2010 Resolutions

1. SUPPORT EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT

WHEREAS: Workers in the U.S. want union representation, according to numerous polls; yet the number of union members continues to decline; one major reason for declining union density is weak enforcement of labor laws that were enacted to provide workers with the right to unionize;

WHEREAS: When workers attempt to unionize, employers vehemently oppose and fight back with vicious anti-union campaigns that include captive audience meetings, threats of shutting down the company if the union wins, and even firing of union supporters;

WHEREAS: The deck is stacked in favor of the employer, who has supreme power over the worker’s livelihood and can hire, fire, promote, demote, offer or deny pay raises, affect working conditions, and has full access to the worker on the job;

WHEREAS: On the other hand, the union only has access to the workers at home or otherwise outside of work; the union is limited in its ability to rebut anti-union propaganda from the employer;

WHEREAS: All of this is why union organizing has been so difficult for decades and why union density has declined; and which is why Congress is considering legislation, called the Employee Free Choice Act, that will help to level the playing field for workers seeking union representation;

WHEREAS: This legislation will provide for mandatory “card check recognition” when a neutral third party verifies that more than 50% of the employees have signed cards authorizing a union to be their exclusive bargaining agent; card check recognition is an alternative means for workers to “vote” for a union; cards will be kept secret from the employer to minimize employer interference and possible unfair and illegal practices;

WHEREAS: Until labor laws in this country are vigorously and timely enforced, card check recognition is needed to
counteract the huge inherent advantage the employer has over workers seeking union representation;

WHEREAS: The Employee Free Choice Act also provides for swift negotiation of a first contract following card check recognition, including a provision for an arbitrated contract that would be binding for two years; union representation without a collective bargaining agreement is almost the same as having no union representation at all; it is the union contract that provides a framework to ensure the protection of workers’ rights;

WHEREAS: The Hawaii State Legislature this year also considered a law modeled after the Employee Free Choice Act to provide for card check recognition and arbitrated collective bargaining for workers not covered by the National Labor Relations Act; this legislation would have primarily affected agricultural laborers, who are among the lowest paid and most vulnerable in the workforce and need union representation;

WHEREAS: The bill was passed by both House and Senate and went to the Governor, who vetoed the measure before the legislative session ended, allowing for the possibility of an override; however, the Legislature elected not to bring the override to a vote;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED: That the Democratic Party of Hawaii reaffirms the legal right of all workers to join a union and urges employers to maintain neutrality in union organizing efforts;

RESOLVED: That the Democratic Party of Hawaii endorses the national Employee Free Choice Act and urges its passage;

RESOLVED: That the Democratic Party of Hawaii endorses a similar bill in Hawaii to provide for card check recognition and arbitrated first-contract negotiations for workers not covered by the National Labor Relations Act and urges the Hawaii State Legislature to pass the bill and override an expected veto.


2. RESOLUTION FROM LABOR DECLARING THE RIGHTS AND INTERESTS OF WORKING PEOPLE & WORKING FAMILIES

The United State’s Participation of the U.W. in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is responsible for the loss. of a great many American jobs to foreign laborers, who earn significantly less for their work than U.S. minimum wage laws would allow U.S. workers to earn and who are not protected by the higher labor standards present in the United States, and

WHEREAS countries are prevented from and can be sued for enforcing their own environmental laws under the terms of NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO, and

WHEREAS NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO place the rights of corporations above the rights of governments and people and

WHEREAS NAFTA and CAFTA promote slave wages in impoverished countries instead of living wage of the United States and

BE IT RESOLVED that the Maui County Democratic Party remains firmly committed to the rights and interests of working people and working families, including family farms, and local, small, and medium-sized community businesses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Maui County Democratic Party urges all members of Congress to create and pass all legislation to address the concerns of working families and the lack of decent jobs and living wages in this country and whatever countries that we trade with and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maui County Democratic Party urges all members of Congress to create and pass all legislation necessary to provide for cancellation of NAFTA and CAFTA and for withdrawal from the agreement establishing the WTO.

Submitted by Stephen West, Labor Caucus


3. SUPPORT HAWAII LEGISLATION FOR WORKER RETENTION

WHEREAS: Companies often change hands in Hawaii, leaving workers at risk of losing their jobs; in many cases, these workers are terminated and asked to reapply for their jobs by the new owner, even if the worker has held the same job for 10, 20, 30 years;

WHEREAS: Very often, the new employer eliminate workers who, while experienced, may be older and less physically able, and a means to skirt discrimination laws that would have otherwise kept them from replacing workers due to age, disability, limited English skills, etc.;

WHEREAS: This type of wholesale termination of employees is disruptive to the workforce and to the community, especially a small community where mass layoffs could loss of jobs for several members of the same family, upsetting the economic equilibrium in a community; examples of this type of behavior by employers are abundant;

WHEREAS: On New Year’s Eve in 1986 when 126 employees of the Airport Holiday Inn were told they would have no job in the New Year; this employer’s egregious action led to the passage in 1987 of the Dislocated Worker Act, the first in the nation to require notification in the event of a mass layoff;

WHEREAS: In 2006 more than 100 Hawaii Naniloa Resort workers were laid off and the new employer retained only 20 of the workers, leaving former workers still unemployed or displaced;

WHEREAS: Another example is the Grand Wailea Resort, bought by KSL in 1998 and required all workers to reapply for their jobs; many experienced workers lost their jobs and have yet to recover;

WHEREAS: Yet in 2006, when Grand Wailea went through another management change, no one was displaced, business continued uninterrupted, and the new employer earned the gratitude and loyalty of an experienced workforce;

WHEREAS: As Grand Wailea and other companies have experienced, retention of workers in a management change is not onerous and provides for an orderly transition from one employer to another; employees, their families, and the community are spared needless disruption and distress; the employer retains management rights and can be assured of productivity and loyalty from an experienced and skilled incumbent workforce;

WHEREAS: A worker retention law can: specify who will be covered (i.e., include supervisory employees or not); establish the size of companies that will be affected (i.e., employers with 50 or more, or employers with 100 or more employees); establish retention goals; allow pre-hire screenings and probationary periods; affirm that management will retain certain rights; and provide for exclusions from the law (i.e., if the new business is not the same as the old or if the new business plans to shrink the size of the business, retention goals can be reduced);

WHEREAS: The law will prevent employers from circumventing existing laws that now allow workers to unionize and protect workers from discrimination; the law will allow workers a more level playing field against their employers who hold the keys to their livelihood; a worker retention law can be a “win-win” situation for all;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Democratic Party of Hawaii supports Hawaii legislation to provide for retention of the incumbent workforce by a new employer in the event of a change of management whether due to sale, change in management contract or lease, etc.;

RESOLVED: That the Democratic Party of Hawaii affirms the legal right of workers to unionize and that the Democratic Party of Hawaii urges the Hawaii State Legislature to pass worker retention bill that would provide for the orderly transition of employees from one employer to another while providing for safeguards to protect the employer’s interests;


4. RESOLUTION FROM LABOR DECLARING FEBRUARY 28, 2009 AS A SOLEMN DAY OF REMEMBRANCE TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF AH QUON MCELRATH

Whereas, Ah Quon McElrath, born Leong Yuk Quon, in Iwilei to a poor immigrant family, the 2nd youngest of seven children in 1915;

Whereas, her long, hard life of labor began at the age of 13 in the old Libby, McNeil & Libby pineapple cannery;

Whereas, despite disadvantage she distinguished herself academically, a graduating from McKinley High School and from the University of Hawaii with honors in Anthropology;

Whereas, she courageously and selflessly dedicated herself to the plight of working people first as a legal assistant to renowned labor attorney Harriet Bouslog and later as union organizer for Jack Hall and the ILWU;

Whereas, she was a tireless supporter of all the brave union men and women who walked the picket lines in since the great sugar strike of 1946 until the year she died in 2008;

Whereas, in 1951, confronting enormous harassment and ‘red-baiting’, she became the office manager of the defense office for the “Hawaii 7”;

Whereas, in 1954 she made history as the first Social Worker for a labor union serving the members of the ILWU in Hawaii;

Whereas, she became an eloquent and passionate lobbyist and advocate for progressive legislation in Hawaii, including most notably, Hawaii’s landmark Prepaid Health Care Act of 1974;

Whereas, she was worked fearlessly as an outspoken community activist, advocating the arts and a Honolulu Symphony, a season ticket subscriber and regular concert attendee, serving on Boards of Directors of the Honolulu Community Action Program, and the Committee on Welfare Concerns to name just a few;

Whereas, in 1988 she was awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by University of Hawaii , in 2000 Hawaii Women Lawyers bestowed upon her their  “Lifetime Achievement Award”;
she served as a Regent of the University of Hawaii 1995 – 2003,
in 2004 UH Founders Alumni Assoc. “Lifetime Achievement Award”

Whereas, until the end of her life she was incredibly generous in sharing her unique knowledge of Hawaii’s history and was popularly known and admired as the voice of the social conscience of Hawaii’s Labor Movement’;

Whereas, in 2006 Maui Democratic Party Bestowed upon her as a living treasure to working people not just here in Hawaii but all accost the nation and

Whereas, Ah Quon lived her life courageously, never abandoning her belief that social change is possible when we people are willing to do the unpopular and risky, always advocate of inclusiveness and a staunch supporter of women’s rights now, and we must refrain from the use of any gender-based reference in organizational names, now therefore, be it

Resolved, that the State of Hawaii and its counties shall recognize February 28, 2009 as a solemn day of remembrance to honor the memory of Ah Quon McElrath, for her courage, her scholarship, and her life of service as a champion of the working class, the disenfranchised, and the generations of Hawaii’s people yet to come who will benefit from her outstanding example of community action and leadership.

Submitted by Stephen West, Labor Caucus


5. HIRE LOCAL FIRST

Whereas many of our residents have lost their jobs in this economic downturn;

Whereas public projects are paid for by our residents’ taxes;

Be it RESOLVED that all Hawai’i State and Maui County projects shall give bidding preference to local contractors employing local residents who are residents of the State (for State contracts) or County (for County contracts) at the time of bidding; and

Be it further RESOLVED that State contracts shall give preference to hiring workers residing on the island on which the work is being performed and companies based on the island where work is being performed; and

Be it further RESOLVED the Democratic Party of Hawai’i work to ensure this resolution becomes law at the 2011 Legislature.

Submitted by Karen Chun


6. CIVIL UNIONS

Whereas, there are a substantial number of couples in Hawai‘i who live within the context of a committed family situation but who also live without the benefit of an ironclad, state-provided civil and contractual relationship which is above legal reproach; and

Whereas, the Hawai‘i supreme court has mandated that the state must provide the vehicle for a civil and contractual relationship to be available to every citizen of the state of legal age, enabling all of Hawai’i’s citizens to equally share in the benefits and protections that such arrangements provide; and

Whereas, the legislature has not provided that vehicle for those civil and contractual relationships to date;

Whereas, the State House of Representatives passed civil unions legislation (HB444 HD1) in 2009 with thirty-three (33) out of fifty-one (51) votes; and

Whereas. the State Senate passed civil unions legislation (HB444 SD1) in 2010 with eighteen (18) out of twenty-five (25) votes; and

Whereas, on January 29, 2010 the State House of Representatives moved to defer indefinitely the passage of said civil unions legislation (HB444 SD1) with an anonymous voice vote; and

Whereas, the State Central Committee has urged the passage of civil unions legislation repeatedly over the last two years; now, therefore

Be it Resolved by the Maui County Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i that it supports the institution of civil unions for two people of legal age as a reasonable step towards full marriage equality for those who wish to enter into such a civil and contractual relationship; and

Be it Further Resolved that copies of this resolution be transmitted to all of the Hawai‘i Democratic Party candidates for Hawai‘i Senate and Hawai‘i House of Representatives and the appropriate state pre-convention resolutions committee.

Submitted by Eileen McKee


7. TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT

Whereas, on January 29, 2010, the State House of Representatives took a voice vote to defer indefinitely the civil unions bill (HB444); and

Whereas, Representatives present at the session on January 29, 2010, failed to call for a roll call vote; and calls from the gallery on January 29, 2010, for a roll call vote were ignored; and

Whereas, those in attendance on January 29, 2010, did not hear 26 ayes cast in favor of the deferring the bill; and

Whereas, an investigative reporter individually polled the House Representatives and could not discover twenty-six (26) Representatives to admit that they cast ayes in favor of deferring the bill; and

Whereas, on February 19, 2010, there was a controversy surrounding a motion to recall HB2311, where a video session of the vote differed with count taken by the House Clerk’s office; and

Whereas, April 27, 2010, there was a controversy when Representative Thielen called for a division of the House for SB2359; and

Whereas, the House does not tape its sessions, hence there was no video record of the process; and

Be It Resolved the Maui County Committee of the Democratic Party hereby urges the legislature to pass legislation requiring a roll call vote for all votes affecting the status of legislation; and

Be It Further Resolved that the Maui County Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i requests the State Legislature to take the necessary steps to webcast all legislative proceedings in audio and video formats.

Be It Further Resolved that certified copies of the resolution be transmitted to the Democratic members of the Hawai‘i State Legislature and Congressional Delegation and the resolutions committee of the State Democratic Convention.

Submitted by Eileen McKee


8. CONSISTENCY IN MINIMUM AGE

Whereas the legal age to enter into military service is 18; and

Whereas,the legal age to purchase and consume alcohol is 21; and

Whereas, the legal age to rent a car in Hawaii is age 25; and

Whereas, there is an age discrimination among the federal and state government, and the rental car agencies

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the legal age to enter into military service, purchase and consume alcohol, and rent a vehicle in the State of Hawaii should be consistent; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the age to enter into military service, purchase and consume alcohol and rent a car in the state of Hawaii be age 21;

AND NOW BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Democratic Party of Hawai’i work to ensure this resolution becomes law at the 2011 Legislature.

Submitted by Tasha Kama


9. PASS AN AMENDMENT CLARIFYING THAT CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE

Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people entitled to the protection of the U.S. Bill of Rights including the First Amendment; and

Whereas this is not only ridiculous and counter-intuitive but, in effect, hands over our political process to the corporations;

Now therefore be it RESOLVED that a constitutional amendment should be passed clarifying that that the Constitution applies only to natural human beings; and

Be it further RESOLVED the Democratic Party of Hawaii work to ensure this resolution results in an amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed at the 2011 Legislature.

Submitted by Karen Chun


10. RESTORE INTERNET NEUTRALITY

Whereas the Internet is important to the Democratic Party in order to push back against well-funded Republican and Corporate misinformation and propaganda; and

Whereas charging fees in order for the public to be able to visit a website or access it at full speed, reduces the Democratic Party’s ability to combat misinformation by well-funded entities; and

Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the FCC’s policy of Net Neutrality;

Be it RESOLVED that all steps to restore the rule of Internet Neutrality be taken by the State and Federal government and the FCC.

Submitted by Karen Chun


11. PROHIBIT USURY

Whereas “Payday Loans” and credit card debt prey upon the working people; and

Whereas “Payday Loans” interest can rise to 400%; and

Whereas Congress has passed laws limiting the interest rate that can be charged to armed forces personnel by “Payday Loan” businesses;

Whereas formerly usury laws prevented interest rates in excess of 10%;

Now therefore be it RESOLVED that both state and national laws be enacted making the interest rates above 10% per annum illegal for any entity; and

Be it further RESOLVED the Democratic Party of Hawai’i work to ensure this resolution becomes law at the 2011 Legislature and Congress.

Submitted by Karen Chun


12. PROTECT OCEAN USERS AND REDIRECT WASTEWATER

Whereas the Federal Clean Water Act prohibits discharging R2 treated wastewater into the ocean;

Whereas the Kahului Wastewater Treatment plant 1998 EIS admits that the purpose of the 8 injection wells there is to discharge wastewater into the ocean;

Whereas unless wastewater is treated to R1 level, the bacteria and pathogens are still in the effluent;

Whereas paddlers, divers, surfers and swimmers are getting antibiotic resistant staph infections from coming in contact with this partially treated wastewater in the waters off Kahului and Kanaha as well as Lahaina and Kihei;

Now therefore be it RESOLVED to require the County of Maui to come up with a plan to disinfect (treat to R1) and re-direct effluent being injected by June 1, 2011 or sooner; and

Be it RESOLVED to aggressively pursue funding sources to build the treatment and transport stystem for this treated wastewater; and

Be it RESOLVED to disinfect (treat to R1) all effluent going into the injection wells as soon as possible; and

Be it RESOLVED to redirect this treated water to irrigation as soon as possible.

Submitted by Karen Chun


13. PRESERVE STATE HUMAN SERVICES SATELLITE OFFICES IN RURAL HAWAI’I

Whereas the Governor, Linda Lingle, has closed the Department of Human Services walk in offices on the Neighbor Islands as a cost cutting measure, saying that those requiring services can use the telephone or internet, and

Whereas, Governor Lingle and her Human Services Director Lillian Koller seem to be unaware of the acute needs for human services in rural areas such as with assistance for medical, financial, social, food EBT cards, and

Whereas, in rural offices such as on Molokai, DHS eligibility offices serve around 80 per cent of the island is some form of assistance or another, and

Whereas, face to face interactions make the program more effective, and

Whereas, The Department of Human Services offices provide an important service and provides a safety net for the underserved rural citizens, Kapuna and Keiki of Hawaii, and

Whereas, many of the rural citizens requiring social services on the neighbor islands, such as Molokai, do not possess telephones, or have cell phone coverage in the Rural areas, or Internet service or even electricity, and

Whereas, the draconian measures inflicted upon the rural poor by Lingle’s policies are a hardship and does not consider the unfairness of assuming everyone has the ability to access Human services from telephone or internet in the rural districts, and therefore

Be it RESOLVED that satellite eligibility offices should remain in those rural areas most in need of social services and or should be re-opened and re-instated immediately, and

Be it RESOLVED that upon adoption of this Resolution it shall be forwarded to the Democratic Party of Hawaii for adoption at their state convention and once adopted it shall be forwarded to all Hawaii state and federal legislators and the executive office of the state of Hawaii.

