By Kenneth Quinnell Highlights from Day Two of the AFL-CIO Convention
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka opened the second day of the AFL-CIO 2017 Convention talking about economic rules and the independent political voice for working people:
It’s the simple idea that the economy is not like the weather. It doesn’t just happen to us.
The economy is nothing but a set of rules. The rules are written by the men and women we elect—and sadly, politicians in both parties have presided over these rules.
Those rules decide the winners and the losers, and for nearly four decades, they’ve been written to ensure working people are the losers.
Policy is what shapes the economy, and for almost 40 years too many of those policies have produced an economy that benefits the rich and the well-connected and doomed millions to compete for the scraps leftover.
Brothers and sisters, this must end. Our movement is the great equalizer in an otherwise cruel economy.
If the question is, how to do we correct this rigged economy? The answer is simple: through strong unions and more bargaining power….
We need to break our addiction to party politics.
The labor movement must be an independent political voice. We will find hope and opportunity for millions of working people, not inside the major political parties, but inside our movement and our communities.
I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, a Republican or anything in between—if you do right by us, we will do right by you.
Our support must be based on issues—not personalities and certainly not party registration. All of us here know that both parties have failed to make good on their promises about lifting workers, rebuilding the middle class and making the economy a place where everyone—I mean everyone—can share in its bounty.
During the convention, the delegates approved the following resolutions:
- Resolution 3: Engaging Our Members to Build Strong Unions: “Our leaders realize the best way to combat these threats is to focus on internal organizing, making sure all members and potential members see the value of remaining a part of or joining their union. If we fail to do this, our membership and communities will face ever-deepening challenges posed by income inequality, affordable access to quality health care, erosion of the middle class and the denial of basic workplace rights.”
- Resolution 4: Organizing to Win Power for Working People: “AFL-CIO resolves to devise a labor movementwide strategy for making the promise of collective bargaining real for every worker.”
Resolution 13: Freedom to Spend Time with Family: “Work is a down payment on the freedom to spend time with our families. Unfortunately, that investment does not always pay off. Outdated workplace policies put working women in a particular bind, forcing them to make impossible choices between work, family and personal wellness. Women want new rules for an economy that works for all working people equally, and the freedom to build lives of value.”
- Resolution 15: AFL-CIO Prioritizing Organizing and Growth of Affiliate Unions—All in the Service of Helping Working People Organize: “The work of the AFL-CIO on political campaigns, policy initiatives, legislative efforts, digital and data strategies, international alliances, health and safety, and legal defense should all be in the support of the mission of our AFL-CIO affiliated unions—to assist working people organizing for a better life. “
- Resolution 25: Criminal Justice Reform: A System of Corrections and Rehabilitation That Prioritizes Corrections and Rehabilitation: “The AFL-CIO shall actively support criminal justice reforms based upon previously passed policy positions: community policing, sentencing reform, removal of employment obstacles for the formerly incarcerated, restrictions on for-profit prisons and voting rights restoration.”
- Resolution 43: I AM 2018: “The AFL-CIO supports the I AM 2018 Program to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
- Resolution 44: Resolution in Support of Public Education: “The AFL-CIO joins with organizations across the country in support of public education and our continued commitment to the highest quality public education for all students.”
- Resolution 45: Janus Resolution: “Therefore, be it resolved, that the entire AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with its public-sector members in this struggle; and be it further resolved, that this convention supports these unions’ ongoing efforts to provide public-service employees with a voice at work, and the freedom and power to have a better life for themselves and their communities. Be it finally resolved, that regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in Janus, these unions and their members will remain clear and powerful voices for economic justice.”
Read more about today’s convention:
Flint Water Crisis: You Don’t Mess Around with Kids: “Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha addressed the delegates at the AFL-CIO Convention today on the Flint water crisis. Here are some excerpts of her remarks:
“It’s an honor to be here today at the AFL-CIO’s 28th Constitutional Convention.
“My mom was a proud union teacher. My dad was a General Motors employee, benefiting from the contracts between the UAW and GM. My brother is a labor lawyer at a Washington, D.C., labor law firm. We are a union family.”
Global Action for Local Power: “In St. Louis, representatives from more than 40 countries gathered with U.S. unions and their allies to discuss strategies to build global power for workers, from local workplaces to worldwide supply chains. They discussed how unions in local struggles made their campaigns stronger by reaching out across borders to partners and used global tools to leverage power.”
USAS: Strengthening Student Power at the Bargaining Table: “United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is the country’s largest student labor solidarity organization, with more than 150 university locals campaigning for union rights alongside campus workers, community members and garment workers producing college apparel overseas.
“Students chanted, ‘Whose university? Our university!’ as they stormed their president’s office on a sunny spring day.”
Check out the videos that were played during today’s plenary session:
Day Two of #AFLCIO17 comes to a close as union members head out for a day of action.
— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) October 23, 2017
— Celeste Drake (@CDrakeFairTrade) October 23, 2017
— Cathy Feingold (@AFLCIOGlobal) October 23, 2017
— Cathy Feingold (@AFLCIOGlobal) October 23, 2017
— Jamilah Nasheed (@SenatorNasheed) October 23, 2017
— New Jersey AFL-CIO (@NJAFLCIO) October 23, 2017
Mon, 10/23/2017 – 14:16