Letter of Support: Senator Bernie Sanders for Labor Secretary
At the Troy Area Labor Council’s November meeting, delegates voted to endorse the appointment of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to be the next Labor Department Secretary. The following letter was sent to the Biden/Harris transition team, along with copies to the presidents of the AFL-CIO and Capital District Area Labor Federation.
Dear President-Elect Biden,
The Troy Area Labor Council respectfully requests that you appoint Senator Bernie Sanders to be the next Secretary of Labor.
Senator Sanders has a long history of support and strong empathy for the working people and a strong knowledge of Labor and union issues. We are very supportive of a person who would work tirelessly to build union jobs, protect workers from arbitrary firings, and put pressure on businesses and corporations who would engage in union busting activities.
We also think that the Senator’s call to eliminate “The Right to work for Less” laws would guarantee the right to unionize those workers excluded from labor protections, like farm and domestic workers.
In order to meet your goal of making America more equitable and just, Senator Bernie Sanders would be the perfect person to work tirelessly to put American on the road to economic fairness.
President, Troy Area Labor Council AFL-CIO
Resolution on Defending American Democracy and Opposing Authoritarian Rule
At its regular October meeting, the Troy Area Labor Council discussed and passed the following resolution. It has been forwarded to the CDALF, New York State AFL-CIO, and the National AFL-CIO.
Whereas, the Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO is committed to the defense of democratic rights and the institutions of democracy regardless of party affiliations in our nation;
Whereas, the current President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and Vice-President Mike Pence, have consistently refused to state publicly that he will respect the outcomes of the election and, in the case of his loss, concede the office of President;
Whereas, numerous public officials, including the President, have begun a concerted campaign of dismantling of key infrastructure, such as the U.S. Postal Service, engaged in clear acts of voter suppression and misinformation designed to sow mistrust in the integrity of our national elections;
Whereas, U.S. law requires voting results and Electoral College tallies to be completed and submitted to Congress by the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, and the new 2021 Congress to validate the results, we demand the constitution be followed, requiring voters and not the courts, to determine election results.
Whereas, the President has failed, on multiple occasions, to denounce the activities of white supremacist and fascist militias and organizations that have stated desires to overthrow American democracy;
Whereas, a climate of political polarization has weakened the framework of democratic institutions in our nation, resulting in a diminished system of checks and balances to stand against the potential rise of a tyrant Dictator;
Whereas, the Labor Movement and trade unions have played a proud and vital role in protecting democracy and opposing authoritarianism in many nations throughout the world;
Whereas, the extreme risk currently posed to the historic institutions of democracy in our nation may require more widespread and vigorous resistance than at any time in recent history;
Whereas, the most powerful tool of the Labor Movement in our history has been the power of the General Strike;
Whereas, united working people refusing to work across the nation have a greater power than any political machinations of aspiring despots;
Therefore, now be it resolved that the Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO stands firmly in opposition to any effort to subvert, distort, misrepresent or disregard the final outcome of the 2020 Presidential elections;
Therefore, be it finally resolved that the Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on the National AFL-CIO, all of its affiliate unions, and all other labor organizations in the United States of America to prepare for and enact a general strike of all working people, if necessary, to ensure a Constitutionally mandated peaceful transition of power as a result of the 2020 Presidential Elections.
Resolution: TALC Stands with the Movement for Black Lives and Calls for the Suspension of IUPA from the AFL-CIO
At our July meeting, the Troy Area Labor Council passed unanimously the following resolution in support of the Movement for Black Lives and the suspension of the International Union of Police Associations from the AFL-CIO. You can read more about why we passed this resolution in this op-ed written by TALC Vice President Adam Pelletier at Strikewave.
Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with the family, friends, and loved ones of George Floyd, with the Black community, and with everyone demanding police accountability and justice.
