Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO

Resolutions #1 - 15 of the 30th Biennial Convention



WHEREAS, workers in the United States of America, in Maryland and the District of Columbia are under fierce attacks, STILL WE STAND and fight back. Our unions, in particular, are in the cross hairs of corporate greed and anti-democratic forces. STILL WE STAND, survive and enhance the lives of working people; and, are in the forefront of struggles to secure and strengthen our country and build a society grounded in fairness and justice for all, and

WHEREAS, for all of the contributions the union movement has made to our country, and the contributions the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO has made to working people in our jurisdiction, much is owed 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. Many of those who are no longer with us seem to have departed too soon and too fast, while others are simply unable to function as they once did, and some are incapacitated victims of situations that may have been preventable, it is fitting that we recognize them and their contributions, and

WHEREAS, we 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 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, the constant threats and worries about government shutdown contribute to many Americans losing faith, in some of our nation’s institutions; support for the men and women who serve in the U.S. military continues to remain justifiably high. They are mostly the sons and daughters of working class parents; and, they, too, are workers who day after day 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 and all uniformed services past and present for their dedication to country and devotion to duty; and

THEREFORE 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; the safety of those who travel and navigate the seas; and security of those who serve on our national grounds. We will advocate for and fight for high standards of living and a high quality of life for these workers

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


WHEREAS when the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO last met in convention we were still feeling the pains of ‘the great recession’ and failed economic policies, but most delegates probably believed that by now, things would be greatly improved. Two years later, and eight 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.

WHEREAS, businesses are not creating new jobs in this economy and the workers in Maryland and the District of Columbia can’t wait for businesses to create jobs. Our political leaders need to step up and enact legislation to enable the governments to invest in creating jobs; and

WHEREAS, many of Maryland and the District of Columbia systems need serious repair, including: adequate affordable housing, supervised after school and recreational programs, more assessable adult education and training programs, new and remodeled schools, bridges, transportation systems, efficient and equitable electric power grids, water systems and communications systems; and

WHEREAS, legislation is needed that would preserve and create middle-class jobs and provide state and local governments with needed fiscal aid;

WHEREAS jobs and the economy are jointly the number one issue across the nation, taking on this fight is one we can win and 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliate unions call on the Maryland General Assembly and the District of Columbia Council to pass legislation that will put people to work and provide them with fair wages, health and retirement benefits and safe working conditions and the right to bargain collectively.

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.

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


WHEREAS, we are proud members of the American labor movement, and we understand that collective action gives us the power to ensure justice, fairness and opportunity for all; and

WHEREAS, we are fighting a battle of immense proportions that threatens to destroy all we and others in the labor movement have worked for. This battle is ultimately over who holds the power in our economy and our democracy. It is a battle to reclaim the promise of America; and

WHEREAS, to combat those who wish to undermine unions, we must strengthen the bond with all members. We must show them that workers are the union. We must engage in a collective conversation about the challenges we face, the aspirations we have and the strategies we must implement. We must create the collective will and shared avenues for our members, along with community partners, to fight those obstacles and reach those aspirations:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that our unions will increase the number of member activists to 10 percent, increase the number of members who engage in any union activities to 70 percent, and reach out and speak to 100 percent of our members, and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we will be accountable to each other—activists and leaders on the local, state and national levels—to achieve these goals; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that through this journey of engaging with our members and potential members across the country, we will honor and build on the proud history of our union, counter the forces attacking our democracy and our labor movement, and continue to reclaim the promise of America for all of us.

Submitted by: AFT Maryland
Committee: Education
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 as amended


WHEREAS on February 25, 2015 the Executive Council of AFL-CIO established a Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice and issued the following statement:

“America’s legacy of racism and racial injustice has been and continues to be a fundamental obstacle to workers’ efforts to act together to build better lives for all of us. Racism has always been a key tactic of employers seeking to divide us. But we also have an ugly history of racism in our own movement. Yet at the same time the labor movement has a proud history of standing for racial and economic justice. When we have embraced our better selves we have always emerged stronger in every sense. And whenever we have succumbed to the temptation to see some working people as better than others, we have always ended up weaker.

Today, in the face of dramatically increasing economic inequality, decreasing union density and growing instability for the majority of Americans, the need for all workers to strengthen common interests in achieving economic justice is clear. At the same time our different experiences organized around race, gender identity, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation often challenge and complicate this shared experience. If we are to succeed as a movement, the full range of working peoples’ voices must be heard in the internal processes of our movement. To be able to stand together we have to understand where all of us are coming from.

To understand how important this is, consider the issue of jobs. We fight for full employment. White unemployment is 4.9%—which is not good enough. But black unemployment is 10.3%, higher than it ever got for whites in the entire economic crisis. To stand together on jobs, we have to hear from each other about the different experiences we live.

Or consider the criminal justice system. The growing movement for racial justice around these issues is greater than anything we’ve seen since the Civil Rights era. It is a movement responding to facts—African Americans make up 13% of our population, but 38% of the incarcerated. We incarcerate a greater percentage of our people than any other developed country. Young black males are 21 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than young white males. Those who suffer are our members and our members’ children. The labor movement must respond. How can we do so unless the experience of all union members is heard in the conversation?

The demand for racial justice cannot be divorced from the fight for economic justice, and the fight for economic justice cannot be pursued without considering educational equity. It is no secret that communities of color continue to face higher unemployment rates, lower wages, job discrimination and more economic insecurity—one consequences of which is more encounters with the criminal justice system. Negative encounters with our criminal justice system have long-lasting impacts on families and their surrounding communities, and they harm our efforts to create shared prosperity for all.

Movements like #BlackLivesMatters, Not1More, Fight for $15 and Not Your Model Minority have shown tremendous courage in tackling these issues, which many in this country want to ignore. We in the labor movement should stand with them as partners, allies and fellow community members. Their fight is our fight.

We still live in a world divided in many ways by color lines. At the same time working people share a common experience of falling wages and rising economic insecurity. To build a different, better economy we need power that can only come from unity and unity has to begin with having all our voices be heard, on all sides of those color lines. We have to start by acknowledging our own shortcomings and honestly addressing issues that are faced by the communities in which our members live—both the problems and the solutions. We have to find a way to see with each other’s eyes, and address the facts and realities.

The fight against racism is about whom we choose to be. And it is about whether working people will be able to stand together and raise wages in the America of the 21st century.

To that end, it is time for a frank and thoughtful discussion on racial inequality and its economic impact—starting first in the house of labor. Over the next year, the AFL-CIO will launch a Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice, comprising members of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council, which will facilitate a broad conversation with local labor leaders around racial and economic disparities and institutional biases, and identify ways to become more inclusive as the new entrants to the labor force diversify.

Over the next year, the Labor Commission will engage in six to eight labor discussions around the country, addressing racial and economic issues impacting the labor movement and offering recommendations for change. Participants in the process will include local labor leaders, constituency groups and young workers. The commission will be assisted by an advisory council made up of experts.

The commission will attempt to create a safe, structured and constructive opportunity for local union leaders to discuss issues pertaining to the persistence of racial injustice today in the workforce and in their communities, and to ensure that the voices of all working people in the labor movement are heard. The results of the commission will lead to reports and tools to transform how we think about racial justice issues, and to providing the tools to support these discussions at the city and state levels.”

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will contribute to the furtherance of the AFL-CIO’s effort by establishing a “Maryland and District of Columbia Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice” and will engage labor leaders, community and faith leaders, Constituency Groups and allies to hold discussions in the jurisdictions of each of the five Central Labor Councils, and convene a states-wide forum within the next year.

