AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka opened the second day of the AFL-CIO 2017 Convention talking about the importance of unions to democracy:
Millennials have never lived in an America where wages are growing, or worked in an economy where hard work and productivity blazed a trail into the middle class. They have never experienced an economy where more than 1 in 10 workers have the freedom to belong to a union and bargain together. The American idea that anything is possible if you work hard and play by the rules simply does not exist for many young people.
In other words, the attacks on the backbone of our nation—working people—constitutes nothing less than a clear and present danger to our democracy.
So we are going to fight back. Smartly. Strategically. As one united movement.
That is the primary focus of today’s session.
We are going to fight back against right to work, here in Missouri and across the country.
We are going to fight back against attacks on our wages, benefits and freedom to negotiate for good jobs.
And we are going to fight back against the right-wing propaganda machine that continues to slander unions and our members.
We’re going to do it by organizing.
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 Outdated workplace policies put working women in a particular bind, forcing them to make impossible choices between work, family and personal wellness.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