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Texas AFL-CIO COPE 2022 Resolutions

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1) Resolution on SB 8

WHEREAS, the Texas Legislature in 2021 approved SB 8 and Gov. Greg Abbott signed the measure into law;
WHEREAS, SB 8 has cynically sought to evade the U.S. Constitution by setting up a system calculated to prevent the exercise of a woman’s reproductive rights as enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court;
WHEREAS, SB 8 is an extreme, ideological measure that goes way beyond any substantive debate on abortion in a way that clearly threatens livelihoods and public health of not only women, but all working people;
WHEREAS, SB 8 includes a civil enforcement mechanism that encourages and enables any person, regardless of any actual connection to an abortion, regardless of where they live or how they are personally affected, to sue for at least $10,000 alleging that an abortion has taken place or is intended after six weeks of pregnancy, in effect creating ideological bounty hunters;
WHEREAS, the lawsuit mechanism subverts judicial review and, if ultimately upheld, carves a path for laws that would deny fundamental constitutional rights on other subjects;
WHEREAS, workers will be ensnared in life-altering lawsuits that allege abetting of an abortion for simply doing their jobs, for example, a taxi driver who drops a woman off near an abortion clinic, the nurse who takes the vital signs, the orderly who pushes the wheelchair, the school guidance counselor who listens to the teenage mom with a sympathetic ear, etc.;
WHEREAS, SB 8 is the latest in a series of laws that aimed to defund or financially ruin organizations whose main mission is to provide general health care to women;
WHEREAS, the running attack on such organizations threatens the livelihoods and the health of working women and poor women;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that delegates to the COPE Convention condemn the passage of SB 8;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the delegates oppose implementation of SB 8 and the passage of any future laws like it; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates call on the judicial system to overturn SB 8 and outlaw this attack on the Constitution.

2) San Antonio Musicians

Be it resolved,
The Texas AFL-CIO stands with the striking San Antonio Symphony members of American Federation of Musicians Local 23 in their struggle to thwart Symphony management's attempt to unilaterally impose--through Unfair Labor Practices--unacceptable working conditions, poverty-level wages, decimated health coverage, and a Union-busting "A/B" caste system on the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony ("MOSAS").

3) Resolution Opposing Sedition

WHEREAS, in service to Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that seeks without an iota of evidence to delegitimize the 2020 presidential election, more than 2,000 insurrectionists violently invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 with the express intent of overturning the clear will of the American people in a presidential election;
WHEREAS, the attack was an attempted coup, with some invaders intending violence against the Vice President of the United States, the House Speaker and other lawmakers;
WHEREAS, the seat of legislative government was defaced, trashed, defecated upon, and otherwise violated by the insurrectionists;
WHEREAS, the insurrectionists were incited by President Donald Trump and a corps of enablers during a rally ahead of the Capitol invasion, and subsequent investigation has revealed that Trump watched the events on TV for hours before speaking up and without taking action;
WHEREAS, members of Congress had to suspend proceedings and hide out while their lives were at risk;
WHEREAS, despite a non-response from the President, an outnumbered Capitol police force heroically saved lives and risked their own to protect our constitutional form of government;
WHEREAS, the mob at the Capitol included dozens of Texans, at least 64 of whom have been criminally charged and, in some cases, sentenced to prison;
WHEREAS, Attorney General Ken Paxton was among the speakers at the now-infamous rally ahead of the invasion;
WHEREAS, after the insurrection, 17 Texas lawmakers, all of them Republican, voted NOT to certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory;
WHEREAS, silence or equivocation from Texas statewide officials and most Republican lawmakers in the wake of the invasion amounted to complicity;
WHEREAS, as legitimate change looms in Texas and elsewhere, threatening current wielders of power, the radical right has openly discussed violence as a form of political action, with polls suggesting a frightening plurality sees violence as a potential means to achieve goals;
WHEREAS, the Big Lie and insurrection paved the way for state laws, including some in Texas, that aim to suppress votes and deny equal representation on a partisan basis;
WHEREAS, Texans were once giants in the advancement of civil rights and voting rights, producing a U.S. President who sacrificed long-term partisan advantage to enact historic laws that elevated justice in our nation;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that delegates to the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention denounce all sedition, past and continuing, associated with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection and call for continued justice to hold all perpetrators responsible; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates vow to take any and all actions within the law and our power to preserve the sanctity of representative elections in our nation, denounce violence, and restore Texas as a beacon of democracy.
“The attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attempted coup, pure and simple. The more we learn from ongoing investigations, the scarier it gets: The armed insurrectionists seeking to stop certification of the presidential election joined an effort by a sitting President to spread the Big Lie, override the will of the American people, and commandeer another term in office.”
“The coup continues, in the form of partisan laws in Texas and other states that build paths toward overturning key elections because a legislative majority doesn’t like the result. Ongoing ballot audits, partisan bad-mouthing of Texas elections, and open discussion among radical groups of violence as a path to power threaten all of us. We are appalled at the silence, amounting to complicity, in too many political quarters. The working families of the Texas AFL-CIO will shout it from the rooftops: Fanning the flames of violent insurrection is un-Texan and un-American, as well as criminal. We will fight attacks on our democracy at every turn.”
“The response to the attack on democracy in Texas has been a product of weakness, fear and, ultimately, desperation as legitimate political change looms. Our Attorney General loves to preach about ‘the rule of law,’ but it bears noting on this day that he was one of the speakers at the infamous rally that incited the attack on the Capitol and in the name of Texas, he actually tried without evidence to overturn elections in other states. Our Governor, prompted by Donald Trump, called debilitating special legislative sessions that ratcheted up a regime of voter purges and ballot audits. Too many lawmakers sided with Trump or stood silent and, in doing so, became accomplices.”
“There was a time when Texans were giants in the advancement of civil rights and voting rights, when a President from Texas sacrificed partisan advantage to do right by all Americans. In 2022, before it is too late, Texas must again become a beacon in the fight for democracy.”
“It is high time for Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and for Texans to work in good faith to strengthen elections, rather than undermine them.”