Submitted by: Executive Board
Committee: Civil and Human Rights
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, America’s immigration system is badly broken and criminalizes people who are simply trying to make a better life for themselves and their families; and

WHEREAS, the current system hurts all workers as our collective strength is undermined; and

WHEREAS comprehensive immigration reform must not be piecemeal or incremental. It must be comprehensive and timely; and include:

• a roadmap to citizenship for those already here
• an effective mechanism for determining employment eligibility
• smart and humane border enforcement
• streamlined family reunification, and
• a fair process for allocating employment-based visas; and

WHEREAS, guest worker visa programs undercut wages and working conditions for all workers, including U.S. workers, thereby lowering the living standards for all as guest workers are far from being treated like “guests”. They are bound to the employers who “import” them and are coerced to work under poor conditions and at low wages to maintain their visas which their employers control; and

WHEREAS, history has shown that employers often use their control over guest workers to thwart workers’ concerted activities to improve working conditions, including forming unions; and have used guest worker visa programs to transform permanent jobs to temporary jobs in many industries; and

WHEREAS, guest worker visa programs imposes on foreign workers a temporary, non-immigrant status that ties workers to particular employers and makes their ability to obtain a visa dependent on the willingness of the employer to make a request to the U.S. government. History has also shown us that foreign guest workers who hold restricted status in the U.S. are vulnerable to workplace abuses.

WHEREAS, the time to create a principled, legal immigration system that treats all immigrants with respect and dignity is right now;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports passage of comprehensive immigration reform; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will educate and advocate for the eventual abolition of guest worker programs; and a clear path to citizenship

Submitted by: Executive Board
Committee: Civil and Human Rights
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, nearly half of full-time private sector workers have no paid sick leave; and most of these workers are in the low wage sectors and most are women and they are hit the hardest. Over three in four low wage workers have no paid sick days; and ninety-four million workers overall have no sick days. Even among workers with paid sick days, most cannot use them to care for a sick family member. Also, most day care facilities do not take sick children. And many older Americans work and need time off for health issues; and

WHEREAS workers risk losing their jobs when they take time off work to care for themselves or sick family members; and yet paid sick days will improve public health and lower health care costs by allowing workers to stay home when they are sick and avoid infecting others. Just providing seven paid sick days it would save the economy 8.1 billion dollars; and

WHEREAS more than half of human resource executives say that “Presenteeism” – employees coming to work even though they are ill – cost our national economy 180 billion dollars annually.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we call on the Maryland and District of Columbia affiliates to support paid sick leave for all workers; and with our CLCs and locals we will partner with other organizations to form coalitions to push for passage of this much needed legislation at the local, state and national levels.

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


WHEREAS, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been a law that has had a tremendous effect on working men and women, and their families, throughout the United States; and the Act has proven to work well for both workers and employers, despite the concerns to the contrary, expressed by opponents prior to its passage; and

WHEREAS, while the Act has proven to be a great piece of legislation, it does not apply to workers employed by smaller employers, and it does not require employers to pay any salary to employees who are out of work on FMLA Leave;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliates support the effort to expand coverage of the Family and Medical Leave Act to all workers, whatsoever the size of their employer; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliates also support the effort to require employers to pay workers who are out of work on FMLA Leave.

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


WHEREAS, the steel industry workers are facing pressures that are threatening their future; and our trade laws often act as handcuffs, built on an injury test that requires massive losses before any relief is available; and too often our own government appears to be looking at lost American jobs and lost US capacity as the price of maintaining strategic foreign relations.

WHEREAS Wall Street and corporations insist on constant downsizing, and what they call “rationalizations” – leading to more jobs lost, dumped retirees and bankrupt companies; and foreign competitors continue to target our jobs. Other nations continue to build up capacity with the goal of enhancing their steel sector; and

WHEREAS our national and economic security depend on having a strong steel and manufacturing sector;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions support goals and programs leading to long-term plans for revitalizing our steel and manufacturing industries, which includes: Expanding our infrastructure programs to rebuild Maryland and the District of Columbia with American-made and regionally made products; and Eliminating the tax benefits for companies that outsource and offshore production and rewarding companies that produce domestically.

Submitted by: USW and Executive Board
Committee: Union Label
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, Union workers have been the foundation of building and maintaining the greatest industrial power the world has ever seen, and union workers in America are renowned for their resourcefulness, competency, professionalism and dedication to excellence in their occupations; and,

WHEREAS, Union workers excel: at manufacturing safe products, operating transportation systems safely for passengers; protecting the public as first responders; maintaining homeland security; and promote better qualities of life for all of their communities; and thus products and services that bear Union Made labels are more reliable and enduring than others; and

WHEREAS, some 2.4 million jobs have been lost or displaced in this country as a result of the United States massive trade deficit, leaving American workers with lower-paying jobs and lack of affordable, quality health care; and

WHEREAS, The AFL-CIO’s Union Label and Service Trades Department has developed a website listing thousands of Union-Made products and services;

WHEREAS, the service, retail and wholesale industries employ hundreds of thousands of Union Members; and the manufacturing industries, while experiencing seriously declining numbers, still have millions of union members producing quality products, and;

WHEREAS, it is the practice of the Labor Movement to reward its friends and punish its enemies; and the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO is on record encouraging our members and those residing in our states to buy “Union Made” products,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that this Convention again urge affiliates and members to Shop Union, Buy American and support Union Industries wherever possible; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Local Unions make available lists of union establishments for distribution by the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, its affiliated unions and the National AFL-CIO, and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO urge its affiliate unions to publicize the “Shop Union Made” website ( to their members to educate them on the importance of buying Union-Made products and services and keeping good jobs in the United States of America, and further promote the belief that America Works Best When We Say Union Yes.

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


WHEREAS, our nation’s commitment to our children must include a promise that all young children, no matter if they are cared for at home or in group settings outside the home, are in early learning settings and programs that set the stage for a lifetime of learning. Such programs should be age appropriate and engaging, foster social and emotional development, and include oral language and literacy, early math concepts, art, music, and an exploration of nature and the sciences. Decades of experience and evidence show this is one of the most effective ways to improve educational and economic outcomes for children; and

WHEREAS this commitment to our young children must begin even before birth, with prenatal care and support for parents. It is built on the knowledge that all children – those who have abundant advantages and those for whom every day is a struggle – benefit throughout their lives from conscientious care and high-quality opportunities for early learning; and

WHEREAS the promise of a bright future for our children is under attack by those who pursue austerity and polarization while continuing to deny the need for a government role in providing universal early care and education for all children. They undercut efforts to give every child a strong, early start; and they marginalize early childhood care providers and educators as “babysitters,” entitled to little more than poverty wages and undeserving of a professional voice; and

WHEREAS we are at a critical moment when we must reclaim the promise of early childhood care and education – not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as it can be – to fulfill our collective obligation to every child and family; and

WHEREAS ‘Reclaiming the Promise’ of early childhood care and education means fighting for families’ access to workplace and community supports for the care and education of their young children. Reclaiming the promise means ensuring all young children are engaged in developmentally appropriate programs that foster their social and emotional development. Reclaiming the promise means ensuring young children have a smooth transition from early education settings into kindergarten and their neighborhood public schools. Reclaiming the promise means ensuring early childhood care providers and educators are well-prepared and supported so they can meet the individual needs of every child; and

WHEREAS by uniting parents, child care providers, educators and the community around this vision, and by collaborating to develop solutions that are best suited for our families, we will ensure that every child has the opportunities they need and deserve. We will make certain that our children have the chance not only to dream their dreams but to live them;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO support efforts led by our brothers and sisters in the American Federation of Teachers as they seek to Reclaim the Promise of Early Childhood Care and Education.

