Resolutions of the 31st Biennial Convention

RESOLUTION #1                                     In Memorial

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

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

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

WHEREAS, we will truly honor the memory and legacy of our departed Sisters and Brothers 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 on 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 Chairperson of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO 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 11/17/17 unanimous

RESOLUTION #2                  Buy American: Support Union Industries

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.

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.

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.

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.

WHEREAS, it is the practice of the Labor Movement to reward its friends and punish its enemies; and the Maryland State 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.

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

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO urge its affiliate unions to publicize the “Shop Union Made” website (www.ShopUnionMade.org) 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will advocate at the Federal, State, and Local levels of government for all procurement to include “Buy American” provisions.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Union Label

Convention Action:  APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

RESOLUTION #3        Commission on the Future of Work and Unions

WHEREAS, the rich and powerful have rigged our economy against working families. Sophisticated and carefully executed attacks, from union-busting campaigns to pulling back laws that protect workers and their wages, to amped-up “right to work” laws, to using the courts as a corporate political pawn, have left union density in the private sector at 6.4% and threatened public-sector workers with significant loss in bargaining power.

WHEREAS, the increasing inequality of wealth and power is shaping change in the workplace. The rich and the powerful are driving large-scale changes in the nature of work, including digitization, automation, deindustrialization, deprofessionalization, autonomous operations, globalization, offshoring and the impact of trade agreements—all of which threaten to leave working families with even less clout and economic security. Technology, and the profound changes it is driving, has the potential for creating better lives, but only if working people are able to shape the change that is coming. The failure of progressive forces, including the labor movement, to nimbly confront these seismic changes must be addressed. For these reasons, a strong labor movement is more important than ever.

WHEREAS, working families need more power, and unions are a primary vehicle to confront the economic insecurity most Americans face. Unions promote and defend the freedom of working people to make a decent living, to receive quality job and skills training, to support our families, to have work-life balance, to access important public services like good schools and quality health care, and to retire with dignity. Further, the changing nature of work and increased economic and political concentration at the top make the mission and values of the labor movement more important than ever.

WHEREAS, to be successful, unions must grow. Our values are timeless, and we know that throughout history collective negotiation has been and will be the key to power for working families. We must confront the realities that threaten our future, and we must evolve to overcome them.

WHEREAS, we are at a time when work is increasingly precarious and the idea of having a stable job throughout one’s career is diminished. Advances in technology are reducing jobs in some sectors and requiring new skills and knowledge in others. The prevalence of part-time, temp, on-call and subcontracted work arrangements; the emergence of low-road employment strategies in growth industries; and the continued growth of low-wage sectors have upended workplace security. Therefore, we must rethink ways of building negotiating power and providing economic security for millions of Americans, and we must make sure that we as a movement are effectively organized and structured to get it done.

WHEREAS, technology is not just changing the way we work, but also what we work on. New products, like electric vehicles, will mean new supply chains and sources of production. As old products are replaced with new, we must replace old jobs with new jobs. That also means we must ensure the new products are made in the United States and that the jobs are good jobs.

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO is forming the Commission on the Future of Work and Unions, and will provide interim reports during 2018 with recommendations brought to the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council Meeting in February of 2019.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will convene a FUTURE OF WORK AND UNIONS Conference in 2018 for the purpose of gathering experts from the transportation sector, building and construction trades, service and retail sectors, manufacturing sector, and State and Federal public and health care sectors to discuss the challenges facing workers and unions in the coming decades; and to identify strategies to make the Maryland and District of Columbia labor movement a driving force in the future of a changing landscape for workers.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Education

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 as amended

 

RESOLUTION #4     Condemn Rising Fascism and Fight for Working-Class Unity

WHEREAS, “In Our Unity Lies Our Strength” is a crucial union principle for building a better life for all workers; and

WHEREAS, Wall Street and the corporate powers counter workers’ unity and solidarity with the strategy of divide and conquer, always attempting to divide native from foreign born, men from women, white from black, private sector from public sector, full time from temporary, and U.S. workers from workers around the world; and

WHEREAS, the rise of the “alt-right,” KKK and neo-Nazis/neo-fascists and their divisiveness of white supremacy, bigotry, intimidation, and race and religious hatred is a direct threat to the working class, to the oppressed and to our union organizations; and

WHEREAS, union members and people of goodwill across the political spectrum are disturbed and outraged by the rising presence and violence of these hate groups in Charlottesville and elsewhere—and the green light given by the White House; and

WHEREAS, we should never forget the devastation fascism, most identified with Hitler-led Nazi Germany, inflicted on the people of the world behind the white supremacist theories of the superiority of the “Aryan Master Race”; and

WHEREAS, one of the first acts of Nazi Germany was to ban trade unions and persecute, jail and kill unionists. Hitler’s Germany invaded one country after the other, leaving tens of millions murdered by the Nazis’ brutal iron heel crushing those who did not think, talk or look like them; and

WHEREAS, it took World War II, led by the “Allied Powers” of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, to defeat world fascism, but not before Hitler exterminated 6 million Jewish people in concentration camps (the Holocaust), worked to death millions of slave laborers – including unionists – used to enrich the German industrialists, and cost the lives of some 80 million human beings; and