4) Resolution on Build Back Better

WHEREAS, Congress approved an historic infrastructure bill that includes long-overdue work on building and repairing roads, bridges, rails and other key structures, boosting the fight against COVID-19, expanding broadband service across the nation, improving drinking water, and addressing the climate crisis;
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO and Texas AFL-CIO strongly supported the Infrastructure Bill but also strongly support another legislative vehicle for building a strong economy for the future – Build Back Better legislation;
WHEREAS, Build Back Better would invest in child care, home care, clean energy jobs, health care, tax fairness, immigration improvements and support for union organizing;
WHEREAS, those subjects have come to the fore as the pandemic upended daily lives across Texas and the nation;
WHEREAS, millions of Texans have struggled to pay for the basic necessities in their lives and Build Back Better holds out the possibility of a strong step in the direction of economic justice for working poor families;
WHEREAS, investments in good union climate jobs and other jobs that would be based in the U.S. would reduce our nation’s dependency on foreign manufacturers when disaster strikes;
WHEREAS, Build Back Better would take key steps to hold employers more accountable when they break the law to bust union organizing;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention delegates join the national AFL-CIO in calling for the U.S. Senate to approve Build Back Better legislation forthwith; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the delegates call on all working families of the Texas AFL-CIO to unite behind historic, course-changing Build Back Better legislation and to work to secure passage by all the means at our command.

5) Resolution to End the Children Without Placement Crisis

WHEREAS, Texas is under Judicial oversight after being found by Federal Courts to fail to protect children in the foster care system from harm;
WHEREAS, Privatization attempts of DFPS by the Texas Legislature have failed to improve outcomes for children in foster care;
WHEREAS, The State of Texas and private contractors have failed to expand safe foster care placements options that has led to a shortage of quality placements for children in the foster care system ;
WHEREAS, the lack of safe placements has led to a rise of Children Without Placement (CWOP) throughout the state, resulting in children staying in offices, hotels, apartments, and churches under the supervision of DFPS Staff;
WHEREAS, DFPS Staff must complete CWOP duties on top of their own job duties without the proper training or qualifications necessary to meet the child’s needs;
WHEREAS, the CWOP crisis continues to put DFPS Staff and the Foster children of our State in often dangerous situations in unacceptable settings;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Texas AFL-CIO COPE convention urges the Texas Governor to immediately prioritize the resolution of the CWOP crisis by increasing funding to DFPS for Staffing, Placements and additional resources needed to care for the Children in foster care.

