Resolutions of the 32nd 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:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Resolutions

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action:   Unanimously passed

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:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Union Label

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed 

Resolution #3: Labor Candidate School Resolution

WHEREAS, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its Affiliates are dedicated to the betterment of workers and workers’ rights through organizing and collective bargaining; and

WHEREAS, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families by bargaining to increase wages, obtain health care insurance and retirement security through pensions and negotiate terms and conditions for employment; and

WHEREAS, the ability to protect workers and the families is intrinsically tied to political power at the Local, State, and Federal levels of government; and

WHEREAS, the Labor movement has a vested interest in ensuring that union voices are heard, and union members are represented, within the halls of government, and the only way to guarantee that is by electing committed union members to public office;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO hereby establishes the Labor Candidate School to provide high quality training for union members running for public office at every level of government, throughout the State and the District of Columbia, ensuring greater success in electing union members who will fight for the values of working families.

THERFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Labor Candidate School will be held annually, beginning in 2019, with the express purpose of training and supporting union members running for public office who meet the requirements set forth by the Affiliates of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and all affiliated unions hereby resolve to strengthen the independent political voice for labor in local government by identifying, recruiting, and educating new union member candidates for local office. These labor candidates will champion pro-labor values and campaign aggressively and in partnership with labor.

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Resolutions

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed

Resolution #4: NO Vote on NAFTA Until It's Fixed

WHEREAS, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for working people in all three countries, establishing an unbalanced set of rules that skewed benefits to economic elites while leaving working families of the United States, Mexico and Canada behind;

WHEREAS, since it was implemented in 1994 NAFTA has resulted in a net loss of at least 700,000 U.S. jobs, weakening our manufacturing base and undermining our economic security;

WHEREAS, according to the Economic Policy Institute, U.S. workers lose an average of $2,000 in income every single year due to NAFTA-style trade agreements, which place downward pressure on wages and working standards across the economy;

WHEREAS, when firms transfer production to Mexico to take advantage of a regime that denies labor rights in order to keep wages and benefits low, the process undermines family and community stability as well as state and local economies across the United States, Mexico and Canada;

WHEREAS, the transfer of production deprives state and local governments of sorely needed tax revenues, undermining the provision of important public services such as education, skills training, emergency responders, public transportation, and infrastructure building and repair;

WHEREAS, the renegotiation of NAFTA is an opportunity to help build a more balanced, inclusive and just North American economy;

WHEREAS, while the revised NAFTA (also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA) text includes modest improvements to its labor rules, it retains too many of the weak standards and loopholes that have made prior trade deals impossible to enforce;

WHEREAS, the revised NAFTA includes an important "Labor Annex" that requires Mexico to adopt a vital set of labor reforms designed to end the dominance of corrupt, corporatist unions so that independent unions can bargain for fair wages and working conditions;

WHEREAS, the revised NAFTA contains no new enforcement tools to ensure that our trade partners respect the labor rules contained in the agreement;

WHEREAS, the revised NAFTA includes a 10-year monopoly period for biologic drugs, a measure that will further exacerbate already high drug prices across North America;

WHEREAS, the revised NAFTA does not contain strong enough labor rules or the effective enforcement tools necessary to reduce corporate outsourcing and a continued "race to the bottom" in wages and working standards across North America;

WHEREAS, the NAFTA renegotiation will not make a significant difference to working families, farmers, ranchers, or small business owners in Maryland and the District of Columbia without further revisions and commitments;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO recognizes that a just economy that provides good jobs with high wages for all, and ensures that businesses, ranchers, farmers, and working people prosper together, is not a partisan issue and we call upon our all of federal elected officials to work together to improve international trade rules, starting with NAFTA, to achieve this goal;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO does not believe the revised NAFTA in its current form is adequate to achieve this goal and therefore calls upon the United States Congress to support a revised NAFTA if and only if, in its final form, it creates better North American trade rules that will bring labor rights, good jobs, high wages, sustainable growth and an inclusive economy to the United States, Mexico and Canada;

AND, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO calls upon the United States Congress to not put the new NAFTA to a vote until the agreement is changed  to, among other things:

  • Strengthen its labor and environmental rules to create a level playing field and end the race to the bottom in wages, working conditions, and environmental protections (Chapters 23 & 24); 
  • Strengthen its enforcement mechanisms, including by allowing parties to block the entry of goods that are produced in violation of the agreement's labor standards;
  • Guarantee that Mexico will not enjoy benefits under the deal until it has fully and effectively implemented the labor law reforms set forth in the NAFTA labor law annex (Annex 23-A);
  • Eliminate its new monopoly rights for brand-name pharmaceutical companies that will keep drug prices sky high (Chapter 20);
  • Strengthen rules of origin to promote more domestic content and high wage production (Chapter 4);
  • Allow the United States, Mexico and Canada to require government contractors to comply with the deal's labor rules;
  • Ensure that NAFTA allows each party to adopt sensible food labeling measures (including country-of-origin labeling) that lets families know where and how their food is produced; and
  • Reverse corporate incentives to outsource to Mexico, including in the aerospace, auto, baked goods, call center and processed meat industries.

Submitted by:  James Strong                                                 Committee:  Resolutions

                          Delegate, USW 1038                                    

Convention Action: Unanimously passed

Resolution #5: Guarantee Maryland Workers Protection from Hot Environments

WHEREAS, every year, thousands of Maryland workers are placed at risk of work-related illness and death associated with exposure to excessive heat both outdoors and indoors.  The risk will only climb as the severity and frequency of extreme heat are expected to rise sharply in coming years.  The State of Maryland typically records 30 days with a heat index of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (90°F) or more every year.  That number is expected to rise to between 63-73 days of high heat index temperatures by mid-century. Outdoor workers will be put at greater danger. Workers exposed to stifling heat in un-cooled and poorly ventilated buildings will see their exposure sky-rocket as well;

WHEREAS, workers at high risk of exposure can be found in a wide variety of Maryland jobs including but not limited to:

  • Construction
  • Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning
  • Insulation – residential and commercial
  • Landscaping, agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • Commercial vehicles and transportation facilities
  • Road work and utility repair and maintenance
  • Waste water treatment and water plants
  • Sanitation and recycling
  • Firefighting
  • Commercial dry-cleaning and laundry
  • Warehousing
  • Manufacturing with hot operations
  • Postal workers and letter carriers
  • Bakery workers
  • Boiler room workers;

WHEREAS, recent research has shown that outdoor workers are more susceptible to heat-related illness and death at a heat index above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (90°F).  Exposure to direct sun can raise the heat index by as much as 15°F;

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015 identified nearly 3,000 cases of injury or illnesses and thirty-seven fatalities associated with heat exposure nationwide. The State of Maryland ranked in the top thirteen states with high rates of heat-related illness – posting a rate of 0.3 cases per 10,000 full-time employees. These findings are an incomplete glance of a growing trend. Employers often don’t record heat-related illnesses; workers many times are reluctant to report.   As it gets hotter, even more cases will probably go unreported for a variety of reasons including worker reluctance to report because of fear of retaliation;

WHEREAS, exposure to extreme heat at work can result in illnesses caused by heat stress including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash, heat syncope (dizziness, light headedness) and even death. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat;

WHEREAS, construction workers account for about 1/3 of occupational heat-related deaths and illnesses. A recent analysis of occupational heat-related deaths from 1992-2016 found that construction workers who constitute just 6% of the total workforce accounted for 36% of the heat-related deaths;

WHEREAS agricultural workers have high rates of heat-related deaths compared to the general working population. An analysis of the rate of heat-related deaths from 1992-2006 among agricultural workers compared to that of the US civilian workforce found that the rate for agricultural workers was 100 times greater;

WHEREAS, during extremely hot days, heat-related deaths spike and hospital admissions for heat-related illnesses rise;

WHEREAS, lack of access to regular breaks, shade, water and medical services for workers exposed to extreme heat is not only associated with serious health consequences but also with significant reduction in work productivity;

WHEREAS, one study of a heat stress program to reduce heat-related illness in municipal workers demonstrated a steep decline in workers’ compensation claims for heat-related conditions when a comprehensive program was instituted. Instituting a comprehensive preventive program saves lives and is cost-effective.

WHEREAS, Maryland has a State OSHA program and thus has the right and ability to promulgate occupational health and safety standards to protect Maryland workers (as three other states (CA, WA and MN) have already done.)

