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 2006 Convention held August 21-23 in Wenatchee.
(Some resolution numbers are skipped because those proposed resolutions were withdrawn, tabled or rejected by delegates, or combined with another similar submission.)
1. IN SUPPORT OF INCREASED CONSUMER PROTECTIONS AGAINST PAYDAY LENDING
3. REGARDING ERISA AMENDMENTS
4. SUPPORTING CENSURE OF PRESIDENT BUSH
5. REGARDING PUBLIC HEALTH FUNDING
6. RESOLUTION ON ADDING A RETIREE VICE PRESIDENT TO THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL EXECUTIVE BOARD
7. REGARDING “RULE OF 90” GAIN SHARING AND COMPARABLE REPLACEMENT BENEFITS
9. IN SUPPORT OF A FAIR CONTRACT FOR WASHINGTON STATE EMPLOYEES
10. ADDRESSING THE ACADEMIC STAFFING CRISIS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
11. SUPPORT “TRANSIT NOW”
12. ENDORSING HR 676 – SINGLE PAYER UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE
13. REGARDING SOUTH SOUND CLEAN CLOTHES CAMPAIGN
14. OPPOSE CONTRACTING OUT
15. REGARDING CONSTRICTION OF SR 519 AND THE ISSUES OF TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT MOBILITY IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, THE CITY OF SEATTLE, AND THE PORT OF SEATTLE
16. RESOLUTION ON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
17. REGARDING CHANGE OF CONVENTION DATE
18. REGARDING ORGANIZING AND DEFENSE REVENUE
19. CALL FOR ENDING THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ AND AN IMMEDIATE PHASED WITHDRAWAL OF UNITED STATES TROOPS
20. TAKE ACTION ON PERU & KOREAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS (FTAS)
21. IN SUPPORT OF A STATE BOILER LICENSE
22. REGARDING A “DO PATRONIZE LIST”
23. CONCERNING THE TRANSPORTATION WORKERS’ IDENTIFYING CREDENTIAL (TWIC CARD) AND CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR THE PURPOSES OF HOMELAND SECURITY
24. PROTECTION OF FREE ACCESS TO THE TRUTH
25. ELIMINATING IRRESPONSIBLE CONTRACTORS ON PUBLIC WORKS CONSTRUCTION
IN SUPPORT OF INCREASED CONSUMER PROTECTIONS AGAINST PAYDAY LENDING
WHEREAS, everyone in our state, regardless of their income, has a right to fair and reasonable consumer protections when they borrow money; and
WHEREAS, the payday lending industry engages in predatory loan practices, targeting low income communities and people of color, charging consumers unfair and unreasonable fees and interest rates (according to the state’s own studies, the typical loan carries a 390% annual percentage rate of interest), driving people in our state deeply into debt; and
WHEREAS, low and middle-income workers are targets of payday lenders, and predatory payday loans threaten the economic well-being of our members, their families and other workers of the labor movement; and
WHEREAS, the payday lending industry in Washington has grown by 113% since 2000 in the dollar amounts of loans made, and issued over three million loans in 2004, totaling over $1.6 billion; and
WHEREAS, national experts on predatory lending identify nine signs of a predatory payday loan, and Washington’s law authorizes lenders to engage in eight out of nine of these abusive practices; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, finds that a lack of fair and reasonable consumer protections on payday loans threatens the financial well-being of union members and the people of Washington state; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports the passage of payday lending reform legislation to provide fair and reasonable consumer protections for Washington payday consumers; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports reforms such as longer minimum loan periods and installment payments for consumers, caps on annual percentage rates of interest, banning payday lending through the internet to prevent out of state lenders from getting around Washington law, and further banning mandatory arbitration clauses in payday lending contracts; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will make this one of their legislative priorities during the 2007 legislation session.