6) Resolution to Provide a Bonus Check to ERS Retirees

Resolution to provide a Bonus check to ERS retirees
WHEREAS, the ERS pension represents the promise of a secure and dignified retirement for State Employees;
WHEREAS, State retiree’s dedicated their life to the service of the residents of Texas;
WHEREAS, the ERS Pension plan has failed to offer any form of benefit enhancement since 2001, causing the benefit to fall behind the rising cost of living;
WHEREAS, the stagnant ERS pension annuity has caused current retires to experience a declining standard of living;
WHEREAS, a permanent COLA would provide added security to the retirement of state employees;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Texas AFL-CIO COPE convention fully support the Texas Legislature prefunding an immediate $2,000 bonus check for all current ERS retirees and that the legislature add a permanent COLA structure to the ERS Pension to keep up with inflation.

7) Resolution Restoring the ERS Pensions

WHEREAS, defined benefit pension plans are the cornerstone of the retirement system for state employees, firefighters, police, teachers, nurses, correctional employees, and other public employees in Texas; and afford public employees the ability to build and safeguard income security in retirement, making use of professional asset managers exercising sound judgment, procuring lower investment fees and obtaining representative returns;
WHEREAS, a large percentage of the Teacher Retirement System, the Employees Retirement System and other state and local pension funds come from the paychecks of workers themselves;
WHEREAS, Senate Bill 321 in the 87th Legislature restructured the ERS pension plan for new State employees hired after Sept 1st 2022 to a Cash Balance plan shifting market risk from the State to the employee;
WHEREAS, the shift from defined benefit to Cash balance is merely a step towards a complete conversion of public sector pensions to a 401k style defined contribution plan;
WHEREAS, the “grand bargain” for public employees is that while they may be paid less than their counterparts in the private sector, they will enjoy decent health plans and a pension that makes possible a secure retirement;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Texas AFL-CIO COPE convention fully support restoring the Employee Retirement System pension fund to a historic defined Benefit plan.

8) Resolution on Fixing the Texas Energy Grid

WHEREAS, for the last century Texas has profited from vast natural resources and has been styled in many quarters as “the energy capital of the world”;
WHEREAS, on and around Valentine’s Day 2021, a statewide ice storm struck Texas;
WHEREAS, the Texas energy grid – a grid that includes no compacts with other states – failed millions of Texans, leaving them freezing in their homes and, in many cases, losing water service as they tried to keep pipes from freezing;
WHEREAS, Gov. Greg Abbott and the bureaucracy he controls, including ERCOT and the Public Utility Commission, were woefully unprepared for a situation that produced cascading loss of power across Texas;
WHEREAS, by official account, Texas came perilously close to seeing the grid melt down in a way that might have required months to fix;
WHEREAS, the state’s official death toll for the disaster was 246 in 77 counties, with tens of billions of dollars of damage to property, though some sources suggest the actual death toll may have been as much as five times the official count;
WHEREAS, a key element of the key reason for the failure of the grid was the Enron devised deregulation system that leaves the public at the mercy of energy producers who can manipulate the system to maximize profit and who are unaccountable to the needs of the public;
WHEREAS, the inability of natural gas producers to provide adequate fuel in the crisis, in part because their facilities had not been weatherized to protect production during freezes because it wasn’t profitable for them to do so;
WHEREAS, the Texas Legislature ultimately failed to address the problem and only rearrange the bureaucracies without taking basic key steps to protect the public such as mandating weatherization or other available direct actions to fix the grid;
WHEREAS, Abbott and other leaders made a point of criticizing subsidies for green energy, such as wind and solar power, rather than directly acknowledging his failure and the failure of our deregulated system to hold energy companies responsible and act effectively to fix the conditions that led to the crisis;
WHEREAS, Texas consumers found they will bear the brunt of the cost of the power outages for decades through higher utility bills, without any assurance that a repeat can be avoided;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that delegates to the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention call for real reform of the energy grid that cures long years of neglect of this vital piece of state infrastructure and involves state regulation of the energy industry, not energy industry regulation of the state;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates continue to endorse climate jobs that will develop and maintain clean energy options as a key and growing part of the mix of energy production in Texas.

