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Resolutions & Amendments

35th International Convention - Las Vegas, NV (2002)

Labor Law Refom: It's Time for a New Deal

Resolution No. 2
35th International Convention
June 24 - 28, 2002
Las Vegas, NV


The National Labor Relations Act no longer delivers on its promises "to protect the exercise by workers of full freedom of association" and to "encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining." Human Rights Watch, a leading human rights organization, recently concluded: "Workers' basic rights are routinely violated in the United States because U.S. labor law is so feebly enforced and so filled with loopholes;" and


Employers routinely threaten workers with lost jobs and lost benefits if they dare to exercise their legal rights to form a union. They use legal strategies that stall union representation elections by months, and often by years. Even after workers win an election, their employer may never negotiate a contract. Thousands of workers seeking AFSCME representation have been subjected to this union-busting; and


This state of affairs strikes at the heart of the union movement, and threatens all of our gains. Without strong, free trade unions, there is no equity for working people. Where workers are stripped of trade union protections, wages stagnate or fall and inequities grow. Without free trade unions, pension and health care benefits deteriorate and workers' interests in safe and healthy workplaces and in stable employment go unheard and unheeded by employers and by the government alike; and


Labor law reform proposals have been introduced in the U.S. Congress, session after session. There has been little progress in enacting meaningful legislative reform in years and there is little hope for reform in the near future; and


The Bush Administration's recess appointment of two anti-union lawyers to the National Labor Relations Board, giving management attorneys a three-member majority, renders the board nearly useless in meeting its mandate to safeguard workers' rights to organize in unions and negotiate contracts.


That AFSCME will seek to dramatize to the public the unfairness of current private sector labor law and its enforcement, and the fact that public employees in more than two dozen states have no bargaining rights whatsoever. AFSCME councils and locals must educate their members about the unfairness of labor laws governing workers' right to organize and the need for reform; and


AFSCME will continue to build coalitions with community, civil rights and religious allies to demand that employers obey labor laws and live up to basic community standards; and


That AFSCME will ask elected officials and candidates for office to publicly support workers' rights to choose representation. AFSCME will also encourage elected officials at all levels to commit to allowing workers to freely choose unions by using voluntary recognition, card check and neutrality agreements; and


That AFSCME reaffirms our commitment to lead the battle to enact labor law reform.


Albert Garrett, President, and Delegate
Lawrence A. Roehrig, Secretary-Treasurer and Delegate
AFSCME Council 25