2020 Resolutions

To Do ListEvery year, delegates to the Washington State Labor Council convention discuss, deliberate and act on resolutions submitted by the affiliated union locals and councils. These resolutions establish policy, programs and action for the WSLC. The following were passed by delegates at the WSLC’s 2020 Convention held Sept. 23-25. Any changes to the WSLC Constitution are subject to review and approval by the national AFL-CIO before they are adopted.

(Some resolution numbers are skipped because those proposed resolutions were withdrawn, tabled, rejected, or merged with a similar submission.)

Download a PDF file of all 2020 WSLC Resolutions

 


20.1 — RESOLUTION TO INVEST IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

20.2 — CONTINUING THE FIGHT FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE AND MEDICARE FOR ALL

20.3 — RESOLUTION TO CALL FOR US-CUBA COLLABORATION TO SAVE LIVES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

20.4 — RESOLUTION ON CONDEMNING API RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND BEYOND

20.5 — RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF REGIONAL, STATE AND NATIONAL RESPONSE TO CLOSURE OF THE WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE

20.6 — RESOLUTION REGARDING WILDFIRE SMOKE

20.7 — RESOLUTION ON IMMIGRANTS’ ACCESS TO SOCIAL SAFETY NETS

20.8 — RESOLUTION REGARDING COMMUNITY WORKFORCE AGREEMENTS

20.9 — RESOLUTION ON PROMOTING UNION GOODS AND SERVICES VIA CENTRAL LABOR COUNCILS

20.10 — RESOLUTION SUPPORTING FEDERAL LEGISLATION REQUIRING MINIMUM TRAIN CREW SIZE WITH AN AMENDMENT PERMITTING STATES TO ADOPT RAIL SAFETY STANDARDS MORE STRINGENT THAN FEDERAL REGULATIONS

20.11 — RESOLUTION REGARDING RAILROAD OCCUPATIONAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGULATIONS AND LEGISLATION

20.12 — RESOLUTION ON UPDATING, MODERNIZING AND CHANGING THE WSLC CONSTITUTION

20.13 — RESOLUTION ON WSLC AND STATEWIDE COPE ENDORSEMENT POWERS

20.18 — RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF POLICING REFORM

 


  

RESOLUTION TO INVEST IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

Resolution #20.1

Submitted by AFT Washington, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Washington, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Seattle Chapter, United Faculty of Washington State, Joint Council, UAW 4121, IUOE 302, and Larry Delaney, President, Washington Education Association

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted public education, from early learning through higher education; and

WHEREAS, the impact of COVID-19 on public education is exacerbated by the developing revenue crisis and the fact that funding for our schools and colleges has not returned to pre-2008 recession levels; and

WHEREAS, enrollment throughout higher education has declined and remains unpredictable due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to greater economic challenges; and

WHEREAS, within the last several months amid the pandemic, hundreds of education union members have already lost their jobs, including adjunct faculty, paraeducators, and staff, and hundreds more have received layoff or reduction-in-force notices; and

WHEREAS, the very existence of our regional universities is at risk due to the extraordinary financial impacts of a nearly complete loss of revenue from dining and residential services; and

WHEREAS, the needs of students from early learning through higher education have not decreased during school closures and those with special needs still need added supports, working families still need high quality and affordable childcare, and post-high school education students still seek skills, knowledge, and intellectual growth to insure success and stability; and

WHEREAS, systemic racism has been starkly highlighted by the pandemic and BIPOC communities have experienced disproportionate heath and economic impacts due to institutionalized racism, including:

  • the lack of or inadequate technology and internet resources, referred to as the digital divide, which creates obstacles to education, job searches, and accessing services;
  • a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to exposure on the job;
  • higher rates of unemployment and loss of housing;
  • more severe symptoms, greater challenges in recovering, and higher death rates due to long-standing biases and discrimination within the healthcare system; and

WHEREAS, 45% of Community and Technical College (CTC) students identify as people of color and 46% of the CTC students who enroll after high school are low-income at that time; and

WHEREAS, only 63% of students at CTCs persist beyond their first year and students who identify as Black or Latinx are less likely to complete, indicating that the system is particularly failing students of color; and

WHEREAS, 70% of the CTC faculty in the state are contingent workers who lack job stability and sufficient pay, and an even higher percentage are contingent faculty within the CTC’s Basic Education and English Language Learners programs, indicating that the system has placed the most vulnerable faculty to teach the most vulnerable students; and

WHEREAS, the goal set by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) for 70% of Washington’s young people attaining a post-high school credential or degree remains relevant and essential for economic stability and a well-prepared workforce; and

WHEREAS, Governor Inslee proposed, and the 2019 State Legislature adopted, the Career Connect Washington program, a comprehensive workplace and school coalition designed to facilitate achievement of WSAC’s goals; and

WHEREAS, the AFT report “A Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities” provides a roadmap to responsibly reopen schools and colleges, and acknowledges the need for bold and ongoing investment to do so successfully; and

WHEREAS, investment in all sectors of public education from the federal government is essential to short-term recovery, and additional investment by Washington State is essential to meeting the needs of our communities and future workforce in the long-term; and

WHEREAS, public sector union membership, including AFT Washington, WFSE, WPEA, and WEA, is directly impacted by reductions in force, attempts to reduce pay, furloughs, and other austerity-oriented approaches to the revenue crisis, stand together in our call for investment; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will prioritize legislation establishing progressive sources of new revenue that will help to reverse Washington State’s regressive tax code; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will prioritize investments in public education from early learning through higher education, including general education, adult basic education, workforce training, pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and advanced degrees, in the 2021 Shared Prosperity Agenda; and be it further

RESOLVED, that WSLC will prioritize educational policy proposals which:

  • Seek to dismantle systemic racism, classism, ableism, and other forms of oppression within educational settings;
  • Invest in student success by investing in the education workforce, holistic programming, and wrap-around services;
  • Reverse course on the entrenched austerity and systemically racist policies toward public education through proposals that:
    • stabilize the workforce by increasing salaries and decreasing the reliance on contingent work;
    • increase the diversity of the education workforce such that it reflects the student populations served; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that affiliates of the WSLC will be urged to sign the Communities for Our Colleges petition and mobilize their membership to take action on behalf of investment in public education at all levels.

 


 

CONTINUING THE FIGHT FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE AND MEDICARE FOR ALL

Resolution #20.2

Submitted by PSARA and on behalf of AFT WA, IAM 751, Pride at Work, RPEC, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, UAW 4121, UFCW 21, and WSNA

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

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused tens of millions of workers to lose their jobs, expanding the ranks of the uninsured to over 35 million; and

WHEREAS, the pandemic has demonstrated and exacerbated severe racial inequities in health and access to health care:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hit Black, API, Latinx/a/o, and all Indigenous persons in regards to exposure and confirmed deaths in Washington and across the United States due to anti-Black racism and racism against POC.
  2. As of September 2nd, approximately 70% of cases reported in Washington State listed race and ethnicity data. 42% of these cases are made up of Latina/o/x, while Latina/o/x persons make up only 13% of Washington’s population. (https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus)
  3. As of August 18th, the CDC reported that Indigenous persons are acquiring COVID-19 at a rate 2.8 times higher than white persons. Black persons are acquiring at a rate 2.6 times higher and Latina/o/x persons are acquiring at a rate 2.8 times higher. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-race-ethnicity.html)

WHEREAS, the pandemic has driven home that no one’s health is secure while millions lack access to health care and that we must overcome the public health crisis in order to recover the economy, send our children safely to school, and address health inequities; and

WHEREAS, healthcare in the United States has the highest costs in the world, leaving over 40 million people who are insured, including many recently unemployed workers, unable to get the care they need due to unaffordable deductibles and copays; and

WHEREAS, half a million people are pushed into bankruptcy each year due to medical bills, even though a majority of them were insured when they became sick or injured; and

WHEREAS, the high costs of health care have helped to sustain a climate of concessionary bargaining, pushing down wages, causing bitter strikes and lockouts, triggering attacks on all workers and retirees and shifting more and more of the costs onto the backs of workers, while employer-based health care plans put American employers at a competitive disadvantage against rival businesses in other countries that have national health care systems; and

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Medicaid, and Medicare continue to be under attack by President Trump and his Republican allies; and

WHEREAS, while we will continue to fight to defend and improve the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare, the only commonsense approach to reform the U.S. healthcare system and achieve health justice is to provide access to affordable, comprehensive health care to all US residents and to provide benefits that include physician, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) and hospital care, outpatient care, including Home Health, Hospice, and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), dental, vision, and hearing services, rehabilitation, long-term care, behavioral health care, and prescription drugs to all individuals residing in the United States; and

WHEREAS, a single risk pool of 331 million Americans will spread risk effectively to accommodate the needs of the sickest patients, while saving enough money to assure universal care for everyone; and

WHEREAS, single payer Medicare for All healthcare can begin to address the racial disparities that undergird the industrialized world’s most unequal healthcare system.

WHEREAS, the Improved Medicare for All Act of 2019 has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 1384, Rep. Jayapal with 118 cosponsors) and Senate (S. 1129, Sen. Sanders with 14 cosponsors) and would provide universal and affordable access to the benefits listed above; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 1384 and S. 1129 will take health care off the bargaining table but will also allow multiemployer plans to continue to provide supplemental benefits not duplicative of Medicare for All, including expansion of union-negotiated programs such as disability, supplemental unemployment benefits, tuition and training, child- and elder-care, with the potential to allow us to free up funds for our beleaguered pension plans; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO, at its 2017 Convention, affirmed labor’s long-standing goal to make quality healthcare a basic right in the United States by moving expeditiously toward a single-payer system like Medicare for All; and

WHEREAS, over 1,000 national, regional and local unions, state labor federations and central labor councils have endorsed previous “single-payer” bills; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, at its 2017 and 2019 Conventions, adopted resolutions to support Medicare for All, Single Payer Health Care; and

WHEREAS, the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act (HR 6906/S. 3790) has been introduced to immediately provide affordable health care to all US residents until there is an FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine widely available to the public, empowering Medicare to cover all the uninsured and to cover all out-of-pocket expenses for those with existing private and public health plans; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO support and urge our federal legislators to co-sponsor and enact both the House and Senate Medicare for All bills and the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, as well as other legislative proposals that may be needed to move our country towards universal and affordable health care, and that we will urge our union and community allies to make such legislation a priority in all federal electoral efforts; and be it finally