9) Resolution Opposing Texas Immigration Operations

WHEREAS, Gov. Greg Abbott has played politics with our nation’s ongoing problems at the border by overseeing spending of billions of Texas taxpayer dollars for escalating patrol of the state border;
WHEREAS, the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration and border patrol, and programs like “Operation Lone Star” and deployment of Department of Public Safety officers to the border are not a traditional function of state government and can only be ancillary to the federal government’s constitutional role;
WHEREAS, the billions of dollars allocated by the Texas Legislature to border patrols is escalating the number of traffic tickets issued but has done little to eliminate the long-running crisis in our immigration system;
WHEREAS, money is being directly drawn from programs meeting critical state needs, such as essential funding for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to waste on this political stunt;
WHEREAS, the border patrol operation is taking its toll on National Guard troops sent to South Texas by Abbott, with many crammed in trailers and some missing out on life-changing career opportunities;
WHEREAS, Army Times has reported a rise in the number of suicides by troops whose lives have been disrupted by long assignments at the border, as well as the state’s failure to keep troop paychecks current;
WHEREAS, the vast and growing Texas taxpayer resources deployed to the border could better be spent on crying needs in education, health care, human services, state employee raises, and other important matters;
WHEREAS, in an egregious example of misplaced priorities, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice saw $250 million of its budget borrowed by Abbott to provide a “down payment” on a border wall;
WHEREAS, Abbott’s show-horse border wall project and the constitutionally objectionable detainment of legitimate asylum-seekers in prison without due process are ineffectual and embarrassing;
WHEREAS, the Texas AFL-CIO continues to strongly support a national solution to the immigration crisis;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that delegates to the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention call on the Governor and Legislature to leave immigration matters in the province of the federal government, where it belongs, and stop spending billions of dollars on highly politicized border operations; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates continue to support comprehensive immigration reform that would address the needs of immigrants while reestablishing orderly processes at the border.

10) Resolution on Protecting Local Control

WHEREAS, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature have waged an ongoing attack on the ability of local officeholders to govern within their jurisdictions;
WHEREAS, the attack on local control has focused heavily on local efforts to regulate basic workplace safety;
WHEREAS, the attack on local control has taken aim at local ordinances that provide for such matters as paid sick leave, Fair Chance hiring, rest breaks for construction workers, and non-discrimination rules that support LGBTQ and other communities;
WHEREAS, local governments have entered the field because the Legislature has declined to take up legislation on workplace safety, leaving a vacuum that harms working families;
WHEREAS, local voters and governments have a strong interest in saving lives, guarding health and managing taxpayer funds at the local level;
WHEREAS, over several years Abbott has repeatedly urged and lawmakers have brought to the brink of passage a bill that would have cut off the ability of cities, counties and other governmental units to enact pro-worker ordinances and rules;
WHEREAS, the United Labor Legislative Committee and allies, buoyed by strong opposition from working families, did a stellar job of resisting such legislation and beating it back, at least for now;
WHEREAS, where once the protection of local control was something that both Democrats and Republicans respected, the fight for local control has taken on a partisan tone, as state Republican leaders aimed their rhetoric at the largest cities and counties, which have trended Democratic;
WHEREAS, the fight is continuing and the 2022 election will go a long way toward deciding the fate of local efforts to protect working families from harm;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that delegates to the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention reiterate our strong support for the ability of local governments to enact local workplace regulations supported by local voters in cases where state law is silent; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Texas AFL-CIO will continue to oppose legislation seeking to cut off the jurisdiction of local governments on workplace safety matters that can save and improve lives.

11) Resolution Supporting the PRO Act

WHEREAS, the PRO Act, which would level the playing field for millions of working people who support organizing a union at their workplace, remains pending in the U.S. Senate following passage by the U.S. House more than a year agor;
WHEREAS, the PRO Act would empower workers to speak up together for better wages, stronger benefits, tighter safety protocols and better working conditions;
WHEREAS, the PRO Act would remove long-standing barriers to organizing that anti-union companies exploit to isolate workers;
WHEREAS, we have seen continuing violations of current law by large corporations to prevent unionization, including Amazon’s behavior when workers sought to organize a facility in Bessemer, Alabama;
WHEREAS, the PRO Act includes a repeal of so-called “right to work” laws, a provision that would promote workplace democracy and strengthen all working families in Texas;
WHEREAS, the voices of all workers would be strengthened by having a free and open option to choose to negotiate through a labor union;
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO continues to work at the U.S. Senate and union members across the nation continue to urge senators who are not already on board to support the PRO Act;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that delegates to the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention reiterate our strong support for the PRO Act and call on Congress to move this legislation to the White House for signature; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates support a version of the PRO Act for public employees, who have also seen attacks on their ability to speak up together.

