10:11: The conference has now broken up into numerous groups based on constituency/issue and each group is to come up with 2-3 signature issues for that group that can be brought back to the overall conference as part of the platform. I’m sitting in on the labor caucus.
10:45: The list of ideas the group came up with is below. I’m sure not all of these will make it into the final platform, but these are all issues of importance that we need to at least be discussing. Prioritizing them is important, of course, but we’re at a point where the other side will be assaulting us on so many fronts, we have to pay attention to all of them…
- Provide paid sick day to workers
- Abolish right to work
- Single-payer health care/Healthcare portability
- Raise minimum wage
- Defend the rights of workers to contribute to unions and PACs via payroll deduction
- Strengthen and enhance child labor laws
- Increase penalties for firms who violate labor laws
- Bring state unemployment benefits back up to national standards
- Maximum wage law
- Defend the right to collective bargain
- Workers rights and labor history taught in school
- Better enforcement of overtime rules.
- Reclaim the 5 day work week and two day weekend
- Increase community awareness of organized labor / community outreach programs
- Educate people to global benefits to strong labor and safety laws
- Minimum local staffing and hiring requirements for large scale Government projects
- Strengthen PLA’s (Project Labor Agreements)
- Increased Infrastructure spending to win the future
- Green jobs, high-speed rail, renewable energy
10:47: In the labor caucus, there’s little to no dissension or disagreement. The people in this group are pretty much in agreement on what the issues are and why they are important. Most of the people in this caucus are from IBEW, but not all of us are (I’m not in a union at this point because they aren’t available to me).
11:11: From the list above, the group voted democratically on the top issues and synthesized our top three priorities as:
1. Provide paid sick days to workers
–it’s the right thing to do
—sick co workers make you sick
—sick service employees make you sick
2. Require PLA’s (Project Labor Agreements) where applicable for state contracts
–employees paid and treated fairly
–projects finished on time and on budget
3. Defend the right to collective bargain, Defend the rights of workers to contribute to unions and PACs via payroll deduct
–unions provide a balance against the power of corporations
–unions raise wages and working standards for all workers
11:19: The next questions for discussion are:
-How do we fund raise money around our issues?
-How do we recruit candidates?
-How do we get our message out to the media?