2008 Convention Resolutions

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Resolution No. 2008-2
Outsourcing of Classified Work in K-12 and Community College Districts
 
Whereas, outsourcing of classified work constitutes a threat to the job security of our members; and
 
Whereas, outsourcing does not actually save our schools and community colleges money; and
 
Whereas, it is in the interests of our schools and our state that school and community college districts engage in contracting for services for legitimate reasons and not to eliminate union positions; now
 
Therefore, Be It Resolved, that we call upon the 2009 Legislature to adopt provisions at least equal to those in HB 2754 from the 2007 legislative session, applicable to both K-12 and community college districts; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon calls upon Oregon AFL-CIO to adopt this position as part of its legislative agenda.
 
 
 
Resolution No. 2008-3
Fairness and Equity in Bargaining Unit Determination
 
Whereas, the decisions by the National Labor Relations Board regarding the recognition of bargaining units are becoming increasingly anti-worker; and
 
Whereas, card check or “majority signup” has become the top legislative priority of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations; and
 
Whereas, the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon fully supports the efforts to streamline and make easier the process of forming and/or joining a union; and
 
Whereas, managers throughout the world have historically sought to divide workers along race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious, and job classification lines to prevent workers from forming unions and fighting back; and
 
Whereas, we in the labor movement take pride in having fought these measures and stood for the equality of all workers, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious, and job classification; and
 
Whereas, arbitrary rules about who can and cannot join a union only aid management, not the workers; and
 
Whereas, all workers should have the right to the union of their choice; and
 
Whereas, we recognize that all people have the fundamental human right to bargain collectively for their wages, benefits, and working conditions; now
 
Therefore, Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will continue not to divide its employees by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or job classification; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will recognize and bargain collectively with all staff that work for AFT-Oregon; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will seek to compensate those AFT project staff working with AFT-Oregon Locals and funded, but not employed, by AFT-Oregon similarly to those in AFT-Oregon with similar duties and responsibilities.
 
 
 
Resolution No. 2008-4
Recovery of Funds Misappropriated by the Oregon School Boards Association, OSBA
 
Whereas, education workers have paid OSBA to provide health insurance to them and their families for the last 40 years; and
 
Whereas, the OSBA has, for many years, profited from these payments to health insurance providers under the category of “year end surplus;” and
 
Whereas, these “surplus funds” have accumulated to be huge amounts and in some years as much as $30 million; and
 
Whereas, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill creating the Oregon Educator Benefits Board (OEBB) in order to enlarge the pool of covered health insurance recipients, with the intention of reducing costs; and
 
Whereas, the establishment of the OEBB has resulted in the OSBA’s decision to terminate their health insurance trust; and
 
Whereas, the OSBA got approval (in written contract form) from the Administrations of the member institutions to “transfer all surplus funds from the health care account into the general operating account of the OSBA”; and
 
Whereas, the administrations of the member educational institutions should not allow employee contributions toward health care to be diverted for extraneous purposes; and
 
Whereas, the OSBA has consistently refused to reveal the amount of the funds in the health insurance trust, it was known to be $30 million in 2004 and could be much more today; and
 
Whereas, the OSBA has recently stated that these funds will be placed in an “endowment account” which implies falsely that these funds were a gift from the employees of the member Oregon educational institutions; and
 
Whereas, the contracts concerning this service of the OSBA and the transfer of these funds either cannot be found or will not be made public; and       
 
Whereas, the OSBA has stated that they will use these misappropriated funds to lobby against and fight against the programs and candidates that AFT-Oregon pursues and endorses, the efforts which are in the best interest of the improvement of education in Oregon; and
 
Whereas, the resources should be set aside in order to establish a trust or otherwise benefit health care of contributing members; and
 
Whereas, the Oregon Revised Statutes, Section 496, states that an employer cannot legally deduct funds from an employee’s paycheck for an expressed purpose, without delivering that service; and
 
Whereas, members of Locals are pursuing legal options on their own and with help from state and national organizations; now
 
Therefore, Be It Resolved, that Oregon AFT members in coalition with others support and will dedicate funds and legal resources to pursue the recovery of this money from the OSBA; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that the members of AFT-Oregon in coalition with others financially support a public information effort to increase public awareness of this egregious violation of the public trust, and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that the members of AFT-Oregon in coalition with others pursue a lobbying and education effort aimed at politicians, legislators, school board members, and the like, so as to inform them of this misdirection of funds and to seek their support for a remedy.
         
