AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka opened the third day of the AFL-CIO 2017 Convention talking about economic rules and an independent political voice:
Policy is what shapes the economy, and too many of those policies have produced a windfall for the rich and the well-connected and doomed millions to compete for the scraps left over.
Brothers and sisters, this must end.
Our movement is the great equalizer in an otherwise cruel economy.
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.
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler spoke on the future of work:
Shortly we will present to the Convention a resolution for the AFL-CIO to form the Commission on the Future of Work and Unions so that this important work can begin with deep sectoral analysis and a plan of attack.
Together we will embrace the urgency of this moment and ready the labor movement.
We will lift up the powerful principle...that new, different and innovative sectors of our economy and more middle class jobs...are fueled by real bargaining power and strong unions.
In this challenging time, we have an opportunity to come together to shape the future of work as an unmistakable force for broadly shared prosperity!
This conversation about the future of work is happening literally all over the world, including the International Labor Organization and the World Economic Forum.
Our global partners are having the same debate and are asking the same questions. We know the decline in union density around the world is linked to growing inequality and impacts how much bargaining power we will have in the future world of work.
We have to work together more closely than ever to ensure race and gender pay gaps in so many countries are closed; that we protect migrant workers and grow sustainable jobs in a greener economy.
During the convention, the delegates approved the following resolutions:
- Resolution 2: An Independent Political Voice: "We must give working people greater political power by speaking with an unquestionably independent political voice, backed by a unified labor movement."
- Resolution 5: Commission on the Future of Work and Unions: "In planning for the future of work, we must rethink ways of building bargaining power and providing economic security for millions of Americans, and we must make sure that we as a movement are effectively organized and structured to get it done."
- Resolution 6: Making Health Care for All a Reality: "We should move forward toward making health care a basic right for everyone."
- Resolution 8: Working People Will Lead the Fight for a Global New Deal on Trade: "We must engage in comprehensive economic education with union members and the communities where working people live so that everyone understands the future of our great country is at stake. We must replace existing trade and investment deals with deals that prioritize economic justice and sustainable growth."
- Resolution 11: Solidarity and Democracy—Reaffirming the Labor Movement's Mission in the Face of the Threat of Hate: "We must stand up against hate and scapegoating wherever it appears in our nation. We seek a nation where we value each other and a labor movement that defends the dignity of all people."
- Resolution 12: Immigration and Citizenship: "The AFL-CIO rededicates itself to a concerted citizenship drive: Encouraging naturalization for the 9 million people who currently are eligible will provide concrete worker protections, expand and diversify the electorate, and help us build power to win the sweeping changes that working people expect and deserve."
- Resolution 14: Voting Rights: Building an Inclusive Pro-Voter Democracy to Move a Winning Agenda for Working People
- Resolution 17: Building Power for Working People in the Global Economy: "To meet the challenges of a globalized workplace, we must increase our commitment to working with the global labor movement to strengthen organizing capacity at the community, national and global levels, to develop effective, strategic campaigns that increase membership and bargaining power."
- Resolution 18: Tax and Budget Policies Should Put Working People First: "Working people and our unions will mobilize to advance a comprehensive public campaign on the ground, online and over the air to put working people first in the debate over taxes and the budget."
- Resolution 21: Holding Wall Street Accountable: "We have to fight back against Wall Street to protect our livelihoods and our democracy."
- Resolution 22: Immigration Enforcement: Building Community Trust: "The AFL-CIO shall continue to demand clear separation of immigration enforcement from local law enforcement and other functions of government because we want safe workplaces, campuses and communities. We call on our elected officials at all levels of government to reject the criminalization of immigrants and engage in policies that protect privacy and due process, and restore trust in our vital public institutions."
- Resolution 40: Rejecting the Privatization of Veterans' Health Care: "The AFL-CIO opposes the privatization of the Veterans Administration and joins AFGE in its effort to fight the privatization of the VA."
- Resolution 41: Federal and D.C. Government Workers Deserve Fair Treatment: "The AFL-CIO opposes the further enactment of laws to prevent workers’ livelihoods from being taken from them without just cause, and join AFGE in working to restore the principles of fair treatment and just cause for Veterans Administration employees."
- Resolution 42: Supporting an Apolitical, Professional, Merit-Based Civil Service: "The AFL-CIO opposes any attempt to undermine the apolitical, professional, merit-based civil service and supports fair pay, benefits and working conditions for civil servants provided by an enduring, objective civil service system."
- Resolution 46: Support Postal Financial Services and Postal Banking: "The AFL-CIO endorses and supports the “Campaign for Postal Banking,” including the ongoing efforts to compel the Postal Service to provide basic financial services such as paycheck cashing and electronic funds transfer, as a step toward establishing nonprofit, public postal banking."
- Resolution 47: Condemn Rising Fascism, Fight for Working-Class Unity: "The AFL-CIO condemns and actively opposes the hate mongering, intimidation and divisiveness of the fascist/neo-Nazi white supremacist groups and the political encouragement that they are receiving from the highest levels of government and we salute and support those counter-protesters, such as the 40,000 that took to the streets of Boston for equality and against the hate mongers, who are drawing a line in the sand."
- Resolution 48: Exploring New Directions for Labor in Electoral Politics: "In addition to the traditional supporting for electoral candidates who are friends and allies of workers, the AFL-CIO also pursues a strategy of advancing our core issues through referenda and ballot initiatives and propositions at the statewide and local level; studies the viability of independent and third-party politics; and explores other reasonable means of advancing the interests of labor in electoral politics."
- Resolution 55: Climate Change, Energy and Union Jobs: "The AFL-CIO will fight politically and legislatively to secure and maintain employment, pensions and health care for workers affected by changes in the energy market, and the AFL-CIO believes that the United States Congress should enact comprehensive energy and climate legislation that creates good jobs and addresses the threat of climate change."
More about today's convention:
The Future of Work Needs Strong Unions: "We hear a great deal about the future of work. Gig economy. Deprofessionalization. Temp, part-time and on-call work. Technology. Automation. Artificial intelligence. Digitization. Deindustrialization. Unfair trade policy and offshoring. While these changes and trends take hold, we are living in an era where the rich and powerful have rigged our economy against working families through well-financed campaigns to weaken workers’ bargaining power, pass perverse 'right-to-work laws' and use the courts as a pawn to hollow out the labor movement. If the question is how we push back these ominous trends, the answer is through strong unions."
Check out the videos that were played during today's plenary session:
Some tweets from today's sessions: