AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

WORKERS' RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

WHEREAS, during the week leading up to and including International Human Rights Day, December 10, tens of thousands of workers and allies will mobilize to restore workers' freedom to form a union; and

WHEREAS, U.S. workers have had the right to form unions since 1935 and that it is one of the basic freedoms guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified December 10, 1948 by the United Nations; and

WHEREAS, union membership provides workers better wages and benefits and protection from discrimination and unsafe workplaces, while benefiting whole communities by strengthening tax bases, promoting equal treatment and enhancing civic participation; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers' organizing efforts in the private sector include assisting healthcare workers, early childhood educators, higher education adjunct faculty and support staff and private and charter school teachers to organize unions for representation and collective bargaining; and

WHEREAS, federal laws are now terribly compromised and poorly enforced, with employers across the nation routinely subverting free and fair union representation elections through harassment, intimidation, coercion and even termination; and

WHEREAS, employers in the private sector routinely violate federal labor election laws with impunity, knowing that such violations will result in negligible penalties; and

WHEREAS, a worker's fundamental right to choose a union is a public issue that requires public policy solutions, including legislative change; and

WHEREAS, card check recognition by majority sign-up will give more workers the opportunity to organize unions and increase the scope, scale and pace of organizing; and

WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act, a bipartisan bill in Congress, would allow all workers covered by the NLRA to organize freely through a simple majority sign-up process, ensure swift negotiation of first contracts by providing for binding arbitration where the parties cannot agree, and put in place meaningful penalties when workers' rights are denied:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will participate in events the week of December 10 and urge our state federations and locals to participate; and

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will undertake an ongoing campaign to educate union members, the public and elected officials; will push Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act; and will urge all affiliated unions to contribute to this effort and to adopt this same resolution of support for the campaign to restore workers' freedom to form unions. [Executive Council, October 2005]


(2005)