Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO

Resolution #1 - 20 of the 29th Biennial Convention

RESOLUTION 1
                               IN MEMORIAL

WHEREAS Workers in the United States of America are under fierce attacks, they continue to find ways to fight back. Our unions, in particular, find themselves in the cross hairs of corporate greed and anti-democratic forces. Yet, we continue to survive and enhance the lives of working people and are in the forefront of struggles to secure and strengthen our country and build an American society of fairness and justice for all.

WHEREAS whatever contributions the union movement has made to our country, and whatever contributions the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO has made to working people in our jurisdiction, it owes to those who gave of themselves in some large or small measure as members, activists and leaders; and

WHEREAS The physical presence of those who made great contributions no longer bless our ranks, having been taken from us over the past two years, it is fitting recognition of their contributions to honor their memory by this resolution; and

WHEREAS we will truly honor the memory and legacy of our departed Sisters and Brother by dedicating our own lives to the ideals and goals which they treasured and lived by, and in doing so we are challenged to reflect of the contributions that we make and are humbled by the realization that time is indeed measured in yesterdays and tomorrows but nonetheless finite.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that immediately upon the passage of this Resolution, the Chairman of the Convention shall request all delegates to rise and observe a moment of silence in honor of those members who have physically left us but continue to be with us in spirit.

Submitted by: Executive Board
Committee: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

RESOLUTION 2

          Women's Initiative: Shared Values, Shared Leadership, Shared Prosperity

WHEREAS “WOMEN HOLD UP HALF THE SKY” and are half the workforce and two-thirds of the caregivers in our families. Women are stronger when they stick together than trying to go it alone. Most women see that corporate CEOs have too much influence. Women have moved into roles in civic and economic life that were out of reach not long ago.
 

WHEREAS despite centuries of struggle and tremendous gains, women still don’t have equality. As workers—along with men—women continue to fight for good jobs, a just economy and family values at work. And as union members, too few women are recognized as leaders.
 

WHEREAS the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO stands with women and insist on: Equality in pay and opportunity for all; the right of women to control their own bodies and be free from violence; and the right of every woman to meet her fullest potential and the opportunity to serve—and lead—her community, and
 

WHEREAS women’s equality is a shared struggle and more women belong to the labor movement than any other membership organization, we will work toward shared leadership to represent the makeup of our membership and,
 

WHEREAS women are facing hard choices as they are working harder and longer than ever before, not only at workplaces but also as primary caregivers and increasingly as primary bread-winners. Every day men and women are forced to choose between their families, their health and their responsibilities at work.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will continue its fight to raise the minimum wage, ensure that every worker receives a fair days pay for a fair days work, and close the wage gap between men and women.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in addition to our longstanding support for Social Security, health care and a strong social safety net, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will increase its support for paid sick days campaigns at the local, state and federal levels; be a leader in the fight for paid family and medical leave; support families by making quality child care affordable and relieving student debt; continue our stand for contraceptive equity and respect for women’s choices; and ensure fair schedules alongside a fair wage.

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia will work with unions, central labor councils and communities to come together in enduring alliances to tackle structural, cultural and policy barriers that stand in the way of equality, and make change. Partnerships between community allies and the labor movement are essential to achieving social and economic justice for women.
 

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Civil and Human Rights
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13
 

RESOLUTION 3

                     SUPPORT FOR TROOPS AND VETERANS
 

WHEREAS the recent government shutdown is just the latest event that contributes to the trend of many Americans losing faith, in some of our nation’s institutions; but, support for the men and women who serve in the U.S. military continues to remain justifiably high. Day after day, our troops put their lives on the line to protect the country’s safety and freedom.
 

WHEREAS the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO is proud of these brave men and women, many of whom are our own union brothers and sisters. We also salute those who have served and earned the title of Veteran.
 

WHEREAS those who are serving or have served face many challenges, chief among them is finding a job and having adequate means to live economically secure and healthy lives. We must not and cannot turn our back on those who volunteered or answered the call to duty.
 

WHEREAS greater emphasis needs to be placed on addressing the economic, social and health needs of our military women and men, both active and retired,
 

THEREFORE BE IT BE RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO salutes and thanks the members of the United States Armed Forces past and present for their dedication to country and devotion to duty; and
 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State And District of Columbia AFL-CIO will continue to work to ensure those who served have decent, good-paying jobs, proper benefits and housing; and
 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports efforts to realize the safe return of those in uniform stationed around world.

