2012 Resolutions Passed by Convention Delegates

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Collective Bargaining Issues
Resolution No. 2012-9
Language Describing “Break” Periods Between Academic Terms or Semesters
            Whereas, most schools, colleges, and universities follow an academic calendar that uses the word “break” to describe the period between the end of one term, semester, or period of study and the beginning of the next term, semester, or period of study; and
            Whereas, the language of most labor contracts negotiated with school, college, and university administrations tends to mirror the language used by academic calendars; and
            Whereas, academic professional and classified personnel at schools, colleges, and universities continue their important work during “break” periods; and
            Whereas, the work of academic professional and classified personnel is critical for preparing students and the instructional environment for the successful execution of the following term, semester, or period of study; and
            Whereas, teachers and faculty who are not employed during “break” periods absolutely depend upon the work of academic professional and classified personnel during these “break” periods to ensure institutional readiness so teachers and faculty can instruct effectively; and
            Whereas, teachers and faculty recognize the important work done by academic professional and classified employees during “break” periods; and
            Whereas, teachers and faculty devote time during “break” periods to prepare for the next term of study, regardless of employment status; and
            Whereas, the use of universal terms like “break” creates a false impression in the minds of students, managers, and other employees that “No one is working during break periods;” and
            Whereas, these false impressions denigrate the important work done by academic professional and classified employees, and lead to actual reductions in workplace support; now
            Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will encourage locals to negotiate contracts that substitute active terms like “preparation” on an equal basis with “break” (such as “winter break/preparation period”) and will lobby individual institutions and the legislature to substitute such language in official documentation and legislation, so that academic professionals and classified employees garner the respect, appreciation, and support they need to continue providing critical services during break/preparation periods.


Economic Issues
Resolution No. 2012-10
Address the Increasing Burden of Student Debt
            Whereas, most students in post-secondary education have to rely on loans to finance their education; and
            Whereas, the United States needs a highly educated workforce to remain competitive in the global market, and should incentivize higher education attainment; and
            Whereas, outstanding student loans will exceed $1 trillion dollars in 2012, and, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards (www.usatoday.com); and
            Whereas, the rise of for-profit colleges has accelerated this crisis, to the point that 44 percent of the students who have defaulted on loans being from for-profit colleges, despite the fact that for-profit colleges make up only 10 percent of the total post-secondary student population (www.pbs.org/frontline); and
            Whereas, predatory lending has been rampant in higher education just as it has been in the housing loan sectors, with banks and colleges preying on young adults, many of whom have little financial literacy; and
            Whereas, President Obama has called for an aggressive strategy to address student debt relief (http://moneyland.time.com); and
            Whereas, problems with home financing and mortgages along with the resultant flood of foreclosures came about from our most recent economic crisis, and experts are predicting that this mountainous level of student debt could trigger a new crisis in finance (www.usstudents.org); and
            Whereas, programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Based Repayment Plans, and Loan Repayment Assistance Plans need to be supported to help address this crisis (www.equaljusticeworks.org); now
            Therefore Be It Resolved, that the American Federation of Teachers support legislation and policies at the state and national level that would help to reduce the burden of student debt, by investing in funding for public post-secondary education institutions, programs, and education professionals; by utilizing programs to help with repayment or forgiveness of student loans; and supporting student financial literacy by expanding ability to deduct private loan interest on tax returns; and by increasing the amount of non-predatory financial support available to students; and
            Be It Further Resolved, that AFT and AFT-Oregon support the expansion of the forgiveness of private and federal student loans for service, in proportion to time in public service, in all public and non profit sector jobs in order to provide a stimulating effect on the states’ economy, freeing hundreds or thousands of dollars per month per affected individual for increasing spending, generating economic activity and creating jobs; for up to $10,000 per year or 50 percent of income, whichever is less; and
            Be It Further Resolved, that this resolution be suitably edited and forwarded to the AFT for action by that body.


Resolution No. 2012-11
Resolution in Support of the Occupy Movement
            Whereas, tens of thousands of people opposed to the continued dominance of big business influences in politics, the ridiculous notion of corporate personhood, rising economic inequality, unfair tax structures and corporate greed have occupied Wall Street and other locations around the nation and world under the moniker of the “Occupy” movement; and
            Whereas, the Occupy movement focuses attention on inadequate regulation of the financial industry, out-of-control health care costs, taxpayer-funded bailouts of private firms, the eroding living standards of middle class and poor Americans, illegal foreclosures, perpetuation of workplace inequality and discrimination, increasing student debt, outsourcing, political campaign financing, and corporate monopolies; and
            Whereas, the Occupy movement’s efforts to secure their constitutionally protected rights to peaceful protest and assembly have been subverted by unjustified allegations of threats to public safety and health; and
            Whereas, the strength of unions, which comes from collective action, rights to organize, picket, and strike, has also been subverted by unjustified allegation and political attacks on workers’ rights; and
            Whereas, those who blame working people for the state of the economy and claim they can fix the economy by giving to the rich and taking from the middle class and working families are the enemies of labor; now
            Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will stand in solidarity with the Occupy movement by participating in rallies and assisting with organizing when possible.
Resolution No. 2012-12
A Resolution in Support of Expanding the Oregon Family Leave Act to Include Part-Time Employees
            Whereas, all employees should have the right to take time off work to raise a newborn child or care for an immediate family member without fear of losing their job; and
            Whereas, no employee should lose their job because they need to take time off to battle a serious illness; and
            Whereas, current Oregon legislation discriminates against employees who work less than 25 hours a week by not protecting them under the Oregon Family Leave Act; and Whereas, business and government jobs increasingly have relied on part-time employees, increasing the number of individuals not protected under the Oregon Family Leave Act; and
            Whereas, AFT-Oregon represents many employees with part-time appointments and employees whose employment is intermittent throughout the year, structurally excluding them from the 180-day employment period requirement under current law; now
            Therefore Be It Resolved, AFT-Oregon will work to expand Oregon’s Family Leave Act to include all employees regardless of the number of hours worked per week or the amount of time an employee has been at a job.