REGARDING ERISA AMENDMENTS
WHEREAS, some employers in Washington and other states have reduced or eliminated, or sought to reduce or eliminate, pension and health insurance benefits promised by such employers to their retirees, on which promises the retirees relied, and which promised induced such retirees to continue their employment with those employers instead of seeking employment elsewhere; and
WHEREAS, the trend toward the reduction or elimination of pension and health insurance benefits of retirees threatens the health and welfare of some senior citizens in Washington and threatens to impose an onerous financial burden on the state to provide health care, housing and other necessities of life that would otherwise have been provided by such reduced or eliminated pension or health insurance benefits; and
WHEREAS, in 1974 the United State Congress enacted and the president signed into law the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, also known as “ERISA”, codified at 29 USC 1001, et seq., as amended, which governs matters related to pension and retirement benefits offered by most non-governmental employers to their employees; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will request that the Washington State Legislature call upon the United States Congress to amend ERISA, or to enact or amend other appropriate federal law, to prohibit employers from reducing or eliminating pension or health insurance benefits of their retired employees, and call upon each member of the Washington congressional delegation to take immediate action to encourage the United States Congress to act in accordance with this resolution; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the clerks of the House of Representatives and the Senate cause a copy of this resolution to be sent to the president and each member of the Washington Congressional delegation.
SUPPORTING CENSURE OF PRESIDENT BUSH
WHEREAS, Senator Feingold’s March 13, 2006 resolution accuses President Bush of violating the Constitution and the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; and
WHEREAS, it read in part, “Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, President of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining the court orders required”; and
WHEREAS, the federal courts have found that President Bush’s actions have violated the Constitution; and
WHEREAS, a basic tenet of a democracy is the rule of law; and
WHEREAS, the President’s actions have exceeded the boundaries of the existing law; and
WHEREAS, the method of censure has been chosen because it demands an open debate and expression on the Senate’s judgment on the President’s actions; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will ask Senators Murray and Cantwell to support Senator Feingold’s Censure Resolution, thereby upholding our Constitution and their oath of office, in the manner intended by our founders, when a president commits such flagrant abuse of power.
REGARDING PUBLIC HEALTH FUNDING
WHEREAS, the public health system as defined in RCW 43. 70. 575 is essential to fulfilling the state’s constitutional responsibility to protect the health and safety of its citizens; and
WHEREAS, Washington state’s public health system lacks the capacity to fulfill its critical functions with respect to well understood health threats such as impure air and water, unsanitary living conditions, unsafe food, and inadequate rates of immunization; and
WHEREAS, the public health system lacks the capacity to address the emerging health threats of the 21st century, including bioterrorism and other emergencies, health disparities, the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis, HIV, SARS, West Nile virus, and other infectious diseases, and the increasing incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases resulting from tobacco, drug addiction, poor diet, and inadequate exercise; and
WHEREAS, unionized public health professionals are being asked to carry out their assignments while being severely under staffed and lacking adequate resources; and WHEREAS, the motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) repealed by voters provided a significant funding source for Washington state’s public health programs and the legislature has not dedicated another stable funding source for public health to replace the money lost by voter initiatives: and
WHEREAS, Washington State is ranked 44th in the nation for per capita spending on public health; and
WHEREAS, our state is severely under-funding public health and in order to adequately fund public health in Washington State, the legislature must double the current public health budget by adding an additional $400 million annually; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, make the funding of public health one of its legislative priorities for the 2007 legislative session; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, include on all future candidate endorsement questionnaires a question that identifies where the prospective candidate stands on public health funding; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, go on record in support of a stable funding source for public health and join in coalition with other organizations to advocate to the legislature and the Governor for the creation of a permanent and stable public health funding source.
RESOLUTION ON ADDING A RETIREE VICE PRESIDENT TO THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL EXECUTIVE BOARD
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has a nineteen (19) person Executive Board, composed of vice presidents elected by district; and
WHEREAS, all six (6) constituency groups affiliated with the national AFL-CIO and the Washington State Labor Council have a seat on the Board with vote and voice; and
WHEREAS, the State Federation does not have a representative from the growing population of union retirees; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Constitution be amended to allow a Vice President from the Washington State Alliance of Retired Americans; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the state-wide election process be similar to other State Labor Council constituency group vice presidents; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that in the first year, the Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans will submit three (3) names of people who were members in good standing of an AFL-CIO affiliate or Solidarity Charter Union at the time of retirement, for selection by the Washington State Labor Council Executive Board.
