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Resolutions & Amendments

36th International Convention - Anaheim, CA (2004)

Organize to Improve Quality Jobs: Revive Civil Rights Unionism

Resolution No. 63
36th International Convention
June 21 - 25, 2004
Anaheim, CA


This country is facing a crisis of the rise of bad jobs: jobs that pay poorly, jobs with few benefits, that offer no protection from employer harassment and jobs whose only future is dead-end; and


Persons of color receive a disproportionate number of these bad jobs; and


Being relegated to these jobs results in an inability to sustain families and viable communities; and


Martin Luther King, Jr., addressed the AFL-CIO convention in 1961 and demonstrated with his words that the needs of African Americans "...are identical to organized labor's needs — the need for decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, and health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community. That is why Negroes support labor's demands and fight laws which curb labor. That is why the labor hater ... is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other month;" and


It is essential that those of us who are part of these two greatest movements for social and economic justice: the African American Freedom Movement and the labor movement stand with our arms linked in common cause with other people of color in order to strengthen these movements; and


The strengthening of these movements can only occur when there is a conscious understanding and firm commitment to taking our brothers' and sisters' hands who have been relegated to the ghetto of bad jobs and engage in a concerted effort to ensure that the lowest paid workers are organized and that the wages and work conditions of those who are already organized are upgraded with every contract negotiation.


That AFSCME work with other labor organizations, community groups, elected officials and faith-based organizations to fight to raise the minimum wage to a true livable wage; to lead in the exposure and elimination of persistent and sinister discriminatory practices by employers; and


That AFSCME initiate an internal discussion and examination amongst its affiliates of the actual work conditions among its membership and the communities where our members live; and


That AFSCME ensure that its organizing staff and organizing strategies clearly reflect its commitment as an organization to the essential link between the struggle against all forms of racism and the economic struggle for all workers.


Brenda Stokely, President and Delegate
AFSCME Council 1707
New York