Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

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Date: Sunday, January 31
Place: Old Labor Hall, 46 Granite Street, Barre
Time: Registration 9 a.m. - Meeting 10 a.m.
Early registration by JANUARY 22nd is FREE. Register now at vslcafl@sover.net or call 802-223-5229

After the 22nd the cost is $10 (includes coffee, Danish & lunch)

Morning workshops will deal with key issues that members have identified:

  • Making the minimum wage a livable wage
  • Winning earned paid sick days
  • Ending worker misclassification
  • Issue that conference participants choose

Over lunch, working groups will meet to plan a Jobs, Justice & Climate campaign and Organizing a Strong Homecare Workers Union.

After lunch we will host candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Register now at vslcafl@sover.net or call 802-223-5229

The following resolution passed and submitted by the Green Mountain Labor Council in support of: Making a Living on a Living Planet will be debated at the Vermont AFL-CIO's upcoming convention. Please send your comments to vslcaflcio@gmail.com .

WHEREAS, in September 2014 the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO joined seventy-five local and national unions participating in the 400,000-strong Peoples Climate March under the banner “Climate Crisis + Economic Crisis” Two Crises…One Solution! – far more than for any other climate protection action in history; and

WHEREAS, now it is time for all those in the labor movement who are concerned about climate change to follow up by linking up; and

WHEREAS, climate change represents a serious threat to working people, the labor movement, and society at large. According to AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, “Scientists tell us we are headed ever more swiftly toward irreversible climate change—with catastrophic consequences for human civilization.  We must have a stable climate to feed the planet, to ensure there is drinking water for our cities but not floodwaters at our doors.  A stable climate is the foundation of our global civilization, of our global economy”; and

WHEREAS, we know what must be done. We have to shift to a lower carbon economy and fast. Nearly three decades of climate denial have us at the precipice. The time for slow, careful, cautious approaches is long past. The window for taking action grows smaller with each passing year; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that working people will suffer disproportionately from the current patterns of investment and neglect that do not prioritize good jobs, clean air, and healthy communities; and

WHEREAS, guaranteeing a Just Transition for workers and communities is a matter of elementary justice. It is unfair that workers who through no fault of their own happen to work in jobs that need to be eliminated to achieve a social good should bear the burden of that change by losing their jobs. Climate protection measures must also protect the current and future livelihoods of workers they affect. A labor plan for climate protection should insist from the outset that part of any transition away from fossil fuels includes protection for the wellbeing of workers whose jobs may be threatened, including guaranteeing full wages and benefits for those displaced, either for the retooling period, or if no longer needed, until retrained and/or able to find comparable work; and

WHEREAS, deepening our conversations about health and safety, on and off the job by providing space for working people to discuss our problems and develop a vision for alternatives is crucial in developing a worker-led environmental justice movement; and

WHEREAS, we must help the environmental movement emphasize a jobs program of its own, so as not to leave the jobs piece up to labor. Our labor movement should become a part of the solution to climate crisis, playing a leading role in building the movement to fight for a just transition to an ecologically sustainable society rather than leaving climate protection up to the environmental movement; and

WHEREAS, despite the energy of the environmental and environmental justice movements, without the collective power of workers institutions, it will not be enough to to mitigate the effects of climate change and other ecological calamities leading to economic collapse that could well become irreversible; ; and

WHEREAS, in the words of AFL-CIO Executive Vice-President Tefere Gebre, "You don't get justice by waiting for someone to give it to you - you have to go get it!"

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will join in organizing a Labor Convergence on Climate to help build a labor path to a sustainable future for the planet and its people, while providing for a Just Transition for all workers and communities impacted.

Submitted by Green Mountain Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

 

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Vermont AFL-CIO statement: Tax Fairness: An Answer to State Budget Problems

The Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO asks Vermont lawmakers to respect the collective bargaining process. The current state employees’ contract is a compromise agreed between the Administration and VSEA. To seek a reopener is to challenge the fundamental principle of collective bargaining. If wealthy private contractors and ski resorts aren’t expected to open their contracts, why should state employees? The Administration’s threats of furloughs and mass layoffs must stop.

If Vermont’s legislators are serious about addressing income inequality, the solution cannot be extracting millions in concessions from working families while Vermont’s overall regressive tax code further exacerbates inequality.

Our economy is growing, thanks in part to increased worker productivity, but working people are not seeing the fruits of our labor in higher wages. The gains are going to those at the top, who are receiving more of the state’s total income. On average the top 1% of Vermont taxpayers receive 18.1 times as much income as the bottom 99%.

Yet the wealthy pay far lower tax rates than middle-income Vermonters, unnecessarily squeezing our state budget, and putting more tax pressure on the rest of us. Revenue lost because of rising inequality and regressive taxes have led to underfunding investments in public employment and higher education, skimping on public services, especially for those at the bottom of the income ladder like people with disabilities and LIHEAP recipients. But it hits all of us as services deteriorate and needs go unmet.

Taxing the top 1% at the same overall rate as middle-income Vermonters would generate an estimated $52 million in additional revenue, while taxing the top 20% at the same rate would generate $144 million from tax fairness. The capital gains tax exclusion alone costs Vermont $17.3 million. Vermont should generate sufficient revenue by fixing inequities in our tax code.

Below is a link that will take you to the "We The People" web site where you can sign a petition to save the Postal Service supported by the NALC, APWU and NPMHU. This is in support of Congressman Peter DeFazio's bill (HR 630), known as the "Postal Service Protection Act" (and the companion Senate bill, S-316, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders), which would:

prevent post offices from shutting down
support a comprehensive postal reform package that would end the unnecessary pre-funding of retiree health benefits
mandate six-day mail delivery
preserve overnight delivery standards
allow for creation of new streams of revenue through non-postal services
return pension overpayments to the Postal Service, and
save decent middle-class jobs.
Please take a couple of minutes to support this important effort.

Please ask your friends, family members, neighbors, Facebook "friends", etc. to show their support for the USPS by signing it.

Here's how:
Click this link.

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Vermont's leading voices for working families and the environment are united and speak with one voice when it comes to renewable in-state energy production. We, the Vermont AFL-CIO, the Vermont Building and Construction Trades Council, the Iron Workers Local 7, 350Vermont, and the Vermont Sierra Club, agree that renewable energy production is necessary if we are to become energy independent, environmentally responsible and carbon neutral.

The Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is the state federation of labor representing over 10,000 members in numrous unions throughout Vermont. The mission of the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families—to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our state and the nation.

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