Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO

Resolutions #16 - 30 of the 30th Biennial Convention

RESOLUTION #16 IN SUPPORT OF PREVAILING WAGE LAWS

WHEREAS, the prevailing wage law ensures that workers on public construction projects paid for with taxpayer dollars are paid a wage comparable to the local average or "prevailing" wage.
 

WHEREAS, state prevailing wage laws were enacted as early as 1891, when Kansas instituted the first such law. State prevailing wage laws share a common history being enacted as part of general reform efforts to improve working conditions at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Today, 31 states, Maryland the District of Columbia have prevailing wage laws of their own.
 

WHEREAS, it was the Great Depression that energized a Republican Congress and a Republican President, Herbert Hoover, to pass the Davis–Bacon Act in 1931. The legislative history of the state prevailing wage laws and the federal Davis-Bacon Act reflects a clear desire by lawmakers to reserve jobs on tax payer funded projects for skilled local workers and to maintain local wage standards.

WHEREAS, the Davis–Bacon Act was amended in 1935 to ensure that contractors bidding on public works projects would not lower wages in order to achieve a lower bid; and to permit government agencies, which were required to accept the lowest bids, to employ contractors who paid a fair wage.
 

WHEREAS, the law prevents unscrupulous contractors from low-balling bids and undercutting community wages with cheap, unskilled labor, and it makes sure work is done by skilled well-trained local workers. These requirements ensure high-quality construction work and help prevent cost overruns.
 

WHEREAS, several published studies demonstrate states that repealed the prevailing wage law experienced lower wages for all construction workers, reduced incomes for other workers in industries located in the state (the indirect, or induced, impact of repeal), reduced health and pension benefits for construction workers and eventual increased costs to state and local communities, reduced sales tax revenues to the state and regional economies, reduced corporate income taxes, increased occupational injuries and their associated costs, increased construction work done by out-of-state contractors, lower productivity of the construction workforce, and weakened system of construction apprenticeship training.
 

WHEREAS, prevailing wage laws are under attack by corporate groups, anti-union businesses and the politicians they support,
 

BE IT RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO strongly supports maintaining and expanding the applicability of the prevailing wage laws to all state, county, local municipalities and school construction projects and to remove Maryland’s existing threshold and percentage requirements.
 

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

RESOLUTION #17 IN SUPPORT OF RESPONSIBLE ENERGY AND JOB CREATION
 

WHEREAS, energy independence and our response to global warming are inextricably related to the economic, environmental and national security interest of the United States. The production, transportation and distribution of energy are critical to the success of America's manufacturing, transportation, construction and service industries.
 

WHEREAS, addressing climate change is a path to a brighter future, only if it is a path to an economy that works for the majority: those who seek good jobs, economic security and healthy communities.
 

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO supports a comprehensive energy policy focused on investing in our nation’s future, creating jobs and addressing the threat of climate change. It is clear that for the foreseeable future Maryland and the country will continue to use a wide range of energy sources—including both traditional sources like coal, oil and natural gas, and newer sources like wind, solar and nuclear.
 

WHEREAS, as the mix of energy sources used in the world economy changes, workers in the energy and industrial sectors are at risk of bearing the full cost of that change. The emerging energy policies must provide a just transition for workers and their communities that will be harmed due to changing energy sources and technologies, and to make the investments needed to power Maryland’s long-term manufacturing competitiveness. Today, (2012 data) Maryland’s electric power comes from coal (42.7 percent), nuclear (35.9 percent), natural gas (13.1 percent) and renewables (7.9 percent). Two thirds of Maryland’s renewable energy is hydro (dams and water) with most of the rest coming from burning wood, trash and chicken litter. Slightly more than 1 percent of Maryland’s energy is from wind and solar.
 

WHEREAS, as new sources of energy come on line—from wind to natural gas to new oil fields—new, properly designed and safe infrastructure must be built to transport that energy to market. The manufacturing, building, construction and maintenance of new and remediated utility facilities; the design, manufacturing, installing, and maintaining pipelines and transport systems; and the economic activity that is generated by reliable supplies of energy creates thousands of jobs.
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports measures that ensure that energy infrastructure development creates good jobs and builds our industrial base by requiring project labor agreements, Buy Union and Buy America provisions, labor peace, card check neutrality and robust training requirements for all projects.
 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO in facing the challenge of impacting energy policies embraces a balanced and just approach for workers, communities, manufacturers, businesses and consumers and will continue to work with community, business and environmental allies committed to recognizing the need to maintain a wide range of energy sources, traditional and newer, to secure Maryland’s and the District of Columbia’s competitiveness.
 