12) Resolution on Voting Rights

WHEREAS, the Big Lie has proliferated;
WHEREAS, because of the machinations of Donald Trump and his enablers, polls suggest millions of Americans believe without a scintilla of evidence that President Biden was not really elected in 2020;
WHEREAS, the groundless belief that secure, accurate Texas and U.S. elections have been compromised undermines democracy and paves the way for future attempts to disregard the expressed will of voters;
WHEREAS, in Texas and other states, lawmakers have acted on a bogus assumption that vote fraud is rampant when in fact it is a rarity;
WHEREAS, SB 1 and other Texas legislation have cut off methods of voting that made it safer and easier for Texans to vote in record numbers in 2020;
WHEREAS, SB 1 has launched a system of election audits that can take place even when there is no serious doubt votes were counted correctly;
WHEREAS, similar voter suppression legislation in other states, combined with the January 6 insurrection and bad-faith lawsuits aimed at overturning the presidential election, attacked one of the most fundamental rights in our Constitution;
WHEREAS, gerrymandered Texas redistricting maps aimed solely at protecting Republican power disregard the reality that virtually all Texas population growth in the last decade came in communities of color;
WHEREAS, the Texas maps and maps in other states deliberately suppress the ability of communities of color to elect representatives of their choice for purely partisan purposes;
WHEREAS, the federal Voting Rights Act has been rendered weak by the U.S. Supreme Court and desperately needs revamping to restore the ability of the Justice Department to protect the voices of all American voters;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, delegates to the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention call on Congress to pass pending voting rights laws, including the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, to ensure partisan map-making, attacks on perfectly legitimate voting methods, and other forms of voter suppression can be halted so that all Americans have the best possible access to voting; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that delegates condemn SB 1 and call for restoration of innovations that encourage voting while enhancing physical safety; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that delegates commit themselves to fighting together to save our democracy from these attacks and support candidates who will fight with us.

13) Resolution Against Physical Assaults and Mistreatment

On May 23, 2021, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant was attacked by a passenger, lost two teeth and suffered other injuries to her face. On May 24, a JetBlue passenger had to be restrained with zip ties after he threw his carry-on luggage, laid down in the aisle, refused to get up, grabbed a flight attendant by the ankles and stuck his head up her skirt. On a recent Allegiant Airlines flight, it took five people, including three flight attendants, to tie down a passenger with 10 seat belt extensions. One flight attendant had bruises on her ribs from being kicked and another was bit on the breast by the enraged passenger.

Every day, flight attendants and airport workers across the industry are victims of physical and verbal harassment. In 2021, passenger misconduct reports to the FAA skyrocketed 4000 percent to nearly 6,000 incidents with 4290 mask-mandate related. In the same year, Southwest Airlines flight attendants reported an alarming 477 incidents of passenger misconduct over a one-month period.

Mismanagement by bosses is exacerbating this crisis. Flight attendants and airport workers have been pushed to the brink by airline and airport management’s poor preparation for the recovery from the economic downturn. Flight attendants and airport workers are suffering from excessive duty days, constant schedule changes, fatigue, COVID-19 infections, and threats of discipline for using their earned sick time.

Facemask disputes, frustration over delays and cancellations, and pent-up anger from the pandemic are all commonly cited reasons for the surge in violence in airports and on aircraft and in airports. When misconduct is reported, airlines often simply remove offenders from one flight only to put them on the next one. There is no excuse for allowing this abuse to continue. While the FAA issued a zero-tolerance policy on passenger misconduct and levied over one million dollars in fines to passengers, only a small number of the cases have been referred for prosecution. More must be done to protect flight attendants and all airline workers.


RESOLVED, that the 2022 Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention calls for the following actions to prevent assaults on America’s flight attendants and all airport workers:

Seek federal legislation to include an industry wide permanent banned passenger list no fly list for passengers convicted of assaulting flight crews or airline employees
Work with state and local lawmakers to elevate the penalties for assaulting airline workers and deter would-be perpetrators
Prohibit serving alcohol on domestic flights and study a ban on alcohol sales in passenger terminals
Demand that the Department of Justice, airlines, and airports file criminal charges whenever there is any incident of passenger misconduct or assault aboard commercial airlines or in airports
Require that flight attendant self-defense training be paid and mandatory
Permanently change mandatory airline announcements to inform passengers that misconduct or assault will result in criminal prosecution and fines
Require airports to be staffed with visible security officers in passenger check-in and gate areas
Expand the Federal Air Marshal Service to increase the number of flights with an armed Air Marshal, and BE IT FINALLY

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and the appropriate Chairs and Ranking members of the House and Senate Committees and Subcommittees dealing with the safety on our nation’s commercial air carriers.

Violence against our Members is never acceptable. We call on the Texas State AFL-CIO COPE Convention to stand together and send the strongest message that assaults on airline workers won’t fly.