If you are a new delegate to the Washington State Labor Council convention, WELCOME to the Great Experiment! You are part of the historic first-ever 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 550,000 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.
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 (check out The Stand, if you haven’t already); Legislative Advocacy; Political Action; Race and Labor; Workforce Development; and the Project Help program to help injured workers navigate the workers’ compensation system. Follow those links to learn more about each department. Also meet the officers/vice presidents and staff of the WSLC.
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, Sept. 23, 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 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.)
ENDORSEMENTS — Also on Friday, delegates will consider making election endorsements to supplement those made at the WSLC’s political convention earlier this year. (Here are the 2020 WSLC Endorsements as of the start of conventon.) For the WSLC to endorse a candidate or ballot measure, it requires a two-thirds majority.
So… that’s the basics. Make sure you check out the convention agenda so you know what’s happening when. Participate in the informative workshops. And enjoy your virtual convention experience.