Submitted by: AFT-MD, AFT Local 340, and Executive Board
Committee: Education and Community Outreach
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, public services and assets are the fabric that binds our communities together; and

WHEREAS, faced with the severe budget problems in the wake of the Great Recession, state and local governments across America are handing over control of public services and assets to corporations that promise to operate them better, faster and cheaper; and

WHEREAS, outsourcing these services and assets not only fails to keep these promises, too often it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition – the underpinnings of democracy itself; and outsourcing means that taxpayers have very little say over how tax dollars are spent and lose the ability to vote out executives who make decisions that harm the public interest; and

WHEREAS, outsourcing means taxpayers are often contractually stuck with a monopoly run by a single corporation – in some cases for decades; and outsourcing frequently means that wages and benefits for public service workers fall and the local economy suffers while corporate profits rise; and outsourcing means that taxpayers no longer know how their tax dollars are being spent. Meetings and records that used to be open to the public become proprietary information when corporations take over; and

WHEREAS, outsourcing puts profits before people and creates perverse incentives. For example, it is no coincidence that mass incarceration has grown exponentially in the decades since the for-profit prison industry was born. In fact, many private prisons contracts guarantee that prison beds will be kept filled to a specified capacity; and

WHEREAS, taxpayers must reclaim control of our democracy and ensure transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition in the operation of public services and assets; and

WHEREAS, to ensure accountability, governments must have the capacity to adequately oversee contracts and to cancel contracts that fail to deliver on their promises and to prohibit law-breaking companies from getting government contracts;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, supports common sense protections that preserve and promote transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition when public services or assets are outsourced; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, and its affiliate unions advocate for these protections in their legislative bodies.

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


WHEREAS, high levels of school wide poverty or concentrated poverty create additional challenges for school systems and the students they serve.

WHEREAS, Poverty dramatically impacts the well-being of children. Research shows that poverty impacts at least the following areas negatively: physical health outcomes; cognitive outcomes; school achievement outcomes; emotional and behavioral outcomes; teen births; youth employment; and food security.

WHEREAS, Community schools attack both the symptoms and the causes of poverty in a broad, comprehensive and systematic way. Schools are “home” for large numbers of low-income
Children for extended periods of time. Successful school outcomes are profoundly dependent on
The symptoms of poverty being ameliorated as much as possible.

WHEREAS, Physically and/or emotionally unhealthy children routinely will not read well by the third grade; developmental and learning disabilities impede learning significantly; poverty results in more grade repetition, expulsion, suspensions and high school dropouts.

WHEREAS, Schools are the prime location to reduce the impact of poverty on our children’s education, health and well-being.

WHEREAS, Efforts by the school district, city and state often lack the coordination and focus needed to address real community needs at the individual school level.

WHEREAS, A Community School includes a group of partners that have one or more area of focus or expertise, such as academic support, health support, food, clothing, housing or employment support for families.

WHEREAS, A Community School includes before and after school programming to provide support, services and learning opportunities to students, parents and other members of the community.

WHEREAS, Community Schools implement restorative justice and positive discipline practices that have led to fewer suspensions and a drop in chronic absenteeism

WHEREAS, Community Schools provide meaningful opportunities for students, their parents and families to participate fully in the educational process

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO calls for legislatures to increase current funding and ensure a consistent stream of future funding to support existing schools and lead to the expansion of the strategy throughout the State and District.

Submitted by: AFTMD Local 340 and Executive Board
Committee: Education and Community Outreach
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS, every Maryland Child deserves the best education the state can give them; and

WHEREAS, the Geographic Cost of Education Index is a vital component of public school funding in Maryland, recognizing that in some locations, other economic factors make education in those jurisdictions more expensive; and

WHEREAS, the Geographic Cost of Education has been fully funded for the previous six years; and

WHEREAS, the Governor has earlier in his first legislative session publicly stated his desire to fully fund education; and

WHEREAS the state legislature found the money to fully fund the GCEI, and by earmarking those funds for GCEI, prohibit those funds from being used for by any other reason; and

WHEREAS, the Governor, in stating that he will not use those funds for GCEI, those funds will be wasted,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland/DC AFL-CIO calls on Governor Hogan to follow the legislature and fully fund the GCEI component of public school funding.