REGARDING “RULE OF 90” GAIN SHARING AND COMPARABLE REPLACEMENT BENEFITS
WHEREAS, Washington state continues to have a retirement system that does not provide a sufficient pension with a defined benefit commensurate with the services provided by public employees across the state; and
WHEREAS, public employees should be able to retire at an appropriate age, with a defined benefit and COLA that allows for a continuing reasonable standard of living; and
WHEREAS, Washington’s Plan 2 and 3 public employee pension systems fails to reward a career of service, and instead offers full retirement eligibility only based on reaching an arbitrary age; and
WHEREAS, many of Washington’s public employees will have to work up to 45 years to be qualified for full retirement; and
WHEREAS, Washington state has one of the lowest-cost public employee pension systems in the nation; and
WHEREAS, each of Washington’s neighboring states provides full retirement eligibility at an age earlier than Washington; and
WHEREAS, many public employees serve in positions that no reasonable person would expect persons age 65 to perform; and
WHEREAS, repealing the current gain-sharing benefit would result in the largest ever public employee benefit takeaway in Washington state history; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED that the Washington State Labor Council adopt the following priorities and ask that these priorities be adopted by its affiliated Central Labor Councils:
Pursue improvements in public pension benefits to provide increased equity for all Washington State public employees.
Oppose the repeal of gain-sharing unless comparable benefit improvements are established.
Support a Rule of 90, which would allow TRS, PERS and SERS Plans II and III members to retire, without penalty, if their years of service and age add up to 90.
IN SUPPORT OF A FAIR CONTRACT FOR WASHINGTON STATE EMPLOYEES
WHEREAS, the unions representing state employees in higher education, community colleges, and general government are currently engaged in contract negotiations with representatives of the Governor’s office and the state universities; and
WHEREAS, the outcome of the negotiations will not only impact the lives and well-being of the affected state employees, but also their abilities to provide quality services to working and poor people throughout the state; and
WHEREAS, the strength of the labor movement is undermined whenever union jobs are contracted out to non-union employers, whether this occurs in the public or private sector; and
WHEREAS, management insists on playing hardball on the issue of contracting out protections and has refused to bargain in good faith; and
WHEREAS, since 1999, raises for state employees have been few and far between, and have not kept up with inflation and the dramatic increase in the cost of their health care insurance, and have left some employees’ pay more than 25% below prevailing wages; and
WHEREAS, support from the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates played an instrumental role in winning full collective bargaining rights for state employees, and is crucial to the success of state workers in winning strong contracts that raise the bar for everyone in the labor movement; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council supports the demands of state employees for fair compensation, affordable health care, and protection against contracting out of state jobs; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will urge its affiliates to actively participate in efforts by state employee unions to win a fair contract through lobbying efforts, informational picketing, community outreach or, if necessary, sanctioned strikes; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates will make it clear to elected state officials and our legislators that the state’s hardball negotiating tactics are completely unacceptable and that support for state employee collective bargaining must be shown not only in words at election time, but in deeds at the bargaining table and the floor of the legislature, supporting a fair contract for state employees and strong protection against contracting out of state jobs.
ADDRESSING THE ACADEMIC STAFFING CRISIS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
WHEREAS, after two decades of replacing full-time faculty positions with positions that are temporary or part-time, on a national level higher education has reached the point where more than 70 percent of all college and university instructors are part-time or temporary, more than twice the national workforce average of 30 percent; and
WHEREAS, this trend makes higher education one of the most extreme examples nationwide of the trend toward decreasing job security and benefits—the Wal-Mart of the professions; and
WHEREAS, state support for public colleges and universities, on a per student basis, is declining, as is the proportion of state budgets devoted to public higher education and the purchasing power of federal student aid grants; and
WHEREAS, the decline in government support has resulted in tuition increases and has contributed to a frenzied search among colleges and universities for profitable corporate ties and a trend toward “corporate-style” management with little faculty involvement; and
WHEREAS, the effect on students of the lack of government support and the hollowing-out of the full-time faculty workforce is becoming apparent:
College costs are rising much faster than family income.
Among the 30 member nations of the OECD, the United States now ranks just seventh in the percentage of citizens who enter postsecondary education and complete a bachelor’s or higher degree.
