Wisconsin SEIU Resolution Against War on Iraq


Adopted on October 16, 2002, by the RA (representative assembly) of the Wisconsin SEIU (Service Employees International Union). There are two parts: the resolution proper, and a referenced fact sheet. This text was posted on the Internet on October 18 in a rough version that has been edited for Labor Standard.)

WHEREAS we recognize that just a small portion of the $334 billion appropriated last year for the U.S. military budget could help instead pay for scholarships to send our children to college, provide health insurance to the millions of people uninsured, secure our retirement funds, and train more nurses; and

WHEREAS we envision that homeland security is achieved best by building economic justice here in America and throughout the globe; and

WHEREAS we identify ourselves with common working folks everywhere in the world who strive daily to provide for their families and need to build a future for their children; and

WHEREAS in our profession we concern ourselves with the health and welfare of people no matter what their race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion and

WHEREAS we excuse that these statements are vague but we nevertheless acknowledge that they are facts and that they provide us with the moral authority needed for change; and

WHEREAS the SEIU mission statement specifies that “in the proud tradition of union workers, we must struggle for justice and human dignity in our society,”

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS ASSEMBLY:

  1. Opposes a U.S. military attack on Iraq, and calls on the Bush administration to cooperate fully in a multilateral, long-term approach of constructive engagement with Iraq and all other sovereign nations of the world, under the auspices of the UN.

  2. Urges all our members to increase vigilance and action against all attacks on civil liberties and workers’ rights.

  3. Encourages all our members to educate themselves on the history and issues behind this conflict and the causes of terrorism.

FACTS ABOUT WAR

  1. The Bush administration has proposed a $379.3 billion military budget for the year 2003. This is a $45.3 billion increase from last year. (Information from International Network of Engineering and Science against Proliferation.)

  2. The state of Wisconsin’s share of this increase is $650 million. That is equal to the cost of providing health care coverage for 250,000 children. (Info from The National Priorities Project—www.natprior.org)

  3. The proposed military budget is also twenty-six times larger than the combined military spending of the seven “most dangerous” countries, according to the Bush administration (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria). (Info from Center for Defense Information).

  4. IT IS ESTIMATED THAT A WAR WITH IRAQ WILL COST 100 BILLION DOLLARS.

How Much is $100 billion?

  1. This year 1.4 million more people have no health insurance, making a total of more than 41 million Americans with no coverage, while tens of millions more are underinsured. Since President Bush took office, unemployment has risen by 35%.

Two million jobs have been eliminated since Bush took office. From a federal surplus of $281 billion when Bush was inaugurated, we now have a deficit of $157 billion.

The stock market is down 34% since January 2002, putting at risk the pension funds of tens of millions of working Americans. (Info from Resolution Against War Against Iraq—Executive Council Local 1199/SEIU New York.)

  1. Invoking the Homeland Security Act, the Bush administration has threatened the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) with military takeover of the West Coast ports in case of a strike. The Longshore union is bargaining for job security on the West Coast.

  2. Citing the “war on terrorism,” the Bush administration is also demanding an end to collective bargaining rights for employees of the new Department of Homeland Security.

  3. The average wage in Iraq is 5 dollars a month. These are the people the bombs will fall on. Civilians will be the ones to continue to suffer under an attack on Iraq, not Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, the war against the Iraqi people did not end with the cessation of military attacks in 1991, but continues to this day with a suffocating blockade that has already claimed over one million civilian lives, the vast majority of whom are children and the elderly. More than 500,000 toddlers and infants have died due to the consequences of the sanctions. Including the 50,000 adult deaths caused by sanctions every year, Iraq now has a war-related mortality rate of over 200 people every day (UNICEF August 1999; UNICEF, April 1998).

  4. See SEIU District 1199W Bylaws, Article II, Section 3.

  5. See resolutions against war on Iraq adopted by the Executive Council of Local 1199/SEIU, New York, New York; Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Albany, NY; Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO; 67th convention of United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers Union; and Detroit Labor Committee for Peace and Justice

  6. See SEIU District 1199W Bylaws, Article II, Section 1.

  7. “SEIU Local 1199 was one of the very first to oppose the war in Vietnam, being at first a lonely voice that became a majority viewpoint as the carnage mounted up, and now we have the opportunity to prevent a catastrophe from beginning.” (Executive Council of 1199/SEIU, New York, from resolution adopted October 4, 2002.)