Labor Says Bring the Troops Home
At the end of the summer the New Haven and Hartford (CT) Central Labor Councils passed resolutions calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The New Haven resolution passed unanimously and is printed below. The Hartford resolution with nearly identical language passed 41 to 1. Labor Councils are made up of delegates elected from union locals in the area.
The convention of the Connecticut AFL-CIO meeting in New Haven in September voted almost unanimously to support the national position calling for a rapid withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The convention represents some 100,000 CT workers. In some ways more telling was the reaction to a line in the speech of Attorney General Blumenthal. He said that no matter how anyone feels about the war we all support our troops. But the unionists in the audience didn't go for the bait. Instead of being suckered in they sat in stony silence!! A few minutes later they did applaud as he called for increased benefits for returning soldiers.
Labor leaders are turning solidly against the war in resolutions. The next step is to get the rank and file involved.
Resolution on Iraq - Greater New Haven Central Labor Council
The Connecticut AFL-CIO and Western Connecticut AFL-CIO Central Labor Council joined with other labor bodies and submitted a resolution to the national AFL-CIO convention this summer which in part asked the AFL-CIO to call for "an immediate end to the US occupation of Iraq and to support the repeal of the Patriot Act and the reordering of national priorities toward the human needs of our people"
At the convention the AFL-CIO passed a resolution calling for a rapid withdrawal from Iraq. The key section states "Our soldiers-the men and women risking their lives in Iraq-come from America's working families. They are our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, our husbands and wives. They deserve to be properly equipped with protective body gear and up-armored vehicles. And they deserve leadership that fully values their courage and sacrifice. Most importantly, they deserve a commitment from our country's leaders to bring them home rapidly."
The claims against the former Iraqi government that created support for the invasion, that it had secret stores of weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to the US and that it have ties to those who attacked the US on September 11, 2001 have been shown to be groundless.
The cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq both in human life and money has been immense. Thousands of Americans are dead, tens of thousands of Iraqis have perished, and the eventual cost to the US has been estimated by a former US Commerce Secretary to be over one trillion dollars [August 21, 2005 New York Times].
In Iraq conditions for workers have declined. Not only has unemployment grown, but labor leaders are being targeted for assassination and workers' rights are being denied under a 1987 decree issued by Saddam Hussein, which the Iraqi interim government has not lifted.
Both the President's declining poll numbers on Iraq and the positive response to Cindy Sheehan's "Bring the troops home now" protest outside the President's ranch show that the American people are fed up with the war.
The Greater New Haven Central Labor Council calls for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the resources being spent on the war in Iraq be redirected to improve the lives of working men, women and their families
It urges working people to attend the September 24, 2005 anti-war march and demonstration in Washington DC
It will send a representative to speak on Sunday, September 18 at 3 p.m. to the "Bring Them Home Bus Tour" featuring Cindy Sheehan on the New Haven Green.
It will create a committee open to labor council delegates and members of affiliated locals to create leaflets and materials to educate unionists about the war
And it will widely publicize this resolution to all its affiliates and the media.