Dec
07
When: Saturday, Dec 7, 2019, 8:30am - 3:00pm

AFL-CIO Members Come And Decide The New Political Direction of Labor For The Years To Come - Labor Allies Welcome!

The Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, is convening a historic political summit on December 7, 2019 in order to make a determination as to how we move forward with our political agenda, how we may change our approach to the legislative process, and to re-evaluate our relationship to the political parties and elections/endorsements. For too long the Vermont AFL-CIO has endorsed dozens and dozens of candidates (who win), and then those elected officials FAIL to advance a Labor agenda. In the last election we helped elect a “veto proof majority” of Democrats and Progressives to the Vermont Statehouse, and yet in 2019 the General Assembly could still not be bothered to pass the livable wage bill or the workers classification enforcement bill. Another of our top priorities, card check, did not even receive a single hearing in the VT House or VT Senate. This is unacceptable. These facts compel us to re-evaluate who is with us and who is against us. One thing is certain; politics as usual is not good enough. Together we must chart a new path towards growing the political power of Organized Labor and here we must take the long view; not just concern ourselves with the next election cycle. Shall we condition political endorsements on candidates signing a Labor priority pledge? Shall we call for a moratorium on endorsements of candidates from a political party that fails to support us on our issues? Shall we build a more formal relationship with a party that commits to our agenda? Shall we form our own Labor based political party? Or should we instead prioritize the organizing of new shops and the adoption of a Town Meeting based referendum system of self-government? These are some of the serious questions which may be debated. And here we NEED you, our affiliate Unions and rank & file members to be part of this internal discussion.

On December 7th, we will take the morning to hear from the political parties, elected officials, and movement allies. Union members will be encouraged to ask these political figures as to how they intend to move our Labor agenda forward, and what will be different from the disappointments of years past. Then in the afternoon, we will receive recommendations from our VT AFL-CIO Political Committee as to how we may make fundamental changes in our political approach. After this report, we will facilitate a rank & file debate/discussion as to how we move forward. Following this discussion, we shall hold an indicative vote as to what changes we will make. This indicative vote shall be acted upon by your elected Executive Board. But make no mistake: politics as usual is over.

We ask members to register in advance by RSVP'ing here, or by calling our Montpelier office at 802-223-5229, or emailing us at [email protected]. If you have questions, need information or directions, please give us a call. And together, united, we will change what is politically possible in Vermont!

FREE - $10 Donation Encouraged - Free Childcare Provided - Lunch Provided

United!
David Van Deusen, President of the Vermont AFL-CIO

2019 VERMONT AFL-CIO POLITICAL SUMMIT AGENDA

COPE Conference Agenda
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Old Socialist Party Labor Hall,
46 Granite Street,
Barre City, Vermont

Labor Allies Welcome To Attend! Free To All, $10 Donation Encouraged!

8:30AM – 9:00AM – Registration/Check In/Coffee
• Childcare will be provided (FREE to all Political Summit participants) by Capstone Head Start members of AFSCME Local 1369

9:00AM – 9:15AM – Opening remarks from David Van Deusen, President of VT AFL-CIO
• Concerning the sea change in leadership of the VT AFL-CIO & a new progressive approach to Labor politics;
• The political tasks before us today (educate/debate/decide);
• Expanding our new progressive approach throughout Labor & working towards a Popular Front;
• Organizing new Union shops/New on-call organizers available to affiliates;

9:15 AM – 9:30 AM – Dan Justice Senior Field Organizer National AFL-CIO
• Concerning the AFL-CIO in Vermont & beyond the Green Mountains;

9:30 AM – 9:45 AM – Montpelier City Councilor (And NEA Organizer) Conor Casey
• On winning a Responsible Contractor Ordinance in Vermont’s Capital City;

9:45 AM – 10:00 AM – Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, Democrat
• On supporting the politics of Organized Labor;
• Questions for Union members to ask: If TJ runs for Governor and wins, what will this mean for the priorities of Organized Labor in Vermont? If you do not run for Governor, and remain AG, what will you commit to doing in 2020 to help advance a Labor agenda in the General Assembly?

10:00 AM – 10:15 AM – TBD Spokesperson For Vermont Republican Party
• On why Organized Labor & working people should support the Republican Party;
• Questions for Union members to ask: Unlike in 2019, will the VT Republican Party support the Livable Wage, Card Check, & Fair Worker Classification Enforcement Bills? If yes, how will The Party support these efforts, and how will 2020 be different then 2019?

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM – Terje Anderson, Chair of the VT Democratic Party
• On why Organized Labor & working people should support the Democratic Party;
• Questions for Union members to ask: Will the VT Democratic Party support the Livable Wage, Card Check, & Fair Worker Classification Enforcement Bills? If yes, how will The Party support these efforts, and how will 2020 be different then 2019? As The Ruling Party in The General Assembly, can we count on your entire caucus to stay true to your Pro-Labor Party Platform, and can we count on your Party to vote as a bloc to support the VT AFL-CIO’s top legislative priorities?

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM – State Senator Anthony Pollina, Chair of the VT Progressive Party
• On why Organized Labor & working people should support the Progressive Party;
• Questions for Union members to ask: Like you did in 2019, will the VT Progressive Party support the Livable Wage, Card Check, & Fair Worker Classification Enforcement Bills? If yes, how will The Party support these efforts, and how will 2020 be different then 2019? What is the Progressive Party’s position on a Union based Green New Deal? Is the Progressive Party willing and ready to work closer with the Vermont AFL-CIO on a working class agenda that does NOT rely on regressive taxation?

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM – VT Rep Brian Cina, Member of Democratic Socialists of America
• On Why Organized Labor & Working People Should Support Democratic Socialists of America/How DSA Intends To Amplify The Voice Of Labor;

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM – Joey Donovan, Co-Chair of The Workers Caucus
• On how the Workers Caucus (a non-partisan caucus of Vermont State Representatives & Senators in The Statehouse) intends support Labor priorities in 2020;

11:15 AM – 11:30 AM – Vermont Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, Progressive/Democrat
• On giving voice to working people in the Statehouse and beyond;
• Questions for Union members to ask: If Zuckerman runs for Governor and wins, what will this mean for the priorities of Organized Labor in Vermont? If you do not run for Governor, and remain Lt Governor, what will you commit to doing in 2020 to help advance a Labor agenda in the General Assembly?

11:30 AM – 11:45 AM – TBD Spokesperson Concerning The International Struggle For Freedom & Democracy In Rojava (Syria)
• The Green Mountain Central Labor Council Of The VT AFL-CIO Is On Record Supporting The Struggle Of The People Of Rojava In Syria As Well As Their Armed Forces Who Have Battled ISIS And Now Who Fight Against A Turkish Invasion;

11:45 AM – 12:15 PM – Lunch (Provided Free By The VT AFL-CIO)

12:15 PM – 12:20 PM – James Haslam, Executive Director, VT Rights & Democracy
• Concerning Rights & Democracy’s Campaigns To Pass The Livable Wage & Paid Family Medical Leave Bills/Need For Labor Solidarity;

12:20 PM – 12:25 PM – Amy Lester, Organizer With Vermont Workers’ Center
• Concerning The Campaigns Of The Vermont Workers Center Such As The Fight To Achieve Universal Healthcare/Need For Labor Solidarity;

12:25 PM – 12:30 PM – Don Tinney, President of Vermont NEA
• On working with the Vermont AFL-CIO to advance a pro-Union agenda/Building a stronger Labor Movement;
12:30 PM – 12:35 PM – Andrew Sullivan, United Electrical Workers Local 255
• On working with the Vermont AFL-CIO to advance a pro-Union agenda/Building a stronger Labor Movement/Changing what is politically possible in Vermont & beyond;

12:35 PM – 12:40 PM – Tev Kelman, Member & Activist of Vermont NEA
• On working with the Vermont AFL-CIO to advance a pro-Union agenda/Building a stronger Labor Movement/Changing what is politically possible in Vermont & beyond;

12:40 PM – 12:45 PM – John Davy, President of Chittenden County VSEA
• On working with the Vermont AFL-CIO to advance a pro-Union agenda/Building a stronger Labor Movement/Changing what is politically possible in Vermont & beyond;

12:45 PM – 1:15 PM – Group Discussion On Legislative/Social Priorities For 2020
• The Executive Board of the Vermont AFL-CIO has adopted an official platform that supports the following:
o $15 An Hour Livable Wage For All Workers!
o Card Check Union Recognition For Public Sector Workers!
o A Fair Worker Classification Enforcement System!
o Vermont AFL-CIO’s Other Social/Political Priorities Include:
o A Union Based Green New Deal For Vermont;
o 12 Weeks Of Paid Family Medical Leave;
o Free Tuition For All State Colleges/Universities;
o Single Payer Healthcare;
o Defined Benefit Pension For All;
o Affordable Housing;
o Affordable Childcare;
o Access To Healthy Locally Produced Food For All;
o Establishment Of A Town Meeting Based Referendum System Of Self-Government;
o That The Expansion Of Social Programs NOT Rely On Any New Regressive Taxation – Taxation Must Be Progressive In Nature Whereby The Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share!
• Of these, and/or including other issues, what shall be our top priorities for 2020?

1:15 PM – 1:45 PM – Political Committee Report Back On Electoral/Legislative Approaches
• Volunteer-In-Politics Omar Fernandez of APWU will report back the findings and recommendations of his Political Committee as to how the VT AFL-CIO should change its approach to politics, elections, political parties, and legislation;
• The VT AFL-CIO Political Committee, composed of Nancy Welch of AFT, Larry Moquin of the Laborers, Graham Lebel of AFSCME, Traven Leyshon of OPEIU, and Chaired by Omar Fernandez of APWU;

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM – Group Discussions/Debate/Vote On Recommendations Concerning New Approaches To Politics
• Concerning elections and political parties, shall the VT AFL-CIO scale back its endorsements in order to only back true Labor champions? Shall we compel candidates to take a Labor oath before considering making an endorsement? Are their strategic reasons why the VT AFL-CIO should have a ‘no-endorsement’ policy regarding specific political parties? Should the VT AFL-CIO take a step back from electoral politics and instead put emphasis on new organizing?
• How shall the Vermont AFL-CIO advance its long term social and political goals?
• Drawing on the presentations and information gathered throughout the day, and giving thought to our political history, these questions will be discussed and debated;
• An indicative vote shall be held on these questions. Only Vermont AFL-CIO members shall take part in this indicative vote;

2:45 PM – Adjournment of the 2019 Vermont AFL-CIO Political Summit

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Vermont AFL-CIO Executive Board Meeting
• ALL Vermont AFL-CIO members are invited to attend this Executive Board Meeting (as a strong Union is a transparent Union!);
• The VT AFL-CIO Act Upon The Indicative Vote Of Our Members Concerning The New Political Direction Of The Vermont AF-CIO;

*Agenda subject to change on day of Political Summit.

Let us know that you agree that its time for change and that you will be there! Click on the below link to RSVP to the Vermont AFL-CIO:
https://www.facebook.com/events/2614008921986709/