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

RESOLUTION 4

         ENCOURAGE UNION MEMBERS TO BECOME CANDIDATES AND RUN FOR POLITICAL OFFICE

WHEREAS no candidate for political office can better reflect the needs of working people than someone who is a member of a Union; and

WHEREAS building a society where governments put the interests of workers, the majority of the people and the majority of the voters, above the interest of corporations is a long held goal of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO; and

WHEREAS there are many highly qualified and competent members of Unions who are already active leaders in their unions and their communities, and desire to become involved in politics, including running for political office,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will work cooperatively and collaboratively with Central Labor Councils and local unions to develop and implement programs encouraging union members to run for political office; and,

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO encourages all affiliates to seek from among their members potential candidates for public office and provide training, resources and support in their behalf.

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Committee on Political Education
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

 RESOLUTION 5

                                                       OUR ECONOMY

WHEREAS the economic growth of the 1990s came to an abrupt halt, and we entered the Great Recession of the early 2000’s, we now appear to be in a state of perpetual slow growth, frequent economic downturns of uncertain depth and duration; and,

WHEREAS the manufacturing industry in this country continues to exist in a deep and long-lasting crisis that has already cost us millions of good jobs; and the capitalists and the government officials that do their bidding still find it more profitable to produce goods overseas and ship services off-shore with little regard for the consequences on our communities

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will educate and mobilize to insure that all government supported projects will include incentives for companies that manufacture needed products and goods in Maryland and/or the District of Columbia, but in any case in the United States.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support efforts to reform our tax system so that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share; and, strongly opposes any further unwarranted tax cuts for the richest among us or for corporations.

THEREFORE BE IT FINNALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports a federal tax on Wall Street transactions.


Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Legislation
Convention Action: REJECTED 10/27/13

RESOLUTION 6

                                    SUPPORT FOR UNITED STATES MANUFACTURING

WHEREAS the future of economic growth in the United States of America is dependent on the ability of the manufacturing sector to continue to produce products of highest quality that allows the citizens of our great country to secure a standard of living deserving of all people; and
 

WHEREAS manufacturing is continually under attack from flawed policies and unbalanced trade from nations who subsidize their manufacturing sectors; and
 

WHEREAS the paper industry has perfected the reclamation and usage of black liquor into the paper making process in an environmentally safe and productive manner: now
 

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that immediately upon passage of this resolution that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will stand opposed against any legislation that would remove biomass as a Tier 1 renewable energy source and Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
Submitted by: USW Local 676 Committee: Union Label
Convention Action: WITHDRAWN (SEE RESOLUTION 25)

RESOLUTION 7

                                                GRASSROOTS ACTION

WHEREAS the labor movement is present, active and growing in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and the AFL-CIO’s affiliates come together in the state federation’s state and local central bodies, and
 

WHEREAS today more than ever, effectiveness on the state and local levels is essential for two reasons: First, the extreme right-wing has made a priority of state-level attacks on unions and worker rights. Second, while federal labor law reform is still a much-needed priority, state and local politics present immediate opportunities for the expansion of workers’ rights, and
 

WHEREAS the success and survival of the labor movement requires our state federation and central labor councils to innovate and operate at a higher standard than ever before. Elected leaders, staff, key partners and affiliated unions working together must develop forward-thinking and strategic plans and hold each other accountable for progress.
 

WHEREAS we recognize that all politics are local, we also must remain active in the nation’s capital, where so many of our members’ livelihoods are affected by Congress and the administration. There and at the state level, we are still fighting political battles over so-called right-to-work laws, comp-time legislation, paycheck deception, project labor agreements, retirement security, and the list goes on.
 

WHEREAS our grassroots efforts must, and will, extend to election seasons at every level of government. Electing pro-worker representatives does not guarantee success, but we all know what happens when anti-worker, anti-union politicians take office. It’s a never-ending cycle and a never-ending mission, but it is the system we have.
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO clearly understands the truth that without sustained, effective grassroots involvement, the labor movement will not survive, and
 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO recognizes the importance of grassroots action to all working families, and we will continue to treat such activities with utmost urgency, and will promote trade unionism in every possible way, including educating the public and political representatives at every level of government.
Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Education and Community Outreach
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

 

RESOLUTION 8
                                        JOBS AND THE ECONOMY

WHEREAS when the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO last met in convention our nation-was in the depths of the Great Recession, and we were feeling the pains of failed economic policies, but most delegates probably believed that by now, things would be greatly improved. Two years later, and six years into the recession, we remain both cautiously optimistic about putting more workers back to work, and also realistic about what it will take to achieve this most important goal.

