2013 National NOW Conference Resolutions

passed July 7, 2013


ELECT A FEMINIST WOMAN PRESIDENT AND CELEBRATE NOW’S GOLDEN JUBILEE

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women was founded in 1966 “to take action” to bring about equality for all women; and

WHEREAS, we celebrate our victories as we continue to take action to counter the continual war on women waged by the enemies of equality; and

WHEREAS, since our nation’s founding on the premise that “all men are created equal” we have had a parade of Toms, Dicks, and Harrys elected president of the United States, none of whom has succeeded in securing women constitutional equality, freedom from violence and discrimination, or equal pay; and

WHEREAS, it is time for the Victorias, Shirleys, Carols, and Hillarys to show what feminist political leadership can do;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that from henceforth until 2016, NOW’s 50th anniversary, NOW’s political work should be designed to build toward the work and goal of electing a feminist woman president of the United States; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that leading up to 2016, we will organize on NOW’s priority issues to build our resources, including membership, alliances, contacts and organizational strength; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW urges NOW PAC to focus its endorsement and field strategy from this day forward to accomplish this historical goal.


THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT (THE ALICE PAUL/FANNIE LOU HAMER RESOLUTION)

WHEREAS, American women have historically experienced denial of their voting rights because of their sex, race and/or national origin; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court has many powers, but not the right to rescind the inviolable protections of any Constitutional Amendment; and

WHEREAS, the 15th Amendment guarantees citizens the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, and the 19th Amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote, which cannot be denied or abridged; and

WHEREAS, the right to vote for women and people of color will be disproportionately denied and abridged due to name changes throughout their life cycle, barriers to proving or verifying identification, decreased access to polling places due to age or disability, and increased restrictions placed upon absentee ballots, weekend and early voting;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) calls on Congress to uphold the 15th and 19th Amendments by remedying the recent Supreme Court decision, Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerates section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW work to make the media aware about the significant impact on women and people of color who are disproportionately affected; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW support legislation to guarantee the right to vote as a federal right and not subject to local or state authority; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW support litigation and action against gerrymandering and gendermandering that violates the principle of one person, one vote; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW chapters are encouraged to work in coalition in their own states and local communities to push back against this denial of rights for women and people of color.


SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE MILITARY

WHEREAS, sexual assault in the military is a very serious crime against women and men and should be treated as such; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Defense (DOD) in 2012 received 3,374 reports of alleged sexual assault, which included rape, nonconsensual sodomy, and indecent assault. These figures are admittedly understated because sexual assault in the military often goes ignored and unpunished. DOD estimates that over 26,300 cases of sexual assault occurred in the military in 2012; and

WHEREAS, the reporting and non-reporting options policies offered in the military do not provide adequate protections to victims, and the fear of retaliation by peers and superiors, retribution by authorities, and reprisals is another obstacle for victims and survivors in the military; and

WHEREAS, 74 percent of women in the military perceived one or more barriers to reporting sexual assault, and the military allows an alleged rapist to present evidence of “Good Military Character” or job performance to prove reasonable doubt; and

WHEREAS, the military chain of command protects the rapist because of the patriarchal culture; and

WHEREAS, the lack of privacy is often the prime obstacle for victims of sexual assault associated with the military to seek services and treatment; and

WHEREAS, sexual assault in the military often causes victims to cease their training and withdraw from the military academy they are attending, thereby preventing women from pursuing the career of their choice; and

WHEREAS, making a report of sexual assault in the military often leads to a retaliatory psychological diagnosis such as Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, or Adjustment Disorder, each of which leads to the member’s dismissal from the military with limited medical benefits; and

WHEREAS, rape and sexual assault are detrimental to the functioning of the military unit, and eradicating rape and sexual assault is essential to the mission of our military;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) urges enactment of the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Protection Act of 2013 (STOP) (H.R.1593) and the military to adopt the following recommendations:

  1. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) shall be reformed to remove the reporting, investigation, prosecution, adjudication, and clemency matters from the chain of command, and the authority shall be given to independent, impartial and unbiased military prosecutors.
  2. The UCMJ shall be reformed to remove the “Good Military Character” Defense.
  3. Each branch of the military shall establish a Special Victims’ Counsel program to include providing representation to victims of rape and sexual assault during court-martial proceedings to protect their rights.
  4. The DOD and U.S. Coast Guard shall conduct a thorough review of all discharges that were the result of a Personality, Bipolar, or Adjustment Disorder diagnosis made after the report of a rape or sexual assault.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW urges President Barack H. Obama, the Commander in Chief, to call for the immediate firing of any commander at any level who condones — explicitly or through a failure to take proactive steps to address such behavior — sexual harassment, discrimination, rape or assault.


