Resolution on Economic Conversion and Just Transition to a Sustainable Economy

RESOLUTION ON ECONOMIC CONVERSION AND JUST TRANSITION TO A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY - passed by the South Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO on December 16, 2013


WHEREAS, Pentagon spending is projected to decrease into the future and such decreases have already begun; and

WHEREAS, Wisconsin’s economy is highly dependent on military spending, with 2.52% of the State’s GDP derived from Pentagon contracts and $5.5 billion generated in Wisconsin annually from military installations, making Wisconsin 15th among states in per capita defense spending; and

WHEREAS In Wisconsin we have seen patterns of slowing defense production at the largest defense contractor, Oshkosh Truck, which develops military trucks for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has laid off 1,200 workers in the past year due to a decrease in federal contracts, and this is a pattern that will continue with the other defense contractors and suppliers around the state; and

WHEREAS, as a consequence, jobs in Wisconsin will shrink, wages and benefits will be lost, and tax revenues for local communities will decline as Federal military spending is reduced – unless a program of economic conversion providing alternative union standard jobs is implemented to meet needed civilian construction, replace and develop public infrastructure, develop 21st century manufacturing methodologies, improve transportation, enhance education, provide universal healthcare, and adequately care for children, the elderly, the infirm and disabled, and veterans and their families; and

WHEREAS, the United States is the wealthiest nation on earth but trails many other nations in life expectancy, infant mortality, educational attainment, affordable housing, and environmental sustainability, and whereas our national infrastructure is grossly and dangerously deficient, suggesting an inappropriate prioritization of government spending; and

WHEREAS, with appropriate planning and foresight, those now employed in the military sector can be transitioned to sustainable alternative employment, and communities that are today dependent on revenue generated by military spending can create other revenue streams by planning for and promoting the development of these alternative sources of quality jobs; and

WHEREAS: In Summer of 2013, Connecticut passed a State Bill establishing a Futures Commission, which is tasked with developing a plan, legislation, and programming that will help the state convert from defense spending to more sustainable job creation, such as construction, clean energy, rebuilding national infrastructure and transportation; and

WHEREAS: There is support from WI State Legislators for introducing similar legislation in WI; and

WHEREAS: similar resolutions have been passed by 152 City Councils, County Boards, Municipalities across the country and recently by unions: IAM national including Lodges 751-E, 751-F, 751-C, 751-A, 1123, 86, and 1951, CT AFL-CIO and IAM, MD and DC AFL-CIO, CWA, AFT, NEA, AFSCME, CT, HI, AFT-PA, the Alameda LC, AFT Local 2190/UUP, AFT 2026 and AFT 2016; and

WHEREAS, there is no state planning body tasked with helping Wisconsin adapt to the major economic changes that are imminent resulting from reductions in military spending that will have huge implications for workers.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) will support state legislation to create a Commission on Wisconsin’s Future, tasked with charting a sustainable economic future for Wisconsin in infrastructure improvements, reindustrialization with sustainable 21st century manufacturing and information technologies, the emerging clean energy sector, and social and human services, to replace economic dependence on military spending and unsustainable technologies; and be it further

RESOLVED, that SCFL will undertake an educational campaign on these issues with its members, the labor movement and its community allies; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that SCFL leadership will communicate this resolution to members of the Wisconsin legislature and the governor’s office, its local affiliates, community allies and the WI AFL-CIO, with a request that they act accordingly.