Our bottom line is that measures must be taken to make sure that every person in Maryland and the District of Columbia who wants a job can get one. Several proposed plans, including the joint one from the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, would boost U.S. manufacturing by building factories here, not overseas, but

WHEREAS even the clearest, most logical blueprints do not have a chance unless legislators at the national, state and local levels develop the will and commitment to working towards tangible and effective solutions to this crisis. The obstructionism that began with the 111th Congress and has continued with the Obama administration has only gotten worse and is gaining influence at state and local levels because of anti-worker legislators and the corporations that seem to practically own them.

WHEREAS the vast majority of the American people see it the same way we do: Jobs and the economy are jointly the number one issue across the nation. They believe that we can win this fight. We can turn things around.

A great first step will be to stop rewarding companies that send jobs overseas. And that starts by changing the focus of our economic policies from one of maximizing the competitiveness and profitability of corporations to one of maximizing the competitiveness and prosperity of the human beings who live and work in America, now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO sees jobs and the economy as the number-one issue today in America, in Maryland and the District of Columbia; and we remain committed to securing, promoting and protecting good jobs here at home, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO recognizes that a resurgence of the labor movement is critical to getting the economy working and developing shared and equitable prosperity for all.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO continues to support national labor law reform, such as the Employee Free Choice Act, that will enable more American working men and women to successfully unionize
 

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Organizing
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13
 

RESOLUTION 9
                                               WORKPLACE SAFETY

WHEREAS the right to a safe job is a fundamental worker right and all employees around the world should be able to go to work and return home safely at the end of the day. But in too many workplaces, the push by employers for production and profits while disregarding safety puts workers ' lives in danger.
 

WHEREAS this past April we witnessed the worst garment factory disaster in history-the horrifying collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which housed five factories making garments for U.S. and European retailers. Numerous reports of unsafe conditions went unheeded. The building collapsed, killing 1,129 workers, mostly women, and injuring hundreds more, and
 

WHEREAS here in the United States, the same kind of push for production, profit and lack of safety protections costs worker’s lives. Three years ago, 29 coal miners died in an explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. A few weeks later, an explosion at a BP Gulf Coast oil well killed 12 workers and caused one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. This past April, 15 people died in an explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant had never been inspected by OSHA. And in June, 19 firefighters died in a massive wildfire in Arizona, and
 

WHEREAS those are the stories that made the news, but every day, workers in the United States and around the world are injured, killed, maimed or sickened while simply trying to earn a living. Most workplace deaths and injuries are not the result of catastrophes; they occur one by one. These deaths are just as much of a tragedy to these workers and their families. Millions of workers, including many state and local public employees, have no OSHA coverage; major hazards remain unregulated and unacknowledged; and enforcement tools are too weak, now
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO union movement will join with allies to seek stronger safety and health protections and rights for all workers. Together we will strengthen laws to cover all workers, toughen enforcement and provide stronger worker rights and anti-retaliation protections; and
 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will educate workers about job hazards, safety and health rights, and support efforts to organize and take action to improve working conditions; and
 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will fight efforts to use international trade agreements to lower safety and health standards and protections, and instead seek to use these agreements and their enforcement as means to raise standards and improve working conditions for everyone.
 

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Industrial Safety
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

RESOLUTION 10

                                  STRATEGIC PLANNING: EFFECTIVENESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
 

WHEREAS the labor union movement in Maryland and the District of Columbia comes together in our State Federation and our Central Labor Councils, and today more than ever, effectiveness on the state and local levels is essential, we are more resolute than ever in our commitment to grow the union movement and win for working families; and
 

WHEREAS the attacks on workers and their organizations are unrelenting at the national, state and local levels strong unions still represent the best hope to working people for a brighter future. The viciousness and idiotic natures of these corporate lead attacks by puppet politicians is spawning movement and resistance among workers at all levels and in all sectors of our economy.
 

WHEREAS the growing resistance among working people challenges our union brothers and sisters to struggle for and exercise greater leadership within our unions and within our communities and become the center for movement building and solution driven resistance, and
 

WHEREAS the success and survival of the labor union movement requires that our state federation and central labor councils operate at higher levels of effectiveness and efficiency to meet higher standards. Our elected union leaders and appropriate union staff working together must develop forward-thinking and strategic plans and hold each other accountable for their execution. Proper planning is crucial to victory and our members deserve nothing less; and
 

WHEREAS the plans must be grounded in objective economic, political and social reality and have clear deliverables and ways to measure success, whether for legislative, issue, coalition building, political, organizing support or other campaign activities. In addition to the establishment of standards and accountability measures, the plan will incorporate mechanisms for the expansion of leadership development training and tools to help ensure effective programs.
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO in conjunction with its affiliated Central Labor Councils and Local Unions will develop a Five Year Strategic Plan.
 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Five Year Strategic Plan will be completed and submitted to the national AFL-CIO by March 2014.
 