Submitted by: AFT-Maryland and Baltimore Teachers Union, AFT local #340 and Executive Board
Committee: Education and Community Outreach
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous


WHEREAS U.S. trade deals for the past 25 years have been corporate-driven, incorporating rules that skew benefits to economic elites while requiring working families to bear the brunt of such policies;

WHEREAS The growing trade deficits, driven by the North American Free Trade Agreement, China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, have displaced 700,000 jobs and 3.2 million jobs, and 75,000 jobs respectively;

WHEREAS U.S. employment in manufacturing dropped by 5 million from 2000 to 2015;

WHEREAS The state of Maryland’s unemployment rate is 5.1% and Washington, DC’s unemployment rate is 6.8%;

WHEREAS Jobs lost due to trade devastate families and entire communities and can permanently reduce lifetime earnings for hundreds of thousands of workers;

WHEREAS Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the long decline of the American manufacturing base—exacerbated by bad trade policies that reward outsourcing—has undermined our economic security and poses a direct threat to our national security;

WHEREAS The offshoring of manufacturing and service jobs deprives local and state governments of sorely needed revenues, jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of public servants as well as construction workers whose jobs depend upon infrastructure building, repair and maintenance;

WHEREAS Under NAFTA-style trade rules, the U.S. annual trade deficit has increased dramatically from $70 billion in 1993, the year before NAFTA went into effect, to more than $508 billion in 2014;

WHEREAS the disproportionate voice of powerful global corporations in the formation of U.S. “free trade” agreements has advanced an agenda that undermines the public interest and threatens democracy;

WHEREAS NAFTA and all but two of the U.S. trade deals that followed it include special legal rights for foreign investors, known as “investor-to-state dispute settlement” or ISDS, that allow foreign firms to bypass state and federal courts to challenge state and local laws, regulations, and administrative and judicial decisions in international tribunals;

WHEREAS foreign investors already have used NAFTA’s ISDS provisions to challenge decisions regarding local building permits, environmental regulations, state bans on toxic chemicals and decisions of state courts;

WHEREAS Promoting economic growth with equity in the state of Maryland and in Washington, DC requires an approach that reforms the entire trade negotiation process to ensure that voices of workers, farmers, small businesses, families and communities are heard and their interests addressed;

WHEREAS Given the enactment of fast track trade negotiating authority, states, localities and their citizens will have no opportunity to correct shortcomings in the TPP since its text will not be made public until it is final and no longer can be improved; and

WHEREAS Repeating old mistakes in negotiating new trade agreements such as the TPP represents a missed opportunity to strengthen our economy, reduce income inequality and promote sustainable growth;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT The Maryland/ DC State Federation of the AFL-CIO opposes the TPP because it fails to provide and create economic opportunities for workers, protect labor rights, protect and support a clean environment, a safe food supply, safeguard our country from being sued, lead to a negative impact on our already diminishing U.S. trade balance;

The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO calls upon all federal elected officials representing the state of Maryland and Washington, DC to oppose TPP legislation, unless it includes the following:

• Protect and promote traditional state and local prerogatives and authority under our federal system, including by ensuring that states and localities will not be required to comply with certain commitments, including any restrictions on preferences for local, state, or U.S. goods or services, without prior informed consent of the legislature or local lawmaking body;
• Ensure balanced trade and address the excessive, job-killing U.S. trade deficit;
• Include enforceable rules against currency manipulation, which countries such as China and Japan have used to tilt the playing field in their favor;
• Exclude investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and other provisions that favor foreign companies over domestic ones and undermine public choices;
• Ensure that countries cannot undercut U.S. based producers with weaker labor and environmental laws and enforcement;
• Ensure that the U.S. will engage in robust enforcement of trade rules, including labor and environmental rules;
• Include strong rule of origin to promote economic growth and job creation in the U.S.;
• Promote high standards of protection for workplaces, products, and natural resources rather than promoting a race to the bottom; and
• Put the interests of people and the planet over the interests of private profit.

The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO calls upon all central labor councils within our States to promote resolutions in their municipal governments to express similar sentiment from their local elected leaders.

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


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