If you are a first-time delegate to the Washington State Labor Council’s 2023 Convention… WELCOME! We encourage you to attend the New Delegate workshop on Tuesday, July 18 at 8 a.m. (room TBA) before the convention begins on Day 1 to get acquainted with the agenda, traditions and events associated with the convention. But to get ready, here are the basics…
Most of the information you need for the convention is available on the convention webpage. That’s where you’ll find the tentative agenda, workshops descriptions, forms, reports, and all the things. Make sure you scroll through the whole page to know what’s there and what’s happening.
Who we are
The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is a state federation of the national AFL-CIO. Basically, it’s a statewide umbrella group for union locals and councils across Washington to join together and support each other with the power of our solidarity. Currently, there more than 600 local unions affiliated with the WSLC, representing more than half a million rank-and-file union members working in our state, making it the largest labor organization in Washington. Learn more about the WSLC here.
Unions join the WSLC for the same reasons that workers join unions: there is power in numbers. Together, we have a stronger voice on state legislation and public policies, helping pro-worker candidates get elected, and supporting each other at the bargaining table and on the strike lines.
The two executive officers of the WSLC are President April Sims and Secretary Treasurer Cherika Carter. In addition, there are 20 Vice Presidents elected by district to the WSLC Executive Board; At-Large Vice Presidents appointed at the discretion of the Executive Board; and Vice Presidents representing AFL-CIO affiliated constituency groups. See all of the Vice Presidents.
What we do
This WSLC website explains the services that the Council provides to its affiliated unions, their members, and to all working people in Washington state. The main areas of work are:
Communications — Helping promote the causes and activities of the WSLC and its affiliates. This department consists of Communications Director David Groves and Digital Organizer Sarah Tucker. Make sure you check out the WSLC’s award-winning news services The Stand and subscribe (if you haven’t already).
Legislative Advocacy — The WSLC performs legislative education and advocacy for its affiliated unions. As with collective bargaining, by joining forces and speaking with a united voice on public policy issues affecting working families, labor has greater influence. This department includes Government Affairs Director Sybill Hyppolite, Legislative Director John Traynor, and Chief of Staff Joe Kendo.
Political Action — Delegates from the WSLC’s affiliated unions vote on candidate endorsements for congressional, statewide and state legislative office. The WSLC then informs union members about which candidates earned endorsement, and why. This department was led by Cherika Carter until she was elected as the WSLC’s Secretary Treasurer. A new Political and Strategic Campaigns Director will be named soon.
Project Help — This program, which is jointly administered by the WSLC and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, helps injured workers navigate the workers’ compensation system. This department is led by Project Help Director Jessica Gallardo and staffed by Claims Specialist Kathy Petruzzelli and Bilingual Claims Specialist Emmanuel Carrillo.
Race and Labor — The WSLC has a ground-breaking program on racial justice, equity, and the labor movement’s responsibility to tackle racism. That work began with a resolution approved by convention delegates in 2015, and was spurred by subsequent resolutions in 2017 and 2019. This important work is led by Kasi Marita Perreira, the WSLC’s Director of Racial and Gender Justice.
Workforce Development — From initial entry to career transition, and when facing job loss, this department seeks to ensure universal access to portable skills and a voice in career development, continuity for those navigating the workforce system, and an economy that works for both workers and businesses. The WSLC’s Lead Workforce Development Director is Kairie Pierce who is joined by Workforce Development Directors Emmanuel Flores, Chelsea Mason-Placek, and Rachel McAloon.
Follow those links to each department and its staffs’ bios to learn more. Also meet the rest of the WSLC staff.
This annual convention is where all of the affiliated unions that comprise the WSLC get together to share and discuss what the Council is doing, and give directions on what it should be doing as we move forward. Much of the agenda will highlight what the WSLC is working on and how we can help each other achieve our common goals. As a delegate, we hope you will take what you learn at convention back to your union and share the information with your fellow members. As a delegate, you also will be voting on behalf of your union on proposed resolutions.
What are those? Glad you asked…
RESOLUTIONS — Resolutions are proposals for what the WSLC should prioritize. These proposed resolutions are available on the convention page, so check them out. If any are of particular interest to you, at the end of each resolution you’ll see which committee it has been referred to. These committees meet at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18, the first day of convention. These are smaller breakout groups that review, consolidate, and if necessary, amend resolutions. Whether you are assigned to a committee (committee assignments will be posted when available) or not, all delegates are welcome to attend and observe any committee meeting. The committees will then introduce each resolution to the “floor” of the convention for debate and action on Thursday, July 20. That’s when we’ll discuss and vote on whether to approve them.
So… that’s the basics
Make sure you check out the convention webpage and agenda so you know what’s happening when. Participate in the informative workshops. And enjoy your virtual convention experience!