AND FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO recognizes the seriousness of these issues for our ability to maintain and create good jobs and environmental sustainability and will expand the focus of the Legislative Energy Committee to develop deeper expertise and leadership on energy and environmental issues and their broader implications for working people.
 

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

RESOLUTION #18   WOMEN'S INITIATIVE:
SHARED VALUES, SHARED LEADERSHIP, SHARED PROSPERITY

 

WHEREAS women are half the workforce and two-thirds of the caregivers in our families but 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 working women and men 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 day’s pay for a fair day’s 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: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous
 

RESOLUTION #19 IN SUPPORT OF PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS
 

WHEREAS a project labor agreement (PLA) is a pre-hire, uniform agreement for a particular project that standardizes schedules, work rules and other terms and conditions among various crafts for the length of the project, and provides for dispute resolution procedures as alternatives to strikes and lockouts.
 

WHEREAS a PLA provides stable relationships between employers and employees, between owners and general contractors, and between general contractors and various subcontractors, thus being in the public interest.
 

WHEREAS PLA’s benefit everyone involved: the employer (whether public or private sector), developers, contractors, workers, unions, local and state economies, and the public. PLAs are a valuable construction management tool for project planning and labor cost reduction. They offer direct and indirect cost savings to the state and taxpayers
 

WHEREAS recent studies demonstrate that PLAs do not discriminate against employers and workers, do not limit the pool of bidders, and do not raise construction costs and that such claims by opponents are based on inadequate data and faulty methodology.
 

WHEREAS PLAs require that all successful bidders — union and non-union — become PLA signatories. This practice of restrictive subcontracting does not make PLAs unfair to non-union contractors but it does meet an important public interest. Restrictive subcontracting is sanctioned by the National Labor Relations Act, along with pre-hire bargaining, to accommodate the particular conditions of the construction industry and, in particular, to provide contractors with a ready access to skilled labor, help contractors predict costs, and promote labor harmony and productivity on construction job sites.
 

WHEREAS there is an important difference between private and public-sector PLAs. In the private sector, PLAs can be union-only agreements with subcontracting limited to employers who are signatories to the appropriate craft agreement or agreements. Public-sector PLAs must comply with competitive bidding statutes and cannot lawfully exclude non-union contractors from bidding. Restrictive subcontracting in the context of public-sector PLAs means that all successful bidders, union and non-union, are required, as a condition of receiving the award, to be signatory to the PLA; they need not be signatory to a union area or craft agreement.

WHEREAS Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the National Labor Relations Board have all recognized that restrictive subcontracting and pre-hire negotiations are essential practices of construction industry collective bargaining.

BE IT RESOLVED, 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 passage of legislation to require PLA’s in state building and construction contracts.

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

RESOLUTION #20 WORKPLACE SAFETY

WHEREAS the right to a safe job is a fundamental worker right and all employees should be able to go to work and return home safely at the end of their shift. But in too many workplaces, the push by employers for production and profits while disregarding safety puts workers ' lives in danger. In 2007, the cost of work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the United States was estimated at $250 billion. In 2013, a total of 4,405 U.S. workers died from work-related injuries. In 2013, approximately 3 million injuries and illnesses to private industry workers and 746,000 to state and local government workers were reported by employers. In the same year, an estimated 2.8 million work-related injuries were treated in emergency departments, resulting in 140,000 hospitalizations.

WHEREAS corporate greed and employers’ push for production, profit and lack of safety protections costs worker’s lives. There have been some horrific events: the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh killing 1,129 workers, mostly women, and injuring hundreds more, and seven 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; 15 people died in an explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant that had never been inspected by OSHA; and earlier this month 28 SIU union members and five crew lost their lives at sea aboard the El Faro.

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.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO 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 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 10/31/15 as amended
 

RESOLUTION #21 MASS INCARCERATION
 

WHEREAS the total population in the United States’ correctional system has exploded in the past three 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 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.
 

