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 2016 Convention held July 19-21 at the Coast Wenatchee Hotel and Convention Center.
(Some resolution numbers are skipped because those proposed resolutions were withdrawn, tabled, rejected, or merged with a similar submission.)
1. IN SUPPORT OF THE UNITED FARM WORKERS’ STRUGGLE TO PROTECT WASHINGTON DAIRY WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS AT DARIGOLD MEMBER DAIRY FARMS
2. ENDORSE THE CAMPAIGN TO TAKE ON WALL STREET
4. SUPPORT FOR H.R. 5396: MEDICARE DENTAL, VISION, AND HEARING BENEFIT ACT OF 2016
5. SUPPORT FOR THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH CENTER
7. RESOLUTION ON SOUND TRANSIT 3
8. RESOLUTION TO THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL ON FAIR SCHEDULING
9. RESOLUTION ON PAID FAMILY LEAVE
10. PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND HUMAN SERVICES BY REPLACING THE CAP ON PROPERTY TAX COLLECTION
12. RESOLUTION DEMANDING ACTION ON T-MOBILE’S ABUSIVE WORKER AND CONSUMER SALES PRACTICES
13. RESOLUTION ON CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL ORGANIZING COMMITTEES
14. DEFEND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
15. REGARDING SPECIALTY LICENSE PLATES REFLECTING LABOR SOLIDARITY
16. RESOLUTION ON ACTIVATING U.L.S.T.C. COMMITTEES IN CENTRAL AND REGIONAL LABOR COUNCILS
17. RESOLUTION TO AMEND THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO (WSLC) CONSTITUTION TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF VICE PRESIDENTS IN DISTRICT 5
18. RESOLUTION TO AMEND THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO (WSLC) CONSTITUTION TO ADD AN EXECUTIVE BOARD SEAT FOR A REPRESENTATIVE FROM AN AFFILIATED WASHINGTON STATE WORKER CENTER
20. RESOLUTION TO MAKE MINOR (HOUSEKEEPING) CHANGES TO THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO CONSTITUTION
21. RESOLUTION ON VOTING RIGHTS FOR CONSTITUENCY GROUP DELEGATES
22. AMEND THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO CONSTITUTION FOR ADEQUATE REVENUE
23. ENDING MASS INCARCERATION, AND PATHWAYS TO RE-ENTRY
24. REBUILDING OUR STATE’S INFRASTRUCTURE
25. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE INSURANCE
26. RAILROAD CONTRACT CREW TRANSPORTATION SAFETY
27. RAIL LINE ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT
28. RESOLUTION REGARDING RAILROAD WORKER AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGULATION AND LEGISLATION
29. RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LEGISLATION REQUIRING MINIMUM RAILROAD TRAIN CREW SIZE
30. RESOLUTION TO CREATE A STATE BANK OWNED BY AND FOR THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON STATE
31. IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION FOR WASHINGTON FILMWORKS
32. IN SUPPORT OF MAGNUSON STUDIOS
34. INVEST IN WASHINGTON — FAIR CONTRACT FOR STATE EMPLOYEES
35. CREATING A HEALTHY WORKPLACE FOR ALL WORKERS
36. SKILLED LABOR AND TRADES LEGISLATIVE ACTION
37. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF NAMING A SEGMENT OF S.R. 509 AS THE “PHILIP MARTIN LELLI MEMORIAL HIGHWAY“
39. REGARDING TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION TSOs
IN SUPPORT OF THE UNITED FARM WORKERS’ STRUGGLE TO PROTECT WASHINGTON DAIRY WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS AT DARIGOLD MEMBER DAIRY FARMS
WHEREAS, on February 25, 2015, Randy Vazquez drowned in a Darigold member dairy farm in Mabton, WA, and was left for seven hours submerged in a manure lagoon, which had no warning signs, fence, or lighting; and
WHEREAS, dairy workers are retaliated against for reporting dangerous working conditions, injuries, wage and hour theft, sexual harassment, animal abuse, lack of clean drinking water, verbal abuse, and exploitation, and have even been sued for speaking up; and
WHEREAS, more than 38,000 outraged Darigold consumers signed Randy’s widow’s online petition to prevent the next dairy worker fatality by asking Darigold to meet and work with the UFW; and
WHEREAS, Darigold has locked the doors and refused to meet and accept petitions delivered by the UFW, Randy Vazquez’ widow Nubia Guajardo, and their supporters; and
WHEREAS, Darigold has refused to meet with the UFW to resolve dairy workers’ health and safety issues; and
WHEREAS, dairy farm workers in Washington state get injured at rates 40% higher than in any other industry in the state; and
WHEREAS, one dairy farm worker is killed at work on average every 16 months; and
WHEREAS, Darigold has failed to provide a safe work environment to dairy workers; and
WHEREAS, Darigold farms are 92% of Washington’s dairies, and operate without industry-specific safety and health regulations by the Department of Labor and Industries; and
WHEREAS, in 2016 HB2484, the Protect Dairy Workers Act, was killed in the Appropriations Committee because of dairy industry pressure on legislators; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates will contact Darigold’s CEO and board members, requesting to have them immediately meet with the UFW, by calling, faxing, sending e-mails, or via mail; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, promote legislation and regulation to protect a safe and healthy work environments for all Washington State dairy workers; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates will support dairy workers by promoting their testimonies, actions and sponsoring dairy worker presentations at their local chapters; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates will support UFW’s actions, rallies and social media campaign informing their members and the public about the dairy workers’ struggle; ; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates will support the UFW by holding Darigold’s retail buyers accountable for Darigold’s member dairy farms’ poor working conditions.
ENDORSE THE CAMPAIGN TO TAKE ON WALL STREET
WHEREAS, the banking industry and the irresponsible lending practices of Wall Street firms were directly responsible for the recent Great Recession and the harm it did to millions of working people and their families; and
WHEREAS, the finance industry has had enough political clout to write the rules so that gambling with other people’s money has enriched a small group of hedge fund managers and financial speculators, thereby increasing the inequality of wealth and income in America; and
WHEREAS, a coalition of unions, including the American Postal Workers Union, has joined with advocacy groups in a campaign to “Take on Wall Street”; and
WHEREAS, the campaign to Take on Wall Street advocates for 1) ending “too big to fail” by breaking up the big banks; 2) creating a tax on Wall Street transactions that would discourage speculation and raise billions in revenue to fund education and infrastructure spending; 3) closing the “carried interest” tax loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay lower income taxes; 4) ending the tax loophole for multimillion dollar CEO bonuses; and 5) an end to predatory lending and access to consumer-friendly financial services through public options such as postal banking; ; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that this body declares its support for the Campaign to Take on Wall Street; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that this body shall urge its members and affiliates to participate in actions in support of the Campaign to Take on Wall Street.
SUPPORT FOR H.R. 5396: MEDICARE DENTAL, VISION, AND HEARING BENEFIT ACT OF 2016
WHEREAS, the current Medicare benefit package lacks coverage for dental, vision, and hearing care; and
WHEREAS, not only does Medicare not pay for these crucial health services, but current law specifically excludes them, resulting in a shortsighted and harmful policy that has serious ramifications for beneficiaries; and
WHEREAS, the lack of dental care is linked to numerous and varied kinds of health problems, including potentially fatal and costly conditions such as cardiovascular disease and oral cancers; and
WHEREAS, untreated vision disorders – which are among the most common and costly conditions facing the elderly – substantially increase the risk of expensive hospitalizations due to injuries associated with falls; and
WHEREAS, hearing loss, which is also pervasive among beneficiaries, often leads to social isolation, depression, and cognitive impairments, yet the majority of elderly Americans who need hearing aids do not have them – in large part due to costs; and
WHEREAS, H.R. 5396, the Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2016 recognizes that Medicare must be expanded to address the full spectrum of beneficiaries’ health needs; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the affiliated Locals and Councils, Executive Board, Officers and staff of the Washington State AFL-CIO call upon our elected officials in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to support H.R. 5396, the Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2016; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the affiliated Locals and Councils, Executive Board, Officers and staff of the Washington State AFL-CIO hold any of our elected officials in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives accountable for failure to support this bill through any means available.