The effect is disproportionate on poor students and students of color. The gap between affluent and low-income students is widening. Affluent students with the lowest test scores have as good a chance of attending college as the lowest-income students with the highest grades; and
WHEREAS, a faculty corps consisting primarily of full-time tenured or tenure-track positions is essential because, just as in other professional fields, full-time commitment and professional treatment result in better service to students, and ultimately to taxpayers, and because tenure protects the academic freedom essential for teaching and high-level research; and
WHEREAS, many colleges and universities have survived during the past decades of shrinking government support only because of the underpaid work of part-time faculty and full-time non-tenure-track faculty; and
WHEREAS, part-time and/or temporary faculty—who, on many college campuses, now teach more than half the courses offered each academic semester—must be treated professionally, paid fairly and recognized for their commitment to higher education even in the face of their own economic exploitation; and
WHEREAS, the dearth of full-time positions has meant that the full-time faculty who remain are less and less able to devote the time they need to their research and teaching because they have an increased share of the responsibility for student advising, college governance and curriculum development; and
WHEREAS, the shrinking percentage of full-time faculty positions has also placed increased burdens on other academic staff, whose workloads have risen as the number of full-time college and university professionals has declined; and
WHEREAS, with fewer than 30 percent of faculty nationwide in full-time tenure and non-tenure-track positions, the number of faculty who are institutionally supported to conduct research has declined dramatically; the future of university-based research in the U.S. is now in danger; and
WHEREAS, academic quality is impaired when the majority of faculty members are denied the resources and professional autonomy they need to do their best work. So long as part-time/adjunct faculty have to run from job to job to earn a living, so long as they have to worry about obtaining health and pension benefits, so long as they are hired under less-than-professional conditions, so long as evaluation of their work is cursory or nonexistent, so long as they lack office space and basic professional support, so long as they are unable to participate in college governance—so long as they are the academic equivalent of piece-workers, the quality of education, research and community service offered by American colleges and universities will suffer; and
WHEREAS, American higher education now appears to be at a crossroads, a time when the achievements of the past have been put at risk by the employment policies of the present; and
WHEREAS, AFT national conventions have passed resolutions calling for the restoration of full-time faculty positions and for creating fairness and equity in the employment of contingent faculty members; and
WHEREAS, AFT, at its 2006 convention adopted a resolution to develop a national campaign to demonstrate to the public and to elected officials that American higher education is at a crossroads and that the academic quality and research capacity for which American colleges and universities are internationally respected requires a strong, secure full-time faculty corps and fair, professional treatment of the existing contingent faculty; and
WHEREAS, the primary goal of the campaign will be to work with allies to promote the introduction of legislation simultaneously in as many state legislatures as possible and secure the passage of such legislation along with companion federal legislation with the aim of restoring full-time tenured faculty positions and providing the equity in compensation, respect and professional support that contingent faculty need to best serve their students; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will join with AFT Washington and other allies in a coalition to build grass-roots support for the effort, to elicit legislative sponsors in Washington State, and to engage in political action to win passage of the legislation.
SUPPORT “TRANSIT NOW”
WHEREAS, King County Executive Ron Sims has proposed a one-tenth of one percent (0.1%) increase in the sales tax in King County to support and increase in bus service; and
WHEREAS, this proposed increase would add an additional twenty percent (20%) in Metro Transit service, keeping up with growth over the next ten (10) years; and
WHEREAS, this additional funding would provide new and expanded transit service throughout King County; and
WHEREAS, an estimated additional 60,000 riders will be added to the current 335,000 riders per day on buses that will arrive more frequently, travel faster, and be more environmentally friendly; and
WHEREAS, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will be implemented in five (5) key travel corridors, providing more frequent all day service, faster trips, more comfortable vehicles and stations, advanced customer information, and traffic signal priority for buses; and
WHEREAS, improvements will be made on approximately thirty-five (35) major Metro routes where ridership is heaviest, as well as creating new service in residential areas in East and South King County; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates will support “Transit Now”.
