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Building Power: Winning Full Collective Bargaining Rights

WHEREAS:

            Public employees were excluded from the National Labor Relations Act, our nation’s basic collective bargaining law; and

WHEREAS:

            Despite that exclusion, hundreds of thousands of public employees banded together, formed unions, and—city by city, state by state—fought for and gained collective bargaining rights through local ordinances and state laws; and

WHEREAS:

            After obtaining those rights, through their unions they were able to win decent levels of compensation and strong rights on the job; and

WHEREAS:

            There still are hundreds of thousands of workers who don’t have the protection of either the National Labor Relations Act or the myriad state laws which afford bargaining rights to public employees; and

WHEREAS:

            In many states where our union was instrumental in winning public employee bargaining rights, a corporate-backed, right-wing assault has seriously eroded workers’ ability to negotiate the strong contracts which enabled them to win decent levels of compensation and enforceable rights on the job; and

WHEREAS:

            Those workers, in states like Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, have a civil right to have their bargaining rights restored; and

WHEREAS:

            Taxi drivers, child care providers, home care workers and other domestic workers are largely excluded from the National Labor Relations Act and labor laws at the state and local level; and

WHEREAS:

            The absence of these rights only serves to accelerate the race to the bottom which further enriches the wealthiest in a country where the top 1 percent already owns more than one third of the wealth and have received 95 percent of income gains since the Great Recession; and

WHEREAS:

            Working families are in deep distress, with an average of 18 percent more household debt than disposable personal income, while CEO pay has skyrocketed to 331 times the average worker’s pay; and

WHEREAS:

            Only strong worker organizations will reverse these trends, lift the incomes of working people and create economic opportunity for generations to come; and

WHEREAS:

            Growing numbers of workers with limited bargaining rights, as well as those without any collective bargaining rights, are demanding a full voice in the terms of their employment; and

WHEREAS:

            For more than half a century, AFSCME has led the fight to win and expand bargaining rights for public service workers; and

WHEREAS:

            Tens of thousands of workers without full collective bargaining rights, from Texas corrections officers, to public employees in Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin, to taxi drivers in Chicago and New Orleans, are organizing with AFSCME to improve their lives.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will intensify and expand efforts to organize workers whose bargaining rights are restricted or who are excluded from collective bargaining; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will continue to create union structures in limited and non-collective bargaining environments with a goal to mobilize workers and build power so workers can improve their lives; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will fight to restore bargaining rights to those who have been stripped of them and to win collective bargaining rights for those who have never enjoyed the fruits of collective bargaining: and

 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME affirms the core principle that every worker, whether a taxi driver in New Orleans or Chicago, a correctional officer in Texas, or an employee of a public works department in Michigan or Wisconsin, deserves a voice at work and our union will stand with them in the struggle to ensure that each of them has the full right to bargain collectively.

SUBMITTED BY:
Tracey Abman, Delegate
AFSCME Local 2199, Council 31
Illinois

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