If you are a new delegate to the Washington State Labor Council’s 2021 Convention, WELCOME to the second annual (and hopefully final) virtual WSLC convention.
Normally, we would have a New Delegate workshop to acquaint you with the agenda, traditions and events associated with the convention. Consider this page your workshop! Everything you need for the convention is available on the convention webpage. That’s where you’ll find the agenda, tips on Zooming, 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.
But here are the basics…
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 state 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 approximately 500,000 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 Larry Brown and Secretary Treasurer April Sims. In addition, there are 20 Vice Presidents elected by district to the WSLC Executive Board; At-Large Vice Presidents who represent any international union with at least 10,000 members that does not already have an elected representative; 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 Joe Kendo and Legislative Director Sybill Hyppolite.
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 is led by Political and Strategic Campaigns Director Cherika Carter.
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 Specalist 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 in 2015, but was spurred forward when union delegates from across Washington state approved the Resolution on Race and the Labor Movement at the WSLC’s 2017 Convention. 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.
CONVENTION — 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 to your fellow members. As a delegate, you also will be voting on behalf of your union on proposed resolutions and political endorsements.
What are those? Glad you asked…
RESOLUTIONS — These 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, at the end of each it notes which committee it has been referred to. These committees meet at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21, 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 (LINK to come) 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 Friday. That’s when we’ll discuss and vote on whether to approve them. (Here’s a flow chart that explains the process in more detail and here are previous years’ resolutions.)
So… that’s the basics. Make sure you check out the convention agenda (LINK to come) so you know what’s happening when. Participate in the informative workshops. And enjoy your virtual convention experience!