ENDORSING HR 676 – SINGLE PAYER UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE
WHEREAS, workers, their families and their unions are waging an increasingly difficult struggle to win or to keep good health care coverage; and
WHEREAS, almost every union at every contract deadline must battle and sacrifice merely to sustain health care benefits; and
WHEREAS, the rising costs of health insurance are blocking workers’ progress in wages and other areas, so that all unions and workers face a healthcare crisis; and
WHEREAS, more than 45 million people in the U.S. are currently without health insurance; more than 75 million went without for some length of time within the last two years, and millions more have inadequate coverage or are at risk of losing coverage; and
WHEREAS, people of color, immigrants and women are denied care at disproportionate rates, while the elderly and many others must choose between necessities and life-sustaining drugs and care; and
WHEREAS, unorganized workers have either no or inadequate coverage, with employers such as Wal-Mart dumping their responsibilities for health care on public programs; and
WHEREAS, The Institute of Medicine has found that each year more than 18,000 in the U.S. die because they had no health insurance; and
WHEREAS, while we in the United States spend approximately twice as much of our gross domestic product as other developed nations on health care, we remain the only industrialized country without universal coverage, and our problem worsens each year as insurance costs increase and as gradual solutions have failed to make a dent in the problem; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. health system continues to treat health care as a commodity distributed according to the ability to pay, rather than as a social service to be distributed according to human need; and
WHEREAS, insurance companies and HMO’s compete not by increasing quality or lowering costs, but by avoiding covering those whose needs are greatest; and
WHEREAS, economic necessity and moral conscience compel us to seek a better; Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), joined by 62 co-signers, has introduced HR 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act, also called Expanded and Improved Medicare for All; and
WHEREAS, this single-payer health care program proposes an effective mechanism for controlling skyrocketing health costs while covering all 43 million uninsured Americans; and
WHEREAS, the bill also restores free choice of physicians to patients and provides comprehensive prescription drug coverage to seniors as well as to younger people; and
WHEREAS, HR 676 would cover every person in the U.S. for all necessary medical care, including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care, chiropractic and long term care, and ends deductibles and co-payments; and
WHEREAS, HR 676 would save billions annually by eliminating high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMO’s, and the transition to national health insurance would apply the savings from administration and profits to expanded and improved coverage for all; and
WHEREAS, a single payer program, as provided by HR 676, is the only affordable option for universal, comprehensive coverage; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council wholeheartedly endorses Congressman Conyers’ bill, HR 676, “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All”, a single payer health care program; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work with their affiliates and community groups to support action for a single payer universal health care plan and HR 676 until we make what is morally right for our nation into what is also politically possible; and, be it further
RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council will send a copy of this resolution to Congressman Conyers, to all Washington State members of the U.S. House and Senate, to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, and to the news media; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will take other actions to inform our affiliates and our community to encourage other members of the House to sign on as co-sponsors of HR 676 and to encourage Senators to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.
REGARDING SOUTH SOUND CLEAN CLOTHES CAMPAIGN
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports living wages and fair working conditions for all; and
WHEREAS, the South Sound Clean Clothes Campaign works to raise awareness about the sweatshop industry and challenging individuals, as well as public and private institutions, to create positive change by altering their purchasing practices; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will work with its affiliates and other supporters to promote sweat-free purchasing at the state, county, local and private levels; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will join the Clean Clothes Campaign in encouraging Governor Gregoire to issue an Executive Order regarding sweat-free procurement.
OPPOSE CONTRACTING OUT
WHEREAS, the federal government provides monies to the State of Washington to provide employment services to Washington residents; and
WHEREAS, the Washington Employment Security Department, Department of Social and Health Services, the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, Community Trade and Economic Development and our institutes of higher education are charged with the provision of these services to the public; and
WHEREAS, unionized state employees continue to and have provided these services to the public for decades; and
WHEREAS, the administration of these employment services within the State of Washington is delegated to the Workforce Development Councils; and
WHEREAS, these Workforce Development Councils have allowed the contracting out to non-union contractors of services traditionally provided by unionized state employees; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council opposes the contracting out to non-union employers of work traditionally performed by unionized employees; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will direct its representatives on the Workforce Developments Councils to oppose contracting out to non-union employees and employers; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will use its influence with the Workforce Development Councils to advocate for the use of union labor and the cessation of contracting out union jobs.