SUPPORT FOR THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH CENTER
WHEREAS, expanding our labor research and education capacity is an important part of rebuilding the 21st century labor movement’s infrastructure and preparing the next generation of labor leaders to take the helm; and
WHEREAS, we recognize the continuing important work of the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center (WA LERC) as it helps workers understand their rights and their role in the labor movement, and builds leaders for the future; and
WHEREAS, the WA LERC will help supplement union-, worker-, and community-centered labor education, help us prepare current and future leaders for the unique challenges of the 21st century labor movement, help create a pathway for young people into unions and the labor movement more broadly, provide research support for issues important to working people and their families and communities, and reach out to labor’s community/coalition partners and community allies; and
WHEREAS, the budget of the WA LERC continues to be severely impacted by budget cuts as a result of the “Great Recession”; and
WHEREAS, the budget for the WA LERC is unacceptable relative to our vast labor education and research needs across Washington, and public funding is not currently forthcoming; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will approve a two-year funding campaign with the goal of raising $100,000 over the next two years to fund WA LERC by working with affiliates and the Advisory Committee for the WA LERC to secure pledges from unions and union allies, after which additional funding will be sought for this program through public funding; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State labor Council will show its commitment to this funding campaign by giving a financial contribution for the next two years to help build our labor education infrastructure.
RESOLUTION ON SOUND TRANSIT 3
WHEREAS the Greater Puget Sound Region’s traffic is the sixth worst in the country, the average driver losing 66 hours of his or her life each year due to gridlock; and
WHEREAS, relief from gridlock will get major help from the bold Sound Transit 3 plan (ST3) announced by Sound Transit, to go before the voters of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties this November; and
WHEREAS, ST3 will greatly expand mass transit in the Puget Sound region adding 62 miles of light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit, to the existing Sound Transit System and upon completion of ST3 we will have 116 miles of light rail — about the size Washington, D.C.’s Metro System — extending from Tacoma in the South, West Seattle and Ballard to the West, Issaquah and Redmond to the East, and Everett to the North; and
WHEREAS, ST3 will be a $54 billion infrastructure project creating about 50 million labor hours providing many tens of thousands of building and construction jobs and great opportunities for local hire and for new, young apprentices to join the trades and few years into the project and ST-3 will account for over 1 in 10 construction jobs through both good and bad economic cycles; and
WHEREAS, the wages from these jobs will be spent locally giving an economic boost to businesses in the region and bringing much needed tax revenue into state and local governments; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WA State Labor Council support the Mass Transit Now campaign to pass ST3 this November; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC engage with affiliated unions and community partners to endorse Mass Transit Now and pass ST3.
RESOLUTION TO THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL ON FAIR SCHEDULING
WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of workers in the retail and food service industries, and at other jobs, have been forced to live in uncertainty as to what their hours will be and when they will be notified of their schedules; and
WHEREAS, workers are often required to work the late shift and then turn around and work the morning shift without a safe amount of rest; and
WHEREAS, part-time work has increased and forced more workers to hold two or three jobs and be deprived of healthcare, retirement and other benefits; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WA State Labor Council support the fight for Fair Scheduling policy including a minimum of two weeks’ notice of the work schedule, 11 hours of rest between shifts, and access to more hours before a company hires more part-time help; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the WSLC engage with affiliated unions and Central Labor Councils as they work to get Secure Scheduling enacted in cities or counties.
RESOLUTION ON PAID FAMILY LEAVE
WHEREAS, children are the treasure of our community and studies prove that kids whose parents have paid parental leave at their jobs do better; and
WHEREAS, our elders have lived long lives in service to our economy, our community, and must have dignity, care and closeness to their loved ones as they age; and
WHEREAS, serious illness can cast a shadow on any worker, or family, and the time to care for a loved one is necessary to overcome or cope with such a tragedy; and
WHEREAS, our nation lags the world in providing Paid Family Leave benefits to workers; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WA State Labor Council support the statewide fight for Paid Family Leave for parents and workers who are caring for loved ones; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC engage with affiliates, community partners and Central Labor Councils as they work to get Paid Family Leave enacted in cities or counties.
PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND HUMAN SERVICES BY REPLACING THE CAP ON PROPERTY TAX COLLECTION
WHEREAS, due to population growth and inflation, the cost of providing essential public services rises 3-5% every year for cities, counties and fire districts; and
WHEREAS, the legislature in 2007 enacted an arbitrary cap on property tax growth to 1% per year for local jurisdictions with tax-levying authority; and
WHEREAS, over the last dozen years, local governments have taken extreme measures to reduce costs, from laying off workers, to instituting furloughs, to cutting critical programs and services; and
WHEREAS, this artificial cap creates an ever-widening structural gap between the cost of providing critical public services and the revenue needed to pay for them; and
WHEREAS, this structural gap presents a permanent problem for local government budgets, forcing ongoing cuts to vital criminal justice, public health, and basic human services programs, and reductions in the public workforce who deliver those programs; and
WHEREAS, in most communities across the state the cost of eliminating the structural gap to average homeowners will be between $5 and $40 annually; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and their affiliates oppose the arbitrary cap on local property tax collection, and instead support policies that link revenue growth to the same economic factors influencing costs like inflation and population growth, and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, incorporate into its 2017 Legislative Agenda efforts related to lifting this arbitrary cap.
RESOLUTION DEMANDING ACTION ON T-MOBILE’S ABUSIVE WORKER AND CONSUMER SALES PRACTICES
WHEREAS, T-Mobile has repeatedly violated U.S. labor law. In March of 2015 the NLRB found it guilty on 11 counts nationwide of illegally and systematically hindering workers’ rights to act collectively through a range of corporate policies embodied in its employee handbook, confidentiality agreement, code of business conduct and employee acknowledgement form; and
WHEREAS, in August of 2015 another judge found T-Mobile guilty of illegally requiring workers to sign non-disclosure agreement when they complained of sexual harassment. The non-disclosure agreements would have prohibited the workers from discussing their experiences with anyone other than T-Mobile management or its lawyers or risk losing their jobs; and
WHEREAS, in June of 2016 yet another NLRB judge found T-Mobile guilty of a litany of offenses including telling employees that they could not discuss a union in company work areas and coercively surveilling and interrogating employees; and
WHEREAS, T-Mobile also abuses consumer rights in its marketing and sales practices; in 2013 the Washington State Attorney General entered into a court-ordered agreement with T-Mobile, effective nationwide, that would require the company to correct deceptive advertising that promised consumers no annual contracts while carrying hidden charges for early termination of phone plans; and
WHEREAS, T-Mobile signed an Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD) which was filed in King County Superior Court in which the company agreed not to misrepresent that its contracts have no restrictions or limitation and to adequately disclose consumer obligations under its contracts; and
WHEREAS, a recent report indicates that T-Mobile has not corrected its abusive consumer marketing practices; Change to Win Retail Initiatives investigated T-Mobile’s sales practices and issued a report in December 2015, Un-Masking the Un-Carrier, documenting a continuing nationwide program of false advertising of “no contract” service agreements, failure to deliver on promises of repayment of “early termination fees, and a record number of consumer complaints about unfair debt collection practices; and
WHEREAS, T-Mobile is headquartered in the state of Washington and is the fastest growing mobile service provider in the U.S. and its practices of worker and consumer abuse may unduly influence labor and retail practices in the state and in the mobile communications industry; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will communicate to the Washington State Congressional delegation that the working families of this state will not tolerate the abuse of worker rights and consumer rights as practiced by T-Mobile and urge them to communicate with the Federal Communications Commission about these practices and to urge the FCC to investigate T-Mobile’s practices; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council is also instructed to communicate with the Washington State Attorney General to reopen the investigation of T-Mobile’s advertising and marketing practices and to join with other states’ Attorneys General to launch a true nationwide investigation that will put an end to deceptive and abusive marketing and sales practices at T-Mobile.
