24th Constitutional Convention Resolutions

TWU24th Constitution Convention

Report of the Resolutions Committee

The Resolutions Committee, consisting of the International Executive Council and Board, met on September 16-20, 2013. The Committee has approved and submits the enclosed resolutions and Constitutional changes for consideration by the Delegates to the 24th Constitutional Convention.

24th Constitutional Convention Resolutions Committee

The following officers were in attendance:

  • Harry LombardoExecutive Vice President
  • Gary E. MaslankaAdministrative Vice President
  • John SamuelsenAdministrative Vice President
VICE PRESIDENTS

  • John Bland
  • Jeffrey L. Brooks, Sr.
  • Charles Cerf
  • Garry Drummond
  • Tom Lenane
  • Carl Martin
  • Thom McDaniel
  • Curtis Tate
  • James Whalen

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

  • Richie Boehm
  • Patricia Bowden
  • Brian Clarke
  • John Feltz
  • Darrin Pierce
  • Gary Shults
  • Tony Utano
EXECUTIVE BOARD

  • Gordon Clark
  • Delisa Brown
  • Richard Davis
  • Sean Doyle
  • Fred Fink
  • Jim Guido
  • Pete Hogan
  • John Johnson
  • Jerome Lafragola
  • Tom Lee
  • Charles Little
  • Don May
  • Eddie McLeod
  • Benyoel Morgan
  • Thomas Murray
  • Carlos Padilla
  • John Plowman
  • Portia Reddick White
  • Orton Reynolds
  • Daniel Rivera
  • Nelson Rivera
  • Kevin Smith
  • Donny Tyndall
  • Dave Virella

 


 

RESOLUTION 1

Empowering TWU Locals

Our strong Locals are the bedrock of the TWU’s strength and success.

It is through the Locals that our members are educated and organized, enabling them to bring their full force to bear on the challenges confronting us.

It is by channeling their knowledge and opinions through their Local Officers that TWU members have their voices heard.

To reinvigorate the Locals and ensure their full participation in all actions of the TWU International:

IT IS RESOLVED, that there shall be full and proper consultation on all matters affecting Locals and Members:

• The International Union will not enter into any affiliation, merger, joint council or other such agreements without the majority consent of the International Executive Council (IEC) and only after full consultation with affected Locals.

• Locals will be consulted on major issues that affect them before any action or position is taken by the International.

• Local Officers of a given industrial division (ATD, RR, Transit, Utility, University & Services Divisions and Gaming) will be consulted prior to the hiring of field staff who will directly service those divisions.

• Prior to all International Executive Council (IEC) meetings, a proposed agenda will be sent to all Local Presidents, giving them the opportunity to suggest their own concerns for the agenda.

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, to fully empower TWU Locals and protect the exercise of their rights by ensuring the proper relationship between Divisions and Locals:

• Division Staff will fully consult with Locals before taking actions that affect them. While understanding that it is sometimes necessary to make an exception to a contractual provision, any such agreement will have to be reported in writing to the IAC after it occurs to allow them to monitor compliance.

• The International will establish a process by which Locals can raise complaints about Division actions to the International Administrative Committee (IAC).

 

RESOLUTION 2

Unifying the TWU: Expanding the Work of the State Conferences

TWU members share common interests with other TWU Members who work for the same employer or in the same industry. But our common interests do not stop there.

We all face common workplace and pocketbook issues arising from larger challenges in larger arenas. Global competition and trade issues impact all our jobs. Anti-worker, anti-union movements in support of Big Business and Wall Street tilt the playing field against our job security and our ability to act in concert as labor unions. State and Local governments affect us where we live, across all industries and all employers.

To effectively fight all of these threats, Transport Workers need to unite not just in bargaining units but as one powerful International Union, projecting the full force and power of all our Locals and all our members on behalf of every one of us.

The huge turnout generated at a New York City rally against American Airlines using bankruptcy laws to break our contracts demonstrates why we need to build the active unity of the TWU and how working together increases our power. In that rally workers from all divisions and the New York State TWU Conference gave the AA workers the muscle necessary to break through in the challenging New York media market.

WE NEED TO UTILIZE THE STATE CONFERENCES TO UNITE TWU MEMBERS AND LOCALS INTO ONE POWERFUL UNION.

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED:

• To expand the State Conferences to cover every area where there are TWU Locals.

• To create Regional Conferences to build cooperation and combine resources, allowing us to apply members and Locals from areas where we are strong to fight in areas with fewer TWU Locals or union members.

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that in order to unite as one powerful union:

• Division staff will attend State Conferences to learn the broader concerns of the Locals and to integrate the Divisions into the work of the State Conferences.

• Division staff will be responsible for assisting the Locals they service to actively participate in the State Conferences and build activist organization within these Locals.

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED THAT:

• Locals will make every effort to join State Conferences where they have members; to actively contribute members to participate in the activities of these State Conferences; and to build activist organizations within their Locals.

AND IT IS FINALLY RESOLVED THAT:

• Instead of Legislative and Political work being done in isolation from the Divisions, each Division will have staff responsibilities for involving the Locals they service assisting in Legislative and Political work.

 

RESOLUTION 3

On Balancing the TWU International’s Budget

• For some years now the International has spent far more than it has received in revenues. While it is true, as Mike Quill famously said, “We are in the Union Business, not the Banking Business,” we cannot continue to spend beyond our means and survive.

• THEREFORE IT IS RESOLVED, that the International conduct a thorough examination of expenditures, including but not limited to the cost of staff, lost-time and outside contractor expenses.

• IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that the International take what actions are necessary to restore the International to a balanced budget and report the results of the examination and budget-balancing to the International Executive Board and Local Officers.

 

RESOLUTION 4

On Building a Fighting Organization

Wages for American workers are down 13% since 1973 when adjusted for inflation.

This middle class squeeze has a number of causes – competition from low-wage workers abroad (globalization) and at home (declining union membership); tax and spending policies that favor the rich; anti-union legislation; financial crises that hurt the middle class while leaving bankers who create them untouched; regulatory policies that undermine the middle class and attacks on public services; etc.

We cannot reverse the decline of the middle class without addressing all these problems. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t win important victories. A militant, progressive, and proactive labor union that is well-schooled in how to identify and fight our enemies can still accomplish a great deal.

In order to spread the best practices and take TWU contract negotiations to a whole new level, the delegates to the 24th TWU International Convention resolve the following:

IT IS RESOLVED to begin immediate training of all TWU Staff in strategy and tactics and to extend this training to Local Officers, Executive Board Members and activists.

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED to change TWU research priorities to:

• Focus on conclusions that point the way to specific courses of action to help Locals and Divisions to fight in a given industry against a specific employer.

• Use research to identify concrete pressure points to be targeted by corporate campaigns and other means. Depending on the industry and company, pressure points might include advertisers, financial markets, passengers, government regulators, elected officials, boards and corporate connections.

• Assist individual Locals in doing their own research and analysis in advance of contract negotiations.

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that to improve our ability to fight by learning from important struggles, the International will lead Locals and Divisions in evaluating the lessons from both successes and failures.

AND IT IS FINALLY RESOLVED, the International will develop the means to train Local Officers in other necessary skills such as public speaking, handling the media and editorial boards, and community outreach.

 

RESOLUTION 5

Organizing: Growing the TWU

The proliferation and expansion of non-union employers in our industries increases competition, facilitates outsourcing and weakens our hand in collective bargaining.