WHEREAS, the recent events in Charlottesville, including the killing of the young woman protester Heather Heyer, the emboldened white supremacists and their spewing of race hatred toward African Americans, Jewish people and Latino and other immigrants, underscore that if we are not vigilant, we could wake up in a fascist America; and

WHEREAS, for unions, a worker is a worker, is a worker. We are all equal, assets to society and to our unions; and

WHEREAS, workers have far more in common than differences; workers all want and deserve decent wages and benefits, quality and affordable health care, dignified retirements and a bright future for coming generations;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, condemns and actively opposes the hate mongering, intimidation and divisiveness of the fascist/neo-Nazi white supremacist groups and the political encouragement that they are receiving from the highest levels of government; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we salute and support those counter-protesters, such as the 40,000 that took to the streets of Boston for equality and against the hate mongers, who are drawing a line in the sand; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO encourage our affiliates to do the same and engage in the struggle to defend union rights, human rights, civil rights, and all democratic rights in opposition to rising fascism.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Civil Rights

Convention Action:  APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #5        Encouraging Union Members to Run for Public Office

WHEREAS, local governments have a tremendous influence over the lives of working people, directly overseeing the delivery of public services, the education of our children, and the first responders who diligently work to keep us safe. Local governments can enact policies ensuring the procurement of American and union-made goods and services, which drive our local economies and produce quality manufacturing jobs. Local officials can ensure we properly invest in vital infrastructure including water and sewer systems, and mass transit and highway projects. These officials have the ability to enact responsible contractor policies and project labor agreements to ensure they hire the most highly skilled workers.

WHEREAS, through legislative action, issuing statements and/or passing resolutions, local leaders can directly impact working people’s ability to form unions, maintain collective bargaining agreements and exercise their Constitutional rights.

WHEREAS, 28 states have enacted so called “right to work” laws, crippling people’s ability to secure fair, equitable treatment at work. In many states, the freedom to negotiate over working conditions has been taken from public employees. Voter suppression laws have silenced the voice of working people and robbed them of their democratic rights.

WHEREAS, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO has worked to identify, recruit and elect pro-labor candidates to local and state offices. These efforts helped elect union members to party central committees, municipal offices, school boards, county commissions and councils, and state Delegates and Senators, across the state.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO hereby resolves to strengthen the independent political voice for labor in local government by identifying, recruiting, and educating, new union member candidates for local office, ensuring the candidates we recruit and endorse reflect the diversity and principles of our labor movement. These labor candidates will champion pro-labor values and campaign aggressively and in partnership with labor.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Central Labor Councils (CLC) and local unions, along with the State Federation, will work to collect and maintain data on union members holding public office.

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will continue to develop labor candidate recruitment and training programs, support these candidates with a robust member-to-member voter mobilization program, and provide strong policy grounding for governance through the use of Common Sense Economics and other means.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Education

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #6             Engaging Our Members to Build Strong Unions

WHEREAS when working people decide to stand together in a union, we win better wages, better health care for our families and better retirement protections. The Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO understands that attacks against unions—including the Janus case at the Supreme Court, as well as proposals to impose “right to work”, prohibit payroll deduction, require annual union recertification, weaken the prevailing wage and strip away bargaining rights by corporate-funded politicians—constantly threaten the rights of workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, pensions and workplace conditions.

WHEREAS the right-wing is spending more than $100 million per year, nationally, in an organized attack on workers and their unions. The labor movement cannot rely on politicians to hold back the corporate agenda pushed in the District of Columbia Council, Maryland General Assembly, county courthouses, Congress and the White House.

WHEREAS the best way to combat these threats is to focus on internal organizing, making sure all members and potential members see the value of remaining a part of or joining their union. If we fail to do this, our membership and communities will face ever-deepening challenges posed by income inequality, affordable access to quality health care, erosion of the middle class and the denial of basic workplace rights.

WHEREAS the denial of workers’ collective bargaining rights fundamentally contributes to the societal scourges of discrimination, xenophobia, crime and domestic violence, and disproportionately impacts women and people of color.

WHEREAS organizing rank-and-file members into union organizing is a gateway to engaging them as active leaders, using Common Sense Economics to align them with an understanding of the economy and how privatization, austerity, and deregulation policy choices have rigged the rules against working people, thereby connecting them to a broader vision for change.