REGARDING CONSTRICTION OF SR 519 AND THE ISSUES OF TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT MOBILITY IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, THE CITY OF SEATTLE, AND THE PORT OF SEATTLE
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has provided oversight for and attempted to protect living wage jobs for workers of Washington State; and
WHEREAS, part of the protection of those jobs, particularly in the case of Longshore and Harbor workers in the Port of Seattle, consists of making sure that shippers moving cargo into and out of Port of Seattle terminals have unimpeded access to those facilities; and
WHEREAS, this exit and egress into piers on the Central and East Waterway is not only vital to workers involved in the maritime trades, it is vital to exporters from the east side of the state who are shipping their agricultural exports and industrial products to markets in the Orient; and
WHEREAS, to accomplish this need a freeway exit, SR 519, Phase Two, was supposed to be built coming off I-90, proceeding over the top of Royal Brougham Way, retouching the street surface near the intersection of First Avenue and Royal Brougham; and
WHEREAS, this exit was originally designed and signed off on by the stakeholders in the area in the late 1990’s, Phase Two of this project has not yet been built and completion of this vital link in our state’s transportation system must be completed to ensure future freight mobility needs in the Port of Seattle; and
WHEREAS, shipping throughput in the Port of Seattle is expected to double by the year 2015 and we must have infrastructure in place to meet these increased demands; and
WHEREAS, the SR 519 component of the state highway system is a crucial part of the access needs to Terminal 46 and the East Waterway; and
WHEREAS, this uncompleted link in the state highway system must be completed, in place and operational before repairs and reconstruction begin on the seawall of the central waterfront and the Alaska Way Viaduct so freight mobility needs in the state are protected; and
WHEREAS, close to one-third of the economic activity that occurs in Washington State is tied to the movement and transshipment of cargo through Puget Sound ports, creating family wage jobs that are the backbone of Washington’s economy; and
WHEREAS, freight mobility into and out of the Port of Seattle, particularly on the central waterfront and east waterway must be protected; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, monitor the status of the construction of SR 519 Phase Two, and lobby members of the Washington State Legislature next session to make sure this project is built in a way that contains the exit off of I-90 proceeding Royal Brougham to the waterfront; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Council will monitor the state transportation budget and advise the maritime community about the status of state freight mobility projects; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will help the ILWU become proactive in working toward protecting and advocating for future freight mobility needs.
RESOLUTION ON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
WHEREAS, the Department of Labor and Industries had initiated a process for developing Workers’ Compensation legislation for the 2007 legislative session; and
WHEREAS, Labor is participating in this process in good faith with the expectation that the process is intended to create benefits and a process that will be better for injured workers; and
WHEREAS, labor is all too aware that too many workers who enter into the Workers’ Comp system feel as if they have been treated unfairly; and
WHEREAS, the workers of Washington are the only workers in the country who contribute to the premiums that cover workers’ compensation losses and that workers in Washington contribute approximately 25% of premium to the state fund; and
WHEREAS, workers continue to feel abused by the frequency and quality of IMEs, by the Employability Standard, and by the lack of positive outcomes for workers injured so seriously that they cannot return to their former employment; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Department of Labor and Industries create no policy that circumvents the legislature’s intent and that will jeopardize any benefits as prescribed.
RESOLVED, that the 2006 WSLC Convention go on record clearly stating that under no circumstances should legislation be supported that would lead to a decline in benefits or that would lead to a lessening of procedural protections for injured workers and their families; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the delegates at the 2006 WSLC Convention will return to their locals and urge individual members to monitor, either through their local’s web site or through the WSLC web site, the status of workers’ compensation legislation and also urge their members to let their legislators and the Governor know their opinions regarding proposed legislation as it advances through the legislative process.
REGARDING CHANGE OF CONVENTION DATE
WHEREAS, the primary election for the State of Washington has been changed to the third week of August; and
WHEREAS, our current Constitution and By-Laws require that a constitutional convention be called on or near the third week of August; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliated labor organizations participate in primary elections; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council Constitution and By-Laws be amended by the 2006 Constitutional Convention to move future conventions to “on or near the first week of August”.
REGARDING ORGANIZING AND DEFENSE REVENUE
WHEREAS, under Article XI, Sec. 5 (a) of the WSLC Constitution it is established that three percent (3%) of per capita tax and affiliation fee revenues are to be credited to the Organization and Defense Fund; and
WHEREAS, actual dollars have been allocated to those funds since 1994; and
WHEREAS, the funds are now in excess of $200,000; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that beginning September 1, 2006, the three percent (3%) allocation will only be separated from normal per capita income when the funds for the Trade Sections fall below $100,000.
