2017 WSLC Resolutions

To Do ListEvery 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 2017 Convention held July 18-20 at the Hilton Vancouver Washington.

(Some resolution numbers are skipped because those proposed resolutions were withdrawn, tabled, rejected, or merged with a similar submission.)


 

1.  RESOLUTION ON SAFE PATIENT CARE

3.  CALLING FOR FULL SUPPORT OF THE LABOR COMMUNITY FOR THE COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM

4.  CALLING FOR A STRATEGIC PLAN TO RECLAIM THE POWER OF THE LABOR MOVEMENT

5.  STAND WITH NABISCO WORKERS AND PROTECT AMERICAN JOBS

6.  TOWARDS A JUST TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE

7.  RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE A.F.M. 76-493 PLAY SAFE SEATTLE CAMPAIGN

9.  IN SUPPORT OF COUNCIL FIRE AND SOLIDARITY WITH NATIVE AMERICAN WORKERS

10.  RESOLUTION ON BEST PRACTICES REGARDING LGBTQI WORKERS

12.  RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LEGISLATION REQUIRING MINIMUM RAILROAD TRAIN CREW SIZE

14.  RESOLUTION AGAINST WASHINGTON INITIATIVE 1552

15.  REGARDING USE OF UNION TALENT IN DIGITAL (AUDIO & VISUAL) MEDIA PRODUCTIONS

16.  IN FAVOR OF GOOD TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT RAISE LIVING STANDARDS IN THE U.S. AND ABROAD

17.  IN SUPPORT OF REST BREAKS AND CLOSING THE MANDATORY OVERTIME LOOPHOLE FOR REGISTERED NURSES AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS TO INCREASE PATIENT SAFETY

19.  RESOLUTION ON RETIREMENT & AGING COMMITTEE

20.  A RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO THE EXPANSION OF NEW SEASONS MARKET IN WASHINGTON STATE

21.  IN SUPPORT OF BORNSTEIN WORKERS AND THEIR FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT

22.  RESOLUTION ON IMMIGRATION AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT

23.  RESOLUTION CALLING UPON THE W.S.L.C. AND ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS TO PROTECT WORKER FREEDOM

24.  ACTIVATING OUR UNION LABEL AND SERVICE TRADE COUNCILS

25.  RESOLUTION ON RACE AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT 2.0

26.  SUPPORT H.R. 676 — MEDICARE FOR ALL, SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE

27.  RESOLUTION TO END THE U.S. BLOCKADE OF CUBA

28.  RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD WORKERS AND THEIR FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT

29.  PREVAILING WAGE FOR STATE EMPLOYEES

30.  INTEREST ARBITRATION FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICE OFFICERS

32.  A RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO THE ROLL-BACK OF HEALTH CARE ACCESS

 


RESOLUTION ON SAFE PATIENT CARE

Resolution #1

WHEREAS, multiple studies establish the harm that can come to patients when healthcare facilities and acute care hospitals fail to put enough nurses on duty; and

WHEREAS, there is no current federal or Washington state law that requires healthcare facilities to have a minimum number of nurses working at any given time; and

WHEREAS, there are now established and enforceable minimum nurse staffing levels for acute care hospitals through the nurse staffing committees as passed in 2016; and

WHEREAS, optimal nurse staffing is essential to providing safe patient care and factors that influence staffing needs include: patient complexity, acuity, or stability; number of admissions, discharges, and transfers; professional nursing and other skill level and expertise, physical space and layout of the nursing unit and availability of or proximity to technological support or other resources; and

WHEREAS, legislation would guarantee safe nurse-to-patient ratios on every unit, in every hospital and on every shift; and

WHEREAS, the OPEIU Nurses Council (ONC), OPEIU Local 8, WSNA, UFCW 21, SEIU 1199NW and the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, believe that patients, not profits, should come first; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council calls upon Congress and state legislatures to pass safe patient care legislation that would ensure proper nurse staffing that is fundamental to keeping patients safe from infections and other health hazards.


CALLING FOR FULL SUPPORT OF THE LABOR COMMUNITY FOR THE COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM

Resolution #3

WHEREAS, the thirty-four community and technical colleges (CTC) of Washington serve nearly every working family in our state, providing adult basic education, professional and technical programs, supplemental instruction for state certified apprenticeship programs, academic transfer degree programs and bachelor of applied science degrees; and,

WHEREAS, nearly 60 percent of all post-secondary students in Washington are enrolled in a community or technical college; and

WHEREAS, community and technical colleges provide the high demand job training our students want and employers need. These “high demand” programs — in fields like advanced manufacturing, dental hygiene, and cybersecurity — move people into good jobs that are available right now and help our state compete in the global economy; and,

WHEREAS, an economic impact study conducted by EMSI determined that the CTC system produces a $20.5 billion annual positive impact on Washington’s economy, and

WHEREAS, the median age of Washington CTC students is 26 years old, 44 percent are employed, 28 percent are parents, and 43 percent are students of color; and

WHEREAS, Community and technical colleges offer open access to all who have the desire for higher education; and

WHEREAS, Unionized faculty and staff are the heart and soul of the colleges and deliver the education and training, provide support to employees and students and keep the campuses clean and maintained benefitting students and our state’s communities and businesses; and

WHEREAS, state funding to the community colleges has declined from 76% to 57% since 1989 on average, with most of the community colleges receiving less than 50% of their budget from the state; and

WHEREAS, College budgets were cut dramatically during the Great Recession and state funding for the colleges remains stagnant at 2007 levels, leaving faculty and other employees in the CTC system with little to show in salary growth; and

WHEREAS, chronic underfunding threatens the ability of colleges to attract and retain the excellent faculty and staff needed by students and those who hire them; and

WHEREAS, faculty of color in the CTC system only represent 14-16% of the faculty, in part due to underfunding; and

WHEREAS, in 2014-15 the percentage of part-time faculty reached 69% with 31% full-time, largely due to underfunding; and

WHEREAS, the future of Washington’s economy and workforce is directly linked to the health of the community and technical college system; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council urge the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to develop a robust budget request in the 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC include and prioritize a robust investment into the CTC system as part of its Shared Prosperity Agenda in the 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions.


CALLING FOR A STRATEGIC PLAN TO RECLAIM THE POWER OF THE LABOR MOVEMENT

Resolution #4

WHEREAS, the moneyed corporate financial institutions in the U.S. have gained control over our media, economy, government, courts and legislatures through the deliberate, careful and quiet execution of the strategic plan laid out in the infamous 1971 “Powell Memo”; and

WHEREAS, the Labor Movement has never responded with one voice to this pernicious undermining of our democracy, suffering losses to union membership and an overall decline in real wages and living standards; and

WHEREAS, Organized Labor, as the only institution constituted specifically to preserve and advance democratic principles for all working people, must, for the survival and growth of our society, create, deliver and execute a cohesive, concerted, and long range strategic plan to counter the Powell Doctrine and advance the well-being of American Workers; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO, as the voice of the American labor movement, is the logical vessel to develop and express such a plan; and

WHEREAS, the members of the WSLC have been harmed by the impact of the Powell Memo in myriad ways including reductions in Washington State’s investment in public education, the vilification of public employees and ongoing attacks on labor unions, and the undermining of our local, state, and national government by corporate interests; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council urge the AFL-CIO to develop, deliver and give life to a cohesive plan to counter the Powell Doctrine and the effects that it has wrought upon our society and working people; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC urges all delegates to take this resolution to their local union leadership for passage; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will itself commit, and urge all affiliates to commit, time, talent and resources to this effort; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC calls upon the AFL-CIO to commit time, talent, and resources to this effort; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Leadership of the WSLC forward this resolution to every State Labor Council in the United States with the recommendation that they adopt this resolution as their own.