WHEREAS, on May 25, 2020, a white Minneapolis police officer murdered 46-year-old George Floyd, kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes while he pleaded to be allowed to breathe, and
WHEREAS, three other police officers aided and abetted the death of George Floyd, and
WHEREAS, a Troy police sergeant murdered Edson Thevenin in 2016, and
WHEREAS, despite an investigation by Troy Police Department’s internal affairs that found the police sergeant provided false testimony in the events that led to the death of Edson Thevenin, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, Troy Police Department leadership, and the former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove engaged in a concerted effort to cover up the murder, and
WHEREAS, Black Americans are the targets of routine and systemic racism, harassment, violence, and death, especially at the hands of law enforcement, and
WHEREAS, systemic racism and the legacy of slavery and the genocide of indigenous peoples have not been sufficiently addressed in our society and continue to do harm to millions of our siblings across this country; and,
WHEREAS, the core principle of the labor movement – “An Injury to One is An Injury to All” – requires all working people of conscience to take a stand for justice, and
WHEREAS, the labor movement must explicitly fight against all forms of oppression that divide the working-class, and
WHEREAS, racism, misogyny and other forms of bigotry are routinely used by the owner class to divide working people and exploit our labor and pillage our resources; and,
WHEREAS, the same police departments responsible for violence against Black, Brown, and Indigenous people are also used by employers to obstruct and restrict the exercise of labor power, particularly the right to strike, and
WHEREAS, the President of the United States has mobilized our military, National Guard and federal law enforcement to intimidate protestors and has used our uniformed service members to assault our first amendment rights for his own political purposes; and,
WHEREAS, our federal government has stoked escalation of police violence by supplying police departments with military equipment and driving a culture of conflict and confrontation between police and citizens, especially Black, brown and indigenous communities; and,
WHEREAS, Troy Area Labor Council leaders and members have joined the peaceful protests demanding action to end police violence and address systemic racism throughout our society and have been met with state violence, and
WHEREAS, the President of the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA), Sam A. Cabral, defended the murderer of Alton Sterling, calling his firing “politically motivated,” and
WHEREAS, the President of IUPA, Sam A. Cabral, defended the murderers of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and
WHEREAS, IUPA has, through its actions to protect criminal exercise of force by police officers, through its support for the perpetrators of extrajudicial lynchings of Black workers, and through its support for police suppression of lawful protest in violation of fundamental civil liberties such as the freedom of association, has willfully violated Article III, Section 7 of the AFL-CIO Constitution, and
THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED that Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Edson Thevenin, Dahmeek McDonald, and countless others who are demanding justice for their murders or abuse at the hands of the state,
RESOLVED, that the Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO loudly declares, “Black Lives Matter”; and,
RESOLVED that Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO will not assist, cooperate or provide our services to police attempting to arrest or physically assault protestors demanding justice against police brutality, and therefore be it
RESOLVED that Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO will support local protests and will urge member to participate in protests and direct action, and therefore be it
RESOLVED that Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls for all charges to be dropped against those protesting for justice for George Floyd, and and therefore be it
RESOLVED that Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on the AFL-CIO Executive Council to immediately suspend IUPA under the provisions of Article III, Section 5(a) of the AFL-CIO Constitution, pending an investigation and action at the next National Convention, and therefore be it
RESOLVED that Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls for the AFL-CIO General Board to commission an immediate investigation into the actions and practices of IUPA and its elected officers, and to present a report and recommendation for action up to and including revocation of IUPA’s affiliate charter, to the next National Convention
RESOLVED that Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO urges all affiliates of the AFL-CIO to enact immediate moratoriums on new organizing of sworn law enforcement officers, and therefore be it
RESOLVED that Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO will issue a statement to our membership to the effect of the resolution above.
RESOLVED that the Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO will donate $100.00 to Justice for Dahmeek, a City of Troy based grassroots organization setup in response to local instances of police brutality.
Resolution: Protection of Immigrant Families
WHEREAS, core to the labor movement are the values of solidarity, freedom, opportunity, and equality for all;
WHEREAS, working people are strongest when working together and the labor movement is strongest when it is open to all workers, regardless of where they come from;
WHEREAS, we as a labor movement have previously called for inclusive reform of our immigration laws, and adopted a position that demands a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented workers, the strengthening of family reunification as the basis of immigration policy, protection of the right to organize for all workers, the repeal of employer sanctions, and opposition to guest worker programs; and
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO is committed to working together on the side of justice for all, along with community partners, including civil rights, human rights and immigrant rights organizations, to pass immigration reform that encompasses the principles of this resolution and that strengthens our democracy;
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO passed Resolution 23, which:
• calls on Congress to ensure full labor and workplace rights and protections for all workers regardless of immigration status, including the right to organize and enforce worker protections without retaliation;
• calls upon Congress to create a fair, humane roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants that is broad and inclusive and not contingent upon border security measures or going to the “back of the line” of prospective immigrants;
• supports family reunification by increasing legal avenues for loved ones to reunite with each other and by reducing unreasonable wait times that keep families separated;
• calls on Congress to ensure due process and protections at every level of immigration and to reinstate judicial review;
• calls for the end of enforcement programs such as Secure Communities, racial and ethnic profiling, and the excessive use of detention, including mandatory and prolonged detention;
• supports a reform on border enforcement by establishing safe and efficient ports of entry that promote public safety and uphold civil and human rights;
• calls upon Congress to provide immigrants with equal access to healthcare and other public benefits;
• rejects the use of electronic employment verification systems, such as E-verify which builds upon the flawed employer sanctions framework and pushes workers into an underground economy where workplace abuses are prevalent;
• supports immigration reform that will also address the root causes of forced migration by reforming our international trade policies to protect workers and families of all nations.
WHEREAS, President Trump has signed executive orders to commence raids and increase deportations of undocumented immigrants; turn our backs on Central American children fleeing violence allowed into the US; direct the Department of Homeland Security to build an unnecessary and costly border wall; and that threaten retaliation against law enforcement agencies who value trust with the community as a pillar for keeping their communities safe (so-called sanctuary cities);
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Troy Area Labor Council AFC-CIO
• opposes Trump’s executive orders referred to above;
• calls upon the state legislature to retain the Dream Act;
• calls upon the City of Troy and other Rennselaer County municipalities to direct that no city or municipal employee shall make or initiate any inquiry regarding the immigration status of any person, and that any information about the immigration status of any person that nevertheless comes into the possession of said employee shall be treated as confidential and shall not be disclosed to any agency outside city government, and;
• resolves to work harder to protect ALL communities threatened by this administration, and;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to the mayor of Troy, member of the Troy City Council, the Rensselaer County Executive and District Attorney, and members of the Rensselaer County Legislature.