By makers, Beverly Pauole-Moore, Todd Yamashita and Lance Holter


14. MAKE DRUG AND ALCOHOL TREATMENT PROGRAMS AVAILABLE TO ALL OFFENDERS

WHEREAS the state of Hawai`i spends in excess of $40,000 per year for each incarcerated person;

WHEREAS eighty-per cent or more of Hawaii’s prison population suffers from drug and/or alcohol addiction;

WHEREAS families are negatively impacted by drug and/or alcohol addiction and bear the social costs associated with imprisonment of a relative;

WHEREAS providing substance abuse and mental health treatment to persons with drug and/or alcohol addiction is more cost- effective than the cost of incarceration; and

WHEREAS the State Liquor Licensing Board receives considerable funds from the licensing of liquor establishments and funds are not deposited in the State’s general fund.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Maui Democratic Party calls on the Hawai`i Democratic Party and our Hawai`i legislators to:

  • Screen all persons convicted of a crime for drug and alcohol problems prior to sentencing as part of the pre-sentence investigation.
  • Screen all persons convicted of a crime for psychiatric problems and violent behavior prior to sentencing as part of the pre-sentence investigation.
  • Place persons convicted of non-violent crimes in need of drug and alcohol treatment into appropriate drug and alcohol treatment programs as an alternative to prison.
  • Place persons convicted of non-violent crimes in need of psychiatric treatment into psychiatric treatment and programs having drug and alcohol abuse components as an alternative to prison.
  • Place persons convicted of violent crimes and considered a danger to others into prison settings where drug, alcohol, counseling and behavioral treatment programs are available to address their addictions while protecting the community from violence.
  • The drug and alcohol programs provided for may be financed by amending the state’s liquor laws to provide that eighty-per cent of the net liquor licensing funds shall be used exclusively for the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse and family therapy.

Submitted by Councilmember Gladys Baisa


15. SUPPORTING USING AN ADJUNCT ELECTRONIC FORMAT TO ALLOW PARTICIPATION VIA THE INTERNET WHEN HOLDING DEMOCRATIC PARTY MEETINGS

WHEREAS; there is often a very poor turnout at precinct club meetings on years when there is not a presidential caucus, and

WHEREAS; the turnout at the precinct club meetings in 2010 was particularly poor in light of the tremendous turn out two years earlier when Barack Obama won the caucus vote, and

WHEREAS; many precincts did not have a single member in attendance and many more had only one or two members who attended, and

WHEREAS; the lack of attendance caused many precincts to fall into the category of “unorganized precincts”, and

WHEREAS; it is a tremendous waste of resources including gasoline in those far flung precincts where members drove/flew long distances to attend a Democratic Party meetings including, SCC, HCC, District and Precinct meetings, and

WHEREAS; in order to attract younger members and high tech members (who use the Internet technology in their personal and business lives every day) to our aging party membership, and

WHEREAS; this was a failure to capitalize on the tremendous party growth resulting from the previous Obama caucus, and

WHEREAS; due to travel cost from neighbor islands many of our parties members are not able to participate in the decision making process when meeting and hearings, etc. are held on Oahu, and

WHEREAS; the Hawaii Senate is now live broadcasting many key sessions and committee meetings and both houses are now State and County government are accepting testimony electronically via the Internet, and

WHEREAS; most US corporations now do the bulk of their shareholder voting with adjunct electronic voting via http://www.proxyvote.com, now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Hawaii make it possible via rule changes and technology assistance for our Members to participate and vote in all elections and important meetings including pre-convention resolution drafting meetings, County and State conventions, future precinct club, and district meetings using the Internet (eg. Skye or Go To Meeting) and/or conference calls. These meetings can be conducted with some form of adjunct electronic format to conserve energy, save travel time, and increase participation by all members. This will also result in greatly increased participation and precinct viability while keeping place the existing methods for those who prefer them.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that upon passage of this resolution a committee be formed to explore the best methodology available to provide adjunct electronic meetings in an efficient manner. These electronic adjunct services should be made available to all party meetings as soon as possible but no later than prior to the 2012 round of Democratic Party Precinct Club elections.

Submitted by Al Beeman