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Resolutions & Amendments

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

AFSCME Structure — Multi-affiliate States

Resolution No. 93
35th International Convention
June 24 - 28, 2002
Las Vegas, NV


Our union's structure of councils and unaffiliated locals has developed over many years on an ad hoc basis with little coherence. In some states, we have multiple councils, in others only one council, and in other instances we have multi-state councils. Layered alongside councils in many states we have large unaffiliated locals, and in still others we have no councils, only unaffiliated locals; and


AFSCME has never conducted a systematic, comprehensive overview of the union's structure to determine if our current configuration best serves the interests of our members, or if a consolidation of affiliates, structures and functions would make our union stronger and better able to represent the interests of our members; and


AFSCME members in local unions affiliated with councils that resulted from the consolidation of smaller councils — Council 93 in Northern New England, Council 8 in Ohio, Council 25 in Michigan, and Council 31 in Illinois — are clearly better served as a result of those consolidations. These consolidations allowed previously fragmented structures to have a statewide thrust. In a consolidated structure, it is possible to avoid wasteful duplication. No one today regrets these consolidations; and


We set an ambitious organizing goal at our 1998 convention and, along with it, a goal to devote 30 percent of our resources to organizing. We have an obligation to remove any structural impediments keeping us from these goals; and


The challenge for our union is to determine in each state what structural impediments stand in the way of not only successful organizing, but of building a strong, effective organization capable of wielding power on behalf of our members. Ultimately, the two should go hand in hand.


That the Jurisdiction Committee, along with the national union, should open a dialogue with key council leaders to address AFSCME's outdated structure. The results of these consultations will be a report with recommendations to the International Executive Board at its June 2003 meeting on how AFSCME can best facilitate cooperation among affiliates, with a goal of consolidating to better meet the needs of our members. The International Executive Board will review the Committee's work and report to the 36th International Convention; and


Among the questions to be considered are: What is the role of a council and what resources should a council have at its disposal? Are the councils in each state fulfilling their obligations to our members? Does the current structure allow us to use our resources most effectively to deliver our full potential for our members? Does the structure we have maximize our leverage with employers and public officials; and


In addressing itself to these issues, the union needs to be mindful of the history, traditions, and interests of those who would be affected by any jurisdictional changes. Their input and opinions must be considered and respected in helping to determine what would best serve the interests of AFSCME members.