RESOLUTION ON CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL ORGANIZING COMMITTEES
WHEREAS, in the process of fulfilling a previous resolution to increase organizing, the State Labor Council initiated discussions on innovative organizing focusing initially in Pierce and Snohomish counties; and
WHEREAS, recognizing that our State and National economy is undergoing major shifts in how employment is defined; and
WHEREAS, given this shift, our movement needs to adapt to the changing nature of work best illustrated in the growth of contracting out, perma-temping of work, temporary and contingent workforces dependent upon app based technologies for dispatch, and other employer schemes that aim to disempower workers; and
WHEREAS, employers from Boeing to small businesses have well planned and strategic pathways to reduce the cost of labor and disassociate themselves from the normal responsibilities that are usually defined in an employer-employee relationship; and
WHEREAS, these changes drive down working conditions and harm all workers, both private and public sector, and the communities they live in; and
WHEREAS, while affecting all workers, these changes have a disproportionate impact on communities that historically have been economically marginalized, including immigrants and people of color; and
WHEREAS, as the labor movement we have a vision of a just economy that provides good jobs and basic human needs for all; and
WHEREAS, we recognize that for our vision to prevail we have to organize many more workers into unions in order to have power in the 21st Century economy,
THEREFORE be it resolved that, the WSLC encourages all CLC’s to form Organizing Committees within the first quarter of 2017, for the purpose of advancing discussions within the local labor community about how we evolve our local labor movements to relevancy and organizing for a twenty first century labor force; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that these newly created Organizing Committees, with support from the WSLC, will research potential organizing targets in their communities and will compile information on key Union and Community Allies that could unite to take on organizing campaigns; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that these newly formed committees will evaluate prospects for combining local resources for research, funding and launching innovative organizing efforts and where possible will support new organizing campaigns; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Organizing Committees will report back to the delegates at the 2017 WSLC Convention.
DEFEND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
WHEREAS, reproductive rights are human rights and are recognized as such by our highest court and in international human rights documents, such as the United Nationals International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and, more recently, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Texas Abortion Law; and
WHEREAS, the right to choose abortion is essential to preserve women’s status as independent citizens and strengthens the labor movement, which depends on having women within its ranks and on solidarity between men and women; and
WHEREAS, extremist organizations and some federal and state elected officials have tried for decades to eliminate women’s reproductive choices by passing laws requiring medically unnecessary requirements for abortion clinics and providers, and trying to cut funding for health clinics like Planned Parenthood, which is the only source of general health care for millions of women; and
WHEREAS, women facing difficult reproductive choices have been publicly vilified and forced to proceed through angry, noisy and threatening crowds in order to exercise their legal reproductive rights; and
WHEREAS, legislators, courts, religious institutions and private businesses have succeeded in placing severe restrictions on access to reproductive rights options that are fully lawful, and supported by a majority of our country’s residents, resulting in some women having to resort to dangerous alternatives rather than travel hundreds of miles to the nearest clinic offering safe abortion services; and
WHEREAS, there is also an increase of murder, arson, threats, harassment and intimidation of clients, their friends and families, providers of abortion and other legal birth control methods, an example being the attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs resulting in three deaths on November 27, 2015; and
WHEREAS, with women making up nearly half of the American workforce, it is crucial that the labor movement continue to defend the rights of all women against any effort to dictate the availability of the full spectrum of reproductive services as part of their health care; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, affirms that reproductive rights are essential to full citizenship and will defend and support efforts to obtain and maintain health care for women, covering all reproductive rights choices, including abortion and contraception; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that this resolution will be communicated to the Governor of the State of Washington, and elected U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives, and request that they oppose any legislation that restricts reproductive rights.
REGARDING SPECIALTY LICENSE PLATES REFLECTING LABOR SOLIDARITY
WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Licensing currently offers 46 special design license plates; and
WHEREAS, Washington is one of the most union-dense states in the nation with over 500,000 union members; and
WHEREAS, Washington is under unprecedented attacks from anti-labor groups seeking to defund our unions, shrink our membership and lower labor standards for all workers; and
WHEREAS, union across Washington State have committed to “outside-of-the-box” organizing and educating the public on the value that high labor standards contribute to our state’s economy and public services; and
WHEREAS, Massachusetts offers a Solidarity license plate featuring the image of a raised clenched hand, a symbol of strength and unity, with the word, “Solidarity” along the bottom of the plate; and
WHEREAS, New York state offers a “Union Yes” license plate with the familiar checked-box logo; and
WHEREAS, many specialty license plate proceeds in Washington are directed to charitable organizations dedicated to the cause which is displayed on the plate; and
WHEREAS; a similarly styled specialty license plate for labor in Washington is a common sense way to make an everyday public display of unity and our common values for economic and workplace fairness in the face of attacks to the standards we have fought to build over many decades; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, affirms its support for a specialty license plate reflecting labor solidarity by supporting legislation adding a section to Chapter 46.18 RCW to include a directive to the Department of Licensing to create, design, and issue a special labor license plate that may be used in lieu of standard issue license plates for motor vehicles; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will convene a panel of interested unions, to be the decision-making body, to assist in the design of the specialty license plates; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that all proceeds from sale of the labor specialty license plates will be directed to the South Seattle College Foundation for the benefit of the Washington State Labor Education Research Center.
RESOLUTION ON ACTIVATING U.L.S.T.C. COMMITTEES IN CENTRAL AND REGIONAL LABOR COUNCILS
WHEREAS, many union members and non-union members look for union made goods and services as a way to support good jobs with decent pay and benefits for the people who produce the ware and services that they purchase; and
WHEREAS, it is too often difficult to determine whether goods are made in the United States, let alone made by union workers; and
WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of union workers and their unions to provide the public with information concerning whether products and services are union made; and
WHEREAS, in 2013, the AFL-CIO adopted Resolution 489 resolving that affiliated unions are encouraged to negotiate language in collective bargaining agreements that requires a union label verifying that products and services are made or provided by union workers; and
WHEREAS, most, but not all, Regional and Central Labor Councils in Washington have ULSTC Committees established whose goal is to promote the use of unions goods and services; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council has a Union Goods and Services (Buy Union) Standing Committee whose mission is to “help strengthen and grow the labor movement with the promotion of products and services produced by union members and to help generate greater demand for products and services bearing the Union Label”; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, the WSLC Union Goods and Services (Buy Union) Standing Committee will distribute a toolkit to Central and Regional Labor Councils with ULSTC Committees that includes the following recommendations:
- Invitation to ULSTC chairs to establish active ULSTC (Buy Union) chapters in their CLC’s and designate someone other than the president as the ULSTC Chair;
- Use only Union made food purchased from Union groceries or caterers, and Union services during meetings, and point this out during the meeting, wherever possible;
- Use shared promotional materials during meetings on the use of union goods and services;
- Links to the “The Stand” for updates on Union Goods and Services.
RESOLUTION TO AMEND THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO (WSLC) CONSTITUTION TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF VICE PRESIDENTS IN DISTRICT 5
WHEREAS, the number of Vice Presidents to the WSLC was created based on the number of affiliated members in each district; and
WHEREAS, the number of affiliated members in District 5 as increased to over 14,000 people; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that an additional Vice President be added to District 5, modifying the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO Constitution, Article V.4 to read:
V.4. The Vice-Presidents of the Washington State Labor Council shall be elected on the following schedule:
District 1: There shall be five (5) Vice Presidents from the First District, which shall constitute all of King County.
District 2: There shall be three (3) Vice Presidents from the Second District, which constitutes Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties.
District 3: There shall be three (3) Vice Presidents from the Third District, which constitutes Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania, Thurston and Wahkiakum counties.
District 4: There shall be three (3) Vice Presidents from the Fourth District, which constitutes Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, Walla Walla and Yakima counties.
District 5: There shall be
two (2) three (3) Vice Presidents from the Fifth District, which constitutes Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Whitman counties.
District 6: There shall be three (3) Vice Presidents from the Sixth District, which constitutes Clallam, Kitsap, Jefferson and Pierce counties.
RESOLUTION TO AMEND THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO (WSLC) CONSTITUTION TO ADD AN EXECUTIVE BOARD SEAT FOR A REPRESENTATIVE FROM AN AFFILIATED WASHINGTON STATE WORKER CENTER
WHEREAS, in 2006, the AFL-CIO began to formalize its relationship with the flourishing worker center movement — domestically and internationally; and
WHEREAS, over the last decade, worker centers and other non-union worker groups have evolved as new frontiers in labor organizing, often working with low-wage and immigrant workers and, in Washington state, as elsewhere in the nation, labor leaders have been instrumental partners in helping build innovative collaborations with worker centers; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, was one of the first state federations in the country to affiliate a Worker Center, Casa Latina; and
WHEREAS, it is vital to the Labor Movement in Washington State that we continue to build these collaborations; and
WHEREAS, we are committed to fully engaging with Worker Centers and such engagement should include meaningful decision-making input from Worker Centers; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will revise its Constitution to include a Worker Center representative as a Vice President on its Executive Board, by adding to Article V.1 a new section (d) which reads:
V.1 (d) Worker Centers affiliated with the WSLC and the AFL-CIO shall have one (1) seat on the board with voice and vote.
