Nation’s Largest Union Calls for End to U.S. Occupation of Iraq and Withdrawal of U.S. Troops
Nearly 4000 delegates of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s largest with 1.6 million members, voted unanimously at the union’s national convention in San Francisco today to end U.S. occupation of Iraq and to bring U.S. troops stationed there home.
The strongly worded resolution pointed to military intervention aboard and attacks on workers at home. The resolution charged the Bush administration (backed by a majority in Congress) with responsibility for declining wages and benefits, deunionization, cuts in public services, crumbling health care and educational systems, cuts in veterans benefits, escalating public debt, and eroding economic, social and personal security.
The union proclaimed, “We cannot solve these economic and social problems without addressing U.S. foreign policy and its consequences.”
It accused the Bush administration of using “deception, lies and false promises to the American people and the world” to launch a “unilateral, preemptive war” in Iraq, causing the death of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of U.S. soldiers, and costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
The resolution aligned SEIU with the principles contained in the Mission Statement of U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), a national network of labor organizations founded in 2003 to oppose war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s foreign policies of unilateralism, militarism and preemptive war. USLAW has more than 70 affiliated labor organizations, including a dozen SEIU’s largest local unions.
Those principles include * a just foreign policy based on international law and global justice; * an end to U.S. occupation of Iraq; * redirecting the nation’s resources from “inflated military spending” to meeting human needs; * supporting U.S. troops by bringing them safely home; * protecting labor, civil and immigrant rights and civil liberties; and * solidarity with workers around the world struggling for labor and human rights, and those in the U.S. who support U.S. foreign and domestic policies that “reflect our nation’s highest ideals.”
The union resolved to work with all religious, community, political and foreign policy groups (such as USLAW) that are committed to a set of principles delineated by SEIU President Andy Stern in a letter to President Bush in January 2003, which include: war as a last option, not first resort; peaceful multilateral solutions to international disputes; a foreign policy that prioritizes improving the lives of people around the world; and protecting at home those rights and freedoms the administration claims it seeks for people abroad.
The resolution was adopted without dissent after a half dozen or more local union leaders rose to passionately advocate its passage. The resolution had been submitted by the SEIU International Executive Board for convention action based on resolutions submitted by Locals 49, 250, 535, 615, 715, 790, 1199NE, 1199P, and 1199NW.
The full text of the resolution is available on the USLAW website at http://uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=5382
U.S. Labor Against War (USLAW)
PMB 153 1718 “M” Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20036
Bob Muehlenkamp and Gene Bruskin, Co-convenors Amy Newell, National Organizer Michael Eisenscher, Organizer & Web Coordinator Adrienne Nicosia, Administrative Staff
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on July 17th, 2004