STAND WITH NABISCO WORKERS AND PROTECT AMERICAN JOBS

Resolution #5

WHEREAS, in July 2015, Nabisco announced that it plans to send 600 workers’ jobs from Chicago to a new plant in Salinas, Mexico after workers refused to accept unreasonable company demands of $46 million in wage and benefit cuts; and

WHEREAS, Nabisco’s decision to send production to Mexico continues a decades-long pattern of closing plants in the U.S., Canada and other industrialized countries, eliminating thousands of jobs and shifting that production to low wage countries where wages can be just $4 a day; and

WHEREAS, over the last twenty years, Nabisco has closed plants in Pittsburgh, Houston, Niles, St. Elmo, Buena Park, Philadelphia and Toronto; and

WHEREAS, plant closures devastate communities and families, as well as state and county tax bases; and

WHEREAS, in Chicago in the 1990’s, Nabisco took $90 million in subsidies from Illinois taxpayers and twenty years later they are abandoning the taxpayers’ investment; and

WHEREAS, Nabisco’s continued corporate policy of closing plants to take advantage of low-wage workers has been a windfall for its top executives and largest shareholders, including Irene Rosenfeld, the CEO of Mondelez which owns Nabisco, who raked in approximately $185 million in compensation over eight years, while billions more went to the largest investors in dividends and stock buybacks; and

WHEREAS, bad corporate trade deals have been used by CEOs for twenty years to lower pay and offshore jobs, and has become the go-to strategy for CEOs across America; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO, and in unanimous fashion the 56 unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO, on March 14, 2017 endorsed this campaign against Mondelez/Nabisco as the priority campaign and the first campaign under the AFL-CIO’s new Good Jobs Program; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO stands with our BCTGM brothers and sisters, and calls on Nabisco and its parent company, Mondelez, to reverse its decision to send production to Mexico and keep these middle class jobs in Chicago; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will oppose any of Mondelez/Nabisco’s future attempts, both regionally, national and globally, to destroy good-paying jobs by moving them to low-wage economies; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO fully endorses this boycott of Mexican-made Nabisco products and will distribute to its affiliates materials to promote the effort at every state federation meeting and venue possible in order to enlist the help of affiliate unions, their members, and their families in bringing about the success of these efforts; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on the U.S. Congress to end the era of bad trade deals that eliminate living wage jobs in American and provide a windfall to multinational businesses at the expense of workers around the world.


TOWARDS A JUST TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE

Resolution #6

WHEREAS, the overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate warming trends over the past century are due to human activities, and most of the world’s leading scientific organizations have issued public statements endorsing this position; and

WHEREAS, we are already experiencing the warming of the planet at a dangerously rapid rate, primarily as a result of our reliance on carbon-based fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activities that have caused a dramatic increase in the global level of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; and

WHEREAS, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions, there were already, in 2011, 150 million climate refugees around the world, with more certain to follow because “it is the working class, the poor and developing countries that will be most adversely affected by climate change”; and

WHEREAS, unless we curb the emissions that cause climate change, average temperatures in the United States could be at least 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit higher by 2100, with potential consequences including sea-level rise of at least 3 to 6 feet, more powerful hurricanes, more powerful tornadoes, prolonged drought, larger and more frequent wildfires, much more severe winter storms in some areas, reduction to agricultural productivity with resulting food shortages and famine, spread of disease, and plant and animal extinctions that threaten to eliminate up to half of all living species on earth; and

WHEREAS, scientists say that there may still be time to prevent the most catastrophic levels of global warming—if we eliminate the burning of fossil fuels worldwide within the next few years, which is perfectly feasible with existing technology; and

WHEREAS, emergency measures must be taken to prevent catastrophic increases in global warming that will trigger irreversible changes to our biosphere; and

WHEREAS, at the present rate of carbon emission and consequent global warming, we could reach that tipping point by 2050 or sooner; and

WHEREAS, the global movement for climate justice is demanding urgent action by our governments, including an encyclical by Pope Francis that lays out the moral imperative for transforming our economy and social practices; and

WHEREAS, we will solve the climate crisis only when we in the labor movement put our unions at the center of the climate justice movement; and

WHEREAS, there is no good reason why the richest nation in the world cannot fund protection for its workers as we move to minimize reliance on fossil fuels; millions of good jobs can be created by increasing energy efficiency, reliance on renewable energy, and the rebuilding of our infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, there are several bills before Congress to tax carbon pollution, such as the Climate Protection and Justice Act, which would use the funds to provide rebates to households making less than $100,000 per year; and

WHEREAS, the Clean Energy Just Transition Act is an example of legislation that would protect workers whose jobs were lost because of the transition away from fossil fuels; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that this body of the Washington State Labor Council supports a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support legislation, administrative rules, or an initiative that enables a just transition for workers and communities directly affected by the transition to a renewable energy economy, providing income, benefit, wage insurance and retraining support for workers in the fossil fuel industries, and creates quality jobs in infrastructure, energy and efficiency, and the clean energy economy.


RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE A.F.M. 76-493 PLAY SAFE SEATTLE CAMPAIGN

Resolution #7

WHEREAS, both local and national crime statistics show that hate crimes against marginalized communities are on the increase, including racism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia; and

WHEREAS, many union members are at risk for attack because of the hours they work, their work venues, and their racial, sexual, or gender identities; and

WHEREAS, the labor movement stands with vulnerable communities in resisting hate crimes and rhetoric that was promoted during the 2016 election; and

WHEREAS, when workers stand together against hate crimes all of us – organized or not – benefit; and

WHEREAS, the AFM 76-493 Play Safe Seattle campaign is an example of workers taking the initiative to protect themselves and their communities against hate crimes; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work with AFM 76-493 on their Play Safe Seattle campaign, designating at least one member of the WSLC Diversity Committee to be a liaison with the campaign; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will recommend to its affiliates that they also develop programs to protect potential victims of hate crimes.


IN SUPPORT OF COUNCIL FIRE AND SOLIDARITY WITH NATIVE AMERICAN WORKERS

Resolution #9

WHEREAS, the Native American population has a long and proud history of caring for their elders, women, children, tradition, and environment; and

WHEREAS, the original inhabitants of these lands have long suffered as the result of policies created too often without their leadership and they continue to lag behind in many benefits and advancements that are too slow in becoming available to Native American populations, and

WHEREAS, Native American tribes have a centuries-old kinship with the indigenous peoples of all North, Central, and South American countries, as they share the same lands for many generations before they were subjected to the practices of genocide and bounties, and

WHEREAS, Native Americans have the right to protect their traditions and histories, as well as to fully participate in the arena of jobs, healthcare, education, and in building a bright future together with all people who share this land today; and

WHEREAS, all peoples of this earth are deserving of respect and support; and

WHEREAS, there are a number of constituency groups providing a bridge to diverse communities, strengthening partnerships to enhance the standard of living for all workers and their families, and ensuring that organized labor hears and responds to the concerns of the communities represented; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council proclaims solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples, the original occupants of the Americas; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council supports Council FIRE (First Inhabitants Rights and Equality) as it works to take its rightful place as an official AFL-CIO constituency group; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council supports Council FIRE as the organization works toward addressing Native American labor and human rights issues; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council supports inclusion of Council FIRE as an official AFL-CIO constituency group.


