Convention Resolutions 2011

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Resolutions Adopted by Convention
 
Collective Bargaining
 
Resolution No. 2011-1
Conversion to a Contingent Workforce
           
Whereas, the number of contingent positions for staff in educational institutions has risen in the last decade; and            
Whereas, current U.S. Department of Labor data shows the number of part-time workers has grown to nearly 40 percent of education workers and is expected to continue to increase; and
Whereas, these contingent positions are often classified as casual so they can be excluded from the local bargaining unit, along with the rights, responsibilities, and benefits of belonging to a union; and 
Whereas, many of the employees in these positions continue to work on a regular and ongoing basis for their employer even though treated as contingent, part-time temporary workers by employers; and
Whereas, the frequent turnover in contingent positions negatively affects the consistency of services available to students and clients; and the lack of any reliability for continued employment leads to low morale and is injurious to the profession; and
Whereas, for the benefit of our students and clients, it is necessary to have a consistent, professional, and dedicated workforce; now
Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will make addressing this issue a priority and explore at the state level legislative solutions; and, at the local level, organizing, and collective bargaining solutions.
 
 
Economic Issues
 
Resolution No. 2011-2
Social Security and the Federal Budget Deficit
 
Whereas, Social Security has demonstrated great success over the decades since its enactment, efficiently providing retired workers with income security and preventing millions of workers, including retirees, disabled workers, children, widows, widowers, parents and spouses, from falling into poverty; and
Whereas, Social Security is entirely funded by payroll taxes paid by workers and employers and is not in any manner responsible for the federal government’s accumulated debt; and
Whereas, minor adjustments to the funding formula and removing the cap on taxable income will ensure the continued solvency of Social Security for the foreseeable future, thereby maintaining its benefits for future retirees; and
Whereas, it is unconscionable that deficit reduction proposals, such as that put forward by Simpson and Bowles, should target Social Security for significant and disproportionate cuts in benefits in order to pay federal debts – debts largely due to tax cuts for the wealthy, a financial collapse produced by wild speculation, and two wars; and
Whereas, such irresponsible attempts to cut Social Security and thereby use its funds for other purposes, play into the hands of extremists and ideologues who have sought for generations to undermine Social Security and other safety-net programs; now
Therefore Be It Resolved, that Social Security must be preserved for future generations who stand to lose the most from any program cuts, and it must not be used as a piggy bank for unrelated purposes; and
Be It Further Resolved, that Social Security must be held apart from proposals for reducing the federal government deficit; and      
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon, its members and affiliates support and encourage only such changes in Social Security as are reasonable and necessary to improve benefits and for self-funding of the program; and
Be It Finally Resolved, that this resolution be suitably edited and forwarded to the AFL-CIO and AFT for appropriate action by those bodies.
 
 
Resolution No. 2011-3
Social Security and the Cost of Living
 
Whereas, the Social Security Program is a solemn pact made between the U.S. Government and American workers, in order to ensure that upon their retirement former workers will have income security; and
Whereas, the Social Security program is funded by payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers, and therefore Social Security expenditures do not add to the federal debt; and
Whereas, 64 percent of Social Security recipients are retired workers, 15 percent are disabled workers, 8 percent are children, 8 percent are widows, widowers and parents, and 5 percent are spouses;[1] and
Whereas, Social Security is the principal means of support of many of those individuals, helping them maintain a reasonable standard of living, and program benefits keep millions from falling into poverty; and
Whereas, the formula used for Social Security COLA adjustments understates the true increases in living costs for retirees and others, particularly in health care and shelter; and
Whereas, it is possible to construct a cost-of-living adjustment that more accurately reflects the true increases in living costs, one example of which is the CPI-E, which would rectify the deficiencies of the current formula; now
Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon, its members and affiliates support the development, enactment and implementation by the Social Security Administration of a cost-of-living formula for Social Security that more accurately measures the true increases in living costs for this group of Americans; and
Be It Finally Resolved, that this resolution be suitably edited and forwarded to the AFL-CIO and the AFT for appropriate action by those bodies.


