SEIU Convention Calls for End to U.S. Occupation of Iraq and Return of U.S. Troops

Nation's largest union adopts tough antiwar stand without dissent.

June 22nd, 2004
Opposition To Current US Iraq Policy

Our nation faces growing domestic challenges - unemployment, declining wages and benefits, deunionization of the workforce, reduced public services, crumbling health care and educational systems, cuts in veterans benefits, escalating public debt, and decreased economic, social and personal security. Massive military spending, combined with tax cuts for the rich, is creating massive federal deficits and huge cuts in state public services. This crisis is a product of the Bush Administration's policies (backed by a majority in Congress) of military intervention abroad and attacks on working peoples' rights at home. Only corporations and the wealthy have benefited.

We cannot solve these economic and social problems without addressing U.S. foreign policy and its consequences.

Last January, 2003, with the approval of the International Union Executive Board, International Union President Andrew L. Stern sent a letter to President George Bush expressing our concerns and outlining the following four important principles:

1. War involves enormous risks to our families and our communities and must be a last option, not the first.
2. The goal of our foreign policy must be to promote a safer and more just world - promoting peaceful, multilateral solutions for disputes.
3. U.S. foreign policy must give high priority to improving the lives of people around the world.
4. The rights and freedoms our government says it is fighting for abroad must be protected at home.

President Stern's letter ended with these words: We urge you not to invade Iraq in violation of these principles and ask you to work with the Congress and the United Nations to set a course that will provide lasting security for all. That is the best way to honor those who died on September 11, who serve in our armed forces, and who work hard every day to make America work by providing the services our communities depend upon.

As recently confirmed by the 9/11 Commission, in violation of the above principles, and based on deception, lies and false promises to the American people and the World, the Bush Administration launched its unilateral, preemptive war against Iraq. The war in Iraq has resulted in the death of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of US soldiers. Already more of our soldiers, our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, have died in this war than any other war since Vietnam. And, this war is costing our nation's taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

Just as President Stern warned in our January, 2003 letter to President Bush, the foreign policy of the Bush administration has weakened rather than strengthened security in the U.S., creating enemies around the world and alienating long-time allies.
In October of 2003 nearly 200 delegates representing over 100 labor organizations, including SEIU Locals representing nearly 400,000 SEIU members, created a permanent coalition called U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) to encourage and promote debate within the labor movement on the critical questions of war and peace facing our nation; to work to address the impact that US foreign policy has on workers, their jobs, their rights and liberties, their families, unions and communities; and to promote the extension of labor rights to workers in Iraq now.

Therefore be it resolved:

That SEIU supports the principles in the Mission Statement adopted at the National Labor Assembly of US Labor Against The War (USLAW), October 25, 2003, namely:
A Just Foreign Policy based on International law and global justice that promotes genuine security and prosperity at home and abroad;

An end to the U.S. Occupation of Iraq;
The Redirecting of the Nation's Resources from inflated military spending to meeting the needs of working families for health care, education, a clean environment, housing and a decent standard of living;

Supporting Our Troops and their families by bringing our troops home safely, by not recklessly putting them in harms way, by providing adequate veterans' benefits and promoting domestic policies that prioritize the needs of working people who make up the bulk of the military;
Protecting Workers Rights, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and the Rights of Immigrants by promoting democracy, not subverting it; and

Solidarity with workers around the world who are struggling for their own labor and human rights, and with those in the U.S. who want US foreign and domestic policies to reflect our nation's highest ideals.
Be It Further Resolved:

That SEIU will work with all religious, community, political, and foreign policy groups (such as USLAW) who support the principles outlined in the January 2004 letter to President Bush and further elaborated in this resolution.
Submitted by: International Executive Board Referred to: Resolutions Committee

[adopted unanimously by convention action on June 22, 2004]


Informant: Farah


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Juni 2004

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