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
 

WHEREAS Correctional Officers in a number of jurisdictions have a Correctional Officers Bill of Rights, and
 

WHEREAS Law Enforcement Personnel have benefits from the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights and
 

WHEREAS Correctional Officers should be entitled to at least the same due process rights as the inmates, now
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:


• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO believes that the operation of our criminal justice system, including functions such as policing, prosecution and corrections, is an inherently governmental function.

• The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support efforts to alleviate prison overcrowding by advocating for adequate staffing for correctional institutions.

• 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 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: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous
 

RESOLUTION #22 OPPOSING PRIVATIZATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY
 

WHEREAS, Social Security has been an integral part of working families’ retirement income since the 1940s, and for many working families, it makes the difference between a retirement with dignity or a retirement of poverty;
 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO oppose privatizing Social Security and the risks it imposes on our retirees and our members; and
 

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we educate and mobilize our members to work in coalition with others to win support from local and state elected officials to help lobby the United States Congress and the United States President to oppose privatizing Social Security.
 

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

RESOLUTION #23 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 MD State and DC AFL-CIO shall develop guidelines for considering endorsements which shall include, but not be limited to, the record of an incumbent, and the history of actions the political positions of the union member;
 

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State an District of Columbia AFL-CIO encourage all affiliates to seek out from their members potential candidates for public office, evaluate their chances of success, and ability to represent the principles of the AFL-CIO, and then consider providing training, resources and support on their behalf.
 

Submitted by: Executive Board
Committee: Committee On Political Education
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous
 

RESOLUTION #24 RETIREMENT SECURITY FOR ALL
 

WHEREAS after a lifetime of working hard and playing by the rules, everyone in America should be able to look forward to a retirement free from financial worry and hardship. Everyone should have the peace of mind that they won’t become a burden to their children who are struggling to raise their own families and families shouldn’t be squeezed between saving for their children’s college education, providing for their own retirement and helping their parents make ends meet; and
 

WHEREAS every generation should be able to retire with the confidence that they will maintain the standard of living they worked hard to attain over decades; and
 

WHEREAS we have a retirement security crisis in America that threatens the middle class and everyone working their way into it. The erosion of good jobs, attacks on workplace benefits, and the recent financial crisis have stripped millions of their homes and assets. Efforts to dismantle Social Security have left Americans worried about their ability to retire at all. Our most vulnerable neighbors, including the poor, women, people with disabilities, and communities of color, face the same inequities in retirement as they do elsewhere; and
 

WHEREAS defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts do not form the basis of a secure retirement but are supplements to Social Security and traditional defined benefit pension plans.
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: The Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will take action to address the retirement security crisis now; and
 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO shall support Retirement Security with a goal of building a comprehensive and sustainable retirement system that guarantees economic security that we can all look forward to in later years and that will be there for our children and future generations; and
 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO shall continue to aggressively defend against attacks on our members’ defined benefit pensions; and
 

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED: The Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO supports a national solution to the retirement security challenge based on the following principles:


• All workers must have a guaranteed retirement income for life that allows them (and their spouses/partners) to maintain their standard of living after a lifetime of work and prevents all Americans from falling into poverty as they age.

• A comprehensive national solution must address the severe gender and racial disparities in
wealth and retirement income.

• Retirement shouldn’t be a gamble. Workers must be able to count on a steady lifetime stream of retirement income that isn’t subject to the ups and downs of Wall Street.

• Employees, employers and government should share responsibility for retirement security.

• A sustainable retirement system must preserve, strengthen and build on Social Security and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program as well as existing defined benefit systems, such as public employee, multi-employer and single-employer pension plans.
The system must keep costs low and be built and run solely to meet the needs of workers and retirees, not to maximize profits.
 

Submitted by: AFSCME Council 3 and Executive Board
Committee: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous
 

RESOLUTION #25 THE BURDEN OF STUDENT DEBT
 

WHEREAS Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, a number that has tripled in the last decade as higher education costs have soared. Student loans have surpassed credit cards and auto loans to become the second biggest source of personal debt in the U.S., trailing only mortgages. Student loan debts are 6 percent of the overall national debt; and
 

WHEREAS The class of 2014 is the most indebted class ever. The average 2014 graduate with student-loan debt has to pay back $33,000. Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s nearly double the amount borrowers had to pay back 20 years ago; and
 

WHEREAS Since 1981, the Consumer Price Index has risen 261 percent while the cost of public university tuition and fees has increased 384 percent. Just since the 2007 school year, public university costs increased by over 27; and
 