RESOLUTION ON BEST PRACTICES REGARDING LGBTQI WORKERS

Resolution #10

WHEREAS, the organized labor movement and the working class as a whole are stronger when all workers’ rights are protected, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity; and

WHEREAS, as labor unionists, we believe unequivocally that our gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) brothers and sisters are entitled to the same benefits as their heterosexual and cisgender brothers and sisters; and

WHEREAS, many labor unions have secured contracts that provide our LGBTQI brothers and sisters with protections and benefits, and have fought vigilantly to secure the rights of LGBTQI workers through explicit anti-discrimination language; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) has passed a number of resolutions aiming at equal treatment for LGBTQI workers; and

WHEREAS, in spite of the stated intentions of the WSLC and its affiliated unions, many LGBTQI workers still lack equal access to healthcare, restrooms, and safe and respectful workplaces; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will convene a work group with Pride at Work to compile best practices related to LGBTQI workers; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the work group will forward its findings to the Washington State Labor Council for distribution to its affiliates; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that affiliates provide a report back to the next Washington State Labor Council convention in the form of a checklist of best practices adopted.


REGARDING RAILROAD OCCUPATIONAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGULATION AND LEGISLATION

Resolution #11

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, on January 31, 2017, Union Pacific Conductor John P. Schneider, 54, of Spokane Valley, Washington, died at Wallula, Washington, during the early morning hours when he was dislodged off of the rail car he was riding during a shoving movement in a snowstorm, he ended up on the tracks and was killed when he was run over by his own train; the last time a railroad worker died in Washington state while engaged in train operations was in 1999; we lament the loss of Brother Schneider and do hereby extend our profound and heartfelt sympathy to his wife, children and family for his untimely and avoidable passing; and

WHEREAS, recognizing the inherent dangerous nature of labor involving work in railroad occupations, the safety of railroad employees is of paramount concern to rail labor organizations; unfortunately, significant serious ongoing safety concerns currently exist in railroad operations and within rail infrastructure in Washington State, subjecting railroad union members in operating crafts to unacceptable workplace occupational hazards that also frequently endanger public safety, including the following:

  • Insufficient and/or poorly maintained walking surfaces, footpaths, and rail yard walkways utilized by railroad crews performing required duties, including but not limited to safety inspections of trains and other safety-related duties;
  • Poor lighting conditions in and around rail yards and rail adjacent industries;
  • Dangerous conditions at train crew change points exist across our state, including unsafe locations that lack proper walkways and/or have steep drop offs, no lighting, inadequate distance/clearance from adjacent tracks, crossing over numerous mainline tracks in high speed train zones is necessary, etc.;
  • Lack of maintenance of critical rail appliances and infrastructure, including switches and derails lacking proper ergonomic standards or any physical operational force requirement standards;
  • The complete absence of any legal employer obligation to provide protection or coverage for railroad workers who, while on duty, are injured in traffic accidents caused by third parties;
  • Absence of any Hours of Service laws or regulations limiting the length of time on duty or minimum rest requirements for yardmasters, who are the “rail traffic controllers” of train yards;
  • No legal requirements addressing the minimum number of railroad workers required on trains;
  • Draconian attendance and outrageous availability policies contributing to an epidemic of chronic long-term fatigue among most railroad workers,
  • No paid sick leave exists; while railroad companies’ subject workersto severe discipline and or termination due to illness or injuries sustained by them or their families, additionally FMLA qualification threshold requirements do not consider rail industry scheduling;
  • Until a railroad worker is killed on the job, there is no clear state or federal statutory occupational safety regulatory oversight of railroad operational employees, leaving train crew workers in a vacuum without any protection even in situations of intentional endangerment by railroad management; and

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

WHEREAS, many 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, in 2007 RCW 81.44.065 was inadvertently repealed, resulting in uncertainty as to which state agency has authority over various aspects of railroad safety and/or which department is empowered to enforce railroad occupational and public safety regulations, while four state agencies and ten local governments have different facets of rail regulatory authority; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Railroad Administration of the US Department of Transportation is not established nor equipped as a railroad worker occupational safety agency, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the US Department of Labor declines to assert regulatory authority for the safety of railroad operating crew employees while working on trains; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries asserts it has no regulatory oversight authority for the safety of railroad operating workers while working out in train service, while the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) has unclear and limited authority regarding railroad workplace occupational safety; and

WHEREAS, adoption and assertive proactive enforcement of railroad safety regulations is critical to ensure both public and workplace safety, such authority should be coordinated by one state agency; and

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

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC), at its 2016 and previous conventions supported and endorsed the following legislative goals and regulatory outcomes regarding railroad workplace and public safety:

  • HB 1670/SB 5845, to enact a Washington State law equivalent to the Federal Hours of Service law that now covers railroad operating craft personnel, to include railroad yardmasters working within the State of Washington; and
  • HB 1559/SB 5846, establishing a minimum, mandatory railroad crew size of no fewer than two qualified operating craft employees on all trains and railroads operating in Washington State, while also requiring additional crewmembers for specific trains containing high risk volatile hazardous materials to be positioned on the rear end of these trains to monitor the dangerous cargo and quickly respond to any incident or emergency; and
  • Continuing to pursue the eventual consolidation of all of State of Washington railroad public and workplace safety and regulatory functions possible under a single agency, the WUTC; substantial expansion of rail workplace occupational safety regulations as well as revising penalties for safety violations as a deterrent for non-compliance that are substantive and meaningful based on the profitability of a railroad carrier; granting the WUTC with the maximum regulatory authority over railroads that is permissible under federal law, as well as providing adequate agency funding to employ additional rail safety inspectors with federalized rail enforcement authority; and
  • Adoption of legislation insuring that railroad employees in Washington State who work for transportation carriers regulated by the Surface Transportation Board have state protections from draconian railroad company attendance and availability policies for illness or fatigue, and revising the state FMLA eligibility statutes allow railroad workers to qualify for Family Medical Leave protections on a similar basis to those granted to airline flight crew employees; and
  • Legislation mandating railroad companies and their contractors obtain and maintain Uninsured Motorist Insurance coverage adequate to protect railroad employees and their families in the event of an on-duty injury or loss of life while riding in motor vehicles involved in third party caused auto accidents; now, therefore, be it

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; we strongly urge the Washington State Legislature to work in close cooperation with rail labor organizations to critically examine all aspects hazardous material and crude-by-rail operations to enhance the safety of rail transportation operations; and be it further

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

RESOLVED, that the WSLC hereby declares that the resolution of these critical railroad public and employee safety issues and the adoption and enactment of this and all similar legislation addressing these matters shall continue to be a part of, and a priority within, the 2018 Washington State Labor Council’s legislative agenda.


RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LEGISLATION REQUIRING MINIMUM RAILROAD TRAIN CREW SIZE

Resolution #12

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHEREAS, between July 24, 2013 and June 18th, 2017 there have been 33 major US railroad accidents involving hundreds of death, countless injuries, explosions, fires and environmental damage, on June 3, 2016 a Union Pacific oil train with 96 carloads of flammable crude oil derailed in Mosier, Oregon on the south side of the Columbia River Gorge while moving at 26 mph, resulting in an oil leak and fire involving four railcars, and resulting in the evacuation of the town for several days; 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 US railroads, due to operational requirements that include no regular working schedule for crew members, as well as intentional underemployment policies by the carriers, through which they maximize profits at the expense of public and employee safety, requiring crew members to return to work immediately after the minimum required federal rest has expired; and

WHEREAS, rail carriers have recently imposed draconian attendance policies that punish railroad employees who attempt to take additional time off for illness, to obtain adequate rest or for family matters, resulting in train crew members reporting for work even when they are ill or recognize they are experiencing fatigue and are not 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 time periods 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, it being recognized that train crews should consist of at least two qualified employees, due to the large number of tasks required of such employees in order to operate a train safely; and