RESOLUTION TO MAKE MINOR (HOUSEKEEPING) CHANGES TO THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO CONSTITUTION
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC) Constitution and Bylaws are living documents; and
WHEREAS, as changes occur in practice and procedure, the WSLC Constitution and Bylaws should also be updated; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Constitution be revised as follows:
1. Article IV. Sec 14 and Article XI Sec 5(a): Change from March to January consistent with fiscal year:
IV.14. The number of delegates to which a local union is entitled shall be determined by the average per capita tax paid for the twelve (12) months immediately preceding
March January 1st of the convention year.
XI.5(a) Sec. 5. All revenue from per capita tax and affiliation fees shall be credited to the general fund except as provided herein:
(a) Three per cent (3%) of the revenue from per capita tax and affiliation fees paid by local unions shall be credited to the Organization and Defense Fund to be used for organization and defense work. Beginning September 1, 2012, 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 and will be distributed up to the ratio each section bears to the total membership of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. In the event a Section’s monies become depleted prior to the total balance dropping below $100,000, the Executive Board is empowered to backfill the deficiency by a majority vote. Twenty-five (25) per cent of the funds allocated to the various sections shall be set aside to defray the costs of operating the sections. Monies from the organization and defense funds shall be disbursed by the Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council only in compliance with Section 3, Article IX, of this Constitution. An annual report of the monies disbursed for the operation of the sections shall be submitted to the Secretary Treasurer not later than
July March 1st, covering the period of the Council’s fiscal year, for inclusion in the Secretary Treasurer’s report to the convention.
2. Article IV. Sec 15: clarifies language:
IV.15. Local unions re-affiliating or local unions newly affiliated for less than the base period shall have their representation computed from the month of affiliation and shall be determined by dividing the total per capita tax paid for all months affiliated by the number of months affiliated or by twelve (12), whichever
is greater yields the greater number.
3. Article IV. Sec 21.a – reduces minimum number of convention committee members:
IV.21. (a) The following convention committees, to consist of not less than
nine (9) five (5) or more than twenty-one (21) members each, shall be appointed by the President, in consultation with the Secretary Treasurer. Other committees may be established by the President or the Executive Board as required.
4. Article V.1 corrects number of Executive Board members:
V.1. The officers of this organization shall consist of a President and a Secretary Treasurer, both of whom shall be full-time salaried officers, and
twenty (20) twenty-nine (29)* Vice Presidents elected on the basis of the schedule found in Section 4 of this Article. These officers shall constitute the Executive Board of the Washington State Labor Council, provided that notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution, the Executive Board shall be empowered to authorize the appointment of additional Vice Presidents if circumstances warrant. Any International that pays per capita on 10,000 or more members will have a seat on the Board by appointment if they do not have one by election. The WSLC will undertake all reasonable efforts to ensure diversity of representation at every level.
* Thirty (30) if resolution to add VP to the Fifth District is passed. Thirty-one (31) if the resolutions to include Worker Center VP are passed.
5. Article V.20(a): corrects to allow time for mail before counting:
V.Sec. 20(a) The election board shall meet at the headquarters office at
10 a.m. 12 p.m. on the Thursday following the first Monday in December. It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary Treasurer to notify the election board as to the specific day they shall meet.
6. Article VII.1(f) Changes date for directory to March 31 rather than May:
VII.1(f) As of
May March 31 each year, compile a list of affiliated organizations and the post office address of each and mail to each affiliated organization;
7. Article X.5: corrects for accurate Rule number:
X.Sec. 5. The decision of the Executive Board under Section 3 or 4 shall be final and binding unless appealed to the AFL-CIO as provided in Rule
27 26 of the AFL-CIO Rules Governing State Central Bodies. The decision of the Executive Board shall remain in effect during the appeal unless reversed, modified, or temporarily stayed by the AFL-CIO.
8. Article XII.1: adds language about electronic funds process approved by AFL-CIO:
Sec. 1. All funds received by the Washington State Labor Council shall be immediately deposited in federally insured financial institutions. No money shall be paid out except by check bearing the signature of the President and Secretary Treasurer or by electronic fund transfer in accordance with the AFL-CIO Rules for Electronic Banking and the policies and procedures of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
9. Article XII.7: Recognizes passwords and electronic devices:
Sec. 7. Officers shall, at the expiration of their terms of office, deliver to their successors all monies, securities
and, papers, electronic devices and passwords of the Council which may be under their control.
RESOLUTION ON VOTING RIGHTS FOR CONSTITUENCY GROUP DELEGATES
WHEREAS, the Constituency Groups for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC) represent the voice of many workers across the state; and
WHEREAS, Constituency Group officers and delegates to WSLC conventions are members of affiliated unions; and
WHEREAS, Constituency Groups with 501C(3) tax status are prohibited from engaging in political activities, and thus have no voice or vote on candidate endorsement, and voice but no vote on ballot initiatives; and
WHEREAS, many Constituency Groups have a tax status other than 501C(3) that enables them to participate in political activities; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED that Article III. Section 1.i of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO Constitution will be revised so that only Constituency Groups with 501C(3) tax status are prohibited from having voice or vote on political matters. The new language will read:
(i) A state chapter, or local chapter if no state chapter exists, of an AFL-CIO constituency group shall be entitled to one (1) delegate and one (1) vote. No AFL-CIO constituency group or its delegate may be present for or have a voice or vote in any meeting or proceeding concerning the endorsement of a political candidate if they have only 501C(3) tax status. However, a constituency group with only 501C(3) tax status or its delegate may be present and have voice but no vote in discussions regarding ballot initiatives.
And be it further
RESOLVED that Article V.1(a) will be revised to read:
V.1 (a) Constituency Groups affiliated with the National AFL-CIO and the Washington State Labor Council shall have a seat on the board with vote and voice, except as noted in Article III.1.i;
V.1 (b) The Washington Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) shall have a seat on the Board with voice and vote. This representative shall be from a local union affiliated with the Washington State Labor Council, except as noted in Article III.1.i;
V.1 (c) The WA Young Emerging Labor Leaders (WA YELL) shall have a seat on the Board with voice and vote. This representative shall be from a local union affiliated with the Washington State Labor Council, except as noted in Article III.1.i;
And be it finally
RESOLVED that the COPE Bylaws, Article III.1 will be revised to read:
III.1 Statewide COPE is a permanent committee of the Washington State Labor Council and shall be composed of the following members:
1. The Executive Board of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, except constituency group representatives from constituency groups with only 501C(3) tax status.
AMEND THE WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO CONSTITUTION FOR ADEQUATE REVENUE
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC) serves affiliated unions strategically, legislatively, and politically and as well serves as the communication arm of the labor movement, with the purpose of building labor solidarity in the state; and
WHEREAS, the WSLC has not increased per capita dues since 2005; and
WHEREAS, costs to the WSLC for wages and benefits, and general costs have increased over the past 11 years; and
WHEREAS, the WSLC continues an ambitious program to advance the interests of working people in Washington through special projects including:
Piloting local area organizing projects; racial justice trainings; Yakima Valley community labor coalition; candidate leadership and development training; expanded Labor Neighbor and voter registration program; strengthening our labor education and archives capacity; among many others; and
WHEREAS, we must build for expansion to continue leading the struggle to build worker power and strength in Washington State; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that Article XI.1(a) of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO Constitution be amended as follows:
X.1. The revenue of the Washington State Labor Council shall be derived as follows:
January 1, 2005 September 1, 2016, a per capita tax of eighty-five (85) cents one dollar ($1.00) per member per month payable monthly from all local unions on full membership within the jurisdiction of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Per capita tax shall be due on the first of each month.
ENDING MASS INCARCERATION, AND PATHWAYS TO RE-ENTRY
WHEREAS, the United States has more people in jail than any other country in the world, with 7 million people under correctional control (prison, jail, probation, parole); and
WHEREAS, incarceration rates in the U.S. have increased 700% over the last forty years despite the crime rate falling dramatically, causing 1 in 4 Americans (65 million people) to have criminal records; and
WHEREAS, application forms that require applicants to check a box that they have been convicted of a felony result in the majority of former inmates not receiving job interviews; and
WHEREAS, the extreme burden of Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) at 12% interest, causes the debt of inmates to dramatically rise during incarceration, creating a prison- to-debt-to-prison cycle; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will convene stakeholder affiliates and advocates in labor and the community to discuss and work on policies which will help to break the school-to-prison pipeline through sentence reduction for non-serious, non-violent crimes, second chance opportunities, including Ban the Box, and lowering LFO obligations and other measures to reform the criminal justice system; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that this stakeholder group promote educational forums and trainings such as the AFL-CIO Criminal Justice Reform – A Common Sense Economic Module on Mass Incarceration that focus on mass incarceration and actions we can take to address this issue.