WHEREAS the State Federation is best structured to serve as convener and coordinator, wherein affiliates can move forward on planning, leader recruitment, training, messaging, worksite organizing and a method to evaluate the work.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will convene an Organizing Round-table to enable, enhance and encourage all affiliates to focus on internal organizing and member leader recruitment in order to sustain and grow our density and activist capacity through a worksite program.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Education

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 as amended

 

RESOLUTION #7    Federal and District of Columbia Government Workers Deserve Fair Treatment

WHEREAS, Federal and District of Columbia government employees are called upon to deliver critical support to our troops, care for our veterans and work to enhance the lives of fellow Americans; and

WHEREAS, these good people contribute mightily to the fabric of our society and our democracy; and

WHEREAS, like their fellow working families across America, these public employees deserve respect and fair treatment on the job, especially when it comes to adequate protections to prevent the taking away of one’s livelihood for unjust reasons; and

WHEREAS, American citizens are protected against corrupt government when public employees cannot be fired for unjust reasons; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration have taken away the standard of just cause for VA employees in 2017; and

WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in Congress to take away the standard of just cause for all employees in the federal government; and

WHEREAS, the principles of fair treatment and just cause for all workers are interwoven and are being threatened by these actions of the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration; and

WHEREAS, these—the principles of fair treatment and just cause—must not be allowed to be undermined or denied to these workers;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO opposes the further enactment of laws to prevent workers’ livelihoods from being taken from them without just cause. Moreover, the State Federation will work to maintain it for all employees in the Federal government by calling on the entire Maryland and District of Columbia Congressional Delegation to fight back against these attacks.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Civil Rights

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #8                  Freedom to Spend Time With Family

WHEREAS, work is a down payment on the freedom to spend time with our families. Unfortunately, that investment does not always pay off. Outdated workplace policies put working women in a particular bind, forcing them to make impossible choices between work, family and personal wellness. Women and men want new rules for an economy that works for all working people equally, and the freedom to build lives of value.

WHEREAS, women compose 48% of the workforce and are the sole or primary breadwinner for 40% of families in the United States. Yet the majority of family responsibilities still rest on the shoulders of women and, too often, women put in a full day of work only to come home and clock in for a second shift.

WHEREAS, over the past five years, there has been tremendous momentum at the state and local level in Maryland and the District of Columbia to take time to care for family, and labor unions have been at the center of these wins. The difference for union women is irrefutable. Our affiliates have joined or led coalitions for paid sick leave and paid family leave in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Overall, states with higher union density are more likely to have paid sick leave, and paid family and medical leave laws.

WHEREAS, only a fraction of private-sector workers has access to paid family leave through their employers or employer-provided short-term disability insurance. As a result, about a quarter of working women return to work within two weeks of giving birth, sacrificing critical time for recovery and bonding with a new child. Hundreds of thousands of Marylanders do not have access to earned sick leave—time to recover from a short-term illness or care for a loved one who is ill—and there is no national sick leave standard. Workers in part-time and minimum wage jobs, two-thirds of whom are women, are the least likely to have paid sick days.

WHEREAS, the erosion of overtime protection and the 40-hour workweek in recent decades is having a disproportionate impact on working women. There is overwhelming evidence that overtime protection is effective in discouraging overly long work hours and giving working people the ability to spend more time away from work, and that reducing excessive working hours makes working people healthier and more productive.

WHEREAS, in the District of Columbia, unions drove the agenda on earned sick leave, and pushed it through the council and into law. However, Councilmembers are threatening to revisit the law, and weaken the provisions.

WHEREAS, in Maryland, with the tireless work of unions, earned sick leave was passed in the 2017 Legislative Session, only to be vetoed by Governor Hogan. Unions stand strong with legislators to override the Governor’s veto in January of 2018, and bring earned sick leave to hundreds of thousands of Marylanders.

WHEREAS, working people must come together to demand the freedom to spend time with our families.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and The District of Columbia AFL-CIO will strengthen its commitment to these policy issues. In deep partnership with advocates and affiliated unions, the State Federation will launch a full-scale, multifaceted campaign at the State and local levels for the freedom to spend time with family.

THEREFORE, BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and The District of Columbia AFL-CIO will:

  • Advocate for stronger overtime protections for working people at the federal and state level;
  • Advocate for paid parental leave for all workers;
  • Track and advocate for state legislation on paid family leave and fair and predictable schedules;
  • Collect and advocate for model bargaining language that wins paid family leave and fair work schedules at the bargaining table;
  • Advocate to protect the earned sick leave that unions so recently won for workers in the District of Columbia; and
  • Advocate to overturn the Governor’s veto on earned sick leave in Maryland, thus extending this benefit to 750,000 more Marylanders

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Civil Rights

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #9        Full Employment and a $15 Minimum Wage

WHEREAS, the rules that govern the labor market determine whether our wages stay flat or whether they rise as working people become more productive and create more wealth. For the past 35 years, politicians have made policy choices that keep wages flat and allow people at the top to capture the gains from economic growth. We must rewrite the rules of the labor market to ensure working people share in the wealth we help create and our incomes rise as we become more productive. Rewriting the rules must include putting full employment back at the center of our economic policies and increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

WHEREAS, when unemployment stays low for a long time, employers compete for workers by offering higher wages. The result is rising wages for all working people. Full employment was an economic policy priority before 1979, and the result was that wages grew in line with productivity, and inequality shrank dramatically. Since 1979, however, full employment has not been a priority, and this is one of the most important ways that the rules of the labor market have been rewritten at the expense of working people. The average monthly unemployment rate before 1979 was 0.8 percentage points lower than it has been since 1985.

WHEREAS, despite enormous job growth since the Great Recession, we still are not at full employment today. One key piece of evidence that we still are not at full employment is weak wage growth; another is unemployment in the African American community, which remains at near-recession levels. To rewrite the rules for working people and ensure our incomes rise as we become more productive, we need both fiscal and monetary policy to prioritize full employment once again.

WHEREAS, the erosion of the minimum wage is another important way the rules of the labor market have been rewritten at the expense of working people. From 1946 to 1979, Congress periodically expanded coverage of the federal minimum wage and increased its value to track both inflation and wage growth. As a result, not only did wages rise in line with productivity, but poverty for African American families also fell dramatically—from 65.6% in 1965 to 39.6% in 1969. Since 1980, by contrast, policy makers have allowed inflation to eat away at the value of the minimum wage.

WHEREAS, in 2016, the federal minimum wage was worth 25% less than its peak value in 1968. If the minimum wage had risen since 1968 at the pace of productivity growth, it would be $21.36 in 2024. Since more women have joined the labor market, a higher minimum wage is crucial to closing the gender pay gap and boosting income for middle-class families that rely more on the earnings of women. To rewrite the rules of the labor market and strengthen worker bargaining power, we need to increase the minimum wage to account for inflation, the entry of more women into the workforce and the vastly increased productivity of working people.

WHEREAS, in Maryland and the District of Columbia 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. Moreover, thousands of union members in Maryland and the District of Columbia currently make less than $15 per hour.

WHEREAS, unions fought together to raise wages to $10.10 by 2018 in Maryland and $12.50 per hour in Washington, DC. Both are great starts, 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will:

  • Support city and state legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 and index to inflation for all working people.
  • Advocate for appointments to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors for those who are committed to full employment—measured by the growth of real wages in line with productivity.
  • Support budget and tax policies in the Maryland General Assembly and the District of Columbia City Council that prioritize full employment and good-paying jobs—including public investment in infrastructure.

THEREFORE, BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that, for those workers who join the fight for $15, the Maryland State and District of Columbia will also support them in their fight for a pathway to a union.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Legislation

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #10                                      I AM 2018

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO is the labor center for American workers and a tireless fighter for economic justice and civil, labor and human rights for workers across the globe; and

WHEREAS, in the current environment, it is more important than ever for labor to stand strong with all members of our community in the continuing fight for economic, social and racial justice; and

WHEREAS, April 4, 2018 will mark 50 years since the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, where he was standing shoulder to shoulder with striking AFSCME-represented sanitation workers who were seeking respect, dignity, economic justice and safe and humane working conditions; the sanitation workers’ slogan—“I Am a Man”—became the rallying cry for this workers’ movement; and

WHEREAS, much progress has been made during the past 50 years, but much more remains to be done—the struggle for justice inseparably binds the labor and civil rights movements; as Dr. King said to civil rights leaders, “Our needs are identical with labor’s needs: Decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old-age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community”; and

WHEREAS, the 50th anniversary of the strike and Dr. King’s murder is more than a commemoration of a historical moment and the honoring of true American heroes; it is a sober reminder of the important work ahead of us. Indeed, the concentration of wealth and power that Dr. King identified as the driver of injustice in its many forms is more severe today than at the time of his death. The revival of a “Poor Peoples’ Campaign” is not an indulgence in nostalgia, but an essential activity in the fight for justice for all workers and poor people from diverse backgrounds; and

WHEREAS, in April of 2018, labor and our allies across the spectrum of social and economic justice movements will come together in Memphis to renew our commitment to Dr. King’s dream;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland and District of Columbia labor movement embraces the legacy of Dr. King and its responsibility to honor the strikers, and commits to redoubling our efforts on behalf of all working people. The Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions stand in support of the “I AM 2018” activities, including the April 2018 events in Memphis.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Civil Rights

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #11             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 Congress and 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,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia will work together, with our affiliated trade unions, to advocate for bills before the Maryland General Assembly, District of Columbia City Council, and County and Municipal legislative bodies, that either protect existing prevailing wage laws and/or expand them to cover more projects and more workers.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Legislation

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #12            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. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will engage in educational efforts among its affiliated locals and councils, and with community allies to mobilize and win broad support for passage of legislation to require PLA’s in State building and construction contracts, and will actively advocate for such legislation at the State, County, and Municipal levels of government.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee: Legislation

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #13                                Janus Resolution

WHEREAS, working people should have the freedom and power to have a better life.

WHEREAS, unions promote and defend the freedom of working people to do just that: make a decent living, to support our families, to have work-life balance, to access important public services like good schools and quality health care, and to retire with dignity.

WHEREAS, all these freedoms are under attack by wealthy corporations and right-wing politicians who rig the economy and the political system in their favor, ensuring that they get richer while working people struggle to get ahead or even get by.

WHEREAS, unions raise wages and labor standards across the economy, improving the lives of all workers (union and nonunion), and the labor movement has historically been a force for social progress, with high union density correlating with lower incarceration rates, greater educational investment and higher life expectancy.

WHEREAS, so-called “right to work” laws are designed to silence worker voices by making it harder to organize, harder to build solidarity and harder to assert our rights, thereby aggravating the imbalance in our economy to benefit the privileged and powerful.