WHEREAS A college education is more important than ever and critical for today’s workforce. According to a study from MIT, the growing skills gap among the 99 percent is even more consequential than the rise of the 1 percent for most citizens. The wage differential between college and high school graduates is higher than it has ever been and the lifetime earnings differential has grown by a quarter-million dollars in the past 45 years. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco calculates that the average U.S. college graduate can expect to earn at least $800,000 more than the average high-school graduate over a lifetime; and
 

WHEREAS There are programs, such as Income-Based Repayment and Pay As You Earn, which link college loan repayment to graduates’ incomes and even forgive some debt. These programs allow borrowers to make smaller payments and after 20 or 25 years forgive the remaining debt. Workers in the public or non-profit sectors can obtain debt forgiveness after 10 years. These two programs now serve 1.3 million people who owe a combined $72 billion, but they are not enough; and
 

WHEREAS Arguments are swirling about whether or not the federal government makes profits on student loans. To the extent there are any profits, they should be used to benefit students. Various legislative proposals would facilitate refinancing student debt, reducing interest rates, and create loan forgiveness programs in exchange for public service; and
 

WHEREAS The Department of Education has a contract with Navient, spun off from Sallie Mae in April, to collect monthly student loan payments. The contract is up for renewal. Sallie Mae and Navient reached an agreement with the Justice Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in May to pay $97 million to settle charges that they overcharged military members and imposed excessive fees. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is conducting its own investigation. In spite of this, the Education Department announced its intention to renew the contract; and
 

WHEREAS States are exploring ways to make college education affordable. A law passed in Tennessee this year promises free community college tuition to every high school graduate in the state, financed from lottery funds. Several cities have similar programs. Oregon passed a law to study making tuition free at its community colleges.
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: Student loans must be more affordable. The Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO supports the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, the Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act and similar legislation to allow students with outstanding loans to refinance at lower rates. In addition, there should be clear limits on the percentage of income borrowers must use in loan repayment and how long they must bear it. Pay As You Earn, Income Based Repayment and similar plans should provide even greater benefits for those called to the public service with expanded opportunities for loan forgiveness and subsidized interest rates; and
 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The MD State and DC AFL-CIO joins with the United Students Association and other groups in calling for the Sallie Mae/Navient loan servicing contract with the Education Department to be terminated. No organization that breaks the law and overcharges service members should be rewarded; and
 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The MD State and DC AFL-CIO supports efforts to make college affordable for all and for reversal of federal, state and local government reductions in higher education support. We remember when higher education in California was free for all and the City University of New York charged no tuition. We support programs, like the one in Tennessee, to return to these days and make college free for all high school graduates; and
 

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED: The MD State and DC AFL-CIO shall continue to seek an appropriate low cost student debt refinancing and consolidation option for its members and their families, the intention of which would be to offer interest rates as low as possible, aiming for half the national average rate for this type of loan.
 

Submitted by: AFSCME Council 3 and Executive Board
Committee: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous
 

RESOLUTION #26 IN OPPOSITION TO PRIVATIZATION AND OUTSOURCING PUBLIC SERVICES
 

WHEREAS: During the national recession, state, county and municipal governments have laid off or furloughed union workers and have closed public services from schools to offices, fire houses, hospitals, and day care centers, all the while increasing work loads and responsibilities on our members; and
 

WHEREAS: The government’s responsibility for the welfare of all is being eroded by replacing public functions with private, for-profit, unregulated enterprises, or privatization; and

WHEREAS: Workers in privatized sectors of public services, are generally not unionized, have steep reductions in wages, gutting of pensions, and shorter or eliminated vacations. This creates downward pressure on wages and benefits for all workers.
 

WHEREAS: Privatization is part of a larger economic agenda to shred the social contract and eliminate economic mobility for workers. Public sector employment has traditionally offered access to equal opportunity, higher rates of unionization, and more anti-discrimination protections than the private sector, especially to historically excluded populations such as African Americans, Latinos, women, and veterans.
 

WHEREAS: Privatization is sold as cost saving and quick cash to desperate municipalities, but is part of a larger political agenda that restricts the public domain, and curtails civil liberties. The unstated political purpose of privatization is to disenfranchise workers, weaken civil society, undermine democracy and reduce taxes for the wealthiest individuals.
 

