Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO

Resolutions #31 - 43 of the 30th Biennial Convention


WHEREAS renewable portfolio standards (RPS), also referred to as renewable electricity standards (RES), are policies designed to increase generation of electricity from renewable resources. These policies require or encourage electricity producers within a given jurisdiction to supply a certain minimum share of their electricity from designated renewable resources. Generally, these resources include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and some types of hydroelectricity, but may include other resources such as landfill gas, municipal solid waste, and tidal energy, and

WHEREAS renewable electricity credit (REC) trading system is structured to minimize the costs of compliance with RPS. Electricity producers who generate more renewable electricity than required to meet its own RPS obligation may either trade or sell RECs to other electricity suppliers who may not have enough RPS-eligible renewable electricity to meet their own RPS requirement, and

WHEREAS 30 States, including Maryland and the District of Columbia have enforceable RPS or other mandated renewable capacity policies, and

WHEREAS, the purpose of Maryland’s and D.C.’s original energy Renewable Portfolio Standard legislation was to:

(1) recognize the economic, environmental, fuel diversity, and security benefits of renewable energy resources;
(2) establish a market for electricity from these resources; and
(3) lower the cost to consumers of electricity produced from these resources.

WHEREAS biomass plays a critical role in our regions and our country’s renewable energy portfolio by providing low-cost base-load energy that benefits consumers and enhances the reliability of renewable energy.

WHEREAS discriminating against wood biomass will cost Maryland consumers at least $4 million in 2014 in needless increases in REC costs and much more than that in the coming years as the market absorbs the severely reduced supply of RECs and the required percentages of renewable energy more than double by 2022, and

WHEREAS electricity costs for D.C. consumers and businesses will significantly increase because electricity suppliers use Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to comply with the RPS and removing existing biomass energy from Tier I will significantly reduce the REC supply, just as the mandated level of renewable energy more than doubles by 2017. The D.C. Public Service Commission recently reported in April that wind RECs are much more expensive than biomass – 69% higher than wood waste RECs, and 38% higher than black liquor, and

WHEREAS biomass energy is not “crowding out” wind or other energy. In fact, 58% of qualified renewable energy credits in Maryland are for wind, while only 15% is for biomass and more than 89 percent of Maryland’s wind power credits in 2014 went to out-of-state sources, and

WHEREAS the paper industry has perfected the reclamation and usage of black liquor (a mixture of spent cooking chemicals and dissolved wood material used to produce biomass energy) into the paper making process in an environmentally safe and productive manner, and

WHEREAS Maryland has one paper mill employing over 800 workers represented by United Steel Workers, in Western Maryland, that is in serious jeopardy of closing if biomass is removed from Tier 1 renewables, and several hundred jobs also many union members, in trucking, rail transport, logging, chemicals, and other industries will lose their jobs,

WHEREAS Maryland and District of Columbia are progressive leaders on environmental policy, we should not be the first and only jurisdiction setting a policy based on false premises, raising people’s electricity costs and causing other unintended harm for no good reason, and

WHEREAS we cannot be advocating for renewable energy sources that sustain family-supportive jobs and then cut-off the legs of paper manufacturing for doing what we want all industries to be doing, and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will oppose any legislation that removes biomass as a Tier 1 renewable energy source and removes it from the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

Submitted by: Executive Board
Committee: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS: he Supreme Court is poised to decide on a case known as Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association; and

WHEREAS: A decision favorable to Friedrichs would turn all public employers into Right to Work employers by banning required union membership as a violation of the Constitution; and

WHEREAS: This decision could decimate the ranks of unions representing public employee such as police, firefighter, correctional officers, social workers, teachers and other educators and a host of other employees; and

WHEREAS: This action would set an extremely dangerous precedent which will further embolden private sector employers and right wing extremists; and

WHEREAS: There have been over 25 Amicus Briefs filed by Right Wing Organizations on behalf of Friedrichs; and

WHEREAS: A decision favorable to Friedrichs would overturn existing state and local laws that protect workers rights; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED; That the MD State and D.C AFL-CIO and its affiliates will seek to inform all local unions about the potential impact of this upcoming decision; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the MD State and D.C AFL-CIO will seek support from the State of Maryland and the Attorney General of the District of Columbia with the possible filing of an Amicus Brief in support of the unions.

