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November 2003 • Vol 3, No. 10 •

Model Resolution on the Occupation and Labor Rights in Iraq

The national labor assembly against war, called by U.S. Labor Against War and held in Chicago this weekend (October 25-26), adopted the following sample resolution as a framework on which union members might take up the issues in their own locals.

Whereas: since the end of the war in Iraq in April, unemployment among Iraqi workers has reached 70 percent, facing many families with hunger and dislocation, and

Whereas: since the war’s end, the U.S. occupying authority has frozen Iraqi wages for most workers at $60/month, while at the same time eliminating bonuses, profit sharing, and bonuses for food and housing, causing a sharp cut in the income of those Iraqi workers still employed, and

Whereas: $87 billion was appropriated by Congress supposedly for the reconstruction of Iraq, yet not a dime is set to be used to raise Iraqi wages or for the benefit of its unemployed workers, and these extraordinary expenditures will come at immense cost in services and jobs here in the US, and

Whereas: since April Iraqi workers have begun to reorganize their trade union movement, seeking a better standard of living, and to preserve their jobs and workplaces, and

Whereas: the U.S. occupation authority has continued to enforce a law issued by Saddam Hussein in 1987, prohibiting unions and collective bargaining in the public sector and state enterprises, where most Iraqis work, and in June promulgated a new law prohibiting strikes, threatening any worker who encourages strike activity with being held as a prisoner of war, and

Whereas: the U.S. occupation authority has announced it intends to privatize the factories, refineries, mines and other state enterprises, selling them off to private owners, despite the fact that these enterprises belong to the Iraqi people, not to the US, and has issued a new law, Public Order 39, allowing 100 percent foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses and the repatriation of profits, and

Whereas: the privatization of Iraqi workplaces would result in the massive layoff of Iraqi workers, at a time when unemployment is already at crisis levels, and

Whereas: the U.S. occupation authority is in effect making it illegal for Iraqi unions and workers to organize at the workplace to oppose privatization or have any voice at all in the future of their own jobs, and

Whereas: Iraqi unions are seeking to organize despite having no resources of any kind, while the U.S. occupying authority continues to withhold from them the welfare funds and other resources and buildings held by the Saddam Hussein-affiliated government unions,

Therefore be it resolved: that this local union (or other labor body) calls for full trade union rights in Iraq, and for the occupation authority to immediately repudiate the 1987 Hussein law banning unions in public enterprises, to annul its prohibition on strikes, and eliminate any other restriction on the full exercise of labor rights, and

Be it further resolved: that we call on the U.S. occupation authority immediately to implement Conventions 89 and 98 of the International Labor Organization, guaranteeing the rights to organize and strike, and

Be it further resolved: that we call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, so that Iraq can be governed by its own people, and guarantee the rights of its own people, labor rights included, and

Be it further resolved: that we call for a Congressional investigation of the suppression of trade union rights in Iraq, and the privatization of the workplaces of Iraqi workers and the property of the Iraqi people, and

Be it finally resolved: that we will donate material resources, such as computers, telephones and office furniture, as well as money, to the Fund to Support Iraqi Trade Union Rights, established by U.S. Labor Against the War.





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