 

Human Rights and Community Relations
 
Resolution No. 2011-4
A Resolution in Support of Equity
 
Whereas, racism has been used as a tool to divide workers against each other to the detriment of the many and the benefit of the few; and
Whereas, sexism has been used as a tool to divide workers against each other to the detriment of the many and the benefit of the few; and
Whereas, heterosexism has been used as a tool to divide workers against each other to the detriment of the many and the benefit of the few; and
Whereas, ableism has been used as a tool to divide workers against each other to the detriment of the many and the benefit of the few; and
Whereas, ageism has been used as a tool to divide workers against each other to the detriment of the many and the benefit of the few; and
Whereas, religious discrimination has been used as a tool to divide workers against each other to the detriment of the many and the benefit of the few; and
Whereas, classism has been used as a tool to divide workers against each other to the detriment of the many and the benefit of the few; now
Therefore Be It Resolved, that the intentions and actions of AFT-Oregon be in opposition to inequity and discrimination of any type; and
Be It Further Resolved, that our intentions and actions work toward equity to the benefit of everyone.
 
 
Legislative Issues
 
Resolution No. 2011-5
The Role of Educators and Students in Assessing Post-Secondary Student Success
 
Whereas, accountability and performance assessments are becoming the major focus in post-secondary education; and
Whereas, politicians and legislative leaders are going to extraordinary attempts to implement new methods of assessing post-secondary education institutions and programs; and
Whereas, these efforts are financed and promoted by foundations and consulting firms who approach the institution of education from a corporate business perspective that is wholly inappropriate to the mission of post-secondary education; and
Whereas, educators and students are the last to be consulted, if consulted at all, in this arena of assessing student success and the quality of education; and
Whereas, these benchmarks of accountability and performance are based on the fact that they are easy statistics to compile as opposed to any meaningful data to indicate student success or quality of education; and
Whereas, post-secondary educators are already continually assessing the success of their students and the quality of their programs; and students have a diversity of goals for their education, and should be consulted to identify these goals and their outcomes; and

 

 

 

Whereas, it is a best practice for educators to incorporate the assessment of a program and the success of students into the design of any curriculum; and
Whereas, educators are professionals and have the right to determine programmatic and institutional standards for assessing student success and the quality of education; and students should be ensured participation in this process as it is their success which is the focus; and
Whereas, other stakeholders, such as administrators and the business community, can help to inform the goals and outcomes for a post-secondary education, but are not as qualified to assess curriculum as educators; now
Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will advocate for a major role for educators and students in matters relating to the assessment of student success and the quality of education in post-secondary education.
 
 
Resolution No. 2011-6
Supporting Meaningful Standards in K-12 Education
                                        
Whereas, discussions of student and program assessment have become trendy, such as, the proficiency model, the growth model, No Child Left Behind and standardized testing; and
Whereas, many of these models have been created and implemented without the input of educators; and
Whereas, accountable and quality standards for assessing student and institutional success in primary and secondary education are already a professional responsibility for educators; and
Whereas, many proposals for assessing performance are based on business practices that have little or no application to the assessment of student success and the quality of education; and
Whereas, because students learn in different ways and at different rates, use of new, effective styles of instruction and new technology must be applied to accommodate these differences; and
Whereas, because our members in pre-K-12 education are in a unique position to assist these efforts, especially because of their close contact with disadvantaged and at-risk students; and
Whereas, such systems must both motivate students to reach higher standards of achievement, and improve our educational system in ways that make it possible to do so, while taking into account complicating factors as student ability to learn, language barriers, poverty, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, poor nutrition, teenage pregnancy, homelessness and broken homes; and
Whereas, any system of educational assessment standards needs to be part of a program that includes a content-rich curriculum aligned with model assessment, professional development, and lesson plans, time for collaboration and planning during the school day, and measures to ensure educators are provided what they need to make standards work in classrooms; and
Whereas, need for different types of personnel to work with students in areas such as small group learning, computer-assisted learning, tutoring, coaching and parental involvement, requiring development of standards for qualification and performance that promote the best methods and behaviors; and
Whereas, classified, non-certified staff play a valuable role in students’ entire educational process; and
Whereas, ongoing educational opportunities for school employees are an important part of the reform process, including professional development opportunities for all school staff in conjunction with licensed teaching personnel, promoting improved educational service to students, and active participation by all staff in reform discussions in order for all to meet the highest standards of the education professions; now

 

 

 

Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon and its Local affiliates commit their support of AFT school reform road map for local, state and national reform efforts; and 
Be It Further Resolved, that all changes growing out of any reform must be based on demonstrable positive effect on student outcomes; and
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon and its affiliates support identifying ways in which the work of classified personnel affects student achievement and establish them as full partners in a united education team with a seat at the table in all reform discussions.
 
 
Resolutions
 
Resolution 2011-9
The Necessity of Strategic Positioning in the Union Movement
 
Whereas, the current political climate is one in which both collective bargaining rights and the traditional benefits of the middle-class, such as regular employment, a living wage, adequate health care, and a secure retirement, are under siege; and
Whereas, the union movement seeks to ensure that our work and our contributions receive the respect they deserve; and
Whereas, the necessity for the union movement to pro-actively fight for our rights is even more critical as it is for all organizations that advocate for member issues and interests; and
Whereas, unions have found success in advancing their position when they work together with allies and other organizations in partnerships and coalitions; and
Whereas, this requires a strategic approach, identifying areas of agreement with other organizations as a foundation for alignment on common objectives; and
Whereas, AFT-Oregon has, in the past, successfully partnered with other social, political, health, educational and community organizations to achieve our common goals; and
Whereas, areas of common agreement and cooperation do not imply or require embracing the overall agenda or objectives of other potential coalition partners; now
Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will evaluate partnerships and coalitions based on the identified, common issues, and, issue by issue, in pursuit of our goals and objectives on behalf of those we represent.
 
 
Resolution No. 2011-10
 
Whereas, education reform is a leading indicator of blame, job realignment and reconfiguration, and possible loss of positions in the education system; and
Whereas, opinion leaders, politicians, and pundits freely offer views on how education, schools and delivery should be changed; and
Whereas, these assertions and discussions usually avoid discussion of real impact on working people in the education institutions; and in circumstances where they do, they only reference teachers; and
Whereas, the education system includes a wide range of workers who as a group are known as classified employees, who are on the front line of student contact and interaction; and
Whereas, classified are usually the lowest paid and often take the brunt of changing configurations; and

 

 

 

Whereas, little if any attention is given to steadily increasing administrative and management positions in schools and districts; and
Whereas, reforms that result in expansion in the numbers of school and education administrators and managers are not examined in relation to support of education delivery, but usually steer resources away from classified and teaching employment, needs and resources; now
Therefore Be It Resolved, that AFT-Oregon assist Locals in developing performance surveys of supplies, materials and basic needs for classified employees, the current ratio of administrators and management to classified employees, the trends in numbers and overall costs in actual dollars, and as a portion of the Local education budget; and 
Be It Further Resolved, that AFT-Oregon will explore development of and support for forums for classified employees to share this information, and to mutually explore strategies and identify partners and coalitions to address these issues.
 
 
Special Order of Business
 
Resolution No. 2011-11
A Resolution Directing the AFT-Oregon Executive Council to Pursue a Sustainable Percapita Structure
 
Whereas, the AFT-Oregon Executive Council has both the power and the knowledge necessary to pursue a percapita system that is sustainable for the AFT-Oregon Locals and that ensures that AFT-Oregon maintains a level of funding appropriate for continuing to pursue its goals; now
Therefore Be It Resolved, that the AFT-Oregon Executive Council will work in the coming year to design a sustainable percapita structure for AFT-Oregon; and
Be It Further Resolved, that the percapita structure designed by the AFT-Oregon Executive Council will be presented to the AFT-Oregon membership at the 60th annual AFT-Oregon Convention in 2012 as a proposed amendment to the AFT-Oregon Constitution and Bylaws; and

Be It Further Resolved, that the AFT-Oregon Locals will fully support the AFT-Oregon Executive Council in their efforts to design a sustainable percapita structure.




[1] Information from December 2009, available on www.aarp.org