 
 
 
Resolution No. 2008-5
Call for Relief from the Sub-prime Mortgage Crisis
 
Whereas, there is an epidemic of foreclosures throughout the country, including in Oregon; and
 
Whereas, foreclosures have risen to their highest level in 40 years; and
 
Whereas, many sub-prime mortgage lenders have participated in predatory actions that have placed many AFT-Oregon members in financial peril; and
 
Whereas, various research reports have shown a strong correlation between the increase in foreclosures and the increase in sub-prime mortgages; and
 
Whereas, sub-prime loans are prevalent in lower income neighborhoods and communities of color, and the foreclosure crisis is devastating vulnerable populations and neighborhoods where many AFT-Oregon members live; and
 
Whereas, the labor community believes in supporting its members in times of crisis; now
 
Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon call on state legislators to supply immediate
relief for its members and the citizens of the state of Oregon at large from the sub-prime mortgage crisis. This relief should include remedies that foster the elimination of prepayment penalties, lower interest rates, freeze of teaser rates, and supply avenues to avoid foreclosures; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon calls on state legislators to pass legislation to regulate and punish predator lenders that originate loans or finance property in the state of Oregon.
 
 
 
Resolution No. 2008-7
Opposition to the Establishment of an Independent Police Force within the Oregon University and Community College Systems
 
Whereas, there has been no appreciable increase in crime on college campuses in Oregon; and
 
Whereas, the present system promotes a positive relationship between employees, students, and public safety on the campuses within the Oregon University and Community College Systems; and
 
Whereas, an independent police force isolates the public safety officers from the larger campus community; and
 
Whereas, historically the police have been used by the bosses to crush labor in times of conflict; now
 
Therefore, Be It Resolved that AFT-Oregon opposes the establishment of independent police agencies on campuses within the Oregon University and Community College Systems.
 
 
 
Resolution No. 2008-8
In Support of Dignity, Respect, and Justice in the Workplace
 
Whereas, it is the mission of AFT to bring together all members to assist and support one another, to promote democracy, human rights and freedom in our union, in our nation and throughout the world. It is our responsibility to struggle for justice; and
 
Whereas, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes “…the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…;” and
 
Whereas, we the members of AFT-Oregon believe that we deserve, dignity, respect, and justice in our workplace; and
 
Whereas, workplace bullies deny their victims dignity, respect, and justice by displaying rudeness, contempt, duplicity and condescension, and by being dominating, belittling, dictatorial, intimidating, dismissive and threatening; and
 
Whereas, Franklin D. Roosevelt stated that one of the essential human freedoms is freedom from fear. Bullying and emotional and psychological abuse create a culture of fear in our workplaces. Fear of retaliation and retribution leaves our members too intimidated and terrorized to fight for, or even assert their contractual rights, thus undermining the union’s ability to defend them. Bullies in management often attack people with the most seniority or confidence as a tactic to drive them out, which establishes a fearful environment; and
 
Whereas, bullying is one strategy management condones or manipulates to achieve their objectives and promote an anti-union atmosphere. Their continual denial that this abuse takes place and protection of bullies denies people their dignity, respect, justice and promotes union busting; and
 
Whereas, bullying, emotional, and psychological abuse becomes institutionalized violence when management condones its use. Management may point to value statements or policies to show that they support dignity and respect, but there is seldom any means of enforcement, or consequences for the bully or management; and
 
Whereas, we define bullying as a pattern of coercive, insidious behavior used by one person to gain or exercise power and control over another person and creates a harmful work environment. Bullying exceeds what the victim considers to be appropriate and reasonable in the performance of their work such as rude, degrading, contemptuous, or offensive remarks – and may include emotional or psychological abuse; and
Whereas, we define “pattern” as the nature of the behavior, not the specific form of the behavior. Therefore, repeated unreasonable behavior may be a pattern of diverse incidents, often escalating over time, e.g. verbal abuse on one occasion, personal property intentionally damaged on another occasion, and subsequently being unreasonably threatened; and
 
Whereas, we define emotional and psychological abuse as undermining individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing employees’ abilities, name-calling, or damaging employees’ relationships with their co-workers, bosses, or students, causing fear by threats, intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, or being held in contempt; or destabilizing people by making fun of convictions, tastes, or political choices; and isolating them from friends, or support networks; and
 
Whereas, bullying, emotional and psychological abuse occurs between people of any gender and sexual orientation, and all racial, economic, educational, and religious backgrounds; and
 
Whereas, bullying, emotional and psychological abuse not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on co-workers, friends, family members, other witnesses, and the community at large. Someone who is bullied and attacked at work begins to adopt that behavior pattern and spread the disease; and
 