Submitted by: Executive Board
Committee: Legislation
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 as amended unanimously


WHEREAS, raising the floor of wages will enable all workers to earn a living wage where they can make ends meet and be healthy, rebuild the middle class, and get the economy working again; and

WHEREAS, people who work hard should not be stuck in poverty. The minimum wage is the only public policy that sets a floor on wages and has a significant impact on the pay scales of low wage workers; and

WHEREAS, despite opponents’ claims, extensive research on state minimum wage increases makes clear that such increases do not result in slower job growth, even in times of economic recession. The reality is that for a generation, the rich have gotten richer, taking an ever-larger share of our society’s wealth for themselves; and

WHEREAS, wages for working people are stagnant. It’s getting harder for ordinary people to stay afloat as inequality soars. We can’t have an economy that really works until we make sure that every family has the chance to thrive. It’s time people are paid what they’re worth and can bring home enough to provide a decent life for their families; and

WHEREAS, in Washington, DC, tens of thousands of families are working long hours, but at only $10.50 an hour, they’re coming up short. It’s impossible to make ends meet in a city as expensive as Washington, DC on poverty wages. The nation’s capital should not also be the capital of inequality; and

WHEREAS, in Baltimore many of us work for corporations and “non-profit” medical institutions that are making tremendous profits, but do not pay employees enough to support our families and to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent and transportation. Too many of us are forced to rely on public assistance to scrape by. In Maryland, we fought together to raise wages to $10.10 by 2018, a great start but our work was hindered by lack of political will. We haven’t given up the fight and commit our focus to working families at the local level; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports a question on the ballot in the 2016 District of Columbia Election to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all working people.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports legislation in Baltimore to raise the minimum wage to $15 for all working people.

Submitted by: 1199SEIU UHE and Executive Board
Committee: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15


WHEREAS, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is an important asset for the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore and the greater Washington DC Metro area; and

WHEREAS, UNITE HERE is a union affiliated with the AFL-CIO with over 275,000 member and 35,000 members working in airline catering and airport concessions, including members at BWI, that supports overall improvement to BWI’s concessions program; and

WHEREAS, Airmall, USA manages the concessions program at BWI; and

WHEREAS, the State of Maryland has an option in its BWI lease with Airmall USA to terminate the lease as early as April 1, 2017, which otherwise extends until 2022; and

WHEREAS, the State received industry responses to a Request for Information released in 2014, some of which suggest that the State may be able to significantly improve the quality of its concessions program and increase revenues derived from its concessions program; and

WHEREAS, other major airports in the U.S. have seen significantly-improved concessions services and revenues as a result of the issuance of competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) and redevelopment processes; now therefore, be it

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will adopt this resolution and support legislation during the 2016 session to improve the airport’s concession program and solicit competition bidding by terminating AIRMALL USA’s lease in 2017 and issuing a RFP for the airport’s concessions program; and will encourage its affiliates to do the same.

Submitted by: UNITE HERE Local 7
Committee: Organizing
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15


WHEREAS, the existence of family sustaining employment opportunities continue to decline in Maryland and the District of Columbia and the U.S. as a whole, and;

WHEREAS, all workers suffer in this situation, African American workers have been disproportionately impacted by privatization, outsourcing, off-shoring and plant closures, and;

WHEREAS, for young people between the ages of 16 and 24, unemployment is more than twice the national rate, at 14.2 percent. For African-Americans, that rate jumps to 21.4 percent.

WHEREAS, the entire American unemployment system is predicated on the premise that as a young person you started with a work history. This system is not designed to handle the kind of massive and chronic unemployment that we continue to witness. Our unemployment system says that you have to have worked first and thus will have insurance based on an existing work record. But young people now are having a very hard time establishing that work record and therefore don't even have access to unemployment insurance, or any kind.