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

 


 

RESOLUTION TO CALL FOR US-CUBA COLLABORATION TO SAVE LIVES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

Resolution #20.3

Submitted by MLK Labor, APALA Seattle Chapter, CBTU, Puget Sound Chapter, A Philip Randolph Institute, Seattle Chapter, and AFT Washington

WHEREAS, the US has the highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the world – over 5 million confirmed cases, one-fourth of the world’s cases, and over 170,000 deaths; and

WHEREAS, US deaths from Covid-19 fall disproportionately on Black, Latino and Indigenous communities; and

WHEREAS, in Washington State, deaths from Covid-19 also fall disproportionately on communities of color with Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander people and Hispanic people registering eight times higher cases and hospitalization rates than whites; Blacks and Native Americans and Alaska Natives have three times the number of cases and hospitalizations than whites; and

WHEREAS, by nature a pandemic is global and Covid-19 cases has topped 20 million, doubling the number of confirmed cases in just six weeks and continues to grow; and

WHEREAS, now is the time to call for international cooperation and solidarity in the face of this pandemic to save lives; and

WHEREAS, Cuba has a record of saving 80% of their patients in critical and serious condition and where worldwide, some 80% of Covid-19 patients in critical condition are dying; and

WHEREAS, Cuba has 0.8 deaths/100,000 and the US has 42 deaths/100,000 people, and

WHEREAS, Cuba has a long history of providing international medical aid and healthcare to the peoples of the world, especially in developing countries, under the banner of healthcare is a human right; and

WHEREAS, Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade was decisive in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and has stepped forward in many epidemics around the world, including dengue fever, HIV/AIDS, swine flu and hepatitis; and

WHEREAS, since the outbreak of Covid-19, Cuba has sent 37 medical brigades equipped with Cuban pharmaceuticals to 30 countries with requests of similar assistance from more countries; and

WHEREAS, Cuba offers treatment regimens for patients and prevention protocols for health workers including clinical trials of Interferon Alpha 2B Recombinant, now in standard use in China and Cuba and more than 42 countries have expressed an interest in acquiring this pharmaceutical to include in its treatment in some of the worst cases of Covid-19; and

WHEREAS, Interferon Alpha 2B Recombinant is not available in the US because of the 60-year-old US blockade against Cuba; and

WHEREAS, the US blockade has severely restricted collaboration on scientific and medical research that interferes with the potential of saving lives in the face of this pandemic; and

WHEREAS, there has been a precedence of medical collaboration between Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology and Buffalo’s Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in developing CIMAvax, the Cuban lung cancer vaccine, and the collaboration between Cuba and the University of Illinois on infant mortality in Chicago, and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council passed a resolution in its 2017 state convention supporting lifting the US blockade against Cuba; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO calls on the Congress of the United States and the President to lift restrictions on access to Cuban medical expertise, including the importation of Interferon Alpha 2B Recombinant for clinical trials, in order to more effectively combat the Covid-19 pandemic and to save lives. Furthermore, we call on our federal government to cease its attempts to stop other countries from accepting Cuban medical brigades and assistance and to stop ongoing US measures that prevent Cuba from accessing and importing medical equipment and medicines to confront Covid-19.

 


RESOLUTION ON CONDEMNING API RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND BEYOND

Resolution #20.4

Submitted by APALA

WHEREAS, over 2 million Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) in the U.S. work in healthcare, transportation, hospitality, and service industries and a large majority of them are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic; and

WHEREAS, APIs account for 9.5 percent of Washington State’s population; and

WHEREAS, API workers are trying to survive a global pandemic while working without proper personal protective equipment and being subjected to racism, bigotry and xenophobia; an

WHEREAS, candidates and elected officials at the highest levels have used rhetoric in their public statements around the coronavirus pandemic, such as the phrases “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung-flu,” resulting in the continuation of historic discrimination against APIs and an alarming, rising trend of verbal and physical attacks as COVID-19 spreads; and

WHEREAS, working-class immigrants and communities of color are often scapegoated during public health crisis or in wartime; and

WHEREAS, this virus does not discriminate against workers, race or immigration status; and

WHEREAS, all workers need protection such as protective masks, virus detection tests and other tests recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, ventilators, hospital beds and workplace safety protections, hazard pay, paid sick days, health care regardless of employer size or industry, and paycheck protection; and

WHEREAS, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated divisions based on race and class, and communities of color are suffering higher levels of death and illness as a result. In Washington State, the Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations are disproportionately impacted; and

WHEREAS, the Trump administration ordered international students at institutions with online instruction to immediately find-in person instruction or be deported, and blocked international students in their home countries from entering the United States. The largest numbers of students are from China, India, and South Korea, thus this disproportionately affects Asian scholars; and

WHEREAS, we do not need more corporate bailouts when our most vulnerable populations, including many immigrants, are excluded from legislative solutions to this crisis like the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) to provide the health care resources and economic stability needed to fight COVID 19; and

WHEREAS, we commend the resolution introduced by Representative Grace Meng, NY District 6, with 139 co-sponsors to date, condemning all forms of racism and scapegoating and to demand that public officials denounce any Anti-Asian Pacific Islander sentiments and supported by the Congressional Tri-Caucuses (Asian, Black and Latinx); and

WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of the WSLC to denounce any form of racism and xenophobia, to uplift the contribution of API workers in our community; and to show how allies can stand in solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC denounces and condemns any forms of racism and discrimination; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will continue to highlight and uplift the heroic efforts of API members and all workers on the frontlines fighting this pandemic; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will work with APALA, Washington State Attorney General’s Office and the City of Seattle to track incidents and trends of anti-Asian Pacific Islander attacks, and hold the current administration, elected officials and all candidates along with their allies accountable for their racist rhetoric; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will work with union leaders, candidates, elected officials, and allies to integrate into all talking points opportunities to denounce the anti-Asian Pacific Islander attacks in our communities during the pandemic and beyond; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will work with APALA and local unions to determine appropriate resources to help prevent the spread of misinformation; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will collaborate and work with APALA on a strategy amongst unions to include collecting and tracking data on API membership as well as impact of anti-Asian treatment to further inform actions needed for combating the rising attacks on the API community.

 


 

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF REGIONAL, STATE AND NATIONAL RESPONSE TO CLOSURE OF THE WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE

Resolution #20.5

Submitted by Sailors’ Union of the Pacific

WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) determined the need for an immediate closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge to protect public safety; and

WHEREAS, the collapse of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge would disrupt commerce throughout the Duwamish waterway, Harbor Island, and negatively affect the state’s commercial and environmental interests throughout the region, including Manson Marine Construction Company; Vigor Shipyard; and all communities in South East Alaska which receives up to 100 percent of groceries and commodities deliveries from the Duwamish waterway; and

WHEREAS, the West Seattle Bridge transportation corridor sits at a critical point in our nation’s transportation network, adjacent to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s northernmost transcontinental rail line, the western terminus of Interstate 90 and Interstate 5 — corridors connecting Seattle to points as far South as California and East as Illinois; and

WHEREAS, at a time of economic downturn and job loss due to the health pandemic, the region must prioritize the opportunity to expand trade, restart the statewide economy, and grow living-wage jobs throughout the region; and

WHEREAS, the West Seattle Bridge transportation corridor has statewide importance and is a key element of the national freight corridor system, as it is located in the Duwamish Manufacturing and Industrial Center (MIC), one of the state’s busiest MICs, and provides vital access to The Northwest Seaport Alliance North Harbor cargo terminals, Harbor Island, and newly modernized Terminal 5, which is scheduled to open in spring 2021; and

WHEREAS, current estimates project that with a modernized Terminal 5 on Seattle waterfront’s freight assets, 2050 containerized cargo flows would directly support 28,000 jobs, $8.7 billion in business output, and $48.1 million in state tax payments; and

WHEREAS, the Puget Sound Gateway’s marine cargo industry supports almost 60,000 good, direct family-wage jobs, plus thousands more in related maritime and supply chain businesses; and

WHEREAS, continued access through the West Seattle Bridge transportation corridor is critical to emergency vehicles, goods movement, transit and thousands of maritime workers, the Port of Seattle, The Northwest Seaport Alliance and maritime traffic on the Duwamish waterway; and

WHEREAS, businesses and communities that have called the Duwamish River Valley home for decades are already feeling unprecedented impacts; now, therefore, let it be;

RESOLVED, that the WSLC will work in cooperation with the City of Seattle, King County, State legislators and agencies, the Congressional Delegation, the Sailor’s Union of the Pacific, ILWU locals, MLK Labor, The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the Port of Seattle, the Port of Tacoma, local community groups and others to find the best solutions to these pressing problems of impacting traffic and area businesses; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that these entities will work together to secure funding sources from all possible means, including, but not limited to, those at the federal level and through the Washington State Legislature; and be it finally,

RESOLVED, that these entities will collaborate to establish a regional vision in how the failing bridge is repaired or replaced.

 


 

RESOLUTION REGARDING WILDFIRE SMOKE

Resolution #20.6

Submitted by Spokane Regional Labor Council

WHEREAS, over the past 10 years the incidence of wildfires has becoming more prevalent and dangerous, and;

WHEREAS, climate change is exacerbating the potential increase of wildfires in the western region of the United States, and;

WHEREAS, a multitude of the workers due to their job functions are required to work outdoors and are being exposed to dangerous levels of particulates in wildfire smoke and;

WHEREAS, we do not know the long-term ramifications to the health of workers exposed due to their type of work and;

WHEREAS, Labor commits every year at our Workers Memorial recognition to working to prevent illness and injuries which lead to the deaths of workers due to worksite conditions; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council and affiliates will actively raise these concerns to all workforce oversight entities in Washington State to identify health and safety concerns in workplaces impacted by wildfire smoke and create rules to regulate industries with workers most impacted; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council and affiliates will raise these concerns to Federal Government entities which may have regulatory oversight of workplace conditions and request for studies to determine health ramifications due to wildfire smoke exposure; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council is requesting the Department of Labor and Industries, and the Department of Safety and Health to begin rulemaking on wildfire smoke to provide protections to all workers.

