Deadline to register for Sept. 23-25 virtual convention is Aug. 28. Proposed resolutions due Aug. 23.
(August 20, 2020) — For the first time ever, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will be conducting its 2020 Constitutional Convention via the Zoom video conference on Sept. 23-25. The WSLC’s affiliated unions are being urged to register their delegates now so their credentials can be verified and they can be sent all the necessary materials and information in advance. Affiliates have already been sent a Convention Call indicating the number of delegates to which they are entitled, so those delegates should register now online. The registrations must be completed by Aug. 28. (Email Willa Kamakahi with any questions about the process.)
The theme of this year’s WSLC convention will be “Justice, Democracy and Our Unions.” It will feature distinguished speakers and breakout workshops on racial and economic justice amid the pandemic, and how we can transform our unions to meet those challenges. It will also address the importance of the 2020 elections in achieving that justice. The 2020 WSLC Convention will convene at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, will continue at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, and resume at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 25. Convention business is expected to conclude by the end of the day Friday.
“This is a critical time for working families in our state and the nation,” said WSLC President Larry Brown. “Many of us are feeling angry, frustrated, grief stricken, and anxious in this moment. It can be overwhelming and leave us feeling isolated and powerless. But we can use these emotions as bricks — material we use to build a better labor movement that demands racial and economic justice for all. This convention is an opportunity to turn the rage, sadness, and anxiety we share into a collective voice that cannot be silenced. That’s why we are urging all of our affiliated unions to send a full delegation to our convention to guide this important work.”
Delegates to the convention must be members of the union they are representing. Rank-and-file members who wish to represent their union as delegates should contact their local union for more information about how to serve in this role. All will receive trainings and step-by-step instructions from the WSLC on how to participate via Zoom.
Here’s what else you need to know:
RESOLUTIONS — As always, 2020 WSLC 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. (See the resolutions approved in 2019 for examples.) In addition, because 2020 is a Constitutional Convention, delegates will also have the opportunity to amend the WSLC Constitution to ensure it aligns with the organization’s values. Any WSLC-affiliated union may submit resolutions. The WSLC is accepting resolutions submitted via email only this year.
Proposed resolutions should be emailed (preferably in Word format) to Richard Cox at email@example.com no later than Aug. 23. Copies of the proposed resolutions will be emailed to all registered delegates by Sept. 8. Please contact Richard with any questions about resolutions for the 2020 Convention.
ENDORSEMENTS — Convention delegates will also be considering post-primary election endorsements to supplement those already made by the WSLC. A two-thirds majority vote is necessary for endorsement. Participants in the WSLC political endorsement (COPE) conventions held earlier this year will be familiar with the format and procedures of this interactive virtual convention.
COMMITTEES — Delegates are invited to participate in convention committees, which will meet on Thursday and Friday. These committees include the Constitutional, Labels & Unfair Lists, Legislative and Resolutions committees, which will consider amendments and make recommendations to the full convention regarding proposed resolutions referred to each panel. Other committees are COPE Buttons, Credentials, Grievance, Rules & Order of Business, and Sergeant-at-Arms. The normal duties of these committees will be adapted for this year’s virtual convention.
AWARDS — Each year at convention, the WSLC presents awards recognizing the accomplishments of specific union organizations and individual union members. They are the Bruce Brennan Award for furthering the cause of apprenticeship, education and training; the Elsie Schrader Award for the advancement of women in leadership roles and/or for activism on behalf of women within the labor movement; and the Mother Jones award to the individual and organization that best exemplify the tradition of Mary “Mother” Jones’ immortal statement, “Mourn for the dead, but fight like hell for the living!” The deadline for nominating union members or organizations for these awards was Aug. 12.