The labor movement, in general, and TWU in particular can only thrive if we reach out and bring unorganized workers in our industries into the union.

The TWU has put a lot of resources into organizing. We created a large department and funded it lavishly, but this approach has not yielded results commensurate with our expenditures. Despite the large department, much of our organizing success has arisen from connections originating within our Locals. Citrus Connection, for example, originated from a contact in Local 525. The Vegas dealers and Allegiant Air both came to the TWU on their own, drawn by our history of strong representation.

Given our current financial problems and the need to bring our spending into balance with our revenues, we need an approach to organizing that gives us more bang for our buck. Relying on our strong Locals and membership and supplementing their efforts with appropriately targeted efforts by the International would meet that need.

The delegates to the 24th TWU International Convention therefore RESOLVE the following:

• To mobilize Local Officers and Members to seek out and report organizing opportunities based on their connections. Targeting will be determined by our ability to organize from within the company.

• To make our organizing cost effective. Instead of a huge organizing staff, isolated from the rest of the organization, to rely mainly on members pulled off the clock as needed.

• To prioritize those workplaces with the best opportunities to organize from within.

• To exercise tight supervision over organizing and the organizing budget. To achieve this the International will establish an oversight body that includes both full-time organizers and representatives from other parts of the organization – research, divisions, finance, etc.

• To work to develop a pool of interested Local Officers and Members who can be called upon as needed and to create a database of language skills, country of origin and other relevant experiences and skill sets from which to draw.

 

RESOLUTION 6

On Uniting Service Worker Locals From Different Divisions

In many cases TWU members who work in a variety of service jobs have more in common with each other than they do with the transit or airline unions in their Division. School bus drivers, Service Contract Act employees, school and utility workers, to name a few, have common challenges, issues and opportunities that need to be addressed by the International.

The Locals (or members) also offer some of the best opportunities to bring unorganized workers under the banner of the TWU.

THEREFORE IT IS RESOLVED, the International will facilitate cross-Division meetings and discussions between TWU service workers to advance their common interests.

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, to investigate if there is a need and desire for a Service Workers Council to address these common concerns.

 

RESOLUTION 7

Fixing a Broken Economy

The crash of 2008 and the Great Recession were inevitable consequences of three decades of economic policies designed by and for Wall Street and the wealthiest Americans. At the heart of the problem was the hollowing out of American manufacturing, the growing dysfunction of our financial sector and a rapid increase in economic inequality, all of which crippled the growth engine of the U.S. economy.

Thirty years ago, corporate America decided to boost profits by shipping U.S. jobs overseas. New government trade policies accelerated the drive to relocate production to foreign countries. Consequently, much of the U.S. manufacturing sector became uncompetitive, leading to perennial U.S. trade deficits. Financial firms provided critical support for policies that diverted productive investment toward overseas operations. By the eve of the crash of 2008, the U.S. manufacturing sector had shrunk to half its 1960 size while the financial sector had doubled in size and accounted for 40 percent of corporate profits.

Trade deficits and offshoring of jobs wiped out millions of well-paying, middle-class American jobs, and the threat of offshoring kept wages for all workers low. U.S. companies move over seas to tax havens to avoid paying taxes and supporting our government. Other policies also played key roles in the rise of inequality: the abandonment of full employment in favor of fighting inflation, the prolonged attack on workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, the erosion of the minimum wage, and massive tax cuts for the wealthy. In the end, nearly two thirds of the pre-tax income gains after 1979 were captured by the richest 10 percent of the population; more than half went to the richest 1 percent.

The deregulation of Wall Street ultimately led to a real estate bubble. When this finally burst, the house of cards came crashing down and working people were once again forced to pay for the sins of Wall Street with their homes, their dreams, and their children’s futures. Households lost more than $10 trillion in wealth from the plunge in housing and stock prices, and they were heavily indebted to begin with.

The deregulation of Wall Street was equally a product of Democratic and Republican administrations. It was under Bill Clinton that the Glass-Steagull Act, which prohibited banks from the kind of rampant speculation that caused the Depression of the 1930’s, was repealed. And it was the Clinton administration that stopped regulators from regulating the Ponzi-scheme generating financial derivatives industry that eventually brought down the house of cards.

For his part, George W. Bush allowed a handful of powerful financial institutions like Goldman Sachs to carry leverage ratios as high as 40-1 (meaning that a loss of 2.5% would wipe out 100% of a bank’s assets. He then appointed the CEO of Goldman as his Treasury Secretary who then spent trillions to prop up the same financial institutions.

The bankers who caused the Great Recession walked away with billions and to this day not one has served a single day of jail time.

We must shift the focus of U.S. economic policy from one of maximizing the competitiveness and profitability of corporations that happen to maintain headquarters in the U.S. to one that maximizes the competitiveness and prosperity of America’s people.

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the delegates to the 24th TWU International Convention support the following measures:

• Start making things in America again. We cannot hope to revive U.S. manufacturing without bringing our trade deficit under control.

• Reregulate Wall Street, eliminate tax advantages for leveraged buyouts and find other ways to favor strategic investment over short-term speculation.

• Tackle the problems of wage stagnation and economic inequality.

• Make significant investments in productive public investment for affordable education and apprenticeship programs for young people.

• Pass a financial speculation tax, let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire, tax capital gains at the same rate as ordinary income and establish a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent for households earning more than $1 million.

• Encourage domestic investment in transportation and other infrastructure to lay a stronger and more stable foundation for long-term growth.

 

RESOLUTION 8

Protecting the Airline Industry’s Maintenance Craft

Today, U.S. aircraft mechanics are seeing their jobs disappear as work is sent abroad in the midst of the airline industry’s 25-year epidemic of outsourcing to foreign facilities that are not held to the same oversight and safety standards as U.S. stations.

This plague on America’s maintenance craft began in 1988 when the FAA began allowing U.S. carriers to outsource work to foreign stations even when the aircraft or components in question operated exclusively in this country. TWU actively opposed the change at the time and has fought its devastating effects ever since.

After the 1988 rule change, foreign stations could and did get certified by the FAA for the sole purpose of using their low-cost structure to lure work away from the U.S. These facilities were allowed to operate and work on U.S. aircraft without meeting the same rigorous safety standards and oversight that are required at U.S. facilities.

Today, with few exceptions, most major air carriers send a high percentage of their aircraft for major overhaul to repair facilities around the globe, creating a grossly unfair playing field for U.S. workers. According to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation, major U.S. air carriers outsource 71 percent of heavy airframe maintenance work with about 27 percent of that work going to foreign stations. In other words, a U.S. traveler has about a one in five chance of flying in a plane that had maintenance work performed overseas.

Companies have and continue to use outsourcing threats as a hammer during collective bargaining, and indeed American Airlines attempted to use it as such during bankruptcy proceedings.

The news is not all bad however.

Congress last year mandated the Federal Aviation Administration step up oversight of this issue. Section 308 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Reauthorization Act of 2012 mandates that each foreign repair station certified to work on U.S. aircraft be inspected at least once a year by the FAA.

The new law also imposes, for the first time, an alcohol and controlled substance testing program for employees of foreign repair stations performing safety-sensitive maintenance functions for U.S. carriers.