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

RESOLUTION 11

                                                       MINIMUM WAGE

WHEREAS there is something fundamentally wrong with the economy in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and the U.S. economy as a whole. The heart of the problem is the stagnation of wages and the devaluing of workers’ buying power. The solution is to replace failed low-wage economic strategy with a high-wage strategy for shared prosperity, and
 

WHEREAS recent low-wage economic strategy consisted of at least five elements: (1) a sustained war against workers’ freedom to bargain collectively; (2) a sustained attack on labor standards and employment protections for all workers; (3) the abandonment of full employment as a central objective of U.S. economic policy and declining investment in infrastructure; (4) the relocation of U.S. manufacturing production to other countries, accompanied by chronic U.S. trade deficits; and (5) Wall Street’s takeover of the real economy, and.
 

WHEREAS the upshot of this low-wage economic strategy was that wage growth for most workers became delinked from productivity growth in the late 1970s. The real median income of working-age families fell from 2000 to 2007 and has continued falling since the Great Recession. The wage crisis has had an especially harmful impact on women, people of color and their communities, and

WHEREAS the failure of low-wage strategy shows that we no longer can rely on financial fix-it gimmicks such as household borrowing, real estate bubbles, tech bubbles or stock bubbles to fuel economic growth. We must rely instead on job creation and higher wages to restore workers buying power and create a healthier states and local economies. Higher wages are not a luxury that can be postponed; they are the only way out of the perpetual economic crises and the basis for sustainable growth.
 

WHEREAS for too long tipped workers have been excluded from the minimum wage, with a current federal minimum wage of only $2.13 per hour,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will engage in educational efforts among its affiliated locals and councils, and with community allies to mobilize and win broad support for the passage of legislation to establish a minimum wage of at least $10.10 per hour and indexed to the cost of living, and
 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO believes that the minimum hourly wage for tipped workers should be increased to at least 70% of the minimum wage.
Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Legislation
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/27/13

RESOLUTION 12
                                                        COMMON SENSE ECONOMICS

 

WHEREAS the economy is not the weather, it does not just happen to us. The economy is all about the wealth created by workers. Without labor, there is no economy, and while workers do the work, workers do not control the economy they create, and
 

WHEREAS the corporate rulers and the government they influence, have rewritten the rules of the global economy so that they take a larger and larger share of the wealth workers create, and
 

WHEREAS corporate rulers constantly change the rules to benefit themselves, they have told us for a generation that this fundamentally unfair economic order is the only way we can create wealth. Corporate-dominated media continues to tell this story, and
 

WHEREAS now is the time for a conversation about how the global economy really works, about how political and economic power shapes economic reality, and what we can do to set our states and country on the path to shared, equitable and sustainable prosperity. It is time for a conversation about how, together, workers can build countervailing economic and political power, through creating strong, democratic, independent labor movements and by developing economic strength through collective bargaining, and
 

This is a conversation we have to have together—in our workplaces, in our union halls, online and in our homes. It is a conversation we need to have not just with our fellow union members, but with our allies, with economists and journalists, and with elected officials. But it is a conversation that will not begin unless we start it in the labor movement, and
 

WHEREAS the AFL-CIO will develop a comprehensive economics education program—Common Sense Economics. This program will provide educational tools so that we can educate each other, so that we can spark conversations that are informed by serious economic thinking.
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO together with its affiliated local unions and councils will:
 

• Conduct train-the-trainer sessions for local union leaders and community partners so that they can lead conversations about how we can build sustainable, shared prosperity.
 

• Share the curriculum at every level of the labor movement and with allies.
 

• Spark conversations about how to build an economy based on: full employment, economic security, democracy and social justice —and the critical role played by an organized workforce in achieving these goals.