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO support legislation mandating that the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration commence rule-making on protecting indoor and outdoor workers from exposure to excessive heat with promulgation of a final rule by 2022. The final rule must at a minimum include provisions for:

  • Heat stress thresholds and protective measures recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety Health;
  • A requirement for employers to conduct an assessment of heat exposure in the workplace and to develop a written program that details how the employer will reduce or eliminate exposure to excessive heat;
  • Mandatory rest breaks from hot environments;
  • Access to shade and adequate supplies of water;
  • Heat acclimatization plans that allow workers to gradually adapt to hot environments when they start work in high heat environments;
  • Exposure monitoring and medical monitoring
  • Surveillance and record-keeping
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Worker information and training.

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Industrial Safety

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed

Resolution #6: In Support of Prevailing Wage Laws and Project Labor Agreements

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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, prevailing wage laws are under attack by corporate groups, anti-union businesses and the politicians they support, and PLAs are routinely under-utilized in building and construction;
 

THEREFORE, BE IT 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER 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:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Legislation

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed  

Resolution #7: 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; and

WHEREAS, the overall lack of high-road 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; and

WHEREAS, the fossil fuel industries have high rates of unionization; and

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

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; and

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

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; and

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, robust training requirements for all projects, and includes all the labor requirements passed in the Clean Energy Jobs law.

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 FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will advocate for legislation, administrative rules, and the development of an initiative to enable a transition that is just for workers and communities directly affected by the transition to a clean energy economy by providing income, benefit, and retraining for comparable wage jobs, as well as a bridge to retirement, as part of the just transition and concurrently support the creation of these policies in an equitable fashion.

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Legislation

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed

Resolution #8: 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; and

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. 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 zip code, the color of their skin, native language, gender/gender identity, immigration status, religion, or social standing. We recognize that education is the life blood of a thriving society; a civic imperative; and the key to the economic stability and prosperity of our communities; and

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. We must recognize that our education system has never successfully educated all of its children, and we commit to ending practices that perpetuate inequality; and

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; and

WHEREAS, the Kirwan Commission for Excellence and Innovation in Education has forced Maryland to engage in a long overdue conversation about the chronic, inequitable and persistent underfunding of Maryland’s education system. The State of Maryland has been found by its own consultants and courts to inequitably underfund black and brown communities in defiance of the state’s constitutional requirement to properly fund education; and

WHEREAS, educators have answered the call to public service, putting their communities first in spite of increasing austerity and public policies deliberately designed to punish schools that lack the resources to meet their students’ needs; and

WHEREAS, students in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world deserve a fully funded, world class education that allows them to fully develop their talents, and it is the duty of any person entrusted with the care of the young, to fight for their rights and their dignity.

THEREFORE IT BE 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 and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will advocate for legislation and policy and administrative changes that increase State and local resources for public education.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO supports full funding for the Kirwan recommendations with a dedicated revenue source, and calls upon Maryland policy makers to work aggressively to create a comprehensive legislative package that aligns with the commission’s recommendations.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that any revenue conversations must focus on fixing our upside-down tax code so that wealthy corporations and individuals pay their fair share. We should not place undue responsibility on working families; that additional revenue may not be tied to reducing investments, pay or benefits for state public employees, or any state public service; and that funds raised through increased revenue must be directed towards new investments in public programs that best serve Marylanders from cradle to career.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, we must act boldly and with certainty to ensure our children get the education they deserve, and we reject solutions that preference the wealthy and corporations over workers, families and public servants.

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Education

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Amended in Committee, Unanimously passed

Resolution #9: 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 AFL-CIO 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:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Legislation

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed

 Resolution #10: BUILDING INDEPENDENT POLITICAL POWER FOR WORKING PEOPLE

WHEREAS, the goal of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and our movement is to give working people greater political power by speaking with an unquestionably independent political voice, backed by a unified labor movement; and

WHEREAS, for decades, the political system has failed working people. Acting on behalf of corporations, the rich, and the powerful, politicians have been taking away the pillars that support working people’s right to good jobs, a safe, secure work place, and secure benefits; and

WHEREAS, union members can right this power imbalance by organizing in our workplaces and our neighborhoods to drive our members, our families and our neighbors to participate in critical elections and to hold officials accountable to a pro-worker agenda; and

WHEREAS, we can no longer settle for the lesser of two evils at the ballot box and to that end, we must aggressively foster a new generation of elected officials who share our aspirations for growing the organized labor movement, creating an economy that works for all, and ensuring shared prosperity for everyone; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and our affiliates will take all necessary steps to build worker political power and grow support for a pro-union and pro-worker policy agenda, and we commit to our members and working people everywhere that we will take the following actions:

  • Develop a pro-worker agenda across the sectors of our movement to hold as a joint standard for all candidates and officials, regardless of party;
  • Establish a communications framework to communicate our pro-worker agenda to our affiliates, partners, elected officials, and to working people—union and non-union and to use this framework to make clear the link between policies and politics;
  • Hold lawmakers accountable by meeting with them, calling them out in the media, and un-electing them when necessary and strategic to our long-term interests;
  • Prioritize issue-based, year-round member-to-member communication as part of a commitment to heightened internal organizing and workplace education;
  • Increase affiliate commitment to and participation in our political program so that we move more union members and union households to vote and support our endorsed candidates;
  • Develop and expand programs for recruiting, training, mentoring and supporting union brothers and sisters running for elected office;
  • Promote greater participation in the democratic process by opposing voter suppression, supporting voter registration and GOTV efforts, and boosting participation by young people, seniors, and people of color; and

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Resolutions

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed    

Resolution #11: GROWING A BIGGER, BROADER LABOR MOVEMENT IN MARYLAND AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

WHEREAS, across the country, working people are rising up to challenge the status quo and corporate greed; and

WHEREAS, public support for unions is the highest it has been in years, and research shows that a growing majority of working people, if given the opportunity, would want to be part of a union to negotiate for better pay, benefits and working conditions; and

WHEREAS, the most effective ways for working people to exercise their power on the job and in our society are through union membership and collective bargaining; and

WHEREAS, by organizing together in unions, working people improve not only their own pay, benefits and working conditions, but also contribute to the greater social good by raising wages for all workers, fighting for laws to help all working families, increasing participation in civil society, and providing a forum for all working people to come together; and

WHEREAS, in all regions of the country working people face huge obstacles to justice, like exploitative global capitalism, low wages, anti-union laws, and historical racism; and

WHEREAS, we as a movement have a moral obligation to organize those workers who need help the most— workers in unorganized sectors, low-wage workers, women, immigrants, and people of color; and

WHEREAS, building power for workers depends on organizing more people into unions and worker organizations, and yet the promise of winning power dims as organizing becomes less frequent; and

WHEREAS, building power and making union membership real for more workers can happen only with concerted planning, coordinated activity, and improved execution; and to that end, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and our affiliates can play an important role in supporting working people and our affiliated unions when they organize

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the work of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO on political campaigns, policy initiatives, and affiliate education should all be in support of helping working people to organize for a better life; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that affiliated unions will ask the State Federation for help with organizing campaigns as needed and will continue to ask their national unions for investment in organizing in Maryland and the District of Columbia; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates to this convention pledge to do their part to assist in efforts to support internal organizing, new external organizing, and the broader worker fight including efforts to raise wages, strengthen our freedom to organize and increase public support for unions; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates to this convention pledge to show up and support workers who are trying to organize so that working people and their unions never feel alone in their efforts to organize for a better life; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates, affiliated unions, Executive Board members, and State Federation President and staff will seize this moment when working people want change and that we will all do what we can to educate unorganized workers about their rights, and will support all efforts to grow a broad, diverse working people’s movement in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Resolutions

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed

Resolution #12: In Support of a Veto Override of HB 66 & SB 252 – Required Crew

WHEREAS the safety of the public in regard to the risks associated with the transportation of freight by rail is best served by BOTH implementing new safety technology AND assuring that freight trains continue to be operated by a crew of at least two professionals; and

WHEREAS to this end, the Maryland State Legislative Board of the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART), fought for and successfully got passed by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote legislation in the State of

Maryland during the 2018 and 2019 sessions of the Maryland Legislature requiring freight train crews of at least two persons; and

WHEREAS the success in achieving this legislation involved the outstanding support of the

Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliates; and

WHEREAS this 2018 and 2019 legislation was vetoed by the Governor of Maryland; and

WHEREAS the Maryland Constitution prohibited the legislature from overriding the Governor’s veto in 2018, but does not prevent the legislature from overriding the 2019 vetoes; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State & District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliates hereby commit to support the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) and urge the entire Maryland General Assembly to override the Governor’s vetoes of HB 66 & SB 252 respectively; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will provide the entire Maryland General Assembly with a copy of this resolution, upon passage, on the first day of the 2020 session of the Maryland General Assembly.