WHEREAS: Privatization is opposed to the interests of ALL working people.
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Maryland State and DC AFL – CIO will call on the public and public decision–makers to stand up and resist privatization as a threat to our collective livelihood; and
 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That we work in coalitions with other organizations to oppose privatization of any and all public services and will seek to educate our members and the general public about the problems and unwarranted costs of privatization.
 

Submitted by: AFSCME Council 3 and Executive Board
Committee: Resolutions
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 as amended
 

RESOLUTION #27 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.”

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.

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: Legislation
Convention Action: APPROVED 10/31/15 unanimous
 

RESOLUTION #28 SUPPORT WORKPLACE ACTION FOR A GROWING ECONOMY (WAGE) ACT
 

WHEREAS, too often, as workers are underpaid, overworked and treated unfairly on the job, some companies are doing everything they can to prevent them from having a voice in the workplace. The WAGE Act strengthens protections for all workers and finally cracks down on employers who break the law when workers exercise their basic right to collective action, and
 

WHEREAS, in recent decades, workers' wages have been stagnant while too many employers take advantage of weak worker protection laws to slow down or stop working people from joining together to improve their lives, and
 

WHEREAS, the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act, is legislation aimed at reversing the employer strong hold on workers by strengthening protections for working people who join together to make positive change at work and make sure corporations that violate working people's rights face real consequences and puts corporations who abuse working people on notice that there will be real penalties for lawbreaking. Penalties like triple back pay, strong civil penalties and preliminary reinstatement, and
 

WHEREAS, The WAGE Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to strengthen protections for working people who organize and promote change through collective action. It would increase protections for all workers, union or not, and will help open up the pathways to equal pay, increased safety and higher wages. Specifically the law would increase workers' rights and protections by:


• Tripling the back pay that employers must pay to workers who are fired or retaliated against by their employers, regardless of immigration status.

• Providing workers with a private right of action to bring suit to recover monetary damages and attorneys’ fees in federal district court, just as they can under civil rights laws.

• Providing for federal court injunctions to immediately return fired workers to their jobs.

• Ensuring employers will be jointly responsible for violations affecting workers supplied by another employer: and,

WHEREAS, the WAGE Act would put an end to the perverse incentives for employers to interfere with workers’ rights by:


• Establishing civil penalties up to $50,000 for employers that commit unfair labor practices and doubled penalties for repeat violations. This would bring the NLRA in line with other workplace laws.

• Giving the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) authority to impose penalties on officers and directors of employer violators.

• Allowing the board to issue a bargaining order upon finding that an employer prevented a free and fair election, provided that a majority of employees signed authorization cards within the previous 12 months.

• Setting a 30-day time limit for employers to challenge an NLRB decision, after which the NLRB decision becomes final and binding unless a court directs otherwise. The NLRB could then go directly to district court to enforce its orders.
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will mount a campaign to educate and engage all affiliates in securing Maryland’s and the District of Columbia’s Congressional representatives as sponsors and strong advocates for the passage of the WAGE Act.
 

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

RESOLUTION #29 GOOD JOBS AND FULL DISCLOSURE BUSINESS TAX CREDITS

WHEREAS numerous businesses in Maryland across a variety of industries receive tax payers aid from state, county and local governments. There are at least 25 different state tax credits and loans available to businesses and additional forms of economic assistance available from counties and cities giving millions in tax credits to businesses, and
 

WHEREAS the newly created MD Department of Economic Competitiveness and Commerce has a portfolio of financial instruments available to businesses totaling approximately $592.5 million to stimulate and strengthen the Maryland economy by developing policies and programs to help generate new jobs and retain existing jobs, and
 

WHEREAS despite the role of the tax payers’ government aid to a business’s 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will promote legislation that requires businesses receiving grants, loans and tax credits conditional on creating jobs to create high-road employment opportunities with living wages, health care and benefits, and
 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will promote legislation requiring effective procedures verifying employment data reported and documentation by businesses and full review prior to any action, and
 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will promote legislation that ensures transparency, accountability and public access to the taxpayers’ money being given to businesses and corporations to create and retain jobs.
 

