Connect with us


Trumka, Fletcher to keynote ’16 Convention

Hundreds of union delegates will convene July 19-21 in Wenatchee


UPDATE — Here is the Tentative Agenda for the WSLC Convention in Wenatchee on July 19-21. (Times are subject to change.)

fletcher-billtrumkaWENATCHEE (June 16, 2016) — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and author/commentator Bill Fletcher, Jr. will be keynote speakers at the 2016 Constitutional Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, which begins Tuesday, July 19 at the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel and Convention Center and runs through Thursday, July 21.

Trumka leads the 12.5 million-member American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the largest organization of labor unions in the country. An outspoken advocate for social and economic justice, Trumka is the nation’s clearest voice on the critical need to raise workers’ wages and to hold government and employers accountable to working families.

Fletcher has been an activist for racial and social justice since his teen years. He has worked for several labor unions and as a senior staffer at the AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum, Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, editorial board member of; author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ — And 20 Other Myths About Unions,” syndicated columnist, and a regular commentator on television, radio and the Web.

16-convention-logo-SQUARE-webUnder the theme “Justice for All,” the 2016 WSLC Convention will feature many other distinguished guest speakers, plus educational workshops focused on organized labor’s efforts to achieve social justice and more broadly shared prosperity. Panels or workshops are planned on rebuilding Washington state’s infrastructure, education funding, apprenticeship, ending mass incarceration, voting rights, union organizing, international trade, farm workers’ issues, and more.

In addition, delegates will consider the resolutions that are a key part not just of the WSLC Convention, but of the organization itself. It is through the  debate and passage of these resolutions that WSLC positions and policies are established. Because this year is the WSLC’s Constitutional Convention, resolutions can be introduced to change the structure and bylaws of the organization. Any WSLC-affiliated union may submit resolutions. See the resolutions approved in 2015 for examples of the diverse issues that are covered.

Delegates will also be voting on election endorsements to supplement those already made at the WSLC COPE (Committee on Political Education) Convention held in May.

What you need to know if you are attending


The WSLC has mailed the official Convention Call to its affiliated unions indicating the number of delegates to which each union is entitled and other important details. Any union member or leader interested in representing his or her union at the convention should contact his or her local union for information about how to serve as a delegate or alternate.

Online convention registration is available.

HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS — Those planning to attend should make their housing arrangements quickly (if you haven’t already). The Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel is already sold out.  There are still some rooms available and being held for WSLC delegates at the nearby Red Lion Wenatchee (509-663-0711), but that block of rooms are being held only until this Friday, June 17. So reserve your rooms NOW and make sure you mention you are with the Washington State Labor Council when you call.

UPDATE (June 22, 2016) — Both the Wenatchee Coast Hotel and the Red Lion Wenatchee are now booked for the convention. Among the remaining hotels nearby are Holiday Inn Express, La Quinta, Super 8, Best Western, Comfort Inn, and Spring Hill Marriott.

To Do ListRESOLUTIONS — The Washington State Labor Council’s Constitution says that proposed resolutions should be submitted 30 days prior to convention (in this case, June 19). However, “late” resolutions are routinely accepted right up until the first day of convention and also will be considered by delegates. Affiliates are urged to submit proposed resolutions at the earliest possible time to facilitate reproduction and distribution to the convention body. See last year’s resolutions for some examples.

COMMITTEES — Proposed resolutions are referred to committees that meet the first day of convention on Tuesday afternoon, July 19. Some delegates will be appointed to serve on the Constitution, Legislative, Labels & Lists, and General Resolutions committees, but their meetings are open to all registered delegates and alternates. The committees will review the resolutions assigned to them, consider any amendments or corrections, and will present them to the entire convention body for action on Thursday, July 21.

C.O.P.E. BARBECUE — This popular event will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19 in the courtyard of the Coast Wenatchee Hotel. This is a fundraiser for the Committee on Political Education, which works to educate union members about which candidates have earned organized labor’s endorsement — and why. The suggested donation for COPE Barbecue tickets and for the 2016 COPE buttons is $20 each. For a donation of $35, delegates get both the barbecue ticket and the button.

14-convention-July23-convention-pic-bigCONVENTION PHOTO — Just before lunch on Wednesday, July 20, delegates will gather in the courtyard for the official 2016 WSLC Convention photo. Make sure you wear your union colors! (Click to enlarge this photo from 2014.)

CONVENTION RECEPTION & BANQUET — The reception starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, with the banquet following at 7 p.m., at the convention center. The reception/banquet is included in the registration fee. Additional tickets can be purchased at the convention office for $50.

WOMEN’S COMMITTEE AUCTION — Each year, during the reception and banquet, the WSLC Women’s Committee holds a silent auction to raise money that funds scholarships to send rank-and-file union women to leadership conferences. Unions and individuals are urged to donate items and services for this auction. Please email April Sims to make arrangements.

If you have specific questions about the 2016 WSLC Convention, please call Willa Hockley-Smith at 206-281-8901.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!