WHEREAS, this situation and the resultant systemic poverty that it breeds and reinforces, has forced many African American youth onto a path of illegal activity, including trafficking in drugs and associated violent activity, and;

WHEREAS African Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of the U. S. prison population, as well as the prison populations in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and;

WHEREAS there exist too few rehabilitation programs for ex-offenders, and;

WHEREAS, this situation has a severe impact on entire families and communities and will continue to have ramifications for current and future generations.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will seek to educate its members on these challenges, and;

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will work with other labor and community advocates to enact legislation that restores full rights of citizenship to ex-offenders.

Submitted by: APRI, CBTU
Committee: Civil and Human Rights
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, in the U.S. the right to vote and the free and fair exercise of voting rights by all eligible voters are fundamental principles of our democracy; and

WHEREAS, in the past year, over 30 state legislatures have introduced legislation to require government issued photo IDs when voting; and

WHEREAS, research shows that many eligible voters in our state do not have a government ID; and

WHEREAS, such requirements would have a disparate impact on people of color, the elderly, young adults and the poor; and

WHEREAS, there is no evidence that ID requirements provide solutions to problems that threaten voting integrity; and

WHEREAS, there is evidence that these requirements create a financial burden for states already in financial crisis; and

WHEREAS, such legislation is an assault on voting rights and is a coordinated effort to attack working people; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO opposes voter ID legislation and other measures that restrict voting rights and suppress voting; and;

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliates commit to educating and mobilizing our members to regain, maintain and advance voting rights in this country and join with our coalition partners to fight back against these efforts to disenfranchise voters.

Committee: COPE
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous

Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous to move to Executive Board


WHEREAS, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO continues to work for labor unity in these difficult times, and;

WHEREAS, as a state federation, labor unity is a critical part of our work, whether between unions affiliated nationally with the AFL-CIO, Change to Win , NEA or even unaffiliated, and;

WHEREAS, raiding of established unions does not build the labor movement but only diverts resources from organizing the unorganized who want a voice on the job, so;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO continue to support efforts towards building unity and urge all unions, labor councils and state federations to do their own part towards establishing a unified labor movement at this critical time and condemn raiding.

Submitted by: Executive Officers
Committee: Organizing
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, the Postal Service, our national treasure enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, serves 150 million households and businesses and provides the people of the country, regardless of nationality, gender, ethnicity, age or economic status, universal and uniform service; and

WHEREAS, through years of struggle, over 500,000 postal service workers have gained good community building jobs with decent wages and benefits and fundamental rights; and

WHEREAS, postal workers and the postal service itself are facing unprecedented attack (much like public sector workers throughout the country) with the Postmaster General leading the charge to eliminate six day delivery, reduce hours of operation for the public, close almost 4000 post offices in mostly rural and poor urban communities and eliminate over 200,000 decent union jobs; and

WHEREAS, not a dime of tax payer money funds the postal service; and

WHEREAS, the financial "crisis" facing the postal service is manufactured by Congress which mandates the USPS to pay $5.5 billion per year toward future retiree health benefits, a crushing burden that no other government agency or private business is saddled with, and in addition, refuses to release to the USPS some $70 billion in over-funding of postal pension; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Postal Service Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011 (HR1351) has been introduced to allow the USPS to use pension overpayments to meet its financial obligations and keep its doors open.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO 30th Biennial Convention vehemently condemns and actively opposes any efforts to dismantle, privatize, reduce postal services and attack workers rights to collective bargaining; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Convention promulgates this resolution among its affiliates and encourage its members to actively stand together with neighbors, families, friends, the public at large and the postal workers and their unions, to defend the public postal service, good jobs and strong communities.

Submitted by: Executive Officers
Committee: Union Label
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS with the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba is no longer a threat to the United States or the Western Hemisphere, and;

WHEREAS The U.S. government does not prohibited its citizens from travel to some countries that are viewed a posing sever threats to our national security, our U.S. Government still requires it citizens to have a special license issued by the U.S. Treasury Department for any American who wants to travel to Cuba; and

WHEREAS the continuation of the embargo on trade between the United States and Cuba that was declared in 1962 is not now fulfilling the purpose for which it was established, and;

WHEREAS negotiations involving Pope Francis, President Obama and Cuban leaders led to Cuba and the United States entering a new era of relations and diplomatic embassies have been established in Washington and Havana and some travel restrictions have loosened, and;

WHEREAS the strengthening of relationships will likely lead to greater understandings between the peoples of our two countries and assist in stronger educational, economic, family and cultural ties; and;

WHEREAS greater exchanges between our countries and the promotion of trade and commerce, travel, communications, cultural, academic, and scientific exchanges can assist in supporting civil and human rights that are desired and cherished by all people, and

WHEREAS several members of Congress have introduces legislation calling on the President and Congress to enact legislation that will allow free and open travel by Americans to Cuba without restrictions, and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports efforts to establish and strengthen relationships between the union movements of our two countries, and;

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO request that the AFL-CIO call upon Congress to initiate legislation that will achieve this objective.