WHEREAS, when considering railroad safety and hazardous commodity train safety, it is irresponsible and illogical to ignore train crew size issues and rail crew response capabilities when considering methods and legislation to increase train safety, as the two are intertwined and inseparable; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC), at its 2014 convention, in the interest of public safety and employee safety, passed a resolution to steadfastly oppose any actions to permit one-person train crew operations on Class I railroads operating in our state and elsewhere; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC supports and fervently urges the Washington State Legislature to enact proposed legislation prohibiting one-person train crew operations which 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, on trains consisting of large quantities of commodities of highly volatile, flammable, explosive or radioactive materials that additional qualified train crew members be required to be positioned on the rear of these trains to provide constant and ongoing inspection and monitoring of the transportation of such hazardous cargo; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the placement of additional qualified crewmembers provides the public and our communities with additional levels of safety on trains transporting dangerous commodities, additional crew members ensures train crews are in a position to recognize and respond quickly to any trouble that may occur in route, as well as being available to separate the train quickly if necessary as well as quickly cut grade crossings for emergency response vehicles who may need to the cross tracks to respond to any emergencies; and be it further

RESOLVED, that such legislation was introduced in the 2017 – 2018 Washington State Legislature as HB 1669 with a total of 47 sponsoring Representatives, consisting of 19 Republicans and 28 Democrats; and SB 5846 with a total of 32 sponsoring Senators, consisting of 22 Democrats and 10 Republicans, which constitutes 54% of the entire membership of our legislature, this clearly demonstrates the broad popular bipartisan public support for passing this critical landmark state railroad public safety legislation into law; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC endorses HR 233 the Federal Safe Freight Act and we hereby strongly encourage all members of our state’s congressional delegation to cosponsor and seek enactment to require all trains operating in the United States to be staffed with a crew of no fewer than two persons; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC hereby determines that the enactment of legislation to prohibit one-person train crews and require additional train crew members on hazardous commodity trains shall continue to be a priority issue within in its 2018 legislative agenda.


RESOLUTION AGAINST WASHINGTON INITIATIVE 1552

Resolution #14

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) represents more than 500 union locals and other labor organizations, and 500,000 workers of all races, genders, and sexual orientations; and

WHEREAS, WSLC recognizes and affirms that all individuals, including trans and gender nonconforming individuals in Washington State, have a right to privacy, safety, and the ability to use restrooms and other public facilities without fearing for their safety or having their identity questioned; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 1552 would have reversed 10-year-old state protections under WAC 162-32-060 that guarantee access to restrooms and other gender-segregated accommodations “that are consistent with that individual’s gender expression or gender identity”; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 1552 would have done nothing to improve public safety, as numerous existing laws already prohibit entering restrooms to harass or invade others’ privacy, and instead perpetuated harmful stereotypes about trans and gender nonconforming people, ignoring that trans and gender nonconforming people are frequently the targets of violence in bathrooms; and

WHEREAS, similar initiatives passed in other states have clearly demonstrated that targeting trans and gender nonconforming people in bathrooms and public accommodations is bad for workers and bad for the economy; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 1552 would have encouraged increased harassment and abuse of trans and gender nonconforming people, including students in Washington public schools; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that WSLC considers Initiative 1552 and similar initiatives to be a clear and present danger to the civil and privacy rights of trans and gender nonconforming students and workers; and be it further

RESOLVED, that WSLC will work with Washington Won’t Discriminate and other groups fighting this and similar dangerous initiatives to promote and uphold the basic safety and privacy rights of trans and gender nonconforming students and workers; and be it further

RESOLVED, that WSLC strongly urges its affiliates to publicly join us in opposing Initiative 1552 and similar initiatives to protect the civil and privacy rights of its trans and gender nonconforming students and workers; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that this resolution be forwarded to the Washington Won’t Discriminate campaign, to the local media outlets, and to others as appropriate.


REGARDING USE OF UNION TALENT IN DIGITAL (AUDIO & VISUAL) MEDIA PRODUCTIONS

Resolution #15

WHEREAS, Washington State boasts many of America’s most talented digital media performers on camera; and

WHEREAS, the best and most professional of those performers, on and off camera, are union members.

WHEREAS, those performers want to be earn a living wage and become eligible for union healthcare and retirement benefits.

WHEREAS, they can only pay into those benefit plans through contributions earned while working under union contracts,

WHEREAS, the proven cost difference between work done under a union contract and that done outside of union agreements is negligible,

WHEREAS, it is in the direct interest of all labor organizations to encourage and support the work of brother and sister unions; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that member unions of the Washington State Labor Council shall produce all electronically-generated or recorded media projects, for broadcast or internal use, under union contracts and that they employ union members in those productions; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that members of the Washington State Labor Council shall encourage affiliated Unions, their employers, both private and public, to likewise produce all digital media projects, for broadcast or internal use, under union contracts and that they employ union members in those productions.


IN FAVOR OF GOOD TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT RAISE LIVING STANDARDS IN THE U.S. AND ABROAD

Resolution #16

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC), has consistently opposed bad trade policy that de-industrialized our economy, put the interests of multinational companies first, weakened bargaining power for workers around the world, and pushed aside the interests of communities and the environment; and

WHEREAS, in 2016, voters across the country clearly called for a better trade policy that restores trust in the way we’ve managed globalization; and

WHEREAS, economists, political figures, the labor community, and organizations of civil society are calling for a new approach to globalization that puts public interests above investor interests; and

WHEREAS, a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives (H. Res. 132) introduced by Representative Peter DeFazio (OR) requires countries to fully implement strong enforceable labor and environmental standards before any changes to NAFTA can take effect; and

WHEREAS, H. Res 132 also deals with dispute settlement, currency misalignment, rules of origin, food safety, access to medicines, Buy American, and many other shortcomings that have plagued our trade policy since NAFTA; and

WHEREAS, the Trump administration intends to re-negotiate NAFTA and may move forward with the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), a multilateral trade deal involving dozens of countries and most of our trading partners; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO recommended that reconsideration of NAFTA include a new international mechanism to monitor and enforce strong labor rights, recognizing that no previous administration has enforced even the weak language from past agreements, and we expect even less from the current administration; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will advocate for a positive trade agenda that balances trade, raises living standards in the U.S. and abroad, and prioritizes the needs of workers and the environment over the interests of global corporations; using House Resolution 132 and the AFL-CIO proposal on renegotiating NAFTA as measures of what a good trade policy looks like; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will inform affiliates about well-designed policies that help workers get our share of gains from globalization, and prioritize public interests in our trade policy. In addition, the WSLC will work with national labor partners, other state federations, elected officials, and coalition allies, as needed, to advocate for these measures in our trade policies; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will inform our congressional delegation of our position on the renegotiation of NAFTA and on what a good trade policy looks like, generally.