Obviously, these mandates mean nothing without implementation.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, demands that the FAA urgently fulfill its overall oversight responsibilities in this regard, including the establishment of a safety assessment to ensure that foreign stations are subject to appropriate oversight based on risks and consistent with U.S. requirements. Also, that FAA inspectors remain responsible for the oversight and safety compliance of FAA-certified repair stations overseas, rather than turning them over exclusively to foreign civil aviation authorities. And, that the FAA implement the mandates for drug and alcohol testing requirements for foreign mechanics as mandated by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the 24th Convention of the TWU demands immediate implementation and enforcement of new regulations restricting a certificated foreign station from subcontracting work to non-certificated stations.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that TWU urges President Obama, who eloquently speaks out on how the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs plagues our economy, to direct his Administration to take a stand against the outsourcing of aircraft maintenance work as an immediate way to retain good paying jobs in America.

 

RESOLUTION 9

Retirement Security Begins with Social Security

The back end of the American dream is fading for millions of Americans.

A secure financial retirement is becoming an unreachable goal for far too many workers.

Half of working Americans have no retirement plan through their employer. Most of those who have a retirement plan are in 401-k savings accounts where the median balances are less than $30,000. It is estimated that the gap between what working Americans need to maintain their standard of living in retirement and what they actually have is $6.6 trillion.

Fewer and fewer workers are now covered by defined-benefit pension plans. Just 14% of private-sector workers have one today, compared with 45% in 1975. Retirement savings have been decimated by losses in the stock market. Working families have lost trillions of dollars of home equity with the collapse of the real estate bubble. The stagnation of wages has made it harder for workers to save for retirement. And the relentless rise of health care costs is taking a bigger and bigger bite out of retirement income.

Astonishingly, on Capitol Hill, the Social Security debate has focused on how best to cut benefits. Some ridiculously claim that cuts are needed to strengthen the program and avoid any tax increase on the wealthy.

The crisis is real with numerous layers.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, believes the following:

• The foundation of a secure retirement for American workers begins with Social Security. It provides a fundamental financial base for Americans in retirement, those unable to work due to a disability, and to young children when a working parent dies.

• TWU opposes any reduction in Social Security benefits, as well as in Medicare and Medicaid, be it through “indexing benefits for longevity” (i.e., increasing retirement ages), “updating” the annual COLA calculation (i.e., cutting cost-of-living adjustments), or any other euphemism for cutting benefits.

• Raising the cap on wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax is essential to any solution to the system’s modest long-term funding issues.

• Cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments should be higher to reflect the larger share of seniors’ incomes required for health care and housing.

 

RESOLUTION 10

Health Care Fairness for Women

One would think that with women making up more than half of America’s workforce, that issues of fairness in health care would no longer be an issue. That’s not the case, especially regarding pregnancies, and coverage for contraception.

At our 23rd Constitutional Convention, the TWU passed a resolution promoting the inclusion of contraceptive equity in national health plans and in collective bargaining agreements.

The Affordable Care Act provides that women be covered for preventative health care benefits, including FDA-approved methods of birth control, without copays or deductibles. Providing contraceptive coverage at no cost is a no-brainer for employers. Research by the National Business Group on Heath estimated that it would cost employers up to 17% more not to provide contraceptive coverage than to provide it.

This issue has deteriorated into an attack from the right on the character of women who want nothing more than to have a personal decision in the matter. Contraception is not only important in helping women and men plan their families, it is also used to treat or prevent many health conditions that affect women, including reducing their risk of developing ovarian or endometrial cancers.

Then there’s the issue of fairness for pregnant women. Thirty-five years ago the Pregnancy Discrimination Act outlawed discrimination against pregnant workers. But still today, pregnant women across the country are being fired from their jobs, forced onto unpaid leave, or made to quit when they need temporary accommodations like staying off high ladders or refraining from heavy lifting. Many women can work throughout their pregnancies without any changes to their jobs. But for some pregnant workers – particularly those in low-wage and physically demanding jobs – slight job modifications can be crucial to their ability to continue safely working during pregnancy. Despite the fact that comparable accommodations are routinely offered when employees need them because of disabilities, employers often refuse to make even simple accommodations for pregnant women. As a result, many pregnant women are prevented from continuing to work even when they are willing and able to do so. Other women stay on the job despite a lack of accommodation because they can’t afford not to, potentially jeopardizing their health and the health of their pregnancies.

Earlier this summer, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate aimed at strengthening workplace protections for pregnant workers.

The bill is aimed at strengthening the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which prohibits workplace discrimination, based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The bill requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and preventing employers from forcing women out on leave when a reasonable accommodation would allow them to continue working. The bill also bars employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, condemns the attack from the far right to restrict women from access to contraceptive coverage.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the TWU restates its belief and commitment that all women should have universal access to quality health care at a reasonable cost that is not determined by political agendas, and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the TWU strongly supports passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) – Senate Bill 942/House Bill 1975; that the leadership of TWU will promote this important bill in all its legislative initiatives, and that this Convention urges all TWU Local Unions and State Conferences to lobby their House and Senate legislators for the passage of PWFA.

 

RESOLUTION 11

Our Rights to a Safe Workplace

All workers have the right to come home in the same condition that they left.

In 2011, more than 4,600 workers were killed on the job – an average of 13 workers every day – an estimated 50,000 more died from occupational diseases. Transportation and material moving occupations had the highest number of fatalities with 1,160 deaths.

Workers suffer an additional 7.6 million to 11.4 million job injuries and illnesses each year. The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous – estimated at $250 billion to $300 billion a year. Transportation workers represent the third highest category of fatalities. Our members have recently been at the bottom of a Gallup survey on healthy occupations. For instance, air transportation was the industry with the highest incidence rates of musculoskeletal disorders involving days away from work in 2010 (208.3 per 10,000 workers).

While the reported rate of all injuries and illnesses decreased in 2010, the rate of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) injuries increased. In 2010, the MSD incidence rate across all industries in the United States was 32.8 per 10,000 workers, up from a rate of 31.3 per 10,000 workers in 2009.

There has been some progress under the Obama Administration, including the appointment of a strong, pro-worker safety and health advocate to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), David Michaels.

The Obama administration has moved forward with new initiatives to strengthen enforcement and with some new safety and health standards on job hazards and the recent passage of OSHA protections for Flight Attendants. The administration has increased the job safety budget and hired hundreds of new inspectors, all positive steps forward.

But, four decades after the passage of OSHA, much work remains to be done. The tragedies at Massey Energy’s Big Branch Mine, the explosion at the Tesoro Refinery in West Texas are recent examples of the need for vigilance in this area.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, urge the following actions:

• Strengthen the OSHA and mining laws to cover all workers and all work arrangements, toughen enforcement and provide stronger worker rights and anti-retaliation protections, seeking improvements both federally and at the state level.

• Continue to challenge employer policies and practices that discourage or retaliate against workers for reporting injuries or hazards and shift blame and responsibility to workers, and instead push employers to reduce exposures to workplace hazards.

• Oppose the industry assault on regulations and corporate legislative efforts to dismantle our system of regulatory safeguards that protect our health, safety and environment and financial security.

• Educate workers and union members about job hazards and safety and health rights, and support efforts to organize and take action to improve working conditions.

• Work with our brothers and sisters throughout the labor movements here and abroad to stop corporations’ endless worldwide drive for cheaper production and lower wages resulting in the exploitation of workers.

 

RESOLUTION 12

Ending Assaults on Transit Workers

Assaults on bus drivers and transit operators are a growing concern nationwide and around the world. These assaults often result in dramatically decreased quality of life for the individual and their family, as well as long-term physical and psychological injury to many.

Assaults on operators also contribute to worker absence, productivity shortfalls, and increased levels of stress for the victim and for co-workers.

Violence on buses, trains, at bus stops and on platforms also increases fear and reinforces a negative perception of transit in the minds of the media and the riders. After all, if transit workers are not safe, then how safe can it be for passengers?

While assaults on any workers are intolerable, the problem with many transit agencies and government officials is that they view assaults against transit workers as simply the cost of doing business.

TWU, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and TWU of Australia along with many other affiliates of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have raised their voices against this epidemic and have called for on all affiliates to step-up preventative measures and campaigns among union members to proactively tackle violence against transit operators.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, calls on all employers, state, local and federal agencies to take extraordinary measures to stop this violence, and for state legislators to pass measures to increase penalties against perpetrators who would assault a transit worker; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that TWU urges all transit agencies nationwide to retrofit existing buses with driver safety shields, and that all new equipment ordered by the employer include factory installed shields; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the TWU calls on transit agencies to adopt programs, similar to the one adopted by New York’s MTA at the insistence of Local 100, that would offer cash rewards to passengers who help police identify perpetrators in transit assaults; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that TWU will continue to work with the partnerships already established with other unions and affiliates, here and around the world, to educate our legislators and the riding public of the enormous costs to the individual, other employees, the employer, the riding public, and the municipalities as a result of this epidemic of transit operator assaults.

 

RESOLUTION 13

End LGBT Discrimination at Work

Employees should be judged on performance, not sexual orientation gender identity gender expression. People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) face widespread discrimination and harassment in the workplace. LGBT people are often denied access to health benefits, pension and other benefits for their same-sex partners, as well as access to family and bereavement leave.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), or similar legislation, has been introduced in Congress in nearly every session since 1974 – but has always failed to be moved forward. President Bush, in 2007, vowed to veto the bill should it get to his desk that year. This bill would provide important and needed protections against workplace discrimination based on a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. ENDA is closely modeled on existing civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

ENDA would protect those who have jobs or are applying for jobs against unfair, unreasonable, and irrational discrimination in the workplace.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, restates its historic stand against discrimination of any kind, as espoused in the preamble to the TWU Constitution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that TWU will continue to support and work with Pride at Work, the official constituency group of the AFL-CIO, that strives for equality for LGBT workers; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that TWU shall press for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on the federal level, as a necessary step to end discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace.

 

RESOLUTION 14

Fighting Voter Suppression

In a massive blow to civil rights and democracy, in June of this year, the Supreme Court struck down the current coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act that requires certain jurisdictions that have a history of discriminatory voting practices to get advance approval from the federal government before changing their election laws.

This venerable law prevented some of the worst and most restrictive attacks on voting to go into effect, but as a result of the Supreme Court ruling, it’s open season once again on voting rights.

State legislatures nationwide are passing voter suppression laws under the pretext of preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity. These voter suppression laws take many forms, and collectively lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right.

During the 2011 legislative sessions, states across the country passed measures to make it harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. Over thirty states considered laws that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID, and would be required to navigate the administrative burdens to obtain it or forego the right to vote entirely.

Three additional states passed laws to require documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, though as many as 7 percent of American citizens do not have such proof. Seven states shortened early voting time frames, even though over 30 percent of all votes cast in the 2008 general election were cast before Election Day. Two state legislatures voted to repeal Election Day registration laws, though Election Day registration increases voter turnout by 10-12 percent. Finally, two states passed legislation making it much more difficult for third-party organizations, like labor unions, to register voters.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, restates its historic commitment for open and fair elections for all citizens of this country, as well as our steadfast opposition to any state law that suppresses the vote in any way of any citizen; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that TWU will advocate in Congress for laws to provide national standards to voting, which 90% of Americans support, and as well to work in all states where TWU members live and work to expand access to the polls including expanding early voting, online voter registration, and same-day voter registration.

 

RESOLUTION 15

Reaching Out to Young Workers

Today’s young workers are part of the largest generation to enter the workforce since the baby boomers. People born between the late 1970s and today also make up the most diverse and technologically savvy generation in America’s history. But, young workers suffer the nation’s highest unemployment, and have the fewest job opportunities in today’s economy. Those graduating high school and college are faced with difficult tasks in finding good jobs.

Union membership among young people continues to decline, as does the overall percentage of workers especially in the private sector. It is obviously of paramount importance to the future of the labor movement and our economy that young workers receive support in their efforts to organize and build partnerships to address their unique generational concerns.

The national AFL-CIO has launched a Young Workers Program, as other labor organizations, including our own, all aimed at providing a place and a voice to young workers to deliver on the goals of advancing social and economic justice.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, commends TWU’s younger members who are currently participating in the TWU Young Workers Committee, and strongly encourages Locals to encourage their younger members to join; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that TWU recognizes that the continued strength and vitality of TWU and the entire labor movement depends heavily on younger union members taking an interest in their union, the welfare of their fellow workers, and a sense of commitment to our cause through activism and volunteerism.

 

RESOLUTION 16

Violence Against Women in the Workplace

Somewhere in America a woman is battered every 15 seconds, usually by her intimate partner. More than a million women and girls experience violence each year. Tragically, many of these incidents occur at work.

Homicide is the second-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries for women, after traffic accidents. Thirty-one percent of women who die at work are killed as a result of an assault or violent act. In 2003, 119 women died as a result of an assault or violent act in the workplace, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nearly 13 percent of all female violent crimes were committed while the victim was working or on duty. These acts of nonfatal violence include rape and sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault (BLS).

Some 36,500 rapes and sexual assaults occur annually in the workplace. In 80 percent of these incidents, the victim was female, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union believes that it is the employer’s responsibility to maintain a safe workplace free of violence. Members and union officers must hold supervisors accountable for reporting these incidents to upper management and police. No TWU member should ever remain silent when one of our union Sisters is threatened or assaulted on the job; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that our Union sisters must never remain silent if they are threatened or assaulted on the job. We urge you to alert your union representative for action. Also, we urge our union representatives to document all assault incidents, close calls and abusive behavior to be able to present to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that a workplace hazard exists in this regard; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that all TWU members – male or female – rally behind our sisters who are threatened or assaulted on the job to insure that those responsible are held accountable and that such incidents never occur again.

 

RESOLUTION 17

Immigration Reform and a Roadmap to Citizenship

More than 11 million immigrant aspiring citizens contribute to our communities, our economy and our country yet they are denied a voice in the workplace and essential rights in our society. A strong and vibrant democracy cannot function unless all men and women, regardless of their skin color or where they were born, can participate meaningfully in the political process with full rights and protections.

TWU and the union movement recognize that the way we treat new immigrants reflects our commitment to the values that define us. The creation of a road map to citizenship for immigrant aspiring Americans would improve wages and labor standards for all workers by giving immigrant workers a voice in the workplace and halting employers who take advantage of our failed immigration policies to exploit their employees.

The dreams of young immigrants to have access to quality education and the hopes of millions of immigrants to reunify their families reflect core American values.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America renews TWU’s commitment to working together on the side of justice for all, along with our community partners, including civil rights, human rights and immigrant rights organizations, to pass fundamental immigration reform; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that TWU calls upon Congress to pass common-sense immigration reform that includes a practical and inclusive road map to citizenship, which reflects the principles outlined in Ray Marshall’s 2009 work for the Economic Policy Institute (Immigration for Shared Prosperity: a Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform), which includes: (1) An independent governmental body to assess and manage future flows, based on labor market shortages that are determined on the basis of actual need; (2) A secure and effective worker authorization mechanism; (3) Rational operational control of the border; (4) A road map to citizenship for the current undocumented population; and (5) Improvement, not expansion, of temporary worker programs, limited to temporary or seasonal, not permanent, job; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this Convention calls upon Congress to pass DREAM Act legislation.

 

RESOLUTION 18

On Defending and Strengthening the Right to Organize

The rise of the middle class in the U.S. was directly tied to the rise of labor unions. As workers gained the right to organize and bargain collectively, take-it-or-leave-it bargaining gave way to a more balanced division of workplace power and wages and benefits rose accordingly.

The 13% decline in real wages since 1970 tracks almost exactly the decline from 23.5% organized in 1970 to 11.3% today – a decline in union membership of 50%!

The decline of union membership and of our collective bargaining power has many causes – privatization, contracting out, shipping jobs offshore, legislative attacks on the right of state and local workers to organize, capture of the regulatory apparatus by Big Business and anti-union campaigns funded by billion dollar “think tanks.”

But nothing has played a larger role than the decision by employers to break union drives by illegally firing workers. The National Labor Relations Board estimates that 1 in every 5 workers who signs a union card is fired illegally. Employers have determined that it is cheaper to pay lost wages to a handful 5-10 years down the road than to allow their workers to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits.

The labor movement tried to address this problem with legislation embodied in the Workers Right to Choose campaign. But the legislation was too complicated and easy to ridicule. And the campaign was based on wishful thinking and an overestimation of the power of unions to pass legislation. Even with a Democratic President they helped elect and control of both Houses of Congress, the union movement couldn’t get a vote on the legislation, much less pass anything.

Yet the vast majority of Americans, even those who don’t support unions, believe it is wrong to fire someone for trying to join a union. If 1 in 5 minorities were fired for trying to vote, there would be a huge outcry and demonstrations. The right to join a union is a civil right as much as the right to vote or free speech.

The one difference is that joining a union is specifically excluded from coverage by civil rights legislation. Removing that exclusion and allowing fired workers to sue for real damages instead of just lost pay would do a great deal to level the playing field

THEREFORE IT IS RESOLVED, by the delegates to the 24th TWU International Convention that the TWU calls on the labor movement to support inclusion of right to join a union in all civil rights legislation

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that we join the fight to protect the right of public employees to organize and bargain collectively.

AND IT IS FINALLY RESOLVED, that we fight for legislation to counter the many other ways in which Big Business undermines our right to belong to a labor union.

 

RESOLUTION 19

Full Funding for Amtrak

Amtrak ridership, revenue, and on-time performance are all at record levels or improving. Since 2010, for every dollar of federal investment, Amtrak has placed nearly $3 back into the economy – powerful and tangible evidence of the public benefit federal investment in Amtrak delivers to the taxpayer, the traveling public, and the American economy.

In its FY 2014 funding request to Congress, Amtrak expressed need for more federal capital investment to improve and expand intercity passenger rail while requesting significantly less in federal operating support.

Amtrak is seeking $373 million in federal operating support or about 17 percent less than it requested in FY 2013. This is made possible by an improved financial position where last fiscal year Amtrak covered 88 percent of its operating costs with ticket sales and other non-federal revenue sources, up from 85 percent the prior year.

On capital, Amtrak requested $2.065 billion in federal capital support to: maintain the Northeast Corridor and other Amtrak-owned or maintained infrastructure and equipment; advance the Gateway Program to expand track, tunnel and station capacity between Newark, NJ, and New York Penn Station; acquire new equipment; and improve accessibility for passengers with disabilities.

Despite all the positives, the attacks on Amtrak continue. As demonstrated repeatedly during the 112th Congress and the current 113th Congress, proposals to slash Amtrak’s funding, eliminate long-distance service, privatization and outsourcing proposals continue, and are intensifying.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IN RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, demands that Congress provide adequate, predictable, long-term funding for Amtrak to protect this vital transportation service for America and the thousands of workers employed there; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that TWU will do whatever is necessary to:

• Oppose all attempts to privatize Amtrak’s operations and services.

• Oppose all attempts to contract-out Amtrak’s food and beverage services.

• Protect the decent middle class jobs of TWU members employed on Amtrak.

 

RESOLUTION 20

Preserving 13(c) Transit Labor Protections

Over the years, labor protections contained in Section 13(c) of federal transit law have functioned to enhance stability and service within the transit industry.

13(c) protects the rights of hundreds of thousands of urban, suburban, and rural transit employees by preserving our rights and benefits under collective bargaining agreements, protecting workers from pay or benefit cuts or demotions, and providing assurances of employment to employees of acquired transit systems and priority of re-employment.

In the majority of cases, 13(c) is the only thing standing between the job and financial security of our members and the wholesale loss of union work to profiteering contractors.

However, the attacks against labor are beginning again. For example, in June of 2009, the United States Supreme Court allowed an anti-labor Texas Supreme Court ruling to stand. Texas law does not give collective bargaining rights to public employees, does not allow interest arbitration, and does not permit public employees to strike. The Texas Supreme Court held that Section 13(c) of the Urban Mass Transportation Act, which requires the preservation of workers’ existing collective bargaining rights in return for receipt of federal funding, does not apply to Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and as such, the union agreements do not require judicial review.

This is a blatant assault on all workers’ rights and we cannot sit by quietly while this happens. Through the years thanks largely to TWU leadership, we have been able to repulse these attacks, but greedy corporations and management will not rest easily.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, will work with other labor organizations whose members’ jobs, pay, benefits and working conditions are threatened by the possible destruction of 13(c) protections, to guard against these egregious attacks; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we demand that Congress uphold federal protections for workers during periods of mergers and acquisitions, by recognizing that policy decisions made during periods of consolidation and realignment of agencies and carriers can have serious negative consequences on workers; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that TWU will defend against all attempts of private entities that seek to be held to a different standard and attempt to circumvent their legal obligations to workers under 13(c).

 

RESOLUTION 21

Support Federal Transit Operating Assistance

The current economic and financial situation in the U.S. has far reaching effects on public transit agencies. Many transit systems around our country are in a state of crisis with service cuts, layoffs, fare increases, equipment failure and infrastructure strain at a time when public transportation ridership is at an all time high.

Such problems have a tremendous impact on employees and all working Americans who rely on efficient and affordable transportation for their livelihood.

Under current law, public transit systems located in areas with more than 200,000 in population may not use their federal transit capital funds for operating assistance, putting a huge strain on their ability to maintain or expand service. This targets America’s largest systems where TWU members work, including New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami and San Francisco.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America will fight for increased federal transit operating assistance stop layoffs, service cuts, and fare hikes and to lend a much needed lifeline to our nation’s transit systems; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the TWU will lobby Congress to remove the discriminatory 200,000 population rule, to allow local agencies to meet the unique needs of their ridership.

 

RESOLUTION 22

Making the Commercial Drivers License Fair for All Transportation Workers

The federal government created the Commercial Drivers License (CDL) to establish a single national standard for handling of traffic violations among professional transportation workers. Pursuant to this legislation, each individual state was required to amend their state laws to comply with the new single federal law.

Despite this new requirement, state laws continue to contain numerous discrepancies with respect to how each individual state handles disqualifications as a result of “serious traffic violations” as defined by law.

One such compliance provision relates specifically to a situation where a CDL holder commits a “serious traffic violation” by driving 15 miles or more above the speed limit while on the highway. The significance of this designation can adversely impact a CDL driver’s insurance, employability, and license, and may result in their CDL revocation or suspension.

Without defining a “serious traffic violation,” we believe that all traffic violations, with the exception of a guilty finding for driving while impaired or felonies should be treated as “non-serious” and that federal law should be amended to provide a method for CDL drivers to earn and retain their CDL license.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America calls on Congress and President Obama to take into account the adverse impact this law has specifically on the livelihoods of commercial drivers who violate traffic laws while off duty and driving a private vehicle. We call on states to provide such drivers with the option of attending driver re-education school or a court supervised traffic safety course to mitigate the potential of future traffic offenses, and loss of the CDL license.

 

RESOLUTION 23

Stand Up for Workers’ Rights, Amend New York’s Taylor Law

In 1967, New York’s Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act or Taylor Law established the right of collective bargaining while denying other worker rights, such as prohibiting strikes for public sector workers. The Taylor Law influenced public sector labor laws throughout the U.S. Since it was passed, New York’s public workers, including TWU Local 100 members, have been forced to work and live under the state’s restrictive law.

The harsh penalties of the Taylor Law were brought down hard on Local 100 members after the transit strikes of 1980 and 2005. The MTA also uses the Taylor Law as a hammer against any real or perceived concerted action on the job.

By restricting a union’s greatest strength, collective action, the law provides employers with little incentive to bargain fairly.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, urges New York legislators to reform the Taylor Law to, among other things:

• Compel employers to pay up to half of a union’s lost dues if a strike is the result of extreme provocation.

• Remove the requirement that unions prove “immediate and irreparable harm” to block the implementation of new work regulations and any other measures to provide full rights to public workers and level the playing field between workers and employers.

• Impose penalties and sanctions on New York State employers for failure to bargain in good faith.

• Eliminate penalties and restrictions on concerted action on the job and the right to strike, under certain conditions.

 

RESOLUTION 24

Stop Privatization

Public services are vital in the lives of American citizens. We all depend on public services like education, transportation, public works, police and fire, and administration to help us function daily.

Public workers continue to deliver the majority of governmental services in states, counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions with efficient service and dedication. Yet, during these economically challenging times many of these governmental entities are facing financial hardships to the point of reducing, eliminating, and even privatizing services that the taxpayer has become dependent upon.

Some states, like Wisconsin, are specifically targeting the public sector and are attempting to end the rights to collective bargaining altogether for public employees.

The goal of minimizing the cost of providing public services is understandable. However, doing so at the expense of the public by using lower paid, less experienced workers harms the public by not delivering quality and dependable services. Privatization of public services in the long run costs more and delivers less service and accountability to the taxpayer.

Replacing public employees with lower paid, less experienced workers not only displaces public workers who have achieved the right to their jobs through collective bargaining, but does so at the expense of the public. This kind of privatization disproportionately benefits the companies who hold these “private contracts,” and results in less efficient services, job losses for public workers, and often, unfair practices by the companies taking over the work.

Moreover, in many instances, this attack on public service workers is nothing less than an attack on unionization and the right of workers to be represented by a union.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America believes that public services are a critical part of life in the United States, and as such any attempt to dismantle, minimize or destroy them must be stopped; and that the TWU opposes privatizing public services and facilities and will support legislation or moratoriums to prevent it; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the TWU supports legislation that protects the right of public employees to bargain collectively and to whatever extent possible, the TWU will help protect the rights of these workers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that where TWU members’ work is lost to privatization, Local leaders and the International Staff will monitor the performance of the contractor that gains the work and do whatever possible to recapture that work; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the TWU will continue to oppose policies and efforts that undermine the public service worker and their work product; and calls on Congress to restore adequate federal support for state and local governments so that public needs can be met without cutting the wages, benefits and working conditions of public employees.

 

RESOLUTION 25

Resolution in Support of Allegiant Flight Attendants

With frequent delays up to 52 hours, nickel and diming customers, and suddenly abandoning cities and routes, you would think that Allegiant Airlines would be on their way to bankruptcy. However, in spite of their reputation for poor customer service and abysmal on-time performance but they have achieved record profits. The way that they do this is by providing infrequent service from small, remote airports to vacation destinations. Their customers don’t have a choice and Allegiant knows that.

In many ways Allegiant treats their employees the same way as their customers. With low wages, inconsistent work rules, minimal benefits, and no representation, Allegiant, as with their customers, depend on their flight attendants to accept what was given to them or leave, because they didn’t have a choice – or did they?

After years of abuse and broken promises from their Company and a failed Union election with the Association of Flight Attendants, Allegiant Flight Attendants approached TWU based on the industry-leading contract, representation, and collaborative labor/management relationship between TWU Local 556 and Southwest Airlines. In spite of a strong anti-union campaign by Allegiant Air, TWU was overwhelmingly approved by Allegiant Flight Attendants in December 2010 and TWU Local 577 was born.

Through hard work, union building, membership involvement, and strategic planning, after a year and a half, Allegiant Flight Attendants were very close to a first contract when the notoriously anti-union CEO Maurice Gallagher notified the Union that he would never agree to the final items on the table including pay for extended delays, annual pay raises, an extended pay scale for flight attendants with over 10 years seniority, and union security to collect dues and protect the work of flight attendants that is included in every other flight attendant contract in the country.

In September 2012, TWU Local 577 filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board as prescribed by the Railway Labor Act. Management’s response was to train other employees as scabs to intimidate their own flight attendants and try to bust the Union. Allegiant flight attendants represented by TWU Local 577 have now been fighting to reach their first contract for over two and a half years.

IT IS RESOLVED, that the Transport Workers Union (TWU) of America, AFL-CIO is the duly elected exclusive bargaining representative for Allegiant Flight Attendants; and

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, the flight attendants of Allegiant Air deserve fair work rules, representation, protection, benefits, and compensation; and

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that the TWU is fully committed to reaching a fair contract for Allegiant Flight Attendants; and

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that the TWU will not allow or tolerate continued intimidation, threats, or union busting from Allegiant Air; and

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that the TWU will support the efforts of Local 577 to encourage Allegiant Air to treat all employees fairly and to be a better corporate citizen to its communities and customers; and

AND, IT IS FINALLY RESOLVED, that TWU is at Allegiant Air to stay and will support Allegiant Flight Attendants in every way to achieve a fair contract and strong Local for all Members.

 

RESOLUTION 26

Increase of Service Contract Membership

In the United States alone, the government has in excess of 317 major Military Installations. Within those Locations the TWU occupies only 1% of them yet has over 30 current Collective Bargaining Agreements. In addition to the above mentioned areas, the Unites States Government has over 6,000 additional military facilities within the U.S borders.

At present, the TWU has no specific structure in place to seek additional membership at these locations, however the number of possible un-represented workers in these areas could number in the tens of thousands if not more. The potential expansion for the Service Contract Locals and the International could provide unprecedented growth.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the TWU International shall charge the current Organizing Department to assist the current Service Locals in identifying and researching all active Military Installations as organizing targets; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the TWU International shall provide all necessary resources to vigorously pursue the organizing of these groups; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the TWU International will take full advantage of these opportunities and expand our current membership with the addition of these highly skilled and higher paying jobs.

 

RESOLUTION 27

True Universal Health Care

Workers, their families and their unions are waging an increasingly difficult struggle to win or to keep good health care coverage. During every contract negotiation, unions must battle and sacrifice merely to sustain health care benefits. The rising costs of health insurance are blocking workers’ progress in wages and other areas.

Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is estimated the 30 million Americans will still be without health care in 2023. Currently 50 million people are without coverage, and millions more have inadequate coverage. People of color, immigrants and women are denied care at disproportionate rates, while the elderly, and many others must choose between necessities and life sustaining drugs and care. Unorganized workers have either no or inadequate coverage. Every year more than 45,000 in the U. S. die because they had no health insurance.

The U. S. health system continues to treat health care as a commodity distributed according to the ability to pay, rather than as a vital social service to be distributed according to human need. Insurance companies and HMOs compete not by increasing quality or lowering costs, but by avoiding covering those whose needs are greatest.

Economic necessity and moral conscience compel us to seek a better way.

In February of this year, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and 41 co-sponsors introduced HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. The bill would replace today’s jumble of private health insurance companies with a single, streamlined public agency that would pay all medical claims, much like Medicare works for seniors today.

A single-payer program would assure universal coverage, cover all necessary services, and knock down the growing financial barriers to care high premiums, co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance.

Proponents estimate such a plan could save over $400 billion a year currently sunk private-insurance-related bureaucracy, paperwork and marketing money that could otherwise be used for raises for workers.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, believes that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all type program is the most equitable and cost-effective way to assure that everyone, without exception, gets high-quality health care; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that such a plan would not preclude unions from negotiating additional wrap-around coverage; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the TWU will work with other unions and allies to build a groundswell of popular and Congressional support for single payer universal health care initiative.

 

RESOLUTION 28

Stop the Use of Bankruptcy Proceedings to Attack Workers

Whereas, those who hold government and corporate bonds and other forms of debt are for the most part wealthy individuals who are not dependent on income from the bond holdings to survive;

Whereas, it is understood that there are inherent risks in purchasing bonds, including the possibility that the bond purchaser might not be able to fully pay the bond;

Whereas, the workers for the corporations and municipalities which have declared bankruptcy have EARNED through their labor whatever pensions, wages, or other benefits to which they might be entitled;

Whereas, many TWU members, such as those at, American Airlines, American Eagle, TWA and United Airlines have seen their wages and/or pensions unfairly taken from them to payoff wealthy bondholders;

Whereas municipal workers in Detroit are being called upon to make similar sacrifices;

And whereas, these workers depend solely upon such wages, pensions and other benefits for their wellbeing;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the TWU supports changing bankruptcy law such that workers wages, pensions and other benefits are held sacrosanct and paid before any claims by bondholders or other debt holders are considered to be paid.


 

These are the resolutions that were presented by TWU514, they all failed.

 

Amend the TWU Constitution Re: Benefit Health & Welfare Committee – Submitted by Local 514

This is to add Article 34 to the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO Constitution:

The International Administrative Committee may charter a Benefit/Health & Welfare Committee consisting of the three (3) members appointed by the International President.

1) The purpose of the Committee would be to oversee the Benefits offered by the International union to our members. (i.e., Life insurance, LTD, STD, etc.)

2) To help all local Benefit Committees regarding interpretation of Benefits, claim filing and follow up for denied payments.

3) Each Local Union shall establish a Local Benefits Committee to educate and assist the Local members in claims, open enrollment and anything relating to Benefits.

4) Of the three (3) Committee members, one (1) will come from each division.

5) The three (3) Committee members will report to their respective Director.

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Amend the TWU Constitution Re: Term of Office for Local Officers – Submitted by Local 514

Article XV, Local Union Election – Section 1

Section 1. The term of office of local officers and executive board members shall be three years except that the international administrative committee shall have the authority to approve a bylaw provision establishing, or maintaining, a two-year term for the officers and executive board members of any local which petitions and submits satisfactory reasons for such approval, and except further such term may be extended for good cause shown to four (4) years where the law permits. Elections under this section shall be by plurality of the secret ballot votes cast.

Proposed Changes:Section 1. The term of office of local officers and executive board members shall be three years except that the international administrative committee shall have the authority to approve a bylaw provision establishing, or maintaining, a two-year term for the officers and executive board members of any local which petitions and submits satisfactory reasons for such approval, and except further such term may be extended for good cause shown to four (4) years where the law permits. Elections under this section shall be by plurality (or, if no candidate received the 50% of all votes cast, the Local at their option can develop a run off or two round system) of the secret ballot votes cast.

To Read:Section 1. The term of office of local officers and executive board members shall be three years except that the international administrative committee shall have the authority to approve a bylaw provision establishing, or maintaining, a two-year term for the officers and executive board members of any local which petitions and submits satisfactory reasons for such approval, and except further such term may be extended for good cause shown to four (4) years where the law permits. Elections under this section shall be by plurality or, if no candidate received the 50% of all votes cast, the Local at their option can develop a run off or two round system of the secret ballot votes cast.

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Amend the TWU Constitution Re: Education and Information Committee – Submitted by Local 514

Article XXIXEducation

Section 1. Education shall be an integral part of the business of the International Union and of each Local Union, particularly education labor history, labor problems, the objectives of the International Union, the problems of the International Union, its members and their families and the areas of the welfare of our country on which the welfare of labor has the greatest impact. To this end, and to the development of a sound and informed loyalty to the Transport Workers Union of America and the labor movements in general, there shall be maintained an International Education Department.

Section 2. The International President shall have the power to appoint an Education Director and fix his/her compensation and expenses subject to the approval of the International Administrative Committee.

Section. 3. Each local union shall set up and maintain an Education committee under the direction of the International Education Director. The duties of this committee shall be to promote all branches of education affecting the welfare of the individual members, the Local Union, the International Union, and the labor movement.

It shall be the duty of the International Representatives to see that this provision of the Constitution is carried out in the areas in where they serve.

Section 4. Each Local Union shall designate a member whose duty it shall be to report the news and activities of the Local Union to the official International publication.

Proposed Changes:Article XXIX Education and Information

Section 1. Education and Information shall be an integral part of the business of the International Union and of each Local Union, particularly education in labor history, labor problems, the objectives of the International Union, the problems of the International Union, its members and their families and the areas of the welfare of our country on which the welfare of labor has the greatest impact. To this end, and to the development of a sound and informed loyalty to the Transport Workers Union of America and the labor movements in general, there shall be maintained an International Education and Information department.

Section 2. The International President shall have the power to appoint an Education and Information Director and fix his/her compensation and expenses subject to the approval of the International Administrative Committee.

Section. 3. Each Local Union shall set up and maintain an Education and Information Committee under the direction of the International Education and Information Director. The duties of this committee shall be to promote all branches of education and information affecting the welfare of the individual members, the Local Union, the International Union, and the labor movement.

It shall be the duty of the International Representatives to see that this provision of the Constitution is carried out in the areas in where they serve.

Section 4. Each Local Union shall designate a member whose duty it shall be to report the news and activities of the Local Union to the official International publication.

To Read:Education and Information

Section 1. Education and Information shall be an integral part of the business of the International Union and of each Local Union, particularly education in labor history, labor problems, the objectives of the International Union, the problems of the International Union, its members and their families and the areas of the welfare of our country on which the welfare of labor has the greatest impact. To this end, and to the development of a sound and informed loyalty to the Transport Workers Union of America and the labor movements in general, there shall be maintained an International Education and Information department.

Section 2. The International President shall have the power to appoint an Education and Information Director and fix his/her compensation and expenses subject to the approval of the International Administrative Committee.

Section. 3. Each local union shall set up and maintain an Education and Information Committee under the direction of the International Education and Information Director. The duties of this committee shall be to promote all branches of education and information affecting the welfare of the individual members, the Local Union, the International Union, and the labor movement.

It shall be the duty of the International Representatives to see that this provision of the Constitution is carried out in the areas in where they serve.

Section 4. Each Local Union shall designate a member whose duty it shall be to report the news and activities of the Local Union to the official International publication.

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Amend the TWU Constitution Re: Direct Election of International Officers – Submitted by Local 514

Section 5: The International officers and the members of the International Executive Board shall be elected at each regular International Convention, shall be obligated and installed at the Convention at which they are elected, and their term of office shall run until their successors are obligated and installed at the next regular International Convention; except that the number of International Executive Board members may be increased, when between regular conventions, the International Executive Council determines that an increase is necessary to give representation to any newly affiliated or organized group. Such additional members shall be appointed by the International Executive Council from such newly affiliated organized group.

Proposed Change: Section 5: The International officers and the members of the International Executive Board shall be elected by secret ballot votes cast by the members at large. Not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the election of international officers, notice of such election shall be mailed to each member of the Union at his/her last known home address. The members of the Union shall also be given a reasonable opportunity to nominate candidates for International office. Failure to meet either of the requirements of this Section shall invalidate the election. Newly elected officers shall be obligated and installed at the convention at which they are elected, and their term of office shall run until their successors are obligated and installed at the next regular International Convention; except that the number of International Executive Board members may be increased, when between regular conventions, the International Executive Council determines that an increase is necessary to give representation to any newly affiliated or organized group. Such additional members shall be appointed by the International Executive Council from such newly affiliated organized group.

To Read: Section 5: The International officers and the members of the International Executive Board shall be elected by secret ballot votes cast by the members at large. Not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the election of international officers, notice of such election shall be mailed to each member of the Union at his/her last known home address. The members of the Union shall also be given a reasonable opportunity to nominate candidates for International office. Failure to meet either of the requirements of this Section shall invalidate the election. Newly elected officers shall be obligated and installed at the Convention at which they are elected, and their term of office shall run until their successors are obligated and installed at the next regular International Convention; except that the number of International Executive Board members may be increased, when between regular conventions, the International Executive Council determines that an increase is necessary to give representation to any newly affiliated or organized group. Such additional members shall be appointed by the International Executive Council from such newly affiliated or organized group.

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Amend the TWU Constitution Re: Meeting Requirements Article XV, Sec. 7 – Submitted by Local 514

Section 7. The failure of a member, otherwise in good standing, to attend a reasonable number of the meetings of his/her Local Union, or of the division, section or other unit thereof to which he/she belongs, may not be made the basis for disqualifying such member as a nominee for any elective position except Branch, section or division officer or officer of a Local Union whose membership is compromised entirely of public-sector employees. Any meeting attendance requirement permitted by the provision shall be effective only if incorporated in the Local’s by-laws and the by-law provision may not be given retroactive effect. This section shall not be construed to preclude a Local Union from establishing in its by-laws any other reasonable penalty for a member’s failure to attend Union meetings. The failure of a member to attend a meeting because of the requirement of his/her job or any other adequate reason shall not affect his/her eligibility to run for or hold any elective position, provided that within thirty (30) days after such non-attendance he/she files a written statement with the Local Recording Secretary of the reasons for his/her non-attendance. If the officers administrating the Local Union in accordance with this Constitution, or their designee, do not within 30 days of the receipt of such statement, challenge the truth or adequacy of the stated reasons, the member shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have attended such meeting. Should the officers challenge the stated reasons, the member may appeal that determination to the Local Executive Board, which shall decide the appeal based on documents and other writings submitted to it by the Local officers and the member appealing their decision. The decision of the Executive Board may be appealed in accordance with Article XXII of the TWU Constitution. No member shall be regarded, for the purposes of eligibility for nomination to a given office, as having missed a given meeting where he is engaged in the process unless and until the Local Executive Board has rendered a decision rejecting his statement of reasons for missing the meeting in question.

Proposed Changes

Section 7. The failure of a member, otherwise in good standing, to attend a reasonable number of the meetings of his/her Local Union, or of the division, section or other unit thereof to which he/she belongs, may not be made the basis for disqualifying such member as a nominee for any elective position except Branch, section or division officer or officer of a Local Union whose membership is compromised entirely of public-sector employees. A local that does provide an adequate number of membership meetings per month to give ample opportunity to its members to attend may require up to three (3) meetings per year (with two (2) excused) as a requirement to hold office in that local. Any meeting attendance requirement permitted by the provision shall be effective only if incorporated in the Local’s by-laws and the by-law provision may not be given retroactive effect. This section shall not be construed to preclude a Local Union from establishing in its by-laws any other reasonable penalty for a member’s failure to attend Union meetings. The failure of a member to attend a meeting because of the requirement of his/her job or any other adequate reason shall not affect his/her eligibility to run for or hold any elective position, provided that within thirty (30) days after such non-attendance he/she files a written statement with the Local Recording Secretary of the reasons for his/her non-attendance. If the officers administrating the Local Union in accordance with this Constitution, or their designee, do not within 30 days of the receipt of such statement, challenge the truth or adequacy of the stated reasons, the member shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have attended such meeting. Should the officers challenge the stated reasons, the member may appeal that determination to the Local Executive Board, which shall decide the appeal based on documents and other writings submitted to it by the Local officers and the member appealing their decision. The decision of the Executive Board may be appealed in accordance with Article XXII of the TWU Constitution. No member shall be regarded, for the purposes of eligibility for nomination to a given office, as having missed a given meeting where he is engaged in the process unless and until the Local Executive Board has rendered a decision rejecting his statement of reasons for missing the meeting in question.

To read:Section 7. The failure of a member, otherwise in good standing, to attend a reasonable number of the meetings of his/her Local Union, or of the division, section or other unit thereof to which he/she belongs, may not be made the basis for disqualifying such member as a nominee for any elective position except Branch, section or division officer or officer of a Local Union whose membership is comprised entirely of public-sector employees. A local that does provide an adequate number of membership meetings per month to give ample opportunity to its members to attend may require up to three (3) meetings per year (with two (2) excused) as a requirement to hold office in that local. Any meeting attendance requirement permitted by this provision shall be effective only if incorporated in the Local’s by-laws and the by-law provision may not be given retroactive effect. This section shall not be construed to preclude a Local Union from establishing in its by-laws any other reasonable penalty for a member’s failure to attend Union meetings. The failure of a member to attend a meeting because of the requirement of his/her job or any other adequate reason shall not affect his/her eligibility to run for or hold any elective position, provided that within thirty (30) days after such non-attendance he/she files a written statement with the Local Recording Secretary of the reasons for his/her non-attendance. If the officers administrating the Local Union in accordance with this Constitution, or their designee, do not within 30 days of the receipt of such statement, challenge the truth or adequacy of the stated reasons, the member shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have attended such meeting. Should the officers challenge the stated reasons, the member may appeal that determination to the Local Executive Board, which shall decide the appeal based on documents and other writings submitted to it by the Local officers and the member appealing their decision. The decision of the Executive Board may be appealed in accordance with Article XXII of the TWU Constitution. No member shall be regarded, for the purposes of eligibility for nomination to a given office, as having missed a given meeting where he is engaged in the process unless and until the Local Executive Board has rendered a decision rejecting his statement of reasons for missing the meeting in question.

 

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