A wide range of resolutions were considered by convention delegates Thursday, dealing with issues from workforce diversity to contract language and job availability.
Resolutions Committee Chair and Tacoma, Wash., Local 483 Business Manager Alice Phillips, and Committee Secretary Daniel Cosner, business manager of Folsom, N.J., Local 351, led the reading of resolutions and accompanying committee recommendations.
Although the resolutions express the delegates’ beliefs on many important issues and influence IBEW policy, they remain non-binding. The following actions were taken on Thursday after discussions by delegates, and consideration of any remaining convention resolutions is set to continue today:
Delegates approved the committee’s recommendations of concurrence for the following resolutions:
Resolution 15: Calls on the IBEW, through the IBEW Strong initiative, to reaffirm its commitment to full participation and involvement in, and to leadership opportunities for, its diverse membership. Urges the union to be united in the fight to improve the lives of all workers and their families and to lead the labor movement by example.
Resolution 16: Reaffirms the IBEW’s commitment to full participation and inclusion in, and to equality of opportunity for, all members by continuing to support the RENEW/NextGen, Women’s, Veterans and Retiree committees at every local. Calls on the union to continue engaging with the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus to encourage the development of chapters at locals. Asks the union to reaffirm its commitment to full participation and opportunities for leadership and involvement of its diverse membership by recognizing affinity committee leadership development.
Resolution 17: Urges the IBEW to continue to identify, support and mentor women and to challenge itself to identify how to build on the successes of the Women’s Committee and women’s conference to ensure that the union reflects the membership’s diversity. Calls on the IBEW to encourage locals to establish women’s committees.
Resolution 18: Calls on the IBEW to continue supporting the RENEW/NextGen initiative and to preserve its mission through young workers’ participation at IBEW meetings. Urges the union to recommit to establishing and supporting RENEW/NextGen committees at every local and to engage young workers for help with a variety of efforts to recruit workers into the electrical industry.
RESOLUTIONS NOT PASSED
The following resolutions were not passed, with delegates approving the committee’s recommendations of nonconcurrence:
Resolutions 22 and 23: The committee combined its report on Resolutions 22 and 23, which urged the IBEW to establish an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to be used by all branches and locals.
The committee stated its agreement with the goal of developing a more diverse and inclusive workforce and noted its recommended concurrences with Resolutions 15, 16, 17 and 18 (above) along with Resolution 19 (passed on Wednesday). The IBEW actively supports IBEW Strong and these affinity groups through the Civic and Community Engagement Department, which focuses on DEI, community services, and the needs of underrepresented workers. Also, International President Stephenson has assigned a senior executive assistant the additional duties of promoting DEI throughout the IBEW. Given that the functions called for by Resolutions 22 and 23 are already performed within the IBEW, and that the International President has the exclusive authority under Article IV, Section 3(c) of the IBEW Constitution to “establish such departments in the organization or in the I.O. as in his judgment are necessary…,” the committee recommended nonconcurrence with the two resolutions.
Resolution 31: Called on the International Office to establish a working group to create a system for a union-wide Book II that would allow out-of-work members to sign the book at their home local, to indicate the areas in which they are willing to work, and to handle re-signing at their home local.
The committee stated its belief that the existing system properly balances the interests of members who wish to travel for work opportunities with each local union’s responsibility to maintain the integrity of its own referral system. Accordingly, the committee did not see a sufficient need to modify the referral system and recommended nonconcurrence.
Resolutions 32 and 33: The committee combined its report on Resolutions 32 and 33, noting that they contained similar language urging the convention to compel the International Office to amend the Category One language of “right to reject” to “right to reject for just cause” and to include this new language in all collective-bargaining agreements.
The committee noted its understanding that some members and locals are frustrated by the “right to reject” provision. The committee is concerned that negotiating a provision that would allow contractors to reject only with just cause could have unintended consequences. In instances where contractors may be abusing “right to reject,” the committee recommends that locals work with NECA to curb such abuse. The committee recommended nonconcurrence with Resolutions 32 and 33.
COMBINED RESOLUTION PARTIALLY PASSED
Resolutions 12, 13 and 14: Calls on amending the IBEW Constitution and future publications to use gender-neutral language. Encourages the use of gender-neutral language at IBEW meetings, parliamentary proceedings, presentations, videos and other communications.
The committee combined Resolutions 12, 13 and 14 because all three recognize the importance of using gender-neutral language. The committee said that Resolution 12 could result in a significant cost to the IBEW because it appears to call on the union to reprint all existing publications using gender-neutral language, and that Resolution 13 does not specifically require the next printing of the IBEW Constitution to include gender-neutral language. Because Resolution 14 captures the intent of Resolutions 12 and 13 and provides clear direction on which documents should be modified on their next printing, the committee recommended nonconcurrence with Resolutions 12 and 13 and concurrence with Resolution 14.