San Francisco Labor Council Statement on the Tragic
Events of September 11, 2001
[Note: The following statement was adopