceptable tragedies: there is no cost/benefit analysis for a human life. As workers and community members, we must have a say in how our workplaces are governed. Whether through workers’ control, safety standards, or union/management co-determination, democratic participation is a core value.
If any of us are disabled on the job, we must have time to heal. During that process, we must be supported so we can keep living in our community in dignity. If we are killed, our surviving dependents must be supported.
A safe community and workplace does not allow bullying, human rights violations or bigotry. We must be free from retaliation to report safety concerns or other violations. Harassment, profiling or targeting by police are not consistent with a democratic society.
HEALTH CARE FOR ALL: Good health is fundamental to a fulfilling life.
If we or our family members get sick, we should not have to fear losing everything we have worked for because of medical bankruptcy. That means healthcare coverage for us and our families. It means paid time off to see a doctor and be treated. It means maternity/paternity leave. Similarly we must have time to take care of family members who are elderly and/or ill.
AFFIRM DIGNITY THROUGHOUT LIFE: Dignity in life includes access to education and retirement.
Our children must have access to universal, high-quality childcare, preschool, and K-12 public education. Adults must have access to apprenticeship and/or college, and continuing adult education. We call for investments in education – from early learning to higher education – in training and in other opportunities for all ages and for all skills.
All employment should fund workers’ retirement. Our retirement system must allow workers to retire with dignity at a reasonable age.
Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Health Care Equality
WHEREAS, the labor movement has a tremendous history of organizing for social and economic justice for all workers in the spirit of our historic motto, “an injury to one is an injury to all”; and
WHEREAS, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers are a vital part of the labor movement; and
WHEREAS, both the LGBT communities and the labor movement share common concerns for economic and political justice, equal opportunity, and an improved quality of life for all working people; and
WHEREAS, health care has long been one of the main pillars on which the labor movement has sought to advance economic, political, and social justice through; and
WHEREAS, access to health care is regularly denied to transgender and gender nonconforming people; the denial of health care to any person is an impediment to providing economic, political and social justice and the equal opportunity and quality of life to which all working people are entitled; and
WHEREAS, allied (LGBT) advocacy groups have called upon the labor movement to take action opposing discrimination on the basis of gender identity in health care; and
WHEREAS, transgender and gender nonconforming people have great difficulty securing affordable, comprehensive health care, and their situation is compounded by systemic discrimination and health care providers’ lack of basic cultural competency on transgender issues; and
WHEREAS, many transgender people have their applications for health insurance denied when they disclose their transgender status or transition-related medical history to a potential insurer; and
WHEREAS, most health care insurance policies still specifically exclude transgender-related care and services, which often means that transgender workers and family members will not be covered for procedures like: hormone therapy, transitional related surgery, and/or gender identity-related mental health services; and
WHEREAS, gender identity discrimination keeps people from accessing medically necessary care, and lack of coverage can cause and/ or aggravate additional serious and expensive health problems, such as stress-related physical illness, depression, at higher risk for suicide, HIV infection, and substance abuse problems; and
WHEREAS, providing health care that covers related procedures treatment for transgender and gender nonconforming peoples is widely medically accepted as being crucial to the health and well-being of transgender and gender nonconforming people; and
WHEREAS, self and fully-insured employer health plans are available and attainable and insurance carriers have available plans without blanket exclusions for transgender-related health care; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WSLC and its affiliated unions remove any and all discriminatory health care exclusions directed toward transgender employees and the employee’s dependents from its health care policy; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC advocates for trans-gender inclusive health care for its members and members’ dependents during bargaining negotiations with employers; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the WSLC and its affiliated unions publicly support and advocate for legislation supporting equal access to health care for transgender and gender-nonconforming peoples and a ban on any and all discrimination of transgender and gender-nonconforming peoples by health care providers in the State of Washington.
Dependable Schedules and Full-Time Hours
WHEREAS, fair scheduling practices, allocation of hours, and job security contribute immensely to a workers dignity, respect on the job and overall well-being similar to other common labor practices that are consistently advocated for, such as safe working conditions, health care, retirement, overtime premiums, and just cause; and
WHEREAS, workers struggle to gain enough hours to earn a living wage while many employers define “full-time” far below 40-hours per week and many industries operate with an all part-time workforce, all while hiring new part-time employees rather than giving more hours to current workers; and
WHEREAS, many employers link access to healthcare, paid sick leave, vacation time, movement up the pay scale and other benefits to hours worked; by cutting hours employers avoid offering these other benefits; and
WHEREAS, many employers, including major retailers like Wal-Mart and Macy’s, are cutting hours in order to exploit a loophole in the ACA that allows employers who deny part-time workers healthcare without paying a penalty; and
WHEREAS, higher minimum wages and other wage increases are beneficial, but do not ultimately address income inequality when workers are still not working enough hours to earn a living wage; and
WHEREAS, in many industries, workers receive only a few days’ notice of their schedules for the next week, thus creating a hardship, particularly for working parents who need to schedule childcare, doctor visits, or time with family. By posting schedules at least two weeks in advance of shifts, workers will be better able to plan their lives; and
WHEREAS, employers often use their scheduling powers to discriminate against employees by cutting their hours, changing their schedules at the last minute, or changing the shifts that a worker normally works. This discrimination is often used during organizing drives and to discourage union activity; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will promote legislation that will require businesses to offer additional hours to qualified current part-time employees before hiring additional part-time workers or using varying temporary staffing agencies, post schedules two weeks in advance of shifts, retain employees on a 90-day trial period upon the sale or purchase of a business, and prohibit employer discrimination as it pertains to wages, promotions and to employer provided benefits; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that such legislation should impose adequate fines to sufficiently dissuade employers from not following the enacted legislation.
Resolution in Support OF Aerospace Tax Incentive Accountability Measures
WHEREAS, the Washington State Legislature passed ESSB 5952 during the November 2013 special session, 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 legislation states that “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. The legislature further finds that suppliers and vendors that support the aerospace industry in turn provide a range of well-paying jobs”; and
WHEREAS, ESSB 5952 also declares, “It is the legislature’s specific public policy objective to maintain and grow Washington’s aerospace industry workforce. To help achieve this public policy objective, it is the legislature’s intent to conditionally extend aerospace industry tax preferences until July 1, 2040, in recognition of intent by the state’s aerospace industry sector to maintain and grow its workforce within the state”; and
WHEREAS, hundreds of aerospace companies, receiving millions of dollars in aerospace tax incentives, are paying thousands of aerospace workers less than $15 per hour; and
WHEREAS, after the November 8, 2013 Legislative Special Session passage of ESSB 5952, The Boeing Company eliminated over 3000 engineering and other jobs from their Washington state payroll, moving many of those jobs to Missouri, South Carolina, Alabama and Oklahoma City; and
WHEREAS, the states of Missouri, South Carolina, Alabama and Oklahoma City have enacted aerospace tax incentive packages contingent on the aerospace industry producing certain job growth; and
WHEREAS, Washington’s lack of job requirements in exchange for tax incentive eligibility puts our state at a competitive disadvantage for aerospace jobs when compared to Missouri, South Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma City and other jurisdictions which require job growth and job retention in exchange for tax incentives; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, the WSLC work with its affiliates for passage of legislation to be referred to as the Aerospace Tax Incentive Accountability Act ensuring the tax breaks given to the aerospace industry provides the stated intent of the original aerospace tax incentive legislation with the stated outcome of preserving jobs; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC will work for passage of aerospace tax incentive accountability legislation requiring living wage jobs for employees in exchange for companies receiving the benefit of aerospace tax incentive; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC will add a question to its candidate questionnaire addressing the tax incentive accountability issue; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that WSLC prioritize passage of the Aerospace Tax Incentives Accountability Act legislation in the 2016 legislative session.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING SNOHOMISH COUNTY PROPOSITION 1: INVESTING IN NEEDED COMMUNITY TRANSIT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports the protection and creation of jobs and benefits that pay family wages and lift low wage earners out of poverty; and
WHEREAS, the manufacturing center at Paine Field has the state’s highest concentration of aerospace jobs but poor transportation infrastructure, making it hard for employees to get to work and jeopardizing the future expansion of jobs in that area; and
WHEREAS, that manufacturing center, which includes 65,000 jobs, has become the economic engine for the entire state with the highest percentage of growth in jobs and residents; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has recognized the need for investing in our state’s transportation infrastructure, having previously made that a legislative priority for 2015; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has recognized the unique importance of the Paine Field manufacturing center to the economy of the entire state, making investing in improving transit there a matter of statewide significance; and
WHEREAS, Community Transit of Snohomish County has a plan for completing by 2018 a second line of Swift bus transit that will efficiently carry workers to those jobs at the Paine Field manufacturing center, supporting the economic growth of that industry and protecting the quality of life of its workers and their families, as well as other transit improvements throughout the county, including connecting with Link Light Rail when it reaches Snohomish County is 2023; and
WHEREAS, this new line of Swift to the Paine Field manufacturing center, along with other needed transit improvements, will only be possible with new revenue coming to Community Transit; and
WHEREAS, in recognition of this, the state legislature, with strong bipartisan support, authorized Community Transit to go to the ballot and ask voters in Snohomish County if they are willing to increase the sales tax that funds transit service there, at an additional rate of three-tenths of one percent, costing the average adult an extra $33 annually or the average family $78 annually; and
WHEREAS, the Community Transit Board, supported by local labor organizations, including the Snohomish County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has placed that measure on the November 3, 2015 ballot, believe this is the only way to grow the economy and protect the quality of life; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, urges local union membership to assist in the passage of Snohomish County Proposition 1 in the November 2015 general election.
Resolution of Solidarity with Healthcare Workers for Quality Healthcare and Affordable Health Benefits
WHEREAS, each of us and our loved ones will be a hospital patient at some point and we need to ensure that everyone in the community receives safe, quality patient care; and
WHEREAS, 12,000 nurses and healthcare workers united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW are bargaining contracts with five separate hospitals and hospital systems in the Puget Sound region (Swedish/Providence, UW Medicine/Harborview Medical Center, CHI Franciscan/Highline Medical Center, UW Medicine/Valley Medical Center, and UW Medicine/Northwest Hospital), standing up for safe staffing and good jobs; and
WHEREAS, healthcare employers are making unprecedented profits, pocketing money they should instead be spending on staffing and investing in frontline staff recruitment and retention; and
WHEREAS, each of these healthcare employers is proposing cuts to caregivers’ healthcare in the form of high-deductible health plans, which shift the burden of paying for healthcare from the employer to the employee, much as the shift from pensions to 401(K) plans shifted responsibility from employer to employee; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will call on the CEOs of these five health systems to invest in frontline care and settle fair contracts that put patient care first; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council calls upon its affiliates to support and attend rallies and pickets, show support on their websites and newsletters, and express their support to the hospital CEOs for these union sisters and brothers in bargaining; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council encourages local unions to work with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW to learn more about how high deductible health plans undermine financial stability for working families and to support medical plans that encourage good health outcomes without putting families in medical debt; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will continue to work with nurses, healthcare workers, and community allies to advocate for a better healthcare system in our community that ensures patient needs come before profit and everyone has access to lifesaving care.
Hold Green River College Accountable To Our Members
WHEREAS, President Ely discarded a history of shared governance and collaboration between the labor unions representing the employees at Green River College and the administration of the college; and
WHEREAS, the campus morale and work environment have been crushed by petty and mean actions (such as: desk audits, threatening to discipline employees who are even a minute late from breaks, and threatening to reprimand any employee who speaks out), and such discipline has often been unfair and retaliatory, which has led to a high level of workplace grievances and Unfair Labor Practice violations. Further, there has been a systematic targeting of union leaders at Green River; and
WHEREAS, the faculty (AFT represented) have worked without a contract for over a year and contract negotiations are at an impasse due to the administration’s unwillingness to work with the faculty representatives; and
WHEREAS, Green River College has closed viable academic programs, including those teaching skilled trades, that have broad support from the students, staff, and faculty of Green River; and
WHEREAS, the administration of Green River College has routinely ignored the voices of the students, staff, and faculty of Green River College; further, by the advice of the administration, the Board of Trustees of the college has been complicit in silencing of students, staff, and faculty; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WSLC will send a stern letter to Green River College, and each of their trustees, demanding that Green River College honors the policy of shared governance, treat their employees with respect and dignity, bargain in good faith with the unions representing the employees, and support a positive, collaborative workplace and will urge all of their affiliates to do the same; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC and all its affiliates support fair wages and contracts for the employees at Green River College; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the WSLC Executive Board will explore adding Green River College to the WSLC’s Unfair to Labor/Do Not Patronize list and will notify affiliates of their action.