IN SUPPORT OF REST BREAKS AND CLOSING THE MANDATORY OVERTIME LOOPHOLE FOR REGISTERED NURSES AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS TO INCREASE PATIENT SAFETY

Resolution #17

WHEREAS, patients and their families expect to receive exceptional medical care in Washington’s healthcare facilities and hospitals; and

WHEREAS, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer, according to a 2016 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine which estimates that more than 250,000 patients are killed by medical errors each year; and

WHEREAS, registered nurses intercept eighty-six percent of medication errors before there is harm to patients; and

WHEREAS, often the staffing needs of a department may also necessitate the need for more CNAs, technical workers, or other healthcare professionals who provide direct patient care; and

WHEREAS, registered nurses and healthcare workers often work a ten or twelve hour shift without time to take rest or meal breaks, and when rest or meal breaks do happen, they are often interrupted, meaning the nurse or worker must return to the job before the break is finished; and

WHEREAS, a Washington state arbitrator recently stated that “the requirement of a nurse on break to be ‘on call’ diminishes the purpose of a break from work”; and

WHEREAS, other professions have recognized that fatigue endangers public safety and have responded by instituting strict limits on overtime and by mandating uninterrupted rest breaks; and

WHEREAS, after working a ten or twelve-hour shift, many nurses and healthcare workers are called back for mandatory overtime as hospitals and health care facilities respond to chronic nursing shortages by activating on-call nurses; and

WHEREAS, nurses and healthcare workers who work shifts of twelve and a half hours or longer are three times more likely to miss things, putting patients at risk; and

WHEREAS, these practices are not safe for nurses, healthcare workers, or their patients; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates will promote legislation that requires all healthcare workers to receive uninterrupted meal and rest breaks; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates will promote legislation that closes the mandatory overtime loophole by clarifying that employers may not use prescheduled on-call time to fill chronic or foreseeable vacancies due to staff shortages and that limits mandatory overtime in hospitals and healthcare facilities; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates will support Washington state nurses and healthcare workers and incorporate the issue of rest breaks into its 2018 state legislative agenda.


RESOLUTION ON RETIREMENT & AGING COMMITTEE

Resolution #19

WHEREAS, neither the state of Washington nor the United States is prepared for more than 25 percent of US workers to be 55 years old or older by 2022, up from 14 percent in 2002; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and by 2060, the number of people 85 and older is set to mushroom by 281 percent nationwide — nearly tripling. Meanwhile, the population of people 60-79 is expected to double; and

WHEREAS, access to retirement has been decreasing precipitously, and the Pew Trust reported in 2016 that more than 40 percent of full-time private sector workers lack access to either a pension or an employer-based retirement savings plan such as a 401(k).  Just under half—49 percent—say they participate in one. In Washington State, 48 percent of people between ages 55 and 64 have no retirement plan; and

WHEREAS, of those people who do have access, just 35 percent still have defined benefit pensions, compared to 88 percent in 1975, though defined contribution plans have proven unstable and unreliable vehicles for saving with the numerous fees, market volatility, and lack of expertise; and

WHEREAS, even as our nation’s retirement system has undergone significant changes, attacks on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the social safety nets, have been increasing at the federal levels; and

WHEREAS, the situation is becoming more critical for older Americans, with 1 in 3 relying on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income though it only averaged $1,341 in 2016; and

WHEREAS, those outside the labor movement who are motivated by profiting off the backs of American workers are trying to set a new standard for retirement without the input of workers themselves; and

WHEREAS, retirees have a lifetime of knowledge and are currently experiencing the shortcomings of the retirement system, and current employees have a vested interest in preserving and enhancing retirement security, both groups should work together in partnership to create solutions and advocate on behalf of labor to ensure that every American has the opportunity to retire with dignity; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that WSLC President Jeff Johnson shall appoint an ad hoc committee to expressly take up retirement and aging issues, with the understanding that it will be proposed as a permanent committee at the next constitutional convention; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that this committee shall consist of representatives of retired union members and actively working union members.


A RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO THE EXPANSION OF NEW SEASONS MARKET IN WASHINGTON STATE

Resolution #20

WHEREAS, a Portland-based grocery chain called New Seasons Market is seeking to expand into Northwest Washington; and

WHEREAS, New Seasons presents itself as a socially responsible company, on par with community-owned cooperative grocers and local, family-operated grocery stores; and

WHEREAS, New Seasons is majority-owned by private equity investors through Endeavour Capital, a firm with more than $2 billion under management; and

WHEREAS, New Seasons, a non-union employer, provides employees with substandard health and retirement benefits compared to unionized grocery workers in Northwest Washington, and New Seasons employees lack the just cause protections afforded to union grocery workers through their collective bargaining agreements; and

WHEREAS, New Seasons management recently blocked union grocery workers from talking about workplace issues with New Seasons employees at the company’s Mercer Island store; and

WHEREAS, one of the investors in the Endeavour Capital funds which own New Seasons is the Vancouver-based Murdock Charitable Trust, an organization that has contributed millions of dollars to organizations that actively undermine Northwest values of mutual respect, inclusiveness and tolerance;  and

WHEREAS, the Murdock Charitable Trust contributed $240,000 to the Freedom Foundation in 2015, an organization whose staff have explicitly stated that their work is intended to undermine Democratic candidates by defunding public sector unions, and whose staff have called the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage a “threat to personal freedom”; and

WHEREAS, the Murdock Charitable Trust has invested in six funds managed by New Seasons’ majority owner, Endeavour Capital; and

WHEREAS, the Murdock Charitable Trust has contributed $975,000 to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which has been designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center; and

WHEREAS, the Murdock-funded ADF provided the model legislation used by numerous states to enact anti-trans “bathroom bills” similar to Initiative 1552, which threatened to repeal critical protections for transgender Washingtonians; and

WHEREAS, the Murdock Charitable Trust, has contributed over $1.3 million to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” across the Pacific Northwest, which pose as health clinics while providing women with false medical information to discourage abortion; and

WHEREAS, the expansion of New Seasons in Washington would help to generate profits for the Murdock Charitable Trust, which could use those profits to further support anti-LGBTQ, anti-women and anti-worker organizations; and

WHEREAS, those communities targeted by New Seasons have a wide variety of grocery shopping options, including stores where hard-won collective bargaining agreements provide workers with decent wages, affordable quality health care, retirement security, a voice on the job and the right to organize at new stores, including reasonable access to union members and staff; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council opposes the entry of New Seasons Market into Washington while one of the company’s investors, the Murdock Charitable Trust, continues to fund extremist anti-LGBTQ, anti-women and anti-worker groups; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council calls on Endeavour Capital and New Seasons Market to adhere to the National Labor Relations Act by allowing employees to speak up and organize around workplace concerns without management interference or retaliation, and by allowing reasonable access to union members and staff in an environment that fosters open dialogue; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will continue to educate affiliates about the importance of not only supporting but shopping at union grocery stores; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support Washington’s union grocery workers in their fight to defend the economic gains and workplace rights they have won through collective bargaining against the expansion of New Seasons and other employers that fail to respect workers’ legal and human rights; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, all Washington State Central Labor Councils, and all AFL-CIO bodies in California and Oregon push forward and pass similar resolutions pertaining to the New Seasons grocery store in their markets.


IN SUPPORT OF BORNSTEIN WORKERS AND THEIR FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT

Resolution #21

WHEREAS, Bornstein Seafood is a seafood processing plant in Bellingham, WA that distributes fish to various areas in the pacific northwest; and

WHEREAS, UFCW21 represents roughly around 100 workers at Bornstein; and

WHEREAS, the majority of the workers at Bornstein are peoples of color have a range of documentation status and thus are more at risk for employer abuse; and

WHEREAS, UFCW21 and Bornstein have been in bargaining the last 10 months with very little movement on critical issues; and

WHEREAS, Bornstein wants to increase health costs for workers, provided minimal wage increases through the life of the contract, and push proposals that would significantly underfund our pension; and

WHEREAS, Bornstein has not paid into the workers’ pension for over a year, ultimately, committing wage theft; and

WHEREAS, Bornstein has refused to accept basic contract provisions that would help protect its own workers from ICE raids; and

WHEREAS, as Unionists, we are committed to the principle that all workers should be able to have living wages, have affordable health insurance benefits, and a pension; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports Bornstein workers, their campaign, and their fight for a fair contract; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its delegates will use whatever leverage they can, including a boycott of Bornstein Seafood should one be called, until workers ratify a fair contract.


