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Home » Officer Columns » AFL-CIO Convention Passes Timely Resolutions

AFL-CIO Convention Passes Timely Resolutions

  -  AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

Once every four years, elected delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention gather to elect the AFL-CIO Officers and Executive Council. Our AFM delegation consisted of AFM President Ray Hair, Local 65-699 (Houston, TX) President Lovie Smith-Wright, and myself. Unfortunately, due to a death in her family, Lovie was unable to attend.

AFM members from Local 2-197 (St. Louis, MO) entertained the delegates as they filed into the hall to take their seats before AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka banged his gavel bringing the convention to order. Members of the St. Louis local also played for various receptions throughout the convention.

The use of technology played a prominent role allowing for a paperless convention. An app created for download to mobile devices allowed delegates and attendees to view the agenda, workshops, resolutions, constitutional amendments, governance documents, as well as a personal conference schedule on their cell phones. As an alternative to using their phones, each delegate received a fully loaded tablet at registration to provide access to these documents on a larger screen. Video streaming of convention proceedings was also available online.

Frank’s Creation, all members of Local 2-197, entertain AFL-CIO Convention delegates. (L to R) are Willie Murry (sax), Rob Endicott (trumpet), Michael Holmes (vocals), Steve Waldman (guitar), Frank Dunbar (bass), and Emily Givens (piano); in back are Douglas Jones (guitar) and Michael Howell (drums).

During the four-day Convention, 42 resolutions were adopted by the body. Unlike our AFM Convention, where resolutions are vetted in committee with delegates afforded an opportunity to speak for or against, resolutions at the AFL-CIO Convention are fully vetted by the Executive Council before moving to the floor. Delegates speak for or against the resolution and voting takes place immediately at the conclusion of the discussion.

The election of officers resulted in the re-election of AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre. All three officers were nominated and ran unopposed.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council, consisting of the three top officers (listed above) and 55 vice presidents, ran on an unopposed slate.

Some of the more important resolutions passed:

1) Workers’ Bill of Rights—all working people have the right to:

• A good job with fair wages

• Quality health care: regardless of income, job, or pre-existing conditions

• A safe job: free from harassment and violence

• Paid time off and flexible, predictable scheduling

• Freedom from discrimination in: hiring, firing, and promotions

• Retire with dignity

• Education: public K-12, higher education, and career training

• Freedom to join together with our co-workers for better wages and working conditions, whether in a union or not

• A voice in democracy: to freely exercise our democratic voice through voting and civic participation

2) Solidarity and democracy—reaffirming the labor movement’s mission in the face of the threat of hate

3) Voting rights—building an inclusive pro-voter democracy to move a winning agenda for working people

4) Inclusion and equity—ensuring equity and inclusion internally and externally

5) Full employment and a $15 minimum wage

6) In support of public education

7) Condemning rising fascism, fight for working class unity

8) Climate change, energy, and union jobs:

• In support of incentives and funding for research programs to bring new energy technologies to market

• In support of key energy and environmental policies with a focus on ensuring high labor standards, the creation of union jobs, and environmental sustainability

• Urging the US to remain in the Paris Agreement and work to ensure that all nations make progress on emissions reductions

• Belief that the US Congress should enact comprehensive
energy and climate legislation that creates good jobs and addresses the threat of climate change

9) Celebrating the Department for Professional Employees (DPE):
40 years of growing professional union membership. 

• In 1972, when AFL-CIO President George Meany was approached about forming a trade department for professional employees, professional and technical employees were 25% of the workforce and 18% of the labor movement. Today, professional and technical employees represent 38% of the workforce and 42% of union members. The AFM is one of 12 affiliated entertainment unions. Altogether there are 23 affiliated unions within the DPE, representing more than 4 million professional and technical employees.

For a full list of all the resolutions adopted at the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention go to

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