Resolution 28: Solidarity, Effectiveness and Accountability at the Grassroots: State Federations, Central Labor Councils and Affiliates

Submitted by the American Federation of Government Employees, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and the Office and Professional Employees International Union

Referred to the Resolutions Committee

THE LABOR MOVEMENT is present in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The AFL-CIO’s affiliates come together across the country in the AFL-CIO’s state and local central bodies. Today more than ever, effectiveness on the state and local levels is essential for two reasons: First, the right-wing (Kochs, ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, the Chamber, etc.) has made a priority of state-level attacks on unions and worker rights; second, while federal labor law reform is still a much-needed priority, state and local politics present immediate opportunities for the expansion of workers’ rights.

The success and survival of the labor movement requires our state federations and central labor councils to innovate and operate at a higher standard than ever before. Elected leaders, staff, key partners and affiliated unions working together must develop forward-thinking plans and hold each other accountable for execution.

Through action taken at the February 2013 meeting, “Winning for Working Families: Building Grassroots Power,” the AFL-CIO Executive Council and the State Federation and Central Labor Council Advisory Committee determined that state federations and large central labor councils need to hire qualified campaign managers and develop and implement strategic plans, including community engagement programs. The plans must have clear deliverables and metrics to measure success, whether for legislative, issue, political, organizing support or other campaign activities. The council also directed that accountability programs, affiliation strategies and tools would need to be developed to strengthen our state and local councils to meet the challenges faced by our affiliates and the federation. In furtherance of that goal:

After the AFL-CIO Convention, the president of the AFL-CIO will appoint and charge a special subcommittee of the Executive Council Committee on State, Local and Community Partnerships and the State Federation  and Central Labor Council Advisory Committee with developing and monitoring the performance of the state federations,  labor councils and their affiliate unions and in developing recommendations for appropriate amendments to the Rules Governing AFL-CIO State Central Bodies for Executive Council adoption to expand the president’s authority to take appropriate action to carry out the purposes of this program. In consultation with the Executive Council Committee on State, Local and Community Partnerships, the president will select 10 states each year to undergo a thorough affiliate and federation peer review. A delegation of national affiliate designees, along with AFL-CIO staff and a select state federation leader and central labor council leader from other states, will perform an in-state qualitative and quantitative review of state performance. The review committee’s findings and recommendations can highlight well-run state and local programs, as well as identify places where performance has fallen short. The review also should include an assessment of the level of affiliation, participation and performance on the same metrics by the local affiliates, as well as the national unions and national AFL-CIO.

The review can result in a number of recommendations to the president, including but not limited to:
• A recommendation for re-prioritization of the per capita resources to accomplish the goals;

• A recommendation for a reorganization of the state federation or central labor council structure to accomplish the goals;

• A recommendation for greater affiliation and resources to support the work of the state federation or central labor council; and

• A recommendation for a redirection of resources if it is determined that this is the best way to ensure the labor movement’s goals are accomplished.

In addition to the establishment of standards and metrics and accountability reviews, the committee also shall oversee the commitment of the federation for the expansion of leadership development training and tools to help ensure effective programs in our state federations and labor councils.

The goal of this entire “Solidarity, Effectiveness and Accountability at the Grassroots” program is to strengthen the effectiveness of our state and local organizations and to ensure that affiliates and federation bodies have shared responsibilities and mutual accountability.