AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

QUALITY GOVERNMENT SERVICES

WHEREAS, public employees provide essential services that improve, strengthen and protect our communities across the country; and

WHEREAS, government services help to advance the economic development of our nation by providing research and assistance to businesses both large and small; and

WHEREAS, public employees at all levels of government work to provide services, assistance and protections to the weakest of our citizens and those less able to take advantage of the opportunities available in our society; and

WHEREAS, half the states in the country still do not provide meaningful collective bargaining rights to public employees; and

WHEREAS, collective bargaining representation is the only effective way to provide for employee involvement in the decisions affecting their work and the delivery of public services; and

WHEREAS, the campaigns of anti-government politicians often include proposals to cut back on government services, reduce the number of public employees providing vital public services or privatize such services; and

WHEREAS, politically motivated proposals for privatization and contracting out of government services have served to undermine the quality, continuity and effectiveness of government services; and

WHEREAS, privatization and contracting out very often end up increasing the cost of government services due to incompetence, inexperience and the profit motive of private contractors; and

WHEREAS, governments often have to go through extraordinary expenses to take over the delivery of services after the failure of a private contractor; and

WHEREAS, the public trust requires our government to provide and maintain vital government services to protect our democracy and ensure fairness and equality to the citizens of our nation; and

WHEREAS, government programs are often poorly staffed and underfunded and current budget surpluses offer a unique opportunity to improve the quality and effectiveness of government services through improved technology, resources and staffing; and

WHEREAS, public employee salaries and benefits often do not keep pace with similar jobs in the private sector and therefore weaken the ability of government to keep and attract the best and the brightest employees; and

WHEREAS, the public often has a distorted view of government services as wasteful and inefficient; and

WHEREAS, the United States has the lowest level of government employment per capita among the major industrialized nations of the world; and

WHEREAS, the vast majority of public employees at all levels of government are well-trained, well-educated, devoted employees with a strong desire to provide the highest level of services to the public; and

WHEREAS, the Federation of Public Employees/AFT has made a commitment to strengthen government services and the perception of those services through the development and promotion of the "Quality Services from Quality People" program; and

WHEREAS, government at all levels provides only a fraction of the professional development and training afforded to similar employees in the private sector; and

WHEREAS, today's economy requires updated professional development opportunities to help public employees keep pace with changes in our society and technology:

RESOLVED, that the FPE/AFT maintain and expand its long-standing support for full and meaningful collective bargaining rights for public employees at all levels of government throughout the nation; and

RESOLVED, that the FPE/AFT actively encourage its local unions to strengthen their political and legislative action programs in support of politicians and legislative initiatives that support public employee collective bargaining and promote quality public services; and

RESOLVED, that the FPE/AFT maintain a priority for member organizing and mobilization to improve public employee salaries and benefits through negotiated contracts and through facilitating legislation; and

RESOLVED, that the FPE/AFT encourage its leadership at all levels of the union to take an active role in the public policy debate concerning the delivery of government services to the public; and

RESOLVED, that the FPE/AFT expand its efforts to protect public services against the threats of privatization and contracting out through its publications, leadership training and media relations; and

RESOLVED, that the FPE/AFT serve as a clearinghouse for information regarding private contractors and their experiences in providing government services, for legislation that promotes or limits the privatization or contracting out of government services and for salary and benefit data on federal, state and local government employees; and

RESOLVED, that the FPE/AFT facilitate the development of professional development programs for public employees through labor-management cooperation and through the involvement of local unions and state federations; and

RESOLVED, that the FPE/AFT maintain a priority for educating the public about the important work of public employees and the vital services they provide to our nation.


(2000)