RESOLUTION ON IMMIGRATION AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT

Resolution #22

WHEREAS, immigrants and refugees have enriched the fabric of our communities, workforce and labor movement since our nation’s founding; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO’s website further elaborates, “The labor movement is the natural home for new immigrants struggling to achieve economic security and win social justice, and our commitment to building an immigration system that represents the needs and interests of all working people is fierce and unwavering”; and

WHEREAS, Washington is the country’s 8th largest refugee-receiving state and a majority of the estimated 3,000 new arrivals each year are re-settled in Seattle-King County; and

WHEREAS, with the recent election of President Trump, immigrants and refugees are unjustly targeted with policies such as the Muslim ban; and

WHEREAS, on June 29, the House passed two hardline immigration bills that would penalize undocumented immigrants who commit crimes and local jurisdictions that refuse to work with federal authorities to deport them; and

WHEREAS, despite President Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric, immigrants and refugees are essential to economic growth in America and has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth domestically; and (The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration); and

WHEREAS, the labor movement states its commitment to standing with immigrants and refugees, “Instead of deporting immigrants, we need to ensure that all working people have rights on the job and are able to exercise them without fear of retaliation”; and

WHEREAS, unions such as UFCW21, Teamsters 117, SEIU Local 6, Unite HERE 8, UAW 4121 and many others have already facilitated “Know Your Rights” workshops with workers and plan to continue their support; and

WHEREAS, in 2014, to recognize and uphold the 4th Amendment constitutional rights of immigrants to be protected against unreasonable seizures, the Metropolitan King County Council adopted Ordinance 17886 to clarify that the County will only honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests that are accompanied by a criminal warrant issued by a federal judge or magistrate; and

WHEREAS, Union employees serve all people and provide services accessible to all, regardless of ancestry, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, physical or mental disability, immigration status or religion; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will work with affiliated unions to ensure that we have a comprehensive program for our immigrant members, including a plan for rapid response to raids and detentions, know your rights trainings, and best practices for provisions we can bargain into our contracts to help protect workers from ICE raids.


RESOLUTION CALLING UPON THE W.S.L.C. AND ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS TO PROTECT WORKER FREEDOM

Resolution #23

WHEREAS, AFL-CIO President Trumka stated, “Right to work is a lie dressed up in a feel-good slogan. It doesn’t give workers freedom—instead, it weakens our right to join together and bargain for better wages and working conditions. Its end goal is to destroy unions. Numbers don’t lie. Workers in states with right to work laws have wages that are 12% lower. That’s because unions raise wages for all workers, not just our members.” and

WHEREAS, as President Trumka stated, “For a woman to earn as much as a man, she has to work a full year, plus an extra 100 days… For women of color, it’s even longer. The pay gap between women and men is one symptom of a much larger problem. Our economy is historically out of balance, tilted steeply against working people and in favor of corporations.” and

WHEREAS, so-called “Right-to-Work” (RTW) policies are thinly veiled as free-speech bills, but actually restrict speech for workers, women and people of color in particular; and

WHEREAS, proponents of RTW hide behind special interest groups like the National Right to Work Committee and ALEC, who have ties to the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, groups like the Freedom Foundation, and out-of-touch corporate CEO’s who have created the precarious conditions facing the working and middle class; and

WHEREAS, RTW is about less freedom, less safety for workers, and dismantling the power of working people, including firefighters, teachers, nurses and police who promote public safety and also limits collective bargaining for safety equipment, staffing needs at hospitals and class sizes in schools; and

WHEREAS, their message of “pay nothing/lose nothing” is designed with the intent to confuse and misinform but their true motive is to further stack the deck against working and middle class families by weakening unions’ ability to advocate for all workers and to stop unions from being a check against corporate greed; and

WHEREAS, America’s workers are struggling, worried, underemployed, barely getting by, and frustrated by a system that is not working; and over the past three decades, as RTW has spread across the country, income inequality has risen to historic levels; and

WHEREAS, 60% of Americans support unions and elected leaders who attack workers through RTW must be held accountable for the impact and for failed promises of economic growth; and

WHEREAS, U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson (SC) and Steve King (NY) have introduced national RTW legislation and Donald Trump signaled his support for RTW during his campaign for the presidency; and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to soon rule on Janus v. AFSCME, potentially imposing RTW on all public sector unions and an injury to one is an injury to all; and

WHEREAS, engaging workers early and often through member-to-member and worker-to-worker communication is an effective model to inoculate against misleading RTW messaging and strengthening our unions; and

WHEREAS, in states where unions are strongest:

  • Workers’ wages are on average $6,109 more per year
  • Median household income is on average over $10,000 more per year
  • More people under 65 are insured (9.9% uninsured vs. 13.7% uninsured in states where unions are weakest)
  • People are more literate (34.2% at or above 8th grade level vs. 30.4%)
  • People are more skilled in math and quantitative reasoning (33.6% at or above 8th grade level vs. 31.3%)
  • Families experience lower infant mortality rates (5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births vs. 6.7)
  • Fewer workers are in low wage jobs (19.6% vs. 29.5%)
  • A lower percentage of children live in poverty (18% vs. 22.3%)
  • Fewer people in general experience poverty (12.7% vs. 16%)
  • Women are more likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance (36.8%); and

WHEREAS, women are about 48% of all workers in the United States, and 46% of union members, totaling 6.8 million women union members and comprising a majority of unionized workers by 2025; and

WHEREAS, union density nation-wide is higher among African American women than among women of all other racial or ethnic groups at 12.8%; in comparison, 10.6% of working women of all races are union members; and

WHEREAS, unionization has boosted the wages and job security of all workers and particularly of African American, Latino, Indigenous, API and Immigrant workers; and

WHEREAS, women of all major racial and ethnic groups experience a union wage advantage, Hispanic (42%), African American (34%), White (31%) and API (15%); and union women in Washington State earn on average 26% more than their nonunion counterparts; and

WHEREAS, strong, thriving unions have a powerful interest in reducing racial discrimination and animus because racial hostility inhibits worker solidarity and union organizing; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that affiliated unions and organizations commit to engaging in one-on-one conversations with membership with a goal of getting at least 85% to recommit to the union, recognizing that it is our best tool to defeat RTW; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC develop mechanisms to surface rank-and-file leaders from across the state with particular emphasis on the helping professions (nurses, teachers, fire fighters, etc.) to teach workers to share their stories about how RTW will impact them and their families to fight RTW, and to strengthen our unions; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC establish a special committee made up of unions and non-union allies to organize against RTW in Washington State; and be it further

RESOLVED, that President Johnson invite members of allied community organizations to such committee, and create space for these Advocacy Partners to participate fully in the decision making processes and influence the campaigns strategies and culture; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the committee brainstorm an alternative for “RTW” and report back to the WSLC affiliates; and be it further

RESOLVED, that a toolkit be created by January 2018, for unions and community groups to use for education and mobilization around RTW; and be it further

RESOLVED, that affiliated unions and organizations will be asked to commit resources to strengthening ties between communities of color, women, LGBTQ, faith, immigrant/refugee, youth and the environment to share messaging strategies for nonunion workers to talk about the negative impact of RTW on them and their families; and be it further

RESOLVED, that 100 stories are gathered from people most impacted, including women and people of color about the impact of RTW by December 2017 to be published and distributed to all WSLC affiliates; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the labor movement will measure politicians by creating a RTW scorecard on voting history, affiliated companies and/or persons who support the politician, and any campaign donations for politicians that work against working class issues or support RTW, Furthermore, the labor movement will educate its rank and file membership of its measurables and how to implement and/or use such scorecard; and be it further

RESOLVED, this resolution be forwarded to the National AFL-CIO for passage; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC report back to affiliated unions and organizations on the progress of these re-commitments by July, 2018.