 


 

RESOLUTION ON IMMIGRANTS’ ACCESS TO SOCIAL SAFETY NETS

Resolution 20.7

Submitted by Casa Latina, with additional sponsorship by the Labor-Immigration Committee

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

WHEREAS, The Center for Migration Studies estimates that 74% of undocumented workers are essential infrastructure workers, and work in jobs like health care and food production; and

WHEREAS, Undocumented workers are overrepresented in industries hardest hit by layoffs, such as transportation, construction and services; and

WHEREAS, Washington is home to more than 270,000 undocumented immigrants who contribute to the wellbeing of our state; and

WHEREAS, undocumented workers pay taxes, oftentimes including unemployment tax and other payroll taxes, and

WHEREAS, when workers lack access to social safety nets such as unemployment insurance, they are more likely to seek employment in exploitative non-union shops. Undocumented workers laid off from union jobs are vulnerable to exploitation, wage theft, unsafe work conditions and abuse. This also creates a reduction in skilled workers, and

WHEREAS, there are at least one hundred thousand domestic workers and care workers in WA state who are essential workers, deserving of access to benefits such as workers’ compensation, and

WHEREAS, undocumented immigrants are essential to economic growth in America and have an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth domestically; and

WHEREAS, undocumented workers and their families were specifically excluded from the relief packages passed by the US Congress; and

WHEREAS, the lack of unemployment insurance protections for immigrant workers has ripple effects through communities and harms entire families; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, calls on Washington state lawmakers to enact legislation that provides social safety nets for undocumented workers; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will work in solidarity with others who are coordinating support for access to social safety nets for undocumented workers in Washington state; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will include in its legislative agenda the initiative to create access for undocumented workers to social safety nets such as Washington state-based income assistance; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports access to workers’ compensation insurance for excluded workers such as domestic workers and day laborers; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, encourages the creation of special funds within affiliates of the labor council, such as membership assistance funds for immigrant workers excluded from Federal and State based safety net programs because of immigration status, encourages creation of internal policies for equity and distribution of member assistance where the government is not providing support, and encourages unions to step up for our members and communities.

 


 

RESOLUTION REGARDING COMMUNITY WORKFORCE AGREEMENTS

Resolution 20.8

Submitted by Laborers Local 242

WHEREAS, Community Workforce Agreements (CWAs) promote access to construction careers for community members, women, people of color, veterans and others with social and economic disadvantages. CWAs are also intended to establish a spirit of harmony and stability between Labor and management to ensure timely completion of projects; and

WHEREAS, in 2015 the City of Seattle created a Priority Hire program, built on the framework of a Community Workforce Agreement, for City public works construction projects of $5 million or more and, in 2017 the City expanded the program to public/private partnership projects with significant City investment. Using City-funded and public/private partnership projects, the Priority Hire program prioritizes the hiring of residents that live in economically distressed areas, particularly in Seattle and King County. In addition, City of Seattle projects and public/private partnership projects have apprentice utilization requirements and targets for participation by women and people of color; and

WHEREAS, the City of Seattle’s CWA has been followed by the implementation of CWA’s at the Port of Seattle and King County with many of the same requirements and Washington State Department of Transportation has utilized Community Workforce Agreements on the SR 520 Montlake Project; and

WHEREAS, these Community Workforce Agreements have been instrumental in providing access to careers in the construction industry for disadvantaged community members, providing a pathway out of poverty and elevating them into the middle class; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Workforce Agreements should be utilized on all projects in the State of Washington and help open the door to the middle class through careers in the Building Trades for underserved populations and the WSLC will communicate this to the Governor and elected at all levels and work with the Building Trades and community groups to insure the usage of Community Workforce Agreements.

 


 

RESOLUTION ON PROMOTING UNION GOODS AND SERVICES VIA CENTRAL LABOR COUNCILS

Resolution 20.9

Submitted by Union Goods and Services Committee

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC) is charged with working to improve the lives and workplaces of Washington’s working people and their families; and

WHEREAS, identifying and purchasing union-made goods and services is one way we can support union workers and raise standards for everyone; and

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

WHEREAS, since that time, this Committee has publicized union-made goods and services, primarily by working with Central Labor Councils (CLCs) to share that information with delegates and union members in their regions, and to activate the CLCs’ Union Labor and Service Trades Councils (ULSTC), which are intended to achieve the same goal; and

WHEREAS, the WSLC has started the Washington State CLC Network, a new statewide group that meets regularly to promote CLC development and share best practices and resources, which include the promotion of union goods and services via their own ULSTCs, thus duplicating the efforts of the Union Goods and Services Standing Committee; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC disband its Union Goods and Services Committee, and make the promotion of union goods and services an integral and ongoing component of the Washington State CLC Network’s activities and mission.

 


 

RESOLUTION SUPPORTING FEDERAL LEGISLATION REQUIRING MINIMUM TRAIN CREW SIZE WITH AN AMENDMENT PERMITTING STATES TO ADOPT RAIL SAFETY STANDARDS MORE STRINGENT THAN FEDERAL REGULATIONS

Resolution # 20.10

Submitted by SMART-Transportation Division/United Transportation Union Local 1348

WHEREAS, over the past 50 years, U.S. 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, the elimination of crew members down to the current negotiated minimum of only two has significantly reduced the years of on-the-job experience formerly available on larger crews (which had allowed crew members to develop their skillset, and territorial familiarity), which has resulted in less experienced train crews, now operating trains without the traditional knowledge previously obtained, to the detriment of the safety of the public and the employees alike; and