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

RESOLUTION#30 RESOLUTION FOR A WORKERS BILL OF RIGHTS

WHEREAS, attacks on collective-bargaining are spreading across the country and threatening the well-being of all workers; and
 

WHEREAS, the anti-Union policy known as "right-to-work" is misnamed with the purpose of tricking workers who want to protect and expand their rights; and
 

WHEREAS, it is time for the Labor Movement to take back the conversation and go on the offensive;
 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will work with interested Unions and Community Groups to promote a "Workers Bill of Rights"; and
 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO support the adoption of the "Workers Bill of Rights" detailed below with the understanding that it is a living document subject to development and improvement; and
 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of the final “Workers’ Bill of Rights” be sent to all affiliates and community partners for further dissemination to, and education of, affiliates and the general public.


FAIR WORK: Work has value for the employer and the worker and it must have dignity, or it’s just exploitation. It is our duty to advance ideas that create livable communities, great lives for the individual and the collective, and workplaces that work for workers. We strive to advance values that bring people together, that promote diversity, that enhance equity throughout society, and that create the greatest quality of life for working families.
All of us work to better the lives of our families, to better our communities, and to better the future for all of humanity. We expect that we will have to strive together for the common good. It is only through collective action that people can create justice, respect, and dignity. The goals of shared prosperity, strong communities, and fair work are within our grasp.
 

We believe in the following principles:
1. Collective Action
2. Fair Wages
3. Fair Scheduling
4. Assuring Safe Work
5. Health Care for All
6. Dignity in Life
 

COLLECTIVE ACTION: Unions are how we improve our workplace and build a more fair society.
We have the right to form and protect our Unions. Our employers may not interfere with us or try to stop us or punish us. All workers (including domestic workers, farm workers and contingency workers such as truckers, ride-share drivers, and click workers) share this fundamental democratic freedom.
We are all working to improve our lives and communities, therefore we will not engage in races to the bottom. Collective bargaining is a crucial tool for striving for the common good.
 

FAIR WAGES: All workers must be compensated fairly. No job should pay less than a living wage.
No matter what the job or who the employer, all work has value. An honest day’s work should provide an affordable place to live, healthy food on the table, and the means to procure the other necessities of life. Poverty wages destroy the dignity of work.
 

We all should be paid for the work that we do, at the rate agreed to, and on time. When we are not paid, or not paid on time, or paid less than we earned, or cheated on overtime, that’s wage theft. That’s a crime.
 

We must be paid for what we do, not for the color of our skin, or our gender or for the milieu we grew up in.

Women in Maryland and DC get paid eighty-five cents when men get paid a dollar. This is also theft, and bigotry.
 

FAIR SCHEDULING: Our work schedule and hours must be fair. We should have work schedules that support our lives as parents, citizens, and members of communities. For most of us, that means access to full-time work with job security. For others of us, fair, predictable, and sufficient scheduling for part-time work is key.
Any work beyond eight hours must be paid at time and a half, any hours over ten must be paid double. Swing and grave yard shift must also be paid extra. If we work extra, we must be paid extra. For part-time workers, schedules and hours must be sustainable and humane.
 

ASSURING SAFE WORK: We must have a voice in determining the safety of our working conditions.
Work place deaths and injuries are unacceptable tragedies: there is no cost/benefit analysis for a human life. As workers and community members, we must have a say in how our workplaces are governed. Whether through workers’ control, safety standards, or union/management co-determination, democratic participation is a core value.
 

If any of us are disabled on the job, we must have time to heal. During that process, we must be supported so we can keep living in our community in dignity. If we are killed, our surviving dependents must be supported.
A safe community and workplace does not allow bullying, human rights violations or bigotry. We must be free from retaliation to report safety concerns or other violations. Harassment, profiling or targeting by police are not consistent with a democratic society.
 

HEALTH CARE FOR ALL: Good health is fundamental to a fulfilling life.
If we or our family members get sick, we should not have to fear losing everything we have worked for because of medical bankruptcy. That means healthcare coverage for us and our families. It means paid time off to see a doctor and be treated. It means maternity/paternity leave. Similarly we must have time to take care of family members who are elderly and/or ill.
 

AFFIRM DIGNITY THROUGHOUT LIFE: Dignity in life includes access to education and retirement.
Our children must have access to free universal, high-quality childcare, preschool, and K-12 public education. Adults must have access to apprenticeship and/or college, and continuing adult education. We call for investments in education – from early learning to higher education – in training and in other opportunities for all ages and for all skills.
 

All employment should fund workers' retirement. Our retirement system must allow workers to retire with dignity at a reasonable age.
 

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

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