ACTIVATING OUR UNION LABEL AND SERVICE TRADE COUNCILS

Resolution #24

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO works to improve the lives and workplaces of Washington’s working people and their families, and promoting the purchase of union-made goods and services is one way to support good jobs and raise living/working standards for all; and

WHEREAS, at the 2014 convention, Washington State Labor Council delegates approved Resolution #32, creating the Union Goods and Services Committee to promote union goods and services; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO’s Union Label and Service Trades Department was founded in 1909 to promote the products and services produced in America by union members, and every AFL-CIO state federation and central labor council has a corresponding Union Labor and Service Trades Council (ULSTC) intended to help achieve this goal; and

WHEREAS, some ULSTCs in Washington state – notably the Pierce County ULSTC – meet regularly and have ongoing activities and educational materials distributed to promote the purchase of union goods and services; and

WHEREAS, many other ULSTCs in Washington State exist in name only and do not have ongoing activities or efforts to advance this cause; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO urge all central labor councils in Washington state to activate their ULSTCs by designating someone other than the CLC executive officer to coordinate ULSTC efforts, and by utilizing the ULSTC Toolkit offered by the WSLC Union Goods and Services Committee, which includes educational materials to be distributed at CLC meetings and other ideas for activities that can promote union goods and services.


RESOLUTION ON RACE AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT 2.0

Resolution #25

WHEREAS, race and the course of organized labor are inextricably bound and have been since workers made their first appearance on the shores of North America; and

WHEREAS, the arbitrary and artificial division of people into different races historically was made real and concrete through various legal provisions designed to foster whites’ contempt for Blacks and Native Americans and thereby prevent them from making common cause and coming together against the colonial elite; and

WHEREAS, the ability of the laboring populations to rise up in favor of freedom and dignity was undermined by the construction of a system of racial oppression, and historical evidence repeatedly demonstrates that race emerged as the most powerful means by which to divide workers; and

WHEREAS, the labor movement has advanced different and contradictory responses concerning how to respond to the divisions within the working class based on the system of race; and

WHEREAS, the enemies of the labor movement have long recognized that unions could serve as organizations to powerfully advance the social justice demands of communities of color, and thus our enemies have fought vigorously for the passage of Right-to-Work legislation; and

WHEREAS, the racist strategy of divide and conquer is at the heart of Right-to-Work legislation. A huge proponent of Right-to-Work in the 1950s, Texan Vance Muse of the Christian American Association infamously said about unions: “From now on, white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes whom they will have to call ‘brother’ or lose their jobs”; and

WHEREAS, of the 28 states with Right-to-Work laws, 19 put them on the books during the Jim Crow era. In all of the states where Jim Crow once ruled, Right-to-Work laws are in place, with the exception of Maryland and the District of Columbia. The racist origins and legacy of Right-to-Work is indisputable; and

WHEREAS, workers of color serve as the “canaries in the coal mine” when it comes to the harsh impacts on working people of neoliberal globalization, including plant closures and automation. These impacts were felt much earlier by African American, Chicano, and Puerto Rican workers, who watched their jobs and opportunities slowly disappear; and

WHEREAS, right-wing populism encourages white workers to blame losses caused by neoliberal globalization on people of color, immigrants, feminists, and the LGBT community; and

WHEREAS, organized labor needs to develop a robust counter narrative to that offered by right-wing populism and has yet to do so. Organized labor must respond to the anxiety among white workers with an avowedly antiracist agenda that accurately focuses their attention on the true sources of their declining living standards;

WHEREAS, organized labor needs to identify approaches toward combating racial injustice and right-wing populism with the aim of building working-class unity; and

WHEREAS, organized labor needs to perform a comprehensive and exhaustive inventory of its own structural inequities with regard to race, specifically how these structural inequities have manifested in the labor movement’s history and in its present institutions; and

WHEREAS, a forum needs to be built in which principled debate can unfold about the direction of organized labor and its relationship with race and movements for racial justice; and

WHEREAS, unions need to integrate racial justice into every area of their organization (e.g. collective bargaining, organizing, public policy, political campaigns, strategic campaigns, legal, health & safety, research & education, community organization, etc.) to wholeheartedly combat the divide and conquer strategy of our enemies; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the “narrative” document produced by the WSLC, which summarizes the history of race, class, and the development of capitalism in the United States, along with Resolution 12 from 2015 and this resolution, be immediately circulated to all local unions and central labor councils in Washington State, and that, accompanying that “narrative,” there would be a letter from the President and Secretary-Treasurer of the WSLC requesting an opportunity to meet with the executive boards of the respective affiliates in order to secure commitments from affiliates to participate in the racial justice workshops with the goal of enrolling 50 % of their executive boards and staff by the end of 2018; 75% by the end of 2019; and 100% by the end of 2020; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC 2017 Convention goes on record supporting the training of a pool of thirty (30) certified trainer/facilitators who can offer the racial justice education workshop to all labor and community bodies so requesting, with said trainers being twenty (20) in the western part of Washington and ten (10) in Eastern Washington; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will sponsor at least two (2) more train-the-trainers for the racial justice workshop, one held in the eastern part of the state and one in the western part; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC shall host a Race & Labor Summit in 2018 tasked with engaging at least one hundred (100) labor activists of color—particularly younger activists—in identifying key stress points around race, class, and labor within the Washington State labor movement and further tasked with the creation of a “best practices tool kit” to be made available to affiliates of WSLC that includes: organizing, collective bargaining, union culture, leadership development, community partnership specifically regarding police violence, mass incarceration, discrimination on the job, immigration and economic development; and be it further

RESOLVED, that all central labor councils in Washington State be encouraged to commit to sponsoring a Race & Labor dialogue at their CLC that addresses the relationship of race, class and the tasks of a 21st century labor movement and that they recruit participants for the WSLC Race and Labor Summit; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC and its affiliates commit to the building of a social media campaign that highlights the existence of the racial justice workshop, how it can be utilized in building unity within our movement, and how it can be a vehicle for outreach to the broader community for social and economic justice; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the committee responsible for the creation of the existing racial justice workshop be tasked with developing supplemental modules—that can be used as part of the existing workshop or used independently—on matters of mass incarceration, discrimination on the job, immigration, police violence, and the racial features to wealth inequality in the United States, working with representatives of existing WSLC coalitions where appropriate; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC and its affiliates shall continue working with community partners on developing rapid response plans that focus on the protection of our members in workplaces and communities who face racist and xenophobic terror in its myriad forms; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the President of the WSLC will work with the racial justice workshop sub-committee and affiliates to develop a plan and budget for fully operationalizing and funding this expanded scope of work.


SUPPORT H.R. 676 — MEDICARE FOR ALL, SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE

Resolution #26

WHEREAS, health care is a human right and not a commodity that some individuals should be able to afford and others not; and

WHEREAS, our current healthcare system comprised of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Medicaid, and Medicare is under attack by President Trump and Congressional republicans; and

WHEREAS, the American Health Care Act will cut about 22 million individuals off of Medicaid and the state exchanges, bringing the total number of uninsured up to an estimated 50 million individuals by 2026, raise the cost of health care for seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, eliminate the individual mandate and larger employer mandate, defund Planned Parenthood, repeal taxes on pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and provide an $882 billion tax break for wealthy individuals; and

WHEREAS, while we will continue to fight to improve the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare, the only commonsense alternative to effectively reform the U.S. healthcare system is to provide universal access to affordable, comprehensive health care regardless of a person’s health status or income, and to provide benefits that include physician and hospital care, outpatient care, dental, vision, and hearing services, rehabilitation, long-term care, mental health care, and prescription drugs to all individuals residing in the United States; and

WHEREAS, a single risk pool of 320 million Americans will spread risk effectively to accommodate the needs of the sickest patients, while saving enough money to assure universal care for everyone; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO go on record supporting H.R. 676 Single-Payer Medicare for All; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO forward this Resolution to the AFL-CIO and to the Washington State Congressional delegation.