WHEREAS, railroad operational requirements require that train crews regularly perform numerous tasks while known to be chronically fatigued as they operate moving trains, this has been labeled “task saturation” by the National Transportation Safety Board, where the duties once performed by four to six persons have been placed on just two crewmembers, threatening safe train operations due to the repetitive distractions caused by so many tasks; 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 whom provides additional safeguards, including the ability of crew members to cross-check and verify each other’s actions while operating trains, to adequately respond to accidents and critical incidents, separating rail cars at crossings to allow emergency responders to cross tracks, which is a function that cannot be performed by one person; and

WHEREAS, between July 24, 2013, and July 29, 2020, there have been 48 major U.S. railroad accidents involving numerous deaths, countless injuries, explosions, fires, and environmental damage; and

WHEREAS, late on the night of March 15th, 2019, twenty-three out of 123 railcars, a Union Pacific Haz Mat train derailed near Hooper, WA., the carrier attempted to conceal the release of hazardous materials until a fire lasting nearly 24 hours, caused by the release broke out nearly two days after the incident, creating a smoke plume and releasing toxic substances into the air, yet to date no government regulatory corrective action has occurred; and

WHEREAS, railroad carriers, in their quest for even greater record profits are adopting a business strategy known as “precision scheduled railroading” which involves cutting costs including maintenance of equipment and structures, shuttering operational facilities, eliminating staff, and running fewer and exceedingly long trains of ten thousand feet and greater to reduce crew work events, and such monster trains block public crossings for inordinate lengths of time thereby impeding the ability of emergency services to reach citizens requesting assistance resulting in response delays costing human life; and

WHEREAS, on May 24, 2019, the Federal Railroad Administration, under the direction of Transportation Secretary Chao and at the behest of railroad corporations, cancelled agency rulemaking to establish a regulation requiring a minimum of two-person train crews; simultaneously, in an outrageous act of abuse of agency discretion, issued an order preempting and nullifying all existing state laws and regulations establishing minimum train crew staffing nationally, as well as announcing that the federal governments abdication of all regulatory oversight of railroad automation technology, granting railroad carriers unilateral, and absolute sovereignty to adopt, implement and utilize computerized equipment to operate trains, and

WHEREAS, in 2020 the Washington State Legislature finally adopted with board bipartisan public support. the most stringent train crewing law in the nation, we celebrate the enactment of this critical, landmark state railroad public safety legislation; nonetheless, the nation’s railroad carriers intend to unilaterally impose single-person train crews by the middle of 2021; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, before the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) that placement of additional qualified crewmembers provides the public with additional levels of safety on trains transporting dangerous commodities, ensuring train crew members are in a position to recognize and respond quickly to any trouble or circumstance that may occur en route, are readily available to separate trains quickly if necessary, as well as to quickly cut grade crossings for emergency response vehicles who may need to cross the tracks to respond to any emergencies; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC again endorses H.R. 1748 and S. 1979 the Federal Safe Freight Act to require all trains operating in the United States be staffed with a crew of no fewer than two-persons as well as similar legislation introduced in the next session of Congress; we applaud the four members of our Washington State Congressional Delegation who are already co-sponsors; Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-1), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-9) while we also respectfully call on our two U.S. Senators to please sign on as sponsors to S. 1979; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the WSLC strongly advocates this legislation be amended to permit states to enact and enforce more stringent railroad operational safety standards and requirements than federal regulatory standards when it has determined such actions are in the best interests of public safety or in furtherance of reducing risk; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that we urge all members of our state’s federal delegation to co-sponsor and prioritize immediate enactment of this legislation very early in the 1st Session of the 117th Congress to prevent railroad carriers from imposing perilous single-person train operations across our nation.

 


 

RESOLUTION REGARDING RAILROAD OCCUPATIONAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGULATIONS AND LEGISLATION

Resolution # 20.11

Submitted by SMART-Transportation Division/United Transportation Union Local 1348

WHEREAS, railroads are a vital industrial infrastructure in Washington State employing over 5,000 unionized workers, critical to commerce and the economy; the economic vitality of Washington State is predicated on safe, viable rail networks with adequate capacity for freight service for our ports, aerospace industry, maritime cluster, agriculture, and other businesses, as well as adequate capacity for passenger rail; and

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

  • Insufficient and/or poorly maintained walking surfaces, footpaths, and rail yard walkways utilized by railroad crews performing required duties, including but not limited to safety inspections of trains and other safety-related duties;
  • Poor lighting conditions in and around rail yards and rail-adjacent industries;
  • Dangerous conditions exist at train crew change points across our state, including unsafe locations that lack proper walkways; have steep drop-offs, no lighting, and/or inadequate distance or clearance from adjacent tracks; where crewmembers must cross over numerous mainline tracks in high-speed train zones, etc.;
  • Lack of maintenance of critical rail appliances and infrastructure, including switches and derails lacking proper ergonomic standards or any physical operational force standards;
  • An unacceptably low legal obligation by rail carriers to provide protection and minimal insurance coverage for railroad workers who, while on-duty, are injured in traffic accidents caused by third parties;
  • The absence of any hours of service laws or regulations limiting the length of time on duty or minimum rest requirements for yardmasters, who are the “rail traffic controllers” of train yards;
  • No paid sick leave, coupled with draconian attendance and outrageous availability policies imposed by rail companies, subjecting workers to severe discipline and/or termination for unpaid absences due to sickness or injuries sustained by them or their families; this raises the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure by employees afraid to absent themselves when ill, creating an epidemic of chronic, long-term fatigue among most railroad workers;
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act qualification threshold requirements do not consider rail industry scheduling, making it more difficult for employees to obtain and use;
  • No clear state or federal statutory occupational safety regulatory oversight of railroad operational employees until after a railroad worker is killed on the job, leaving train crew workers with minimal protections, even in situations of intentional endangerment by railroad management; and