CALL FOR ENDING THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ AND AN IMMEDIATE PHASED WITHDRAWAL OF UNITED STATES TROOPS
WHEREAS, In 2004 the WSLC convention passed a resolution calling for an end to the occupation by U.S. forces in Iraq and the creating for a time table for the withdrawal of U.S. forces; and
WHEREAS, neither the occupation nor a time table for withdrawal has occurred and the situation in Iraq has grown increasingly worse with more U.S. forces being sent to Iraq; an admission by several active high ranking military officers in the field of battle that Iraq is now suffering from a civil war; and more U.S. soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians are needlessly dying and suffering as a result of the occupation; and
WHEREAS, the Bush Administration carried out an invasion of Iraq under the pretense that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the capability to deploy them and, therefore, posed an immediate threat to the security of the United States and the rest of the world; and
WHEREAS, after an extensive post-occupation search there is no evidence that Iraq possessed WMD or the capability to deploy them; and
WHEREAS, the war and military occupation of Iraq has cost the lives of a large number of U.S. troops, the wounding and disabling of thousands more, and death and injury to thousands of Iraqi civilians; and
WHEREAS, the war and occupation has cost the taxpayers of the United States hundreds of billions of dollars, while at the same time health care, education, social and human services, and veterans’ benefits are being cut; and
WHEREAS, part of the cost to taxpayers is to pay for contracts awarded to corporations that are overcharging government agencies for both occupation services and rebuilding projects; and
WHEREAS, according to an August 2006 poll by Princeton Survey Research, the American public overwhelmingly disapproves of the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq (62% disapprove, 34% approve) and feels that the Iraq War has not made America safer (63% not safer, 32% safer); and
WHEREAS, Iraqi trade unionists have visited with their American counterparts and asked that we do what we can to get our government to immediately withdraw from their country so the Iraqi workers and people can work out their own differences without an occupying army; and
WHEREAS, the continuing occupation of Iraq is one important reason why the United States is viewed with fear, distrust and hatred throughout the world; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, calls for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the U.S. Government begin immediately a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops, taking into account the safety of those troops, and to the extent possible, the safety of the Iraqi people so the U.S. soldiers and reservists can return to their homes and families; and, the Iraqi people can determine how to govern their country without an occupying force; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, communicate this resolution to our Congressional delegation and that we also publicize this position to the media and through our Web site; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, forward this resolution to the national AFL-CIO and recommend its adoption at the national level.
TAKE ACTION ON PERU & KOREAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS (FTAS)
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council and affiliate labor unions of Washington – working with our allies – achieved a historic victory in Washington State last year, when five Washington congressmen considered national “swing” voters voted against CAFTA, the Central America Free Trade Agreement.
WHEREAS, it is critically important that we build on this success and continue pressuring Washington State’s policymakers to support fair trade and to oppose NAFTA/CAFTA-type “free trade” agreements.
WHEREAS, on September 6-9, 2006, US and Korean delegates will be in Seattle to continue negotiations on the widely-contested US-Korean FTA, and meanwhile a contingent of Korean trade unionists and other civil society critics of this FTA will also be coming.
WHEREAS, in September 2006 it is also likely that the Peru FTA will be introduced into Congress, and again several Washington congressmen are considered “swing” voters.
WHEREAS, both the draft Korean FTA and the Peru FTA are based on the NAFTA model that has proven a disaster for working people both in the US and abroad; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED that the Washington State Labor Council will become involved and will encourage its affiliates to become involved in opposing these upcoming trade agreements by:
1. Taking an active part in events and rallies associated with the US-Korean negotiations in Seattle being organized through the AFL-CIO, Korean trade unionists, and other fair trade allies;
2. Working to defeat the Peru FTA when it comes to Congress;
3. Endorsing the Washington Fair Trade Coalition and working with the Coalition on the above issues and others in the future; and, be it finally
RESOLVED that the Washington State Labor Council will ask our affiliates and union member organizations who have not yet joined the Washington Fair Trade Coalition to do so.
