WENATCHEE (Aug. 1, 2016) — Every year, hundreds of delegates representing the unions from around the state that comprise the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO meet to discuss, debate and approve resolutions that guide the WSLC’s policies and priorities in the coming year. At the WSLC’s 2016 Convention in Wenatchee held July 19-21 resolutions were approved on topics ranging from protecting dairy workers to supporting Sound Transit Phase 3 to advocating to end mass incarceration. (See all of the approved 2016 WSLC Resolutions here.)
Among the 2016 Resolutions were:
Resolution 1 — Citing the 2016 failure of the Protect Dairy Workers Act legislation, which “was killed in the Appropriations Committee because of dairy industry pressure on legislators,” the WSLC resolved to step up efforts to convince Darigold and its retail buyers to improve the safety and working conditions at dairy farms in Washington state. The WSLC will also continue to pursue legislation that accomplishes this goal.
Resolution 7 — The WSLC will engage with affiliated unions and community partners to support the Mass Transit Now campaign to approve Sound Transit Phase 3. Voters in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties will decide this November whether to approve this $54 billion infrastructure project, which will create about 50 million labor hours, creating tens of thousands of building and construction jobs and apprenticeship opportunities. Expanding mass transit will also benefit the environment, decrease traffic congestion, and bolster the state economy. (For more information, see WSLC President Jeff Johnson’s column on the subject.)
Resolution 23 — The WSLC will work to end mas incarceration and support ex-offenders’ pathways to re-entry into the workforce and society. The council “will convene stakeholder affiliates and advocates in labor and the community to discuss and work on policies which will help to break the school-to-prison pipeline through sentence reduction for non-serious, non-violent crimes, second chance opportunities, including Ban the Box, and lowering LFO obligations and other measures to reform the criminal justice system.”
A resolution passed for the WSLC to advocate for 2017-2019 contracts for employees in state agencies, colleges, universities, and state-licensed medical interpreters that include “fair and competitive wages, affordable health care, and just working conditions.” The WSLC will also urge participation in the “Invest in Washington” rally on Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the State Capitol in support of state employees and fair contracts.
Other resolutions included supporting legislation to improve safety for railroad workers, to “oppose the arbitrary cap on local property tax collection and instead support policies that link revenue growth to the same economic factors influencing costs like inflation and population growth,” fund the Washington FilmWorks program, and have the state create specialty license plates celebrating Washington’s history of labor solidarity.
Because 2016 was a Constitutional Convention, delegates also voted to amend the structure of the WSLC, adding a vice president from Eastern Washington to reflect the growth of union membership in the council’s 5th District and a vice president representing the interests of affiliated state worker centers, among other changes.
Delegates also voted to step up pressure on T-Mobile to address its abuse of worker and consumer rights, and to support the Campaign to Take On Wall Street, efforts to establish Fair Scheduling policies, a fundraising campaign for the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center, and the Medicare Dental, Vision, and hearing Benefit Act of 2016 (HR 5396).
Several resolutions reaffirmed the WSLC’s existing positions, such as supporting the creation of a state bank and paid family leave (including a family and medical leave insurance program.)
There are many other important resolutions approved in 2016, some of which that the WSLC has already begun taking action upon. Read them all here.