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Education and Community Outreach
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13


RESOLUTION 13

                             CREATING A RETIREMENT SAVINGS PLAN FOR ALL WORKERS

WHEREAS workers and their families in Maryland and throughout the nation face a retirement security crisis as a sizable majority no longer have traditional pensions (86% in the private sector), while 47% have no access to any retirement plan at work; and seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age have less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts and over half the bottom 50% of wage earners have no retirement savings; and

WHEREAS Social Security in Maryland provides a median benefit of less than $15,000 per year and more than two-thirds of all recipients rely on it for half or more of their income; and

WHEREAS corporate interests, influential opinion makers and politicians of both parties continue to seek reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits, which would cost the average retiree thousands of dollars per year; and

WHEREAS with strong support from labor, California in 2012 enacted legislation authorizing creation of a state-operated plan that would provide a self-sustaining, automatic-enrollment, payroll deduction Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for workers whose employers do not offer their own retirement plan; and other states, such as such Illinois and Oregon, are now seeking similar solutions to their retirement crises,

THEREFORE B E IT RESOLVED that the MD/DC AFL-CIO support efforts such as Maryland 2012 House Bill 1318, which would create a state-sponsored retirement plan for private-sector workers, who are not covered by an existing pension plan, which would include: automatic enrollment of workers in workplaces of five or more employees in a payroll-deduction IRA, with a default 3% employee contribution rate; an opt-out provision for those who choose not to participate; pooled investments and a guaranteed rate of return; oversight by a state-appointed board, including representatives of all interested parties and the state’s chief financial officials; portability among employers within Maryland; self-supporting operation with no financial liability for the state, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MD/DC AFL-CIO will work to build support among affiliates and like-minded organizations outside the labor movement, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MD/DC AFL-CIO continue efforts to assist affiliates in strengthening traditional pension systems and encouraging the creation of new plans, and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the MD/DC AFL-CIO in conjunction with the national AFL-CIO continue to urge the federal elected officials to pass legislation to improve Social Security benefits and strengthen the program, oppose the ‘chained CPI which would cut Social Security, as well as work to to remove roadblocks and create incentives to grow and strengthen traditional pension plans.

Submitted by: MD/DC Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) Committee: Legislation
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/27/13
 

RESOLUTION 14

       CAMPAIGNS BY FAST-FOOD WORKERS FOR HIGHER WAGES AND THE RIGHT TO UNIONIZE

WHEREAS thousands of workers from hundreds of fast-food restaurants have staged job actions as their first steps in a fight for higher wages and the right to unionize without interference; and
 

WHEREAS fast-food workers are paid a median national wage of $8.80 an hour, which even at 40 hours per week amounts to $18,304 a year, which is $5,000 below the federal poverty line for a family of four; and
 

WHEREAS fast-food workers often earn far less because they are given only part-time hours at their jobs, and receive few benefits; and
 

WHEREAS in the past, when fast-food work was regarded primarily as entry-level work for high school students, the low pay might have been considered acceptable. But in today’s economy, most new jobs created nationally are in low-wage industries such as fast food, and an increasing number of fast-food worker are parents, high school dropouts, senior citizens and others who stay at these jobs for years – often without a raise; and
 

WHEREAS the rise in low-wage service work, combined with the disappearance of higher-paying manufacturing jobs, is one reason for the growing income inequality in our country; and
 

WHEREAS if fast-food workers win higher wages and the right to unionize that they are seeking, it could help tens of thousands of working people in our states to live with dignity and to support their families, which would benefit communities, many of the children in our schools and the state’s economy;
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports the campaigns by fast-food workers for decent wages and the right to unionize; and
 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will encourage its members to participate in any rallies, petition drives or other actions pursued by the campaign's organizers.
 

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Organizing
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

RESOLUTION 15

                           BUILDING ENDURING LABOR COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

WHEREAS a long-held ideal of the labor movement has been the assembling of broad progressive coalitions for social and economic justice, and

WHEREAS over the past decade, broad macroeconomic transformations have put communities in Maryland and the District of Columbia at risk, threatening the economic security of all and accelerating deep divides and inequalities in our society. These circumstances demonstrate that the struggles of workers are inextricably interwoven with the struggles of communities, and

WHEREAS unions must work hand in hand with community partners and allies to reverse these economic trends and to create opportunities for all while building a robust democratic and participatory society, strong and safe neighborhoods and racial, ethnic and gender equality and,

WHEREAS our unions have a long history of working with communities and that tradition continues today, to achieve our ideal of social and economic justice and an enduring democracy, the relationship between the labor movement and community must have a scale, a potency and an exuberance that can successfully advance our common cause, and

WHEREAS community-labor collaboration needs to be rooted, dynamic and abiding; and, we must extend the frontiers of our relationships, building upon the values we share, and