REBUILDING OUR STATE’S INFRASTRUCTURE
WHEREAS, the United States and Washington State have a crisis of failing infrastructure, receiving extremely low grades from the American Society for Civil Engineers; and
WHEREAS, our safety as a nation is threatened by failing roads, bridges, tunnels, pipelines, water systems, and other vital infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, the impact of climate change further threatens public safety and the viability of our infrastructure system; and
WHEREAS, it is estimated that we have a $2 trillion investment need for infrastructure repair; and
WHEREAS, investing in our public infrastructure will not only increase the safety and security of our state and country, but will create tens of thousands of local jobs and millions of jobs across the country; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State labor Council, AFL-CIO, will convene interested unions, community partners, affiliates, and political leaders to develop a strategic plan to rebuild and repair our failing infrastructure.
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE INSURANCE
WHEREAS, workers, from time to time, need longer periods of time off to welcome a new child, recover from serious illness or injury, or care for a family member; and
WHEREAS, only 12% of the private sector workers get paid family leave; and
WHEREAS, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act does not provide pay or even cover the more than 4 in 10 workers in companies with fewer than 50 employees, or who have changed jobs or worked fewer than 1,250 hour in the previous year; and
WHEREAS, workers already struggling with low wages—disproportionately women and people of color—are least likely to have any kind of paid leave and simply can’t afford time off without pay; and
WHEREAS, lack of paid family and medical leave exacerbates racial, gender, and income inequality, impacting family economic security, career opportunities, and retirement income; and
WHEREAS, nearly 2 out of 3 U.S. women who give birth are in the workforce, and the U.S. is the only major country that does not guarantee paid maternity leave; and
WHEREAS, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. workers provides unpaid care to a family member, often resulting in lost income and negative health impacts, and with our aging population these numbers are expected to increase; and
WHEREAS, investing our families pays off. Mothers and fathers with family and medical leave insurance leave take longer leaves to care for their new born or newly adopted children, and women with paid maternity leave have fewer health complications following birth and are more likely to be working and have higher wages a year following childbirth; and
WHEREAS, babies whose parents have family and medical leave insurance are breastfed longer, get better preventive care, and have stronger foundations for lifelong health and social development; and
WHEREAS, in 2007, the Washington State Legislature passed a limited Family and Medical Leave Insurance program, but did not fund the program and has eliminated an implementation date; and
WHEREAS, other states, including California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York, have successfully established programs that provide partial wage replacement during extended leaves to care for a new child or sick family member, or for the worker’s own disability or serious health condition, funded through modest payroll taxes; and
WHEREAS, the “Washington Work and Family Coalition” has developed legislation to expand and fully fund and expand the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program to include caring for ill family members and the worker’s own disability as well as care of a new child, along with longer periods of leave, higher benefits, and premiums based on a percentage of workers’ pay; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, support the principle and practice of family and medical leave insurance and will work with the “Washington Work and Family Coalition” to promote an expanded family and medical leave insurance program in the state of Washington.
RAILROAD CONTRACT CREW TRANSPORTATION SAFETY
WHEREAS, railroads in Washington State employ over 2,700 operating craft workers who perform work aboard moving trains; and
WHEREAS, railroad operations require that railroad operating crews be transported to and from trains and in deadhead transportation all across our state on a 24/7/365 basis in all weather conditions, on public roads and highways as well as in rural areas on private unpaved roads and trails; and
WHEREAS, railroads once provided such transportation services in-house subject to state regulation, with a staff of unionized and qualified clerks who functioned as drivers; in the late 1980’s the railroad companies eliminated these workers and outsourced these services to unregulated, out of state, lowest bid contract operators, after which the safety of rail crew transportation has continuously declined, while accidents and injuries increased; and
WHEREAS, three rail employees died and another was critically injured in a tragic needless accident near Longview, WA. in March of 2011, while occupying a crew hauling transport van operated by a non-railroad contract company which was struck by a moving train at a private crossing on railroad property; and
WHEREAS, our legislature has failed for four consecutive years to pass legislation to address these problems, resulting in a continuing occurrence of railroad crew fatalities and accidents in contracted transportation vehicles, including the following:
- On May 1, 2013 an accident occurred about 10 miles N. of Pasco, WA. A Crew was in route from Spokane to Pasco – when an accident occurred involving the crew van being sandwiched between two semis. All the occupants were injured – one was off work for many months.
- On October 10, 2013, at 8:00 a.m., a crew transport van with four railroad crew members was traveling from Pasco, WA, to Vancouver, WA, on I-84 when the driver drove off the road near Hood River, OR, injuring two of the four railroad employees. The driver has been charged with reckless driving, and it has been reported that one of employees was injured so severely that he will never be able to return to work on the railroad.
- On November 13, 2013, a driver was assigned to pick up a rail crew at a rural siding near Pasco, WA. The driver, proceeding at 50 mph in dense fog, failed to slow down and stop at a “T” intersection, driving through the intersection, off the road, and into a field. All railroad crewmembers riding in the van were injured.
- On February 21, 2014, at approximately 9:15 a.m., crew van #711, operated by QM Shuttle Services, was nearly struck by a southbound Amtrak train in Burlington, WA. The van had just dropped off a BNSF rail crew at a nearby location. The Amtrak engineer reported that the crew van backed off the tracks just a split second before they would have collided; and
- On September 18, 2015 – A PTI van transporting crews (4 passengers) from Pasco yard was attempting to make left turn across the opposing lane of traffic (in a 65 mph zone), they were stopped waiting for traffic to clear in opposing lane – a vehicle in opposite lane struck the crew van as it turned in a T-bone collision. Two of the injured crew members are in litigation.
- On January 20, 2016 a PTI crew van transporting a Washington state crew traveling between Vancouver, WA and Pasco, WA was rear ended by a semi in Portland, OR. None of the railroad employee passengers have yet returned to work. One member suffered cracked vertebrae and will never be able to return to work. After the accident, the PTI crew van driver tested positive for both alcohol and drugs; and
WHEREAS, railroad contract crew transportation operations have contributed to many other injurious accidents affecting railroad workers including the loss of many railroad careers; and
WHEREAS, these out-of-state contract operators pay their drivers poverty wages based on waiting times and mileage, resulting in extremely high turnover rates; fail to ensure that their drivers are physically able to perform the duties of the job, nor are drivers screened for adequate vision; are not required to meet DOT driver physical standards; do not adequately check their drivers’ backgrounds for criminal histories and drug or alcohol-related issues; do not require drivers to demonstrate a working knowledge of safe driving practices associated with transporting rail crews in all weather conditions on a round the clock basis; do not ensure that their drivers are properly trained for the hazards associated with driving around and near railroad operations; do not implement specific route training and familiarization; and do not have adequate driver fatigue abatement practices; and
WHEREAS, in December 2014 a Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission inspection revealed 188 Administrative Code Violations resulting in the assessment of a civil penalty of $18,800 against Professional Transportation Inc. (PTI) the primary railroad crew transportation contractor operating in our state, and
WHEREAS, in June 2016, a Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission compliance follow-up inspection discovered that PTI had committed yet another 324 new Administrative Code Violations resulting in the assessment of a civil penalty of $170,900 against PTI; and
WHEREAS, railroad employees are not covered or protected under state labor and industry coverage while working; instead rail workplace injuries fall under the Federal Employers Liability Act of 1908, in which rail worker injury protection hinges entirely on fault. This creates a unique absence of protection affecting no other workers in Washington State except railroad employees when injured while riding in employer provided transportation. In rail crew transportation accidents that are the fault of third parties, with no fault on the part of the railroad, the contract crew hauling firm or their driver, a railroad worker has minimal to no coverage and may have no recourse even in the most critical or deadly accidents; and
WHEREAS, the BNSF Railway Company and the Union Pacific Railroad continue to steadfastly oppose any efforts to require their contractors to maintain adequate uninsured motorist insurance coverage to provide adequate protection for rail workers, or increase state oversight into these largely unregulated operations, or increase the minimum qualification of such drivers; and
WHEREAS, the railroad companies have engaged in a despicable ongoing campaign of misinformation, deceit, and misrepresentation in order to block passage of this critical legislation, including issuing completely false assertions that through this legislation our rail labor organizations are seeking only to unionize the contract van drivers and put the van transportation companies out of business; and
WHEREAS, such contract van services utilized by the railroads operate with minimal regulation or government oversight, and the drivers for these service companies have no requisite training or requirements greater than any other private non-commercial licensed drivers; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council strongly supports, endorses and demands the immediate enactment of Railroad Contract Crew Transportation Safety legislation that imposes a minimum uninsured motorist insurance requirement sufficient to protect a full vehicle of employees in a catastrophic accident, requires such drivers possess and maintain commercial driver’s licenses, and provides appropriate state agencies will full safety enforcement authority over these contract operators to ensure safe transportation for passengers; and we hereby strongly encourage the passage of this legislation within our 2017 Washington State Labor Council Legislative Agenda; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council send a copy of this resolution to all members of the legislature.