IN SUPPORT OF A STATE BOILER LICENSE
WHEREAS, there are many boilers throughout the state of Washington that may or may not be safely operated by a trained operator; and
WHEREAS, depending on size, these boilers have the explosive power to lift buildings off their foundation, or to destroy a building completely or, under the right circumstances, have enough energy to launch a projectile into outer space; and
WHEREAS, the explosive power of boilers presents a danger to kill or seriously injure citizens and destroy property, if not properly operated in a safe manner; and
WHEREAS, there are only three (3) cities in the state of Washington that have a boiler operators’ license requirement to ensure the safe operation of boilers; and
WHEREAS, we believe that any person who operates a boiler needs to be properly trained and licensed to ensure the safety of both the citizens of the state of Washington and property; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will initiate and pursue a statewide boiler license law through the legislature; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that creation of a statewide boiler license law be a legislative priority for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will request that all affiliates support these legislative efforts; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that this resolution be communicated to all Washington State Labor Council affiliates and all other interested parties in Washington State.
REGARDING A “DO PATRONIZE LIST”
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council is widely considered to be the “voice of labor” in Washington State; and
WHEREAS, there are more than 500 local unions affiliated with the Washington State Labor Council; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council represents approximately 400,000 rank and file union members; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will contact its affiliates to develop a “Do Patronize List”; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council publish this list twice a year:
1. At our annual convention in print, starting in 2007;
2. On the website every year, starting just prior to Thanksgiving 2007 for the 2007 holiday season.
CONCERNING THE TRANSPORTATION WORKERS’ IDENTIFYING CREDENTIAL (TWIC CARD) AND CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR THE PURPOSES OF HOMELAND SECURITY
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has supported the protection of jobs in the maritime industry; and
WHEREAS, the maritime laws of the United States should be an aid and not a hindrance to the development and retention of a qualified maritime industry workforce; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports the development of security measures that protect U.S. ports and transportation systems from terrorism; and
WHEREAS, the current Department of Homeland Security proposal for Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC Card), includes a criminal background check disqualifier for work in the maritime industry that does not relate to the risk of terrorist action; and
WHEREAS, the currently proposed criteria of past criminality will unfairly eliminate qualified workers who have repaid their debt to society from the maritime industry workforce, forcing workers out of family wage jobs with no redress; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will demand that the Department of Homeland Security does not use a criminal record alone in judging a Transportation Workers Identity Card eligibility by itself; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that an appeal system outside of the Department of Homeland Security be established for individuals denied the issuance of a Transportation Workers Identity Card; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will contact the entire state Congressional Delegation to inform them of labor’s position on this matter.
PROTECTION OF FREE ACCESS TO THE TRUTH
WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the Constitution specifically forbids the enactment of any law limiting the freedom of the press; and
WHEREAS, the Bush administration is threatening to charge journalists with treason for disclosing illegal government actions; and
WHEREAS, it has also used the federal courts to jail journalists for refusing to divulge their sources; and
WHEREAS, the threatened legal actions all relate to media disclosures of illegal government actions that jeopardize the freedom, privacy and security of American citizens; and
WHEREAS, the free functioning of the media is essential for a well-informed democratic society; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will call on all members of the state’s Congressional Caucus, regardless of political affiliation, to reaffirm their support for the work of an unfettered free press; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that those members actively oppose any effort by the Bush administration to use coercion, threats or court action to block the right of the public to know the truth; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will endorse the immediate creation of a federal shield law to protect working journalists from government actions that would curtail their right to report and the public’s right to the truth.
ELIMINATING IRRESPONSIBLE CONTRACTORS ON PUBLIC WORKS CONSTRUCTION
WHEREAS, irresponsible contractors are constantly abusing the system of public works construction afforded by public tax dollars; and
WHEREAS, these same contractors may readily reapply for and receive their licenses again and again; and
WHEREAS, such practices create unfair burdens and unfair competition for legal contractors; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will fervently work together with all labor, community, and governmental agencies to institute the drafting of new laws to further penalize faulty contractors who abuse good contracting requirements in Washington State; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will seek to legislate into statute further penalties for contractors who abuse their privilege to bid prevailing wage work anywhere in the state of Washington.