WHEREAS, public-service workers keep our communities safe and strong: teaching our kids, cleaning our streets, driving our school buses, providing quality health care, answering 911 calls, protecting children and vulnerable adults, and much more.

WHEREAS, corporations go to dishonest and unscrupulous lengths to undermine unions, with the most recent case being the harassment and intimidation campaign run by Nissan at its Mississippi plant, to influence the outcome of a union election.

WHEREAS, the union membership for public-sector workers is 34.4% - five times greater than private-sector union membership of 6.4% - substantially contributing to labor’s current 10.4% of American workers in a union.

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case called Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 that threatens to make the entire public sector right to work, upending well over 40 years of precedent affirming the constitutionality of fair share fees.

WHEREAS, the ultimate goal of “right-to-work” (for less) is to weaken unions so right-wing politicians can strip public employees of their human right to collective bargaining like they did in Wisconsin and Iowa.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the entire Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with its public-sector members in this fight to preserve and expand collective bargaining rights for all public sector employees.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this convention supports these unions’ ongoing efforts to provide public-service employees with a voice at work, and the freedom and power to have a better life for themselves and their communities.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in Janus, these unions and their members will remain clear and powerful voices for economic justice and a vital part of our entire labor movement.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Education

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 as amended

 

RESOLUTION #14     Prioritizing Organizing to Win Power for Working People

WHEREAS, working people face every day an economy that does not work for them: stagnant wages, cuts to health care, systematic discrimination and eroding public services are the norm for too many.

WHEREAS, the most important work that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO can do is support working people and their unions when they stand up for themselves to organize their workplaces.

WHEREAS, union membership and collective bargaining remains the most effective tool for working people to exercise their power on the job and in the public sphere.

WHEREAS, the promise of winning power and rights on the job has dimmed as organizing becomes less frequent.

WHEREAS, survey data demonstrate that a growing majority of working people have favorable opinions of the labor movement and, if afforded the opportunity, would want to be part of a union to negotiate for better pay, benefits and working conditions.

WHEREAS, by organizing unions, working people improve not only their own pay, benefits and working conditions, but also contribute to the greater societal good through improving participation in civil society, standing up against injustices and providing a forum for all working people to come together.

WHEREAS, the unions of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO recognize the role the labor movement must play to assist working people to organize unions to improve working people’s income, benefits, working conditions and political participation.

WHEREAS, making the promise of union membership real for more working people can only happen with concerted planning, activity and improved execution.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the work of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO on legislative efforts, political campaigns, policy initiatives, digital and data strategies, community alliances, health and safety, and legal defense should all be in the support of the mission of our affiliated unions—to assist working people organizing for a better life.

THERFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will convene an Organizing Roundtable to encourage, enhance, and enable all unions to strengthen their organizing efforts.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Education

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 as amended

 

RESOLUTION #15         Rejecting the Privatization of Veterans' Health Care

WHEREAS, the Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the United States, providing care at 1,245 health care facilities, including 170 VA Medical Centers and 1,065 outpatient clinics, serving more than 9 million veterans each year; and

WHEREAS, one in three VA employees are veterans who are honored to serve their country for the second time by taking care of their fellow veterans; and veterans overwhelmingly prefer to receive care at VA hospitals seeing VA hospitals as their own communities where they connect with other veterans

WHEREAS, veterans overwhelmingly reject the privatization of the VA and reject the Trump administration’s proposal to make the choice privatization program permanent; and

WHEREAS, members of Congress have introduced several pieces of legislation to privatize the VA in whole or in part and divert resources from the VA to enrich private hospital CEOs and special interests, including the Koch brothers;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO opposes the privatization of the VA and joins veterans and AFGE in its effort to fight the privatization of the VA.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Resolutions

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #16      Resolution in Support of Public Education

WHEREAS, much of the credit for the establishment of free public education for all children goes to organized labor, and we continue our commitment to the highest quality public education for all students.

WHEREAS, ninety percent of American children attend public schools. We call on local, state and federal lawmakers to prioritize support for strengthening our public schools and empowering local education leaders to implement, manage and lead school districts in partnership with educators, parents, and other local education stakeholders and learning communities; and to provide for the necessities of counseling, extra/co-curricular activities and mental health supports that are critical to helping students engage in learning.

WHEREAS, we support and value inclusive and safe, high-quality public schools, where children learn to think critically, problem solve and build relationships. We support an environment where all students can succeed beginning in the earliest years, regardless of their zip code, the color of their skin, native language, gender/gender identity, immigration status, religion, or social standing. We strive every day to make every public school a place where we prepare the nation’s young people to contribute to our society, economy and citizenry.

WHEREAS, we support stable, equitable, predictable and adequate funding for great public schools, so that students have inviting classrooms, as well as well-prepared and supported educators and support staff. These educators include teachers, paraprofessionals, principals and other education support professionals and other school-related personnel who provide a well-rounded and complete curriculum and create joy in learning. The support staff maintain the buildings, operate the buses, cook the meals, provide the security, health care and other services in the shadows. Our school buildings should have class sizes small enough to allow one-on-one attention, and have access to support services such as health care, nutrition, and after-school programs for students who need them.

WHEREAS, we believe that public tax dollars should only support public schools that are publicly governed and accountable to parents, educators and communities. In no way should local, state or federal funding be taken away from public schools and given to private schools that are unaccountable to the public.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will continue to promote the promise and purpose of public education, to elevate the great things happening every day in our public schools, and to engage communities about strategies that help students succeed. We affirm our commitment to fight for resources and against policies that would undermine these values.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Education

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 as amended

 

RESOLUTION #17             Resolution on Climate Change and Jobs

WHEREAS, numerous studies suggest that there is major job creation potential from tackling the climate crisis, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and transitioning to a low-carbon, sustainable economy.

WHEREAS, the overall lack of jobs in the green economy and the prevalence of non-union jobs in the limited existing green sectors, such as solar and residential retrofitting, have dampened enthusiasm for the long-promised “clean, green economy” among workers and labor organizations that are anxious to address the climate crisis and build a pro-worker, equitable green economy.

WHEREAS, many of the fossil fuel industries have high rates of unionization

WHEREAS, strong job and training quality standards are needed in the renewable energy sector, among them being prevailing wage, state-approved apprenticeship job training requirements, project labor agreements, and labor peace agreements

WHEREAS, a functioning jobs pipeline could ensure that local workers from our communities have a path to career employment by offering access to training programs such as direct-entry pre-apprenticeship programs and other skill-building opportunities.

WHEREAS, these job and training quality standards should be central to all “climate jobs” proposals.

WHEREAS, climate efforts should include funding and guaranteed protection for workers and communities who are displaced or negatively affected by the transition to a low-carbon economy.

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO has developed strong policy proposals for protecting workers who are impacted by climate protection policies. These proposals provide a just transition, including 70% wage replacement and 80% health benefit replacement for up to three years, as well as “bridge to retirement” funding for workers who are near retirement.

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, prevailing wage, apprenticeship job training requirements, Buy Union and Buy America provisions, labor peace, card check neutrality and robust training requirements for all projects.

THEREFORE, 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 for worker protections, rights, and sustainable wages and benefits, to maintain a wide range of energy sources, traditional and newer, to secure Maryland’s and the District of Columbia’s competitiveness.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER 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 convene the LABOR LEADING ON CLIMATE INITIATIVES COUNCIL to develop deeper expertise and leadership on energy and environmental issues and their broader implications for working people.

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will advocate for legislation that puts the interests of workers and their communities at the center of environmental policy decisions.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Industrial Safety

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

RESOLUTION #18        Safe Jobs—Every Worker's Right

WHEREAS, the right to a safe job is a fundamental worker right and a core union value. Every worker should be able to go to work and return home safely at the end of the day.

WHEREAS, throughout our entire history, through organizing, bargaining, education, legislation and mobilization, working people and their unions have fought for safe and healthful working conditions to protect workers from injury, illnesses and death. We have made real progress, winning strong laws and protections that have made jobs safer and saved workers’ lives.

WHEREAS, our fight has gotten harder as employers’ opposition to workers’ rights and protections has grown, and attacks on unions have intensified. We have not backed down. Most recently, after decades-long national struggles, joining with allies we won groundbreaking standards to protect workers from silica, beryllium and coal dust, and stronger protections for workers to report injuries and exercise other safety and health rights.

WHEREAS, all of these hard-won gains are threatened. President Trump and many Republicans in Congress have launched an aggressive assault on worker protections. Two new safety rules—one strengthening requirements for federal contractors to comply with safety and other labor protections, and another to ensure accurate injury reporting by employers—were repealed. Other new safety rules, including OSHA’s silica and beryllium standards, were delayed, and some are targeted for weakening. Agency budgets and enforcement programs are on the chopping block. In response to an increase in mining fatalities, MSHA is emphasizing compliance assistance, instead of enforcement, cutting unions out of onsite mine reviews. The Trump administration, employers and members of Congress are seeking to limit employers’ joint responsibility to ensure labor protections for all workers where they control the work and conditions, allowing misclassification and exploitation of workers.

WHEREAS, we must fight back and push forward. Workers’ lives are at stake. Each day in this country 150 workers die due to job injuries and illnesses. In 2015, 2.8 million workers were injured on the job. Long-recognized hazards, including most toxic chemical exposures, remain unaddressed. Workers face growing risks like exposure to infectious diseases and workplace violence, including sexual assaults and harassment, which disproportionately affect women workers. Many groups of workers, including immigrant workers, are at much greater risk; they work in some of the most dangerous jobs and are vulnerable because of their immigration status and lack of union representation. The growth in the use of temporary workers and independent contractors, and in the misclassification of workers, has made it harder to hold employers accountable for meeting their responsibilities.

THEREFORE, BE IT 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia union movement will join with our allies to defend hard-won gains and to seek stronger 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.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Industrial Safety

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

RESOLUTION #19     Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the United

                                                                         States

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.

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

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

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.

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.