RAIL LINE ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT
WHEREAS, the fiery crash of an oil train in Mosier, Oregon along the Columbia River on June 3 places a heightened focus on the safety challenges posed by Crude by Rail shipments. The Mosier derailment resulted in forced evacuations, a regional first-responder alert, and shutdown of a wastewater treatment facility polluted by spilled oil. Fate was on the side of Mosier as unusually calm winds aided in containing and controlling the oil fire; and
WHEREAS, significant oil train derailments leading to spills, and some to fires, have totaled over twenty-five in North America over the past 10 years with the Lac Megantic’, Canada disaster of 2013 the most devastating: 47 people incinerated; and
WHEREAS, in years past as crude by rail dominated capacity as the profit generators for the railroad, ports and agricultural producers faced increased delays in getting other food related commodities to market. Additionally, knee jerk manpower reductions by efficiency fixated rail management resulted in crew shortages that further impacted rail capacity. Now that energy prices are lower, many railroads have furloughed recently hired workers and mothballed locomotives waiting for the next commodity surge to fill capacity; and
WHEREAS, railroad labor whistleblowers have brought many railroad carrier operational and safety shortfalls into the public spotlight, there is a long way to go in improving rail worker safety. Minimum, mandatory two-person train crews are essential, crew fatigue issues must be addressed, and adequate and available rail crews who are properly trained and maintained are essential; and
WHEREAS, by illuminating the pitfalls of dangerous commodity transportation, other opportunities can be progressed demonstrating the vital importance of modern infrastructure to improve upon the overall plight of all workers; and
WHEREAS, within organized labor, most support improvements and upgrades to infrastructure and recognize the importance trade has to the Washington State economy. However, improved bulk commodity infrastructure has drawn the wrath of many because of the commodities that are shipped today. We believe rail and trade modernization opportunities made today are essential in attracting the trade commodities of tomorrow; and
WHEREAS, a strategy for rail line electrification provides an opportunity to create an even more sustainable transportation mode and a pathway for providing economic options beyond diesel power. The Solutionary Rail concept provides a transition strategy that leverages rail’s unique capacity among long-haul transportation modes to operate on electricity, unlike many other modalities. Solutionary Rail centers on electrification of major rail lines using renewable energy; and
WHEREAS, in conjunction with a program of track modernization, the Solutionary Rail concept would enable increased speeds, capacity and reliability. It is not a proposal for high-speed passenger rail that must run on its own line. Rather, it is for practical increases in speeds, attracting back freight cargo and passenger services previously lost, and would modernized existing rail line to carry both; and
WHEREAS, by providing a low-carbon transportation option, the Solutionary Rail proposition would provide significant climate benefits. Rail electrification could also be leveraged to create transmission corridors for renewable resources now stranded by lack of capacity, providing even greater carbon reductions; and
WHEREAS, the Solutionary Rail team developed a concept to overcome these hurdles, a Steel Interstate Development Authority (SIDA) created by an alliance of state governments. The SIDA raises funds in public capital markets and joins in public-private partnerships with railroad companies to erect electrification infrastructure and potentially fund track upgrades; and
WHEREAS, Solutionary Rail proposes a demonstration on one major line to jumpstart rail electrification in the U.S. The team has identified the BNSF “Hi-Line” corridor for initial rollout of the concept. It is the intermodal line from Seattle to Chicago on which higher speed is critical and it also runs through some of the most wind-rich regions in the world; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that to further the concept, the Washington State Labor Council calls on Governor Inslee to direct the Washington State Department of Transportation and other appropriate state agencies to evaluate the feasibility of the Solutionary Rail proposal and to bring the general concept of rail corridor electrification, powered by renewable energy, into the broader “green” industrial transportation system.
RESOLUTION REGARDING RAILROAD WORKER AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGULATION AND LEGISLATION
WHEREAS, railroads are a vital infrastructure and industry in Washington State, critical to commerce and the economy; and
WHEREAS, the economic vitality of Washington State is predicated on safe, viable rail networks with adequate capacity to provide freight service for our ports, aerospace industry, maritime cluster, agriculture, and other businesses, as well as adequate capacity for passenger rail; and
WHEREAS, railroads employ over 5,000 unionized workers in Washington State and provide stable, family-wage jobs with premium healthcare benefits and retirements; and
WHEREAS, significant and serious safety concerns currently exist regarding railroad operations and infrastructure in Washington State, which affect rail union members in various job crafts and which when combined create a hazardous workplace that also affects public safety, including the following:
- Insufficient and/or poorly maintained walking surfaces, footpaths, and rail yard walkways utilized by railroad crews for safety inspections of trains and other safety-related duties;
- Poor lighting conditions in and around rail yards;
- Lack of maintenance of critical rail appliances and infrastructure, including switches and derails lacking proper ergonomic standards or any physical operational force requirement standards;
- Unregulated contractors providing transportation services for railroad workers;
- Lack of any Hours of Service laws or regulations for the craft of yardmasters, who are the “rail traffic controllers” of train yards;
- No minimum train crew size requirements;
- Draconian attendance and outrageous availability policies contributing to an epidemic of chronic long term fatigue among most railroad workers,
- No paid sick leave while subjecting workers to severe discipline and or termination for illness or injuries to themselves or their families,
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, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) inadvertently requested that its own legislative authority over railroad safety be repealed (RCW 81.44.065) in 2007, which has resulted in confusion as to which state agency has authority over various aspects of railroad safety and/or which department is empowered to enforce assorted railroad safety regulations, so that four state agencies and ten local governments have different facets of rail regulatory authority; and
WHEREAS, adoption and aggressive enforcement of railroad safety regulations is critical to ensure public and workplace safety, and such authority should be coordinated by one state agency; and
WHEREAS, a clear determination of which state agency will be ultimately entrusted with most all railroad safety regulatory and enforcement authority must be made; now, therefore, be it
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC), at its 2016 convention, supported and endorsed the following legislative efforts related to railroad workplace and public safety:
- HB 1284/SB 5696, seeking adoption of state regulatory authority, equivalent to the Federal Hours of Service Laws that now cover railroad operating craft personnel, for Class I railroad yardmasters working in the State of Washington; and
- Continued progress in consolidation all of State of Washington railroad public and workplace safety and regulatory functions possible under a single agency, the WUTC; and providing this agency with the maximum regulatory authority over railroads permissible under federal law, as well as providing adequate funding, which includes additional inspectors with federalized rail enforcement authority; and
- Adoption of legislation insuring the availability of safe sick leave usage by employees in Washington State who work for transportation carriers regulated by the Surface Transportation Board, and
- HB 1809/SB 5697, seeking adoption of a minimum, mandatory railroad crew size of no fewer than two qualified operating craft employees on all trains and railroads operating in Washington State, and requiring additional crewmembers required on trains containing high risk volatile hazardous materials to be positioned on the rear end of such trains so they can monitor the cargo as well as respond to any incident or emergency; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC recognizes that crude shipments by rail pose a real and potentially deadly threat to both rail workers and the public, and strongly urges the Washington State Legislature to work in close cooperation with rail labor organizations to critically examine all aspects of crude-by-rail operations; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC supports and urges the Washington State Legislature, as well as all Washington State agencies having such authority, to develop a coordinated, consolidated, expanded, and effective rail regulatory and enforcement program for the purpose of ensuring increased protection of both railroad workers and the public; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the WSLC hereby determines that the resolution of these critical railroad public and employee safety issues and the passage of this legislation with any newly issued bill numbers with equivalent meaning and intent shall again be a part of, and a priority in, the 2017 Washington State Labor Council’s legislative agenda.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LEGISLATION REQUIRING MINIMUM RAILROAD TRAIN CREW SIZE
WHEREAS, over the past 50 years, US railroads have continuously pursued a reduction in the size of crews operating trains, from six persons down to the current negotiated minimum of two crew members on through freight services; and
WHEREAS, in 1967 Washington State repealed a long-standing law requiring a minimum of six persons on all trains operating within our state, and since that time no standard minimum train crew size requirements have been enacted; and
WHEREAS, the elimination of crew members down to the current negotiated minimum of only two has created a situation that significantly reduces the years of on-the-job experience formerly available on larger crews, which had allowed crew members to develop their skills, knowledge, and territorial familiarity; 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 28th, 2016 there have been 27 major railroad accidents involving hundreds of death, countless injuries, explosions, fires and environmental damage; and
WHEREAS, on June 3, 2016 a Union Pacific oil train with 96 carloads of flammable crude oil derailed in Mosier, OR. 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 rest or family matters, resulting in train crew members reporting for work even when they know they are not rested and ready for duty, creating a serious employee and public safety risk; and
WHEREAS, in 2014 the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad proposed that freight train crew sizes be reduced to just one person: the locomotive engineer, who would be alone in the locomotive cab and working frequently for 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; now, therefore, be it
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; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC supports and fervently urges the Washington State Legislature to enact proposed legislation prohibiting one-person train crew operations 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 the WSLC supports and advocates that members of our congressional delegation cosponsor and work to pass HR 1763 the Safe Freight Act, which would require all trains operating in the United States to be staffed with a crew of no fewer than two persons; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the WSLC hereby determines that the enactment of legislation to prohibit one-person train crews and require additional train crew members on hazardous commodity trains shall be a priority in its 2017 legislative agenda.
