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AFSCME and SEIU: Unstoppable Unions that Never Quit

WHEREAS:

AFSCME and SEIU have come together to work collaboratively to expand and strengthen our ability to unite workers and communities to challenge the rapidly growing inequity in wealth and power that threatens the democratic fabric of our society. While we recognize the differences in culture and structure between our respective organizations and the divisions that have hampered us in the past, the times demand that we build on our common purpose; and

WHEREAS:

Powerful and well-funded interests have systematically and steadily attacked the strength of organized labor in recent decades. This attack on workers has resulted in rising wealth inequality, declining standards for workers, and a political system that appears incapable of addressing, much less reversing, the disparities in income, opportunity, and well-being within our communities; and

WHEREAS:

The responsibilities and challenges confronting our two unions, including the ongoing challenge of national right-to-work in the public sector and the continuing decline in private sector unionism, demand bold actions. It is becoming increasingly difficult for union members to live on islands of quality health benefits, defined benefit pensions and strong contracts in a sea of low wage, low benefit non-union jobs. We must raise the labor standards in the economy at-large in order to ensure that all workers have a fair shot at getting ahead; and

WHEREAS:

Together, SEIU and AFSCME are unstoppable unions that never quit. We have the strength to achieve social and economic justice for all working people. Together, we can unite to turn back the well-funded special interests who have rigged the economy in favor of the wealthy few at the expense of the rest of us. If we do not take on this work, who will? If not now, when?

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

AFSCME and SEIU will establish common goals to:

1. Innovate within the current model of unionism, including innovating in collective

bargaining;

2. Explore the creation of new forms of self-sustaining democratic worker organization beyond the traditional collective bargaining model;

3. Expand organizing of new members in our common areas and assist wherever possible in

private sector organizing, both within and outside our unions; and

4. Lead and participate in the wider social-economic justice movement.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

That the best way to meet our goals and to create better lives for our members, their families and their communities is to deepen our collaboration and work more closely together at every level of our organizations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

Our vision requires the creation of “unity partnerships” at the national, state and local levels. Unity partnerships may include some or all of the following activities: joint goal setting and strategic planning; joint bargaining and representational activities where we have a common employer and coordinated bargaining where we represent workers in the same industry and labor market; joint setting of priorities and strategies where we deal with the same legislative and/or administrative bodies; joint political activity where we share an interest in electoral outcomes; and joint communication, legal, mobilization and research strategies and activities to support our work; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

Our International Unions will provide assistance to affiliated unions to catalyze unity partnerships, recognizing that affiliate participation in, and commitment to, unity partnerships is essential. The building of trust and the development of collaboration takes time and effort and must be voluntarily achieved and actively led. Disagreements within and between leaders of our unions are inevitable and must be resolved in a manner consistent with our partnership and our deep-seated commitment to our members; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

Our unions will deepen our collaborative organizing to create greater voice and power for workers in targeted sectors and regions. Our work will be inclusive; although our unions are large and effective, we can’t do it alone. We will invite collaboration with unions across the labor movement

who share our commitment to prioritize organizing and to be strategic and deliberate in our efforts. We will seek to spark a coalition of willing unions to reignite organizing using traditional models and by deploying strategies for workers to exercise power and enhance their economic well-being in innovative ways; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

Based on the durability and effectiveness of the partnerships that are developed at the national, state and local levels, we will explore ways to deepen and expand our collaborative efforts, including consideration of an institutional merger that would formally unite the strengths of both our unions to create a new entity; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

Our unions will convene a joint committee to foster the collaboration that we envision and to review and modify our process as needed. The International Executive Boards of SEIU and AFSCME shall be empowered to modify or end the collaboration between our unions described in this resolution. Any proposed structural changes must be recommended by both International Executive Boards and shall be submitted to a vote in accordance with each union’s constitution and bylaws.

SUBMITTED BY: INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD

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