WHEREAS, guest worker visa programs impose 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, hundreds of thousands of immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are at risk of losing their United States residency, and are under threat of deportation to countries of which many have no memory or connection. These immigrants came here as children, and have only ever known the United States as their home.

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 State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports passage of comprehensive immigration reform.

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will educate and advocate for the full defense and support of DACA recipients, and the eventual abolition of guest worker programs and a clear path to citizenship.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Civil Rights

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

RESOLUTION #20       Tax and Budget Policies Should Put Working People First

WHEREAS, we stand for budget and tax policies that serve the needs of working people and against proposals to make working people pay the price for tax giveaways to big corporations and the wealthy.

WHEREAS, to meet the needs of a growing population and pave the way for long-term economic growth and shared prosperity, the reality is that we need more tax revenues, not less. Tax reform needs to raise enough additional revenue, both now and in the future, to create good jobs and make the public investment we need in education, infrastructure and meeting the needs of children, families, seniors and communities. Under no circumstances should tax reform lose money, nor should we disguise the true long-term cost of tax cuts with budget gimmicks.

WHEREAS, our rigged and broken tax system lets big corporations and the wealthy avoid paying their fair share of taxes, sticking the rest of us with the tab. We are not a high-tax country. Tax revenues in the United States are lower than 30 of 35 other developed countries (as a share of the economy).

WHEREAS, our society is more unequal than ever, yet the wealthy are not paying their fair share of taxes. Corporate profits are the highest they have been since the 1950s, yet corporate tax revenues are at record low levels. Tax loopholes allow global corporations to avoid paying U.S. taxes if they park their profits offshore or move jobs overseas.

WHEREAS, too many politicians and pundits want us to believe our country is broken and we have no choice but to demand sacrifices from working people, yet they have no trouble finding trillions of dollars to waste on tax giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations. In Maryland, politicians are addicted to tax credits for wealthy corporations that promise to create jobs. Rarely, if ever, do these tax credits lead to anything more than minimum wage jobs with little to no benefits.

WHEREAS, we cannot afford to give huge tax breaks to millionaires and corporations or tax incentives for corporations to send jobs overseas. Nor should we pay for these tax giveaways with cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, education, unemployment insurance, pay and benefits for federal employees, job training, infrastructure, food stamps and other programs that help working people get by and get ahead. This is a bad deal for working people.

WHEREAS, we know from experience that trillions of dollars of tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations do not “trickle down” to the rest of us. We know that tax incentives for corporations to send jobs overseas do not benefit working people. “Trickle down” has been tried already and it has failed. We also know that the steady flow of tax credits from our State and local treasuries with the promise of “job creation” has led to tax payers subsidizing low wage jobs with no protections. We need a different approach that puts working people first.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and our unions will mobilize to advance a comprehensive campaign to put working people first in the debate over taxes and the budget.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia will support common sense protections that preserve and promote transparency, accountability, shared prosperity, and competition when it comes to tax credits and public services and assets.

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, and its affiliate unions, advocate for these protections in their legislative bodies, and educate members on common sense economics for an economy that works for all.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Legislation

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

RESOLUTION #21       In support of the Creation of the Maryland State and District              

                                                of Columbia AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council

WHEREAS, Veterans have exhibited selfless service to our Country, State, and Community.

WHEREAS, many Union members have served on Active Duty or are currently serving our country through the National Guard or Reserves.

WHEREAS, Veterans have always been a vital part of the union work force, and today veterans make up an estimated 10% of the unionized workforce.

WHEREAS, the voices of our Veterans have been used many times throughout the history of the labor movement.

WHEREAS, the Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO recognizes that when workers’ rights are attacked Veterans rights are attacked, and that Unions need to stand strong with our Veterans.

WHEREAS, the Building Trades have developed the “Helmets to Hardhats” program, with the express purpose of providing highly skilled training and quality career training in the construction industry, for National Guardsmen, Reservists, and retired and transitioning active-duty military service members.

WHEREAS, a State Federation Union Veterans Council, working with Affiliated Unions, Central Labor Councils, and their members, would be able to act quickly and responsively to the needs of our Union Veterans, provide them with helpful information, and to advocate on their behalf for legislation, regulations, and policy proposals that will benefit our Union Veterans.

THEREFORE, BE IT 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO hereby creates the “MD State and DC AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council”, and a steering committee, empaneled by the President, will convene in the first quarter of 2018, to develop the structure, mission, and goals of the Council.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                           

Committee:  Resolutions

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

RESOLUTION #22                              Workers’ Bill of Rights

WHEREAS, working people in Maryland and the District of Columbia will no longer accept economic rules written of, by and for the wealthiest few. We refuse to accept struggling to make ends meet in the richest State in our country at its richest point in history. We can do better. We must do better. And, so, we demand rights that ensure we are able – through our work – to lead better lives.

WHEREAS, working people demand the right to come home safely at the end of the day. We demand the right to be paid enough to support ourselves and our families. We demand the right to quality health care, paid time off to spend with family, a schedule that is flexible and fair, and protection from discrimination. Finally, after decades of hard work, we demand the right to retire with dignity and security.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO supports a comprehensive Workers’ Bill of Rights. Standing together in unions and working with all who share our values, we will make this bill of rights a reality for all working people.

All working people have the right to:

  • A Good Job with Fair Wages: Everyone who wants to work has the right to a good job where we earn a fair return on our work and receive a wage that allows us to support ourselves and our families.
  • Quality Health Care: Regardless of income, job or a pre-existing condition.
  • A Safe Job: Free from harassment and violence.
  • Paid Time Off and Flexible, Predictable Scheduling: To spend time with family or care for ourselves or a loved one.
  • Freedom from Discrimination: In hiring, firing and promotions.
  • Retire with Dignity: And financial security.
  • Education: Public K-12, higher education and skilled career training that advances our knowledge and skills without leaving us in debt.
  • Freedom to Join Together: With our co-workers for better wages and working conditions, whether we are in a union or not.
  • A Voice in Democracy: To freely exercise our democratic voice through voting and civic participation so that we can make sure our government stands up for this Workers’ Bill of Rights.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia will work, on behalf of our Affiliates and workers, to actively advocate for legislation in the Maryland General Assembly and the District of Columbia City Council that supports this Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Submitted by:  Executive Board                                             

Committee:  Resolutions

Convention Action:    APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous

 

RESOLUTION #23         ACCESS TO PUBLIC PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

WHEREAS:    Citizens who are “in need” of and eligible for life enhancing support offered by public services and programs are often unable to connect to and access them in a quick, simple and dignified way. Connecting with eligible services and programs is often very time consuming, requiring time off from work and other activities; overcoming transportation challenges; visits to multiple delivery sites; and maintaining accurate and timely lines of communication among several agencies.  Those “in need” can include anyone and everyone, at any given moment, through no fault of their own.

WHEREAS:  Service workers have historically and continually aim to connect community members to available services in the best practical way.  These workers are critical and necessary in contributing to our citizens economic, social and physical well-being, and are critical to advancing solutions that focus on those in need.  As the population of eligible citizens increases so does the work and workload challenges of the service workers.

WHEREAS:    These challenges present an opportunity where working together service workers and citizens in need can create a more equitable approach to delivering and receiving support; and such an approach requires greater collaboration between policy and technology and will result in breaking down the divide between those in need and those that can help them.

WHEREAS:    The citizens of the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia will be best served by health and human services eligibility and enrollment processes that support their connections to benefits and services that support the independence of communities; and offers seamless integration between private insurance options and public insurance options;

WHEREAS:    Citizens deserve a health and human services eligibility and enrollment process that features a transparent, understandable and easy to use online process that enables them to make informed decisions about applying for and managing their health care and social services benefits; and accommodates the range of user capabilities, languages and access considerations;

WHEREAS:    Legislators should provide their citizens with a health and human services eligibility and enrollment process that connects citizens not only with health coverage, but also other human services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and; also makes linking to voter registration systems readily accessible on eligibility and enrollment system websites; while providing strong privacy and security protections.

WHEREAS:    The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO knows that legislators can have a profound impact on communities by bridging gaps and facilitating innovative pathways for improving their community’s health, fostering greater equity, and enhancing its overall well-being.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports solutions and educational efforts, that will encourage legislators to create greater integration of policy and technology in connecting people to life-changing Public Service Programs and Services while enhancing a sense of ease, dignity and authentic community engagement among our most vulnerable citizens.

Submitted by:  A. Philip Randolph Institute/1199 SEIU, UHW-E      

Committee:  Civil Rights

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous                                                              

RESOLUTION #24          HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE RETRAINING FUND

WHEREAS, In 1985, the Maryland General Assembly established the “Hospital Employees Retraining Program” for the retraining and placement of hospital employees who are (or may become) unemployed as a result of the closing, margining, delicensing acquisition or possible downsizing of a hospital requiring hospitals to pay a fee, not exceeding 0.01 percent of the gross operating revenue for the year preceding their closure or delicensing, to fund this program when 25% of their workforce is laid off.

WHEREAS, as healthcare is reformed and patients elect to receive medical care in clinics and home settings, hospitals in Maryland are downsizing and at risk of closing. Because of this, dedicated entry level healthcare workers will lose their jobs. These workers often don’t make a living wage, so they can’t afford training opportunities or take time off work for training to move up the healthcare career ladder.

WHEREAS, while some forward-thinking healthcare providers currently contribute to the training and advancement of frontline caregivers, those investments are not enough to ensure that today’s hospital workers will be prepared and certified to continue delivering care in the settings of tomorrow, such as nursing homes or outpatient clinics, and;

WHEREAS, to date, there is evidence that these funds were rarely collected for this program despite hundreds of hospital worker layoffs over the past 10 years.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support state legislation to update he law apply to changes hospitals are making during this healthcare transformation — such as freestanding medical facility conversions — when job loss occurs for 10 employees or more.

Submitted by:  1199 SEIU, UHW-E                                      

Committee:  Industrial Safety

Convention Action:   APPROVED 11/17/17 unanimous