RESOLUTION TO CREATE A STATE BANK OWNED BY AND FOR THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON STATE
WHEREAS, the taxpayers of Washington state have demanded greater accountability and wiser use of the taxes they pay to benefit Washingtonians, not Wall Street; and
WHEREAS, the State of Washington currently contracts with the Bank of America for banking and depository services for tax our revenues; and
WHEREAS, Bank of America and other Wall Street banks use our deposits to invest in questionable profiteering schemes like under-collateralized derivatives and thereby puts our deposits at risk; and
WHEREAS, a State Bank owned by and for the people of Washington State would protect our tax dollars from those risks by investing in ourselves: in infrastructure, create jobs, student loans, increase access to capital for small businesses by supporting local community banks, absorb debt capacity, avert long term debt payments to Wall Street, and otherwise keeping taxpayers’ dollars in Washington state, working for Washington State; and
WHEREAS, a State Bank would streamline the State’s numerous existing revolving loan programs and leverage their capacity to work for the people of our State while lowering overhead and exercising efficiencies of scale, paying its own operating costs, and returning profits back to the state; and
WHEREAS, recent Washington State legislative sessions have exposed a serious lack of resources and bonding capacity to deal with the state’s overwhelming capital needs; and
WHEREAS, a State Bank can grow in capacity to be an unparalleled resource for future generations of Washingtonians; and
WHEREAS, a successful model of public banking is the Bank of North Dakota, which was first established in 1919 and is controlled by the people North Dakota for the benefit of the people and economy of North Dakota, and has just reported its 12th consecutive year of record profits for their state; and
WHEREAS, public banking is a bedrock of social development in most high achieving global economies like Germany, Japan, Brazil, Russia, India and China; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, endorses creation of a publicly owned State Bank, which shall be governed by an independent public Commission that is accountable and transparent to the people; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC convene a study group to examine the possibility of sponsoring an initiative of the people for the purpose of creating a State Bank, which is owned by, works for the benefit of, and accountable to the people of the State of Washington; and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Governor and statewide elected officials, House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership, and Leadership of the WSLC for further dissemination to, and education of, affiliates and the general public.
IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION FOR WASHINGTON FILMWORKS
WHEREAS, Washington State continues to look to grow revenue and create jobs for Washington resident workers; and
WHEREAS, leaders of both the executive and legislative branches have indicated an intention to intensively review all government programs to determine their economic sustainability; and
WHEREAS, past experience has shown a glaring lack of public understanding of the Washington Filmworks program which supports the production of television, commercial and motion picture projects; and
WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks has attracted over 115 projects to the State that have had over $300 million of economic impact statewide; and
WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks’ projects have created over 14,500 union and family wage jobs that provide health and retirement benefits for the state’s actors, technical support workers, and production support businesses; and
WHEREAS, Washington Filmworks committed all $3.5 Million in available funds by January, 2016, and no longer has funds available to commit to deserving productions that provide employment of thousands of workers; and
WHEREAS, Washington State lost $65 Million last year and $54 Million in the previous year in economic activity due to the current cap restrictions.
WHEREAS, more than thirty-eight states currently provide similar and even greater financial support for film and video productions; and
WHEREAS, there is a rich body of evidence that proves the effectiveness of production incentives in the creation of non-polluting, well paid, sustainable work; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local, recommends to the Washington State Labor Council to continue to support legislation ensuring that the State commit to funding Washington Filmworks at a level that increases the competitiveness of Washington State’s motion picture industry and ensures job creation and economic development opportunities across the state.
IN SUPPORT OF MAGNUSON STUDIOS
WHEREAS, Washington State continues to look to grow much needed Film Industry infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, a task force of 25 film and music professionals, led by the Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange (SPACE), submitted a proposal to Seattle Parks and Recreation to transform Building 2 at Magnuson Park into a state of the art soundstage; and
WHEREAS, supporting Washington’s overall economic vitality and its growing film industry through the development of Building 2’s hangars into production soundstages is part of Washington Filmworks’ overall strategy; and
WHEREAS, offering commercially affordable and/or sliding-scale office space to creative industry related non-profits, which provide opportunities to partner with educational organizations; and
WHEREAS, having a state of the art soundstage will be an investment that will pay dividends to Washington State for years; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local, recommends to the Washington State Labor Council to support Washington State’s overall economic vitality and its growing film industry through the development of Magnuson Studios’ Building 2’s hangars into production soundstages.
INVEST IN WASHINGTON — FAIR CONTRACT FOR STATE EMPLOYEES
WHEREAS, 99% of state employees are paid below market rate of their counterparts in private and public sectors in state’s own salary survey; and
WHEREAS, 600 state employees leave state service monthly, often due to low pay and workload; and
WHEREAS, 1 million more residents need services in 2015 than in 2001 and there are 3000 fewer state employees to serve them; and
WHEREAS, unless we stop the eight-year trend of managing the state’s workforce by eroding benefits, under-compensating, and incentivizing the turnover of skilled and experienced workers, we will only see the number of crises and those fleeing public service grow; and
WHEREAS, the recruitment and retention crisis in our state creates crushing workloads and an unsafe level of risk for everyone concerned, including the employer as seen in the crises in Children’s Administration, Western State Hospital, and the Labor and Industries Division of Safety and Health; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Washington State deserve and expect quality services from the state; and
WHEREAS, justice for all is often attained at the collective bargaining table; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the WSLC and all its affiliates support and advocate in all venues, including the 2017-2019 contracts being negotiated for state employees in state agencies, colleges, universities, and state licensed medical interpreters for fair and competitive wages, affordable health care, and just working conditions; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that WSLC encourage all affiliates to participate in job actions and rallies including the August 31st rally at the State capitol.
CREATING A HEALTHY WORKPLACE FOR ALL WORKERS
WHEREAS, workplace bullying costs American businesses billions of dollars per year; and
WHEREAS, the list of physical stress related diseases and health complications associated with workplace bullying includes but is not limited to Cardiovascular Problems, Adverse Neurological Changes, Gastrointestinal Disease, Immunological Impairment, Auto-immune Disorders, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, Skin Disorders, PTSD, and Suicide; and
WHEREAS, the 2014 Workplace Bullying Institute Survey found that 27 percent of workers had experienced workplace bullying, 48 percent of workers including witnesses were affected by workplace bullying, 72 percent of workers are aware that workplace bullying occurs, conversely 72 percent of employers deny workplace bullying occurs, and 93 percent of workers support legislation to address the issue of workplace bullying; and
WHEREAS, concrete workplace bullying laws exist in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, while a less certain workplace bullying enforcement mechanism exists in several Australia states, several Canadian provinces, Ireland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom; and
WHEREAS, workplace bullying laws have been attempted unsuccessfully in 30 U.S. states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico; and
WHEREAS, a Google Scholar search of the phrase “workplace bullying” found more than 900 scholarly works published just since 2016; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council work with its affiliates and Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries to develop a standard and definition for workplace bullying that protect all workers from workplace bullying in both the private and public sector.
SKILLED LABOR AND TRADES LEGISLATIVE ACTION
WHEREAS, the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Council 28 established the Skilled Labor and Traded Committee; and
WHEREAS, the WFSE Skilled Labor and Trades Committee exists to promote professional standards of performance and safety within the skilled labor and trades, achieving recognition of our skillsets, as reflected in fair wages and benefits; and
WHEREAS, the skilled Labor and Trades Committee is a voice to the Legislature working to improve public service through collective bargaining and political action for the greater welfare of all people; and
WHEREAS, the Skilled Labor and Trades Committee has identified many areas of concern where the State of Washington, as an employer, has failed to recognize, promote, enhance or build the skillsets of its employees. Also, the State of Washington, as an employer, has failed to value its employees’ skillsets now reflected in low wages and benefits, lack of training programs and safety standards, respecting its employees and the citizens that they serve; and
WHEREAS, the Skilled Labor and Trades Committee agrees that we must take legislative action to protect our skills, our jobs and to attract the best people to serve the greater welfare of the State of Washington; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will take all legislative actions including creating a bill that will close legal loop holes allowing unlicensed persons to do licensed work on state-occupied places of assembly; and be it further
RESOLVED, that each agency establishes and/or adopt an apprenticeship program that trains employees to journey- level for state-occupied facilities; and be it further
RESOLVED, that said legislation demands that the State of Washington, as an employer, identifies the body of work to be performed by its agencies employees; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that said legislation assures all existing state employees doing skilled labor and trades work be retained in their current status, and that each current employee be trained to journey-level for state-occupied facilities; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council take action, by the next Legislative Session, to meet the intent of this resolution.
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF NAMING A SEGMENT OF S.R. 509 AS THE “PHILIP MARTIN LELLI MEMORIAL HIGHWAY”
WHEREAS, Philip Martin Lelli’s work and commitment to the Port of Tacoma helped transform the port into the fifth largest container port in North America, to the benefit of the port, its employees, surrounding businesses, the city of Tacoma, Pierce County, and the State of Washington; and
WHEREAS, Philip Martin Lelli was a longshoreman, union activist, local philanthropist, and past president of the International Longshore Warehouse Union Local 23 in Tacoma, a position he was re-elected to an unprecedented 17 times; and
WHEREAS, Philip Martin Lelli worked with fellow union members, business leaders and Republican and Democratic legislators alike in a collaborative manner with the goal of making the Port of Tacoma one of the greatest shipping ports in the nation; and
WHEREAS, Philip Martin Lelli helped revolutionize Tacoma’s waterfront by advocating for greater labor force efficiency and technical innovation on the docks; and
WHEREAS, Philip Martin Lelli played a critical role in the late 1960s when the Port of Tacoma transitioned away from manual cargo unloading to the modern shipping container and crane system we see today; and
WHEREAS, For the first time in Puget Sound history, a port executive and union president teamed up when Philip Martin Lelli and E. L. Roy Perry, the Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Tacoma, joined forces to attract more business to the Port of Tacoma; and
WHEREAS, Together, Philip Martin Lelli and E.L. Roy Perry travelled around the world promising fast and efficient service and successfully attracted and recruited huge shipping lines to the Port of Tacoma, including Totem Ocean Express, SeaLand, and Maersk; and
WHEREAS, Philip Martin Lelli was appointed commissioner to the Port of Tacoma in 1993 and served as the president of the Tacoma Propeller Club where in 1982 he was awarded its highest accolade, the title of Master Mariner, for his ability to recruit new business to the Port of Tacoma; and
WHEREAS, The Seattle Propeller Club honored Philip Martin Lelli with the Puget Sound Maritime Man of the Year Award in 1987; and
WHEREAS, Philip Martin Lelli was well known for his generosity and service to his community through his work with the Hospitality Kitchen at St. Leo’s School, as well as his support of the Hispanic Food Bank and the Lake Tapps Food Bank in Pierce County; and
WHEREAS, Senator Steve Conway introduced Senate Joint Memorial 8019 during the 2016 Legislative session, which was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2016 and the House of Representatives on March 4, 2016 with support of the Tacoma City Council, the Port of Tacoma, the Fife City Council, the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber, the Pierce County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and the Tacoma Longshore Pensioners; and
WHEREAS, the State of Washington Transportation Commission adopted Resolution No. 729 on May 18, 2016 officially naming a section of State Route 509 in Pierce County between the junction with Pacific Avenue and Taylor Way in the City of Tacoma, the “Philip Martin Lelli Memorial Highway” and requests that installation of the appropriate signage on the highway be placed in a timely manner to reflect the naming; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, urge affiliated labor organizations to participate in a celebration in Tacoma on September 12, 2016, to recognize this honor and acknowledge the contributions of Philip Martin Lelli for his dedication and service as a longshoreman and as a life-long activist and advocate for the betterment of the Port of Tacoma and the state of Washington.
REGARDING TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION TSOs
WHEREAS, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator Peter Neffenger responded to failures in properly identifying simulated bombs and weapons by Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) in June 2015 by creating the TSA Academy on the campus of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center located in Glynco, Georgia and mandating that all newly hired TSOs and veteran TSOs attend a two-week training at the Academy; and
WHEREAS, requiring TSOs to attend without staffing consideration for airports led to an inability for to account for the reduced screener workforce, forcing reduction of open checkpoints at airports around the nation and increased delays for passengers. According to a published report, during the Spring Break week of March 14-20, 2016, nearly 6,800 American passengers missed flights because of checkpoint delays; and
WHEREAS, passenger and airline frustration with the long lines and delays have caused some airport authorities to threaten to hire private contractors to act as screeners in place of TSA, specifically by the airport authority at Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson airport, Seattle Port authority, New York and New Jersey Port Authority; and
WHEREAS, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents 45,000 TSOs, has warned of inadequate staffing, high turnover, and low morale amongst its members for years. As of 2016, TSO staffing is at its lowest levels in five years, with 6,000 fewer screeners than in 2011. While the number of screeners has decreased, the number of passengers on flights has increased by 15% over the same period of time; and
WHEREAS, inadequate staffing at checkpoints additionally result in TSOs who are not allowed to rotate positions to retain focus, miss meal and rest breaks, and miss additional trainings due to unstable schedules from mandatory overtime and cancelled days off due to the agency’s operational needs at checkpoints; and
WHEREAS, Administrator Neffenger has refused to address any aspect of the problem whether it is increasing morale by granting basic workplace rights covered by Title 5 Rights for TSOs or requesting to remove the Congressional cap on the number of full-time Transportation Security Officers. Additionally, the President’s FY’17 budget is woefully inadequate by only providing funding to hire an additional 323 full time TSOs; and
WHEREAS, the move by certain airport authorities to hire private screeners alleviate wait times at security checkpoints at airports is an illegal, attention grabbing fix as core screening functions must be performed by a federal TSO unless a written proposal is submitted and approved. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that private screeners are paid less than their TSA counterparts, which leads to even higher turnover and low interest in the position. As recent as 2015, federal screeners had to be requested due to a shortage of private screeners that had been employed at airports servicing the Yellowstone area in Montana; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council does not support the replacement of union jobs with private contractors nor the refusal by TSA to address its current workplace environment flaws to attract and retain a highly skilled screener workforce; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that hiring private screeners will not address the deep, systemic problems facing the screener workforce. Instead, Congress should increase DHS FY’17 Funding for the screening personnel compensation and benefits accounts to hire 3,000 additional full time officers and new staffing allocation models to address increased security demands and passenger flows. Congress should end the cap on the full time screening workforce and allow TSA to hire adequate numbers of employees the same as other Department of Homeland Security agencies. Congress must invest funding in the federal TSO workforce that provides screening at airports, but also for mass transit and national events; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the WSLC calls for the removal of the statutory footnote to the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that only applies to TSOs in stating “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” the TSA Administrator may “employ, appoint, discipline, terminate, and fix the compensation terms, and conditions of employment” and effectively denies TSOs the Title 5 rights that all other federal employees are covered by.
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