WHEREAS the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and our affiliates believe that when we build—together with community—this lasting, powerful movement for social and economic justice and an enduring democracy, our collective voice will be heard and our collective purposes will be achieved, now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland and DC AFL-CIO and our affiliates commit to be better partners with community. We will engage in a process of shared analysis with community partners and build programs, support broad and inclusive policies and work to strengthen our democracy based on that analysis. We will educate ourselves and our partners on the issues that impact those whom we serve. We will endeavor to share power and build power together. Invigorated organizational structures that are strong, effective, democratic and inclusive are necessary to be innovative, energetic and committed long-term partners with community, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, our Central Labor Councils and our affiliates will:
• Deepen relationships and programs with community;
• Work vigorously on the issues raised by our partners that reflect our shared values;
• Ensure that state federations and central labor councils are well situated to build enduring partnerships with community; and
• Establish ways in which the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO can incentivize the development of shared agendas and promote best practices

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we will popularize these four goals and engage in educational processes with Central Labor Councils, local unions, Constituency Groups and community organizations to develop the necessary structures and resources to achieve them.

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Civil and Human Rights
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13
 

RESOLUTION 16

             IN SUPPORT OF DEVELOPMENT OF MARYLAND’S NATURAL GAS RESOURCES

WHEREAS The Obama administration announced that natural gas plays a key role in our nation's clean energy future, and the U.S. has vast reserves of natural gas that are commercially viable as a result of advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies enabling greater access to gas in shale formations and, responsible development of America's shale gas resources offers important economic, energy security, and environmental benefits, and
 

WHEREAS the White House released a “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" a comprehensive plan to reduce America's oil dependence, save consumers money, and make our country the leader in clean energy industries. The Blueprint supports the responsible development of the Nation's oil and natural gas, with the specific goals of promoting safe practices and reducing energy imports, and
 

WHEREAS Governor O’Malley established the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative by executive order in June 2011 to ensure that, if drilling for natural gas from the Marcellus Shale proceeds in Maryland, it is done in a way that protects public health, safety, natural resources, and the environment, and
 

WHEREAS we believe it is important that we have transparency and full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place, and the studies and reports being produced by Maryland and the Federal departments will provide the best possible guidelines for protecting the air, water and land and guide rulemaking that achieves these goals, and
 

WHEREAS the Marcellus Shale play would benefit Allegany and Garrett Counties, a part of the state that has severely felt the economic recession. Allegany County is among the lowest incomes and highest unemployment in the state. Marcellus Shale development represents a way for both Allegany and Garrett counties to secure a key driver of business investment and future job creation, and
 

WHEREAS the Pennsylvania Statewide Marcellus Shale Workforce Needs Assessment conducted by the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center (PENN State) recently analyzed the types of jobs and job skills required for drilling in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale and concluded that it requires approximately 420 individuals across 150 occupations to bring a single Marcellus well on line. This is only direct jobs and does consider the myriad of indirect jobs that would be created in Western Maryland and down the supply chain.
 

THEREFORE BY IT RESOLVED the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, supports the development of Maryland’s resources of natural gas in accordance with safe, environmental protections recommended by the state and federal agencies’ reports.
 

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Industrial Safety
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

RESOLUTION 17
               LABOR LAWS THAT ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF ALL WORKERS

 

WHEREAS IN 1935, our nation’s basic labor law, the National Labor Relations Act, was enacted and still eloquently declares it “to be the policy of the United States to encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and…protect the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self- organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection…” and
 

WHEREAS our economy has evolved and employer opposition has become even more virulent and sophisticated while the law stood still, progress of workers has stalled and then reversed. Today, federal labor law, nor subsequent state law, no longer fits the economy, the employment relationship or the workplace, and,
 

WHEREAS after almost 80 years of practice, employers, aided by the Taft-Hartley amendments of 1947 and a multibillion-dollar industry of “union-avoidance” consultants, have nearly perfected the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle exercise of the very economic power the act was designed to counterbalance to “persuade” employees to remain unrepresented, and
 

WHEREAS Employers and governments increasingly interpose various forms of intermediaries between themselves and the employees whose labor is essential to the enterprise in order to escape legal obligations to those employees and avoid any duty to bargain with their chosen representative. While exercising control over their livelihood, employers even characterize employees as independent contractors, or use “temp agencies” in efforts to deprive workers of their right to organize and bargain collectively, now
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and affiliated unions together with a broad coalition of others must embark on a multi-year political and legislative campaign to obtain fundamental changes in our States’ procurement and grants policies to insure that all contracts include labor peace stipulations, card check neutrality and Project Labor Agreements (PLA). The campaign should be founded on the principle that vibrant organizations of working people and electoral and governance reforms are both critical components of economic prosperity and democracy.
 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the reforms should speak to the critical place of labor organizations and collective bargaining in redressing growing income inequality and the resulting imbalance in our political system.
 

