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AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler to keynote 2017 WSLC Convention

Submit resolutions now to set priorities of state’s largest union organization


VANCOUVER, Wash. (June 16, 2017) — AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler will keynote the 2017 Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, set for July 18-20 at the Hilton Vancouver Washington. Hundreds of delegates representing unions across the state will hear from many other distinguished labor and government leaders, including Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Social Security Works President Nancy Altman, North Carolina AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer MaryBe McMillan, and author/commentator Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Under the theme “Resist and Persist,” the 2017 WSLC Convention will also include educational workshops focused on organized labor’s efforts to resist the Trump administration’s anti-working family agenda and persist with successful efforts in Washington state to achieve social justice and more broadly shared prosperity. The WSLC, a state federation of the AFL-CIO, is the largest union organization in the state, representing the interests of more than 600 union locals and councils with approximately 450,000 rank-and-file members.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Here is a TENTATIVE AGENDA (as of now) for the 2017 WSLC Convention. Times are subject to change.

As a graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism, Liz Shuler, like many young people today, pieced together part-time jobs, lived at home and struggled to find decent work in the early 1990s. Experiencing uncertainty in the economy made her realize that every job is an opportunity to stand up for the underdog. Today, as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, the second-highest position in the labor movement, Shuler serves as the chief financial officer of the federation and oversees operations. Shuler is the first woman elected as the federation’s secretary-treasurer, holding office since 2009. She is also a former WSLC convention delegate, having represented Portland-based IBEW Local 125, where she worked as a union representative.

As always, 2017 convention delegates will consider 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. Any WSLC-affiliated union may submit resolutions. See the resolutions approved in 2016 for examples of the diverse issues that are covered. Delegates will also consider election endorsements to supplement those already made by the WSLC Executive Board.


What you need to know if you are attending (or want to)


The WSLC mailed the official Convention Call to its affiliated unions in April. Those letters indicated the number of delegates and alternates each union can have, plus other important details. Any union member or leader interested in representing his or her union at the convention should contact their local union for information about how to serve as a delegate or alternate.

Online convention registration is now available.

HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS — Since the Convention Call was mailed last month, rooms at the Hilton Vancouver have sold out. Rooms may still available (held for the WSLC) at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion Hotel at 503-283-4466, just across the I-5 bridge in Portland, or at a number of other hotels in Vancouver. Book your accommodations soon.

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 18). Affiliates are strongly urged to meet this deadline so proposed resolutions can be mailed to delegates, in advance, for proper consideration. That said, “late” resolutions are often accepted right up until the first day of convention and also will be considered by delegates. Affiliates who miss the June 18 deadline 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 18. When registering, delegates can request to be appointed to serve on the Legislative, Labels & Lists, and General Resolutions committees. Delegates will be notified in advance of committee appointments, but these meetings are open to all registered delegates and alternates who want to observe. 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 20.

C.O.P.E. BARBECUE — This popular event will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18 in Esther Short Park across the street from the Hilton Vancouver. 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 2017 COPE buttons is $20 each. For a donation of $35, delegates get both the barbecue ticket and the button.

CONVENTION RECEPTION & BANQUET — The reception starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, 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 NOW for this auction. Please email April Sims to make arrangements.

If you have specific questions about the 2017 WSLC Convention, please call Willa Hockley-Smith at 206-281-8901.

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