Skip to main content
Resolutions & Amendments

37th International Convention - Chicago, IL (2006)

AFSCME in the 21st Century

Resolution No. 75
37th International Convention
August 7-11, 2006
Chicago, IL

AFSCME members and the services we provide are under attack by anti-worker politicians and big corporations who want to get rid of our jobs, strip us of our rights and dismantle the public sector. Our workloads are up and staffing is down.  We’re paying more for our health care, our pensions are on the chopping block, and it’s getting harder to negotiate good contracts; and

State employees in Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana lost their right to collective bargaining with the stroke of a pen; a fate that could happen to workers in other states as politicians increasingly side with the rich and powerful and neglect the needs of middle-class families; and

Over the years, we have waged and won historic fights for social and economic justice, but we cannot let our past successes make us complacent because the enemies of public service have raised the ante. They want to decimate public services and our union and are on the attack. The challenges we face are truly greater than ever before.  We need a new game plan to protect what we have and make gains in the future; and

Delegates to the AFSCME 36th International Convention created the Committee for the 21st Century, with a mandate to examine the union from top to bottom, develop a new and bold course of action equal to the challenges we face and build the greatest union in and for the 21st  century; and

The resulting 21st Century Initiative is the new game plan we need with the resources to get it done.  We will boost participation in our union by educating and mobilizing our members to make our union an even more powerful force in the workplace. We will train leaders and activists so we have the tools we need to achieve our goals.  We will recruit new members to make our union bigger and stronger.  We will be the leader in fixing our broken health care system. We will elect candidates who support us and hold them accountable on our issues. If we do not, everything we’ve fought for and won is at risk.
We are united in our commitment to the 1.4 million members of AFSCME and the 21st Century Initiative. We need a new game plan to make sure that employers and politicians respect AFSCME members and the services we provide; and

Employers will respect AFSCME members only if the union is a vital force in the workplace. AFSCME will create the labor movement’s finest program to educate and train leaders and activists so that every local union is ready and able to fight for good contracts, fair treatment and high quality public services; and

Politicians will support us only if the union is a political power that speaks for its members and holds elected officials accountable for their votes and their actions. AFSCME’s political, legislative and fundraising program will be woven into this union’s operations at every level, every day so that our members turn out in force on Election Day, let elected officials know what we expect of them and show their support through unprecedented PEOPLE fundraising; and

In order to be the union our members deserve now and in the future, we must recruit new workers in AFSCME. We believe this priority is so important that we have set ambitious goals. AFSCME will grow by 5 percent each year and will devote the resources, retain the staff and volunteer member organizers and develop the program necessary to meet that goal at all levels. As the front line in this union, locals must also organize internally to harness the strength of the members we already represent; and

Our nation’s health care crisis casts a shadow over all our efforts to improve workers’ lives. AFSCME affiliates and the International Union will work together to use all available means to preserve our members’ benefits and hold down costs. But we know that is not enough. We must take the lead and step up to the plate to demand real reform in Congress and in the states; and 

After we leave the 37th International Convention in Chicago, we will embrace the recommendations of the 21st   Century Initiative, integrating these changes and new approaches into the life and fabric of our union so that together we meet our challenges and forge a bright future for the 1.4 million members of AFSCME today and for those who come after us.