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Committee on Political Education
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

RESOLUTION 18

                     PRISONS AND PROFITS: THE BIG BUSINESS BEHIND MASS INCARCERATION

WHEREAS it is no coincidence that the total population in the United States’ correctional system has exploded in the decades since the business of for-profit incarceration was born. Between 1980 and 2011 the number of people incarcerated grew from 500,000 to 2.2 million. The rise in the rate of incarceration has had a disproportionate impact on individuals and communities of color. According to a 2008 study from the Pew Center on the States, one out of every 106 white males ages 18 or older is incarcerated, one out of every 36 Hispanic males ages 18 or older is incarcerated and one in every 15 black males ages 18 or older is incarcerated. In many of the largest cities in the United States, more than half of young black men are either in the correctional population or released but now stigmatized with a criminal record, and

WHEREAS for-profit prison companies benefit from rising rates of incarceration that stem in large part from changes in laws and procedures that require increased penalties for nonviolent and minor crimes, such as the possession of small amounts of drugs, and lengthy or lifetime incarceration as a result of “three strikes” sentencing laws. The private prison industry has lobbied for such laws as well as stricter incarceration policies for undocumented immigrants. Their business model depends on growing the correctional system for the sake of profit without regard to justice, and

WHEREAS the impact of mass incarceration can be felt on neighborhoods, families and individuals because the majority of people in the system live in a subset of neighborhoods in the major cities of Maryland and the District of Columbia. When people who have been in prison or jail, or on parole or probation, return to civil life, they return to these same neighborhoods. As a result of mass incarceration, these already impoverished neighborhoods have lost thousands of working-age men. For families, relationships are strained, income earners are lost and parents and children are separated. Those who have been released from the correctional system face institutionalized discrimination, unable to break free of the stigma. Various state and local laws and policies institutionalize unfairness, preventing those reintegrated into society from voting, serving on juries, obtaining student loans, and receiving public benefits and other services. Returning to neighborhoods long suffering from economic divestment, high unemployment, poor infrastructure and isolation, those re-entering civil society also have few opportunities for advanced education and good jobs, and

WHEREAS another factor in the historic high numbers of people in the correctional system is the “school-to- prison pipeline,” a phrase that describes the policies and practices that push young people, especially children of color, out of school and into the criminal justice system. Contributing to this path toward incarceration are overly harsh disciplinary policies, budget cuts that have left schools without resources to support students and families, zero-tolerance policies and increased school-based arrests. In short, our nation’s profit-driven justice system is producing a level of mass incarceration that is anything but just, and

WHEREAS injustices in the system extends to Correctional Officers who oftentimes find themselves in situations where the disciplinary process is sometimes used inappropriately to intimate employees with a threat of termination, and


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO believes that the operation of our criminal justice system is an inherently governmental function. We will support legislation, policies and practices that stop the privatization of correctional facilities or services.

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support efforts to alleviate prison overcrowding by advocating for adequate staffing for correctional institutions and the conversion of privately operated prisons to public operation.

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support criminal sentencing policies that ensure punishments are fair, commensurate with the crime and consistent with public safety requirements; and we will oppose legislation and policies that require inappropriately long mandatory sentences for nonviolent crimes.
· The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO believes Correctional Officers in every jurisdiction should be entitled to due process rights and the Correctional Officers Bill of Rights

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support reforms—including adequate staffing of our criminal justice system—that accelerate the justice process and eliminate unnecessary pre-trial detention time.

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support the effective use and full funding of training, education, probation and parole strategies that assist in reintegrating people who have served their time into our communities.

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support a public policy focus on the treatment of users of illegal drugs and supports treating drug use as a public health issue.

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support the restoration of full citizenship rights for those convicted of nonviolent offenses once they have completed their prison sentences, including the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and full access to government services such as financial aid for education, housing and employment assistance.

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will work with affiliates and allies to support legislation and policies that support schools and communities in developing and funding programs to reduce the number of young people who drop out of school or are suspended or expelled and will support programs that work with law enforcement officers to educate rather than penalize youth.