Submitted by: Executive Officers
Committee: COPE
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, the National Labor Relations Act excludes workers classified as “Independent Contractors” from organizing under the NLRA; and

WHEREAS, increasingly, more and more employers, especially in the emerging task based economy are misclassifying workers as independent contractors; and

WHEREAS, misclassification exploits workers, weakens Unions, severely hinders worker’s rights, and limits workers’ access to Union representation; and,

WHEREAS, the sharing economy is really just the 1% making money by stripping workers of the rights for which the labor movement has fought so hard to secure.

WHEREAS, this on-demand, or so-called gig, economy is creating exciting economies and unleashing innovation it is also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future and

WHEREAS, just because the business transactions of these so-called “sharing economy” companies, such as Uber and AirBnB, are accomplished using smartphone apps, doesn’t mean they’re progressive or new. Instead, these companies are simply recycling old ideas and taking us backwards to a time when workers had no rights on the job,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO supports and encourages affiliates to organize workers in the “gig” economy, sharing economy, task based economy, and other sectors of the emerging job market where the use of misclassified independent contractors is pervasive; and,

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO, and its affiliates support all actions, legal and political, to ensure that workers are properly classified and no longer subject to exploitation.

Submitted by: Executive Officers
Committee: Organizing
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, in response to the collapse of the United States banking system the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 was enacted to regulate the system to prevent commercial banks from engaging in financial speculation and the creation of financial bubbles; and

WHEREAS, until its repeal in 1999, the Glass-Steagall Act erected a firewall separating investment banking, insurance and brokerage firms from traditional commercial banking – by law commercial banks were prohibited from co-mingling funds from other enterprises or speculating in such exotic instruments as derivatives; and

WHEREAS, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999 allowed commercial banks to move into investment banking, insurance and other enterprises, which led to the creation of "banks" considered "too big to fail"; and

WHEREAS, banking institutions, foreign and domestic, have been bailed out by the American taxpayers at a cost of over $25 trillion and they have also participated in the creation of hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives contracts and other toxic "investments" which are a tremendous burden on the United States economy; and

WHEREAS, currently in the 114th Congress, Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Walter Jones (R-NC) are the co-sponsors of H.R. 381, the current bill calling for the reinstatement of FDR's Glass-Steagall Act. In the Senate, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), John McCain (R-AZ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Angus King (I-ME) have introduced S.1709, the "21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2015."; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will increase education among members and the community and urge each of our members of Congress to support legislation that calls for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.

Submitted by: Executive Officers
Committee: COPE
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, small business forms the backbone of our economy, which includes over 99% of employer firms, both locally and nationally; and

WHEREAS, a vibrant and strong economy is essential to ensure the security of the middle class; and

WHEREAS, the deck is pre-stacked against small business, with massive subsidies to large businesses in the form of tax loopholes and credits; and

WHEREAS, there are a variety of small business definitions, including the federal government’s definition of an independent business as having 500 employees or less; and

WHEREAS, while a business may have a limited number of employees, it can still see massive profits that do not fall in the auspice of a small business; and

WHEREAS, organized labor issues and government regulations are often cited as hindrances to small business succeeding in today’s economy; and

WHEREAS, right wing groups and think tanks use the plight of small business to sponsor legislation that attacks unions, workers’ compensation, and pensions; now,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will work with its affiliates to craft legislation that clarifies the definition of small business to truly mean a small business. This means including limiting the number of employees that meet the small business. This means including both the number of employees and the amount of revenue generated in developing the definition of small business.

Submitted by: Executive Officers
Committee: Legislation
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 as amended unanimously 

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