RESOLUTION TO END THE U.S. BLOCKADE OF CUBA

Resolution #27

WHEREAS, the U.S. blockade of Cuba has had devastating impacts on Cuba’s workers, union members, and citizens, restricts U.S. citizens’ freedom to travel to Cuba, and, if lifted, would create jobs for U.S. workers; and

WHEREAS, a number of labor and community leaders from Washington State have traveled to Cuba on study tours and have learned valuable lessons regarding universal health care and providing for those most in need; and

WHEREAS, following the Obama administration’s partial moves to normalize U.S.-Cuban relations, now the Trump administration has expressed its intention to reverse this trend and tighten the blockade of Cuba once again; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO goes on record supporting an end to the travel restrictions and the trade and financial embargo against Cuba, and oppose efforts by the Trump administration to tighten the blockade; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO shall send this resolution to its affiliates, area Labor Councils, and to the AFL-CIO, urging the AFL-CIO to pass a similar resolution at their 2017 convention.


RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD WORKERS AND THEIR FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT

Resolution #28

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands provides vital healthcare to people in our great state and is under attack by the same right wing forces that are attacking organized labor; and

WHEREAS, UFCW21 represents over 200 people at our Planned Parenthood; and

WHEREAS, the workers at PPGNHI serve a population that is often underserved and make healthcare attainable to those it wouldn’t be otherwise; and

WHEREAS, UFCW21 and PPGNHI have had a contractual relationship for over 30 years that has had the worst right-to-work language of any UFCW Local 21 contract; and

WHEREAS, PPGNI has recently taken away the benefit of Planned Parenthood workers to receive many free clinical care services from their own Planned Parenthood clinics which was a benefit that low wage PPGNHI workers relied upon; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood wants to remove Union members from the bargaining unit and supplant the bargaining unit work with non-represented per diem workers; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood consistently short-staffs the clinics, requiring staff to have to work through breaks, lunches and incur daily unscheduled overtime; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood refuses a forum with employees that guarantees actionable conversation on how to ensure appropriate staffing; and

WHEREAS, as Trade Unionists, we are committed to the principle that all workers should be able to have living wages, have affordable health insurance benefits, work/life balance, the freedom to organize their Union without intimidation; and

WHEREAS, the labor community desires to stand alongside Planned Parenthood as an organization in their fight to provide vital healthcare to our communities, however providing a fair and decent work environment is also part of protecting the health of community; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports Planned Parenthood workers, their campaign, and their fight for a fair contract, and opposes Right-to-Work policies; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its delegates take any actions to stand with Planned Parenthood workers, including withholding donations to Planned Parenthood, should such an action be called for in the future, until such time that Planned Parenthood settles a fair contract.


PREVAILING WAGE FOR STATE EMPLOYEES

Resolution #29

WHEREAS, tens of thousands of Washington state employees are treated as second class citizens by paying them 25% or more below the private sector and other public sector employees doing the same type of work; and

WHEREAS, the state’s continuing failure to pay state employees a fair wage equal to their responsibilities has created catastrophic recruitment and retention problems throughout state government; and

WHEREAS, the state is struggling to hire and retain younger skilled workers who have other employment options, and this problem will continue until the state truly becomes an employer of choice; and

WHEREAS, all Washingtonians are harmed when the state is unable to hire the qualified staff needed to provide vital services to the public; and

WHEREAS, the labor movement has rightly fought for years to create and protect prevailing wages for workers in the private sector, yet now 99% of all state employees are paid less than similar workers in comparable positions, and it’s time for a prevailing wage for state employees as well; and

WHEREAS, it’s meaningful for state employees, in their fight for economic justice, to know their sisters and brothers in the labor movement are standing beside them; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC shall ask candidates seeking endorsement where they stand on ensuring state employees are paid a prevailing wage reflecting fair market value for their services, and that this issue will be a consideration in endorsement decisions; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will respectfully request all affiliates stand in solidarity by making the issue of prevailing wages for state employees a consideration in their endorsement processes as well.


INTEREST ARBITRATION FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICE OFFICERS

Resolution #30

WHEREAS, Police forces who protect our students at institutions of higher learning are fully commissioned police officers, equivalent in authority to all local and county police forces; and

WHEREAS, the standard in the police and firefighting professions across the nation is to give up the inherent right to strike that all other workforces reserve for themselves to fight for fair and safe working conditions; and

WHEREAS, in return for sacrificing this inherent workers’ right, virtually all fully commissioned police and firefighters, except higher education police officers, receive the right to bring their labor disputes to a neutral third party arbiter for binding arbitration; and

WHEREAS, this year, the president and police chief of one of our colleges testified to the Senate Law and Justice Committee that, due to inadequate funding, colleges are forced to choose between student services and an adequately staffed, well trained and well-equipped campus police force; and

WHEREAS, across the nation, interest arbitration is the standard labor mechanism used to ensure police and other public safety workforces have fair and safe working conditions for their officers; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council support and participate in legislative efforts to obtain binding interest arbitration for higher education campus police forces in Washington State.


A RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO THE ROLL-BACK OF HEALTH CARE ACCESS

Resolution #32

WHEREAS, under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), 24 million Americans will lose healthcare insurance coverage, and under the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), more than 22 million Americans would lose healthcare; and

WHEREAS, loss of insurance coverage means as many as 24 million patients will delay seeking care until conditions have worsened and become far more expensive, will turn to high-cost Emergency Rooms for care rather than getting care in a more economical clinic setting, and will need financial aid and “charity care” to support their treatment, all of which harm those patients and increase costs on the healthcare system; and

WHEREAS, the increased cost of the up to 24 million uninsured will be passed on to everyone including employers who pay for health benefits for employees, making employer-sponsored coverage less affordable; and

WHEREAS, the AHCA and Senate proposals include tax cuts of $207,000 for the top 0.1% of wage earners while the lowest 20% of wage earners would receive tax cuts of just $150, creating a huge redistribution of wealth from working people to the wealthy; and

WHEREAS, it is harmful to our economy to tax healthcare benefits in our system that relies primarily on employer-based healthcare; and

WHEREAS, we value caring for those in need and see attempts to slash, block grant, and eventually end Medicaid as we know it as an unconscionable attack on children, elders, people with disabilities, and those most in need of care; and

WHEREAS, health care is a human right and our nation should strive to cover every individual with a health plan that focuses on patient care not profit rather than moving backward to deny care to more individuals; and

WHEREAS, as a labor movement, we fight to protect working people’s access to healthcare and for a more just and humane society; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council strongly opposes the American Health Care Act, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and any Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without ensuring an equal to or superior replacement; and be it further

RESOLVED, we will educate and mobilize our membership to oppose this attempt to deny healthcare access and transfer wealth from working people to the wealthy; and be it further

RESOLVED, we call on Congress and the President to improve our nation’s health care system by ensuring quality, affordable health care for all; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC forwards this resolution to the National AFL-CIO for adoption; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC encourages affiliates to share this resolution with their membership, their local executive boards, and their international presidents, condemning the Republican AHCA and BCRA and urge adoption of this resolution by all WSLC affiliates.

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