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Civil and Human Rights
Convention Action: REFERRED BACK TO EXECUTIVE BOARD

RESOLUTION 19

                               IN SUPPORT OF PAID SICK DAYS

WHEREAS everyone gets sick and everyone deserves the opportunity to recover without risking their paycheck, or the health of others. Yet more than 700,000 Marylanders are unable to earn paid sick days, and

WHEREAS workers without paid sick days are more likely to go to work sick, and more likely to delay needed medical care, leading to prolonged illness and costly health problems. Between September and November 2009 – the H1N1 flu pandemic’s peak months – 8 million workers went to work sick, and may have infected 7 million of their coworkers, and

WHEREAS two-thirds of all family caregivers are female wage earners, yet women-dominated industries are among the least likely to offer paid sick days. Forty-three percent of women working in the private sector are unable to take a single paid sick day, and

WHEREAS paid sick days protect families. Parents without paid sick days are more than twice as likely as parents with paid sick days to send a sick child to school or day care. They are also five times more likely to take their child or a family member to the emergency room because they were unable to take time off work during normal work hours. For the typical family without paid sick days, just 3.5 sick days without pay is equivalent to losing an entire month of groceries. For single-parent families, most often headed by women, the economic situation is even worse, and

WHEREAS paid sick days benefit businesses. The spread of disease slows, workplace injuries decrease, and workplaces are both healthier and more productive when sick workers are able to stay home. “Presenteeism” or workers under-performing because of illness, is estimated to cost employers $160 billion per year—twice as much as the cost of absenteeism. Workers with paid sick days are 28 percent less likely than workers without leave to be injured on the job, according to the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health, and

WHEREAS in March 2008, the Washington, D.C. Council voted unanimously to pass legislation guaranteeing workers paid sick time. Under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, workers in businesses with 100 or more workers earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year, workers in businesses with 25-99 workers earn five days, and workers in businesses with 24 or fewer workers earn three days. The law exempts tipped restaurant workers as well as workers in the first year of employment. The D.C. law was also the first in the United States to include paid "safe" days for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

WHEREAS at least 145 countries provide paid sick days for short- or long-term illnesses, with 127 providing a week or more annually. 98 countries guarantee one month or more of paid sick days. Many high-income economies require employers to provide paid sick days upwards of 10 days, including: Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Singapore, and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports the Earned Leave and Safe Time Act and will work with community, religious and advocate partners to win passage of the legislation, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will educate and mobilize affiliates to work toward the passage of this legislation.

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Legislation
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

 
RESOLUTION 20
           IN SUPPORT OF JOB CREATION STANDARDS WITH BUSINESS TAX CREDITS

WHEREAS numerous businesses in Maryland across a variety of industries receive tax payers aid from state, county and local governments. The Comptroller’s 2012 Guide to Maryland Business Tax Credits lists 25 different state tax credits available to individuals and businesses and provides that additional forms of economic assistance may be available from other State agencies, including the Department of Housing and Community Development and Department of Business and Economic Development, but are too numerous to enumerate. In addition, counties and cities give millions in tax credits to businesses, and

WHEREAS the tax payers government aid is provided with the intention of boosting local and state economies and creating jobs and some of the tax credits and financing programs require employers to pay their employees at least 150% of the minimum wage (which is currently $7.25) this is not the standard in most subsidies, and

WHEREAS despite the government’s role in their success, many of the businesses’ operations result in subpar quality jobs. The state should ensure that jobs created by tax dollars are lifting people up, not impoverishing them, and.

WHEREAS the public is paying too high a price for taxpayer subsidized economic development to continue a culture of silence regarding the types of jobs and working conditions created. As the state and local governments try to do more with fewer resources and reduce costs it is important that public dollars are more wisely invested by establishing a living wage standard for jobs created through taxpayer subsidies and enabling more working people to be self-sufficient and contribute greater sums to the tax base and economy, and rely less on costly safety net programs, and

WHEREAS job creation standards ensure that taxpayers get a return on their investment and that the cost per job is not too high. When companies pay poverty wages or fail to provide health insurance, taxpayers are likely to incur hidden costs in the form of social safety-net spending such as Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance, food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and housing and heating assistance.

WHEREAS job quality standards require companies that choose to ask for and receive subsidies paid for by tax payers to create jobs that meet certain criteria, including wage levels, availability of affordable quality health insurance, safe and healthy working conditions and full-time hours, and.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports an economic growth strategy that assists businesses in stimulating higher wages for workers, creating a high-quality, motivated labor force and increasing local and state spending and tax revenues by requiring job quality standards for every tax credit.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, to ensure that all jobs created by businesses receiving state, county, and/or local government aid provide the following guarantees to the workers who they employ:
• A fair livable wage
• Full-time work that prevents employers from reducing hours in order to avoid participation in the Health Benefit Exchange
• Fair scheduling practices that allow workers to work normal, continuous shifts and receive a normal two days off per week
• Paid sick days and paid leave for jury duty

Submitted by: Executive Board Committee: Committee on Political Education
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/26/13

 

 

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