Whereas, the consequences of bullying, emotional and psychological abuse in the workplace may include increased absenteeism, low morale and loyalty, loss of accumulated wisdom, experience, efficiency and productivity, open hostility, high turnover, increased passive aggressiveness, malicious compliance, post traumatic stress disorder and violence, and poor public image. A person who feels they are not respected loses respect for their co-workers, bosses, even the institution they work for, which in turn causes them to lose their self respect; and
 
Whereas, the benefits of workplace civility include increased levels of job satisfaction, efficiency, productivity, lower turnover, and greater trust in management. This positively influences an individual’s own sense of self respect, dignity, and honor, which improves job performance; now
 
Therefore Be It Resolved, AFT-Oregon and its members deem, bullying and emotional and psychological abuse and their use in union busting unacceptable; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon and its members will work for and promote dignity, respect, and justice in the workplace; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will develop a statement of opposition to bullying, emotional and psychological abuse; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon publish examples of relevant contract language and encourage members to consider incorporation of such language in further contract negotiations.
 
 
Resolution No. 2008-10
In Support of Academic Freedom and the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition
 
Whereas, academic freedom is the foundation of the higher education system in America; and
 
Whereas, AFT and AFT-Oregon have a long and proud tradition of defending academic freedom; and
 
Whereas, academic freedom is under assault in state legislatures by right-wing ideologues led by David Horowitz and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni; and
 
Whereas, bills like the Academic Bill of Rights and so-called "intellectual diversity" legislation have a chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas, independent of their enactment; and
 
Whereas, the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition is working assiduously to protect academic freedom from these assaults and to promote an environment for open intellectual discourse on college and university campuses; now
 
Therefore, Be It Resolved that AFT-Oregon joins the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition as an organizational supporter; and
 
Be It Further Resolved that AFT-Oregon will assist the Free Exchange Coalition in protecting and promoting academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas at higher education institutions in the State of Oregon.
 
 
Resolution No. 2008-11
Preventing the Use of Funds and Resources for Candidates Not Recommended by AFT-Oregon[1]
 
Whereas, the members of the AFT-Oregon are proud to belong to a democratic union and want AFT-Oregon to continue to be on the forefront of the democratic union movement; and
 
Whereas, one of the hallmarks of a democratic union is that leadership takes direction from the large membership; and
 
Whereas, the members of AFT-Oregon take the political recommendation process seriously and actively support AFT-Oregon’s political recommendations through volunteering and financial donations; now
 
Therefore, Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon would like AFT national to know we are extremely dissatisfied with the process which was used to make its endorsement of its presidential candidate; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that we want the AFT National to be more transparent and responsive to membership in future endorsements; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that until AFT-Oregon recommends a candidate for president in the 2008 presidential primary, the leadership and staff of AFT-Oregon shall not use any state federation resources, including time and money, in support of any unrecommended candidate.
 
         

 

 
[1]The Executive Council in a special meeting May 6, 2008 reviewed effect of the resolution and voted “that the Executive Council considers the effect of Resolution 2008-11 as unenforceable in its restriction of staff and resources and that the AFT-Oregon Executive Council affirms its contract with AFT for participation in the SAPO program and support for the SAPO position and staff will participate in the AFT political program as provided in the agreement.”
 
 

 

         
Resolution No. 2008-15
Resolution Mandating the Use of Recycled Products in the AFT-Oregon Office
 
Whereas, the use of non-recycled materials in the AFT-Oregon office contributes to the destruction of our environment; and
 
Whereas, the use of non-recycled, or virgin paper contributes to the destruction of our natural forests and resources; and
 
Whereas, the degradation of our natural resources affects all the world’s beings; and
 
Whereas, it is a proper function of labor unions to advocate for the health and well-being of all working people and to fight to preserve the world in which we work, sleep, and play; and
 
Whereas, the use of recycled materials can help diminish AFT-Oregon’s impact on the environment; and
 
Whereas, the use of recycled materials helps create a market for recycled products, encouraging their production; and
 
Whereas, the increased production of recycled goods will lead to an increase in non-destructive industries and non-destructive jobs; now
 
Therefore, Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will strive to use recycled products whenever possible; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will use recycled paper of at least 30% post-consumer waste, but preferably 100% post-consumer waste content whenever possible; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that all AFT-Oregon Locals are encouraged to use recycled products whenever possible; and
 
Be It Further Resolved, that all AFT-Oregon Locals are encouraged to encourage their employers to use recycled products whenever possible, including, but not limited to, making this a subject during subsequent bargaining sessions with their employer.