FAIR WAGES AND TREATMENT FOR TIPPED WORKERS

WHEREAS, the federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour, or 30% of the federal minimum wage for non-tipped workers; and

WHEREAS, according to the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), restaurants are the fastest growing U.S. industry with the worst gender wage gap; and

WHEREAS, employees in the restaurant industry are less than 1% unionized, and unions would help to elevate the status of restaurant workers; and

WHEREAS, the vast majority of restaurant workers have no paid sick days and thus are forced to work while ill, potentially risking the health of their customers and co-workers; and

WHEREAS, sexual harassment is rampant and widely known but rarely reported in the restaurant industry;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) calls on Congress and state legislatures to enact living wage legislation with tipped workers to be guaranteed at least 70 percent of the federal minimum wage, as well as other wage-elevating legislation like the proposed federal Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 (S. 460), and that the minimum wage increase proportionately with increases in the cost of living on an annual basis, and that increases in the wage be based on the full Consumer Price Index (CPI) not just the core CPI which excludes food and energy so that all future wage increases shall reflect the full cost of price inflation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW push to pass paid sick day legislation at the state and federal levels for all workers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW work to make the media aware of the significant impact on women and people of color, who are disproportionately affected by depressed wages and hostile workplaces in the restaurant industry; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW chapters are encouraged to work in coalitions in their own states and local communities to push back against such inhumane treatment.


2013-2014 NATIONAL ACTION CAMPAIGN FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has a long history of success related to lesbian rights and has always been a leader on both lesbian rights and marriage equality; and

WHEREAS, NOW recognized marriage equality as a fundamental right and committed to the fight for marriage equality in a 1995 resolution; and

WHEREAS, lesbian couples and their children are the most impacted by the denial of marriage equality, making marriage equality a feminist issue; and

WHEREAS, the battle for marriage equality in this country will not be over until there is full marriage equality in all states; and

WHEREAS, the momentum of recent victories and the dramatic increase in positive public opinion present an imminent opportunity for marriage equality, given that thirteen states and the District of Columbia have officially recognized marriage equality;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW will support a National Action Campaign to support marriage equality; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Action Campaign will engage with chapters and allow them to designate the appropriate level of involvement, with significant support and coaching from the field staff; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW embraces the goals of the Put a Ring on It National Action Campaign, repeal of all aspects of DOMA, and securing of marriage equality in all states and territories of the United States; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this campaign will include lobbying, public education and engagement, media engagement, and elections. We will mobilize voters, get the word out through social media and traditional outlets, and work with our local and state chapters to gain marriage equality across the country.


NOW OPPOSES STEREOTYPING TOYS

WHEREAS, the inquiry from fast food restaurants employees of “boy toy or girl toy” or, “is (child’s meal) for a boy or for a girl?” not only sets the stage for sexism but furnishes it with stereotypical, gender-specific toys; and

WHEREAS, impressionable youth are exposed to sexism at a very young age; and

WHEREAS, this is counter to the National Organization for Women’s (NOW’s) stance of eliminating gender discrimination; and

WHEREAS, the inquiry about gender-specific toys can negatively impact our youth by isolating those who do not fall into the category of fast food restaurants’ gender stereotypes;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW will support an action campaign to eliminate the request of gender-specific toys at fast food restaurants’ by petition to fast food restaurants and a social media campaign; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW opposes the stereotyping of gender- specific toys for our youth.


CHALLENGING WALMART’S DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has declared Walmart to be a Merchant of Shame; and

WHEREAS, NOW is currently engaged in various actions to challenge Walmart’s discriminatory practices; and

WHEREAS, a past union action against J.P. Stevens & Company that involved a campaign to urge members to purchase single shares of J.P. Stevens stock proved successful;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that National NOW adopt a similar campaign to urge members to purchase single shares of Walmart Stock; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW members who are shareholders in Walmart be encouraged to attend shareholder meetings and participate in the voting process in order to influence the corporation’s policies affecting women; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW coordinate this shareholder action to challenge Walmart’s discriminatory practices.


ERA RESOLUTION 2013

WHEREAS, constitutional equality for women is a core issue for the National Organization for Women (NOW) and discrimination based on sex is a violation of human rights; and

WHEREAS, NOW is supporting both the 3-state strategy and a Congressional strategy to begin anew on an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); and

WHEREAS, Congressional leaders for women’s equality believe it is necessary to support both strategies; and

WHEREAS, both methods provide unique advantages; and

WHEREAS, NOW continues to support ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, The Women’s Treaty) by the U.S. Senate;

<p.THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW reaffirms that we continue to work on several strategies that educate the public about the need to win constitutional equality for women; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW create an “ERA Educate to Advocate Campaign” and actively pursue opportunities to obtain media attention to bring the movement to ratify the ERA and CEDAW (The Women’s Treaty) into the national conversation; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we recommend to the NOW/PAC and the state and local PACs that they score candidates on their support for an ERA on the 3-state strategy, a Congressional strategy to begin anew on an Equal Rights Amendment, and CEDAW (The Women’s Treaty), in considering whether or not to endorse a political candidate.


PRESERVING AND PROMOTING UNION JOBS AND UNION-MADE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has a long history of supporting the working woman and recognizes the harm to sisters all over the world when companies do not assure workers’ rights, safe working conditions, health benefits, and livable wages; and

WHEREAS, union labels, shop cards, store cards, and service-buttons are hallmarks of high quality and are the best indicator of jobs that pay well, provide good benefits, and respect the right of workers to join a union; and

WHEREAS, union and nonunion families alike “look for the union label” when they shop precisely because they want to support strong and solid job growth in the United States, promote fair and humane global trade practices and purchase the best products and services in the world; and

WHEREAS, national tax and trade policies have caused our trade deficit to surge to a record- setting level leading to massive job loss in a wide range of sectors and the severe erosion of our manufacturing base; and

WHEREAS, due to these flawed trade policies, even products such as the American flag are often imported from countries that employ prison and child labor and deny workers their basic human rights;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the delegates to the NOW Conference reaffirm their commitment to buy union-made products and services and to look for the union label; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW strive to use only American-made products or fair-trade products and services from organizations and companies that do not commit business practices that can be conceived by NOW as anti-union, anti-women, or anti-equality; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW reaffirms its commitment to working women by striving to ensure that major purchases of products and services are consistent with a pro-woman, pro-labor, and pro-equality agenda.


ENFORCING ACCESSIBILITY AT NOW MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) is a radically diverse organization that is dedicated to including persons with disability and mobility issues; and

WHEREAS, in 1978 NOW passed its original disability rights resolution “urging chapters to provide barrier-free facilities, assistance for the blind, and interpreters for the deaf”; and

WHEREAS, in 2002 and 2009, NOW passed resolutions calling for accessible conferences, forums, summits, and meetings at all levels of the organization, with a mandated use of NOW’s accessibility checklist; and

WHEREAS, with regard to conference facilities and issues of mobility, attendees at the 2013 Conference had issues with accessibility due to long corridors at the hotel; and

WHEREAS, the accessibility checklist has a specific requirement for regular seating in long corridors; and

WHEREAS, this checklist is currently available online in the “CHAPTERS ONLY” section of the NOW website; and

WHEREAS, attendees with disability have experienced some difficulty in accessing workshop and issue hearing rooms, plenary sessions, guest rooms, restrooms and food facilities;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW redouble its commitment to using venues that fully accommodate persons with disability and mobility issues for all NOW meetings and conferences; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that leadership at all levels of NOW fully utilize NOW’s accessibility checklist to ensure full inclusiveness for all; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW leadership at all levels include every relevant section of the accessibility checklist, including the long corridor section.