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Resolutions & Amendments

29th International Convention - Miami, FL (1990)

Replacement Workers

Resolution No. 144
29th International Convention
June 25-29, 1990
Miami, FL


Congress, in the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act, said that workers have the right to withhold their services. Workers at Greyhound, International Paper, Eastern Airlines, Continental, Phelps Dodge. and Boise Cascade, believed they had that right. But that turned out to be a cruel illusion when they lost their jobs and livelihoods for exercising their legal rights; and


That right to strike in America has effectively been repealed employers. Today, some employers are blatantly defying the spirit of national labor laws by this tactic of so-called permanent replacement workers; and


The freedom of worker to strike is an essential economic right of the nation's free trade union movement. The right to strike has brought protections which include collective bargaining, safer workplaces, improved wages and working conditions to millions of U.S. workers; and


Among industrialized nations only the United States, England and South Africa give employers the power to permanently replace striking workers. Our collective bargaining process is rendered meaningless when employers, who want to break the union or seek unreasonable contract concessions, have little incentive to negotiate in good faith because they know they have an army of scabs that they can legally turn to and employ; and


Over 50,000 workers have lost their jobs since 1983 in labor disputes where replacement workers were a main thrust of management's strategy. This does not count 11,400 air traffic controllers fired and replaced by then-President Reagan in 1981.


AFSCME continues to support legislation to amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act so that it clearly and specifically prohibits the hiring of permanent replacement workers.


International Executive Board