WHEREAS, an original exemption of railroad workers from Washington’s Minimum Wage law [RCW 49.46.010 (g)] enacted in 1959 allows railroad carriers to require employees to work without any pay whatsoever when engaging in territorial familiarization; additionally, this provision provides rail carrier’s with legal justification from adhering to Washington State’s Paid Sick Leave laws, and

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

WHEREAS, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor declines to assert regulatory authority for the safety of railroad-operating employees working onboard or adjacent to trains; and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is not authorized as a rail worker occupational safety agency.  The FRA’s actions under the current administration, most recently through a June 2020 reorganization program have eliminating longstanding regional safety oversight as the agency has become captive to the whims of railroad corporations.  Additionally, the FRA has abdicated its proper role as a rail safety agency by reversing numerous safety rulemakings and regulations, as well as granting numerous broad waivers of rail safety regulatory rules to rail corporations under the guise of providing COVID-19 relief; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Washington State and the Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) have unclear yet often conflicted authority regarding rail workplace occupational safety; and the adoption and assertive proactive enforcement of railroad safety regulations is critical to ensure both public and worker safety, under the oversight of one state agency coordinating a combined interagency rail safety task force made up of employees from all relevant state agencies; a clear determination of which state agency will be ultimately entrusted with most all railroad safety regulatory and enforcement authority should be made; and

WHEREAS, it is recognized that crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas shipments by rail pose a real and potentially deadly threat to both rail workers and the public; we strongly urge the Washington State Legislature to work in close cooperation with rail labor organizations to critically examine all aspects hazardous material and crude-by-rail operations to enhance the safety of rail transport operations; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, THAT, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC) supports and endorses passage and enactment of the following legislative goals and regulatory outcomes regarding railroad workplace and public safety:

  • HB 1843/SB 5879 – The Safe Leave Act for Washington Railroad Workers, first introduced in 2018, to ensure railroad employees in Washington State who work for transportation carriers regulated by the Surface Transportation Board are protected from draconian railroad company attendance and availability policies for illness, and revises the state FMLA eligibility thresholds to allow railroad workers to qualify for family and medical leave protections on a basis similar to those granted to airline flight crew employees;
  • Legislation repealing RCW 49.46.010 (g) so rail carriers can no longer continue to utilize Washington State Law to justify non-payment of wages to train crew members, nor to deny paid sick leave to rail employees;
  • HB 1842/SB 5878, a bill that will establish a Washington State law, equivalent to the federal hours of service law that now covers railroad-operating craft personnel, that would include railroad yardmasters working within the State of Washington; and be it further

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

RESOLVED, that the WSLC hereby declares that the resolution of these critical railroad public and employee safety issues and the adoption and enactment of this and any similar legislation addressing these matters shall continue to be a priority within the 2021 Washington State Labor Council’s legislative agenda.

 


 

RESOLUTION ON UPDATING, MODERNIZING AND CHANGING THE WSLC CONSTITUTION

Resolution 20.12

Submitted by the WSLC Executive Board

WHEREAS, the Executive Board of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO established and convened a Constitutional Committee of WSLC Vice Presidents and staff to review, modernize and update the WSLC Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the Committee was tasked with multiple objectives, including but not limited to:  removing gendered language, replacing antiquated language, adding language to reflect the WSLC’s commitment to racial justice, modernizing to allow for electronic meetings, aligning financial and other practices to conform with AFL-CIO requirements, clarifying the role of Statewide COPE, and making other necessary changes; and

WHEREAS, after agreeing upon and drafting those recommended changes to the Constitution, the Committee determined that the document required renumbering of sections and other reorganizing, which in turn, would make it exceedingly difficult and confusing to describe each individual recommended change via multiple resolutions; and

WHEREAS, the WSLC has provided electronic copies of the existing WSLC Convention (as amended in 2018) and the proposed Revised 2020 WSLC Constitution, which includes all language deletions, revisions and additions recommended by the Constitution Committee for WSLC convention delegates to review; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO adopt all of the changes to the WSLC Constitution, as recommended by the Constitutional Committee, in the form of the document: 2020 Revised WSLC Constitution.

 


 

RESOLUTION ON WSLC AND STATEWIDE COPE ENDORSEMENT POWERS

Resolution 20.13

Submitted by the WSLC Executive Board

WHEREAS, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC) conducts annual conventions and biannual Committee on Political Education (COPE) conventions where delegates from affiliated unions across the state can vote upon which candidates and ballot measures have earned the WSLC’s endorsement; and

WHEREAS, the COPE By-Laws of the WSLC Constitution establishes an organization known as Statewide COPE which is “vested with the duty and responsibility to assist the Washington State Labor Council to meet the need for sound political education on state and national issues;” and

WHEREAS, in addition to WSLC executive officers, Statewide COPE includes all WSLC Vice Presidents elected from across the state, representatives from every Central Labor Council, and representatives from every affiliated union with more than 10,000 members; and

WHEREAS, under existing COPE By-Laws, Statewide COPE is “committed to the support of honest, sincere, qualified, progressive candidates for public office, who by their records have demonstrated their support of the objectives to which the AFL-CIO is dedicated,” and

WHEREAS, there are sometimes extraordinary circumstances when political endorsements are warranted and necessary between WSLC conventions, including (1) when a special election is scheduled between conventions, (2) when an endorsed candidate in the primary election fails to advance to the general election, and (3) no endorsement was made in the primary but an endorsement is warranted for the general election between conventions; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the WSLC Constitution’s COPE By-Laws be amended to insert “except as stated in sections 7 and 8 of this article” at the beginning of the first sentence in Article VIII, Section 2 and at the end of the first sentence in Section 3; and be it further

RESOLVED, that Article VIII, Section 7 be amended as follows:

“In case no endorsement of an issue or a candidate was made before the primary, or, in case the candidate endorsed before the primary was not nominated did not advance to the general election, it shall require either (a) a two-thirds vote by delegate or roll call to make an endorsement of an issue or a candidate in the special COPE convention after the primary at a regular or special convention or (b) a two-thirds vote to make an endorsement in a meeting of the Statewide COPE;” and be it further

RESOLVED, that an Article VIII, Section 8 be added that reads:

In the case of a special election and its primary, endorsements may be made by either (a) a two-thirds vote by delegate or roll call at a regular or special convention or (b) a two-thirds vote at a meeting of the Statewide COPE;” and be it finally

RESOLVED, that Article XIV Section 3 be amended, for the purpose of clarification, as follows:

The Executive Board shall constitute the Washington State Labor Council’s Committee on Political Education. Additional members may be added to the committee as determined by the COPE bylaws.  The council may make endorsements for or against candidates for political office, initiatives, or referenda in accordance with the bylaws for the Committee on Political Education.

 


 

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF POLICING REFORM

Resolution 20.18

Submitted by the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

WHEREAS, more than 1018 people have been shot and killed by police in 2020 according to the Washington Post’s tracker. This does not include those who have died while in police custody or from use of force without a firearm nor the many people who have been harmed by inappropriate use of force or harassment from police. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Manuel Ellis are only a few of the thousands of impacted individuals whose names should recall more than their tragic deaths but who we must remember as we work to end violence at the hands of police; and

WHEREAS, this status quo is unacceptable and we must hold policing and the criminal justice system to account using the full power of the labor movement; and

WHEREAS, in the words of our Secretary-Treasurer April Sims, “Policing in America is too often violence, disproportionately directed at Black communities. There are clear, systemic causes leading to the hyper-policing of Black bodies. We are not experiencing a mass psychosis affecting police departments across the United States. Rather, this police violence, primarily targeting Black Americans, is the system of policing operating as designed”; and

WHEREAS, this is rooted in policing’s historical legacy in slave patrols and in Jim Crow oppression, and persists today as a mechanism to criminalize BIPOC lives. From the earliest roots, racism exercised as policing has involved the working class being divided against one another to the benefit of the wealthy and the economic systems that divide us.

WHEREAS, economic justice cannot be realized without racial justice, and through solidarity in the face of efforts to divide and subjugate working people. Our labor movement must become anti-racist in order to reach our full potential and live up to our values that an injury to one is an injury to all.

WHEREAS, we are accountable to act, and to do so urgently and with integrity, so that BIPOC working people can be at home in our collective labor movement.

WHEREAS, safety from violence is a right that is embedded in the dignity of human life, and it extends to those currently at risk of police violence as well as police themselves the same as it extends to us all. We recognize no contradiction in demanding the safety of BIPOC lives and that of law enforcement professionals and reject any effort to divide us in this way. The root of this problem is in American racism and is evidenced by comparison to other countries who have mere fractions of the fatalities from police that we do. It is only by confronting this systemic racism and by ensuring policing is accountable to the community that all parties can be safe.

WHEREAS, only by addressing root causes and investing in people and community can we truly thrive—policing cannot address unmet behavioral health needs, poverty, lack of housing, or the trauma of systemic racism; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, The Washington State Labor Council shall continue its work to become an anti-racist organization as outlined in Resolution 25 during the 2017 convention and to support affiliates in their work; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council shall engage stakeholders leading on police reform and representatives of law enforcement, with a priority on those who are affiliates in good standing, in order to hear from those most impacted and to consider reforms that ensure police accountability to community and the safety and security of all parties; and be it further

RESOLVED, that following this engagement the Washington State Labor Council will support reforms at the state and local level that will transform policing into a system that is accountable to the community it serves and ends the associated cycle of violence. In doing so core labor principles will be upheld while giving due recognition to the unique nature of policing—that it holds responsibilities attached to the state-sanctioned use of force and that it exists to protect wealth and capital in an inequitable society; and be it finally

RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council shall continue its advocacy for policies and investments that support healthy, vibrant communities including healthcare, education, housing, and jobs. Investments in the criminal justice system must be balanced against investments in the systems that can best meet community need.

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