Submitted by:  Larry Kasecamp                                              Committee:  Industrial Safety

                        Delegate, SMART-TD Local 632                                                         

Convention Action: Unanimously passed     

Resolution #13: In Support of Federal Legislation Requiring Freight Train Crews Of at least Two Persons

WHEREAS the safety of the public in regard to the risks associated with the transportation of freight by rail is best served by BOTH implementing new safety technology AND assuring that freight trains continue to be operated by a crew of at least two professionals; and

WHEREAS to this end, the Maryland State Legislative Board of the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART), fought for and successfully got passed legislation in the State of Maryland during the 2018 and 2019 sessions of the Maryland Legislature requiring freight train crews of at least two persons, only to be vetoed by the Governor; and

WHEREAS the success in achieving this legislation involved the outstanding support of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliates; and

WHEREAS subsequent to such laws passing in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Illinois recently, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), under the leadership of a corporate-friendly appointee of the Trump Administration, took action serving no other purpose than to create preemption of the state laws passed addressing the issue of train crew size without otherwise addressing the issue; and

WHEREAS FRA's arbitrary and capricious action in this matter is to the detriment of the safety of the public, which the agency is responsible for protecting, therefore making the need to pass Federal legislation requiring freight train crews of at least two persons paramount; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State & District of Columbia AFL-CIO and its affiliates hereby commit to lending their support to the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART), as it fights to  reverse the adverse action of the FRA and pass Federal legislation requiring freight train crews of at least two persons; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will provide all Maryland and D.C. Congressional Representatives with a copy of this resolution upon passage.

Submitted by:  Larry Kasecamp                                              Committee:  Industrial Safety

                        Delegate, SMART-TD Local 632                                                         

Convention Action: Unanimously passed

Resolution #14: In Support of Job Creation Standards with Business Tax Credits

WHEREAS numerous businesses in Maryland across a variety of industries receive tax payer aid from state, county, and local governments; and

WHEREAS the tax payers government aid is provided with the intention of boosting local and state economies and creating jobs; and

WHEREAS despite the government’s role in their success, many of the businesses’ operations result in subpar quality jobs; 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 through taxpayer aid; and

WHEREAS the adoption of strong standards for job creation through subsidies ensure that the taxpayers get a return on their investment and the cost per job is not too high; and

WHEREAS job quality standards require companies that choose to ask for an 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 supports an economic growth strategy that assists businesses in stimulating higher wages for workers, creating a high-quality, motivated labor force, and increasing local and state spending and tax revenues by requiring job quality standards for every tax credit;

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that to ensure that all jobs created by businesses receiving state, county, and/or local government aid provide the following guarantees to the workers who they employ:

  • Family-sustaining wages
  • Employer-provided health care with affordable deductibles and co-pays
  • Career advancement training
  • Fair Scheduling
  • Employer-paid Workers’ Compensation
  • Employer-paid Unemployment Insurance
  • A Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • The right to collectively bargain wages and benefits

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Legislation

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed

Resolution #15: Reversing Maryland’s Proposed Cuts to the Maryland Transit Administration

WHEREAS our nation’s transportation system forms the backbone of a strong, growing national economy and in our state serves as a critical link to opportunity for our region’s working people; and

WHEREAS investments in the Maryland transportation network fuel job creation, ensure our businesses can compete and thrive, connect people to jobs, family, health care and education, and provide a critical lifeline for working people who need equitable access to safe, affordable and convenient public transportation; and

WHEREAS Maryland’s roads and highways are clogged, bridges are deficient, transit and rail systems fail to meet demand due to aging infrastructure and massive underinvestment, and our airports and main seaport – the Port of Baltimore – face massive funding shortfalls; and

WHEREAS The Maryland Transit Administration’s system of transit and commuter rail operations are essential to ensuring all Marylanders can access jobs and opportunity; and

WHEREAS the Maryland Transit Administration has an existing $1.5 billion backlog of state of good repair needs and the proposed FY2020-2025 capital budget proposes to cut an additional $345 million from the agency’s budget, adding to the existing backlog of state of good repair, causing delay or the shelving of critical investments such as expanding and improving current transit lines, replacing the B&P Tunnel, upgrading the Howard Street Rail Tunnel, building the Red Line in Baltimore City, and other much needed improvements; and

WHEREAS we know from experience that every billion dollars pumped into transportation infrastructure puts more than 21,000 people to work in transportation, construction, maintenance, design and engineering and the public sector; and the jobs those investments support pay 30 percent more in the lower end of pay scales and on average $4,000 more per year than the median wage paid to workers across the economy; and

WHEREAS a thriving transportation sector can drive a thriving public sector as workers in many facets of public service play a critical role in delivering safe and efficient transportation that both meets and serves the interests of Marylanders; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the labor movement will not stand still in the face of damaging cuts to our state’s transit and commuter rail budget announced by the Hogan Administration’s Maryland Department of Transportation; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the unions of the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will advocate before the legislature and the Hogan Administration for these cuts to be reversed and for our elected officials to advance a long-term plan to fully fund these mounting transportation needs; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will communicate these views of our state’s labor movement to the legislature and the Governor prior to the beginning of the next legislative session in Maryland.

Submitted by:  Stephen Courtien, President                            Committee:  Legislation

                        Delegate, BDCBT                   

Convention Action: Amended in committee, unanimously passed

Resolution #16: Promoting Worker Rights in the 2026 World Cup

WHEREAS the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup, hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico (United 2026), is an opportunity to organize workers and ensure that communities benefit from hosting the games; and

WHEREAS FIFA and United 2026 promised to create a new model for global sporting events that promotes labor and other human rights, including the fundamental rights to form and join unions, and to organize and bargain collectively for fair wages and conditions; and

WHEREAS past World Cups have been associated with low wage, dangerous jobs, preventable worker deaths, community displacement and corruption; and

WHEREAS the global labor movement has campaigned for three decades to embed fundamental worker rights and responsible local development policies into global sporting events; and

WHEREAS labor and our community allies in Canada, Mexico and the United States must organize and demand that FIFA and United 2026 keep their promises; and

WHEREAS workers make complex mega-sporting tournaments possible and deserve to share in the massive amount of wealth generated by these events; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will ensure that FIFA and United 2026 are accountable to their promises and ensure that all workers involved in the 2026 World Cup can fully and freely exercise their fundamental labor and other human rights; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will demand that hosting rights be awarded on the strength of a city’s commitment to sustainable development and living wage jobs associated with the games; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will ensure that the Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC bids for hosting contains meaningful commitments to embed labor and other human rights and is developed with active engagement of unions and other members of civil society; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will push for action by the city councils and the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation supporting the model for global sporting events that promotes labor and other human rights; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will support the US Women’s National Soccer Team in their fight for equal pay, and will ensure that all workers associated with the 2026 World Cup are free from discrimination in all its forms, including gender-based discrimination.

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Civil Rights

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed   

Resolution #17: In Support of Collective Bargaining Rights for All Public Workers in Maryland

WHEREAS public service workers in Maryland are dedicated to keeping the public safe, caring for our most vulnerable citizens and ensuring our children have access to a quality education; and

WHEREAS tens of thousands of Maryland’s state, county, municipal, special district and higher education employees do not have the right to form a union to bargain collectively in Maryland; and

WHEREAS the option to form a union and collectively bargain should be available to all public sector employees; and

WHEREAS many of Maryland’s public services are contracted out to private sector for-profit companies and non-profit organizations; and

WHEREAS the overwhelming majority of private sector workers providing these services are unorganized due to virulent employer opposition; and

WHEREAS collective bargaining in Maryland for public services workers should prioritize employer neutrality and expedited recognition procedures to ensure that workers can freely choose without fear of retaliation whether to form a union; and

WHEREAS all public service workers regardless of sector should have the right to organize to improve workplace, professional and service standards; and

WHEREAS public service workers having a voice is critical to ensuring adequately resourced and high-quality public services, ensuring citizen access to needed services; and

WHEREAS public service workers having a voice empowers them to speak up for service quality and the citizens they serve; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO affiliates affirm the right of all public service workers to organize, form unions, and to collectively bargain for their wages, benefits, retirement, and safety; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO will engage all affiliated unions currently representing and organizing public sector employees to develop a coordinated strategic campaign to win a collective bargaining bill allowing all public sector workers the right to form a union and collectively negotiate a contract.

Submitted by:  Donna S. Edwards, President                                    Committee: Legislation

                         Maryland State and D.C AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, AFSCME 112

                         Gerald W. Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer

                         Maryland State and DC. AFL-CIO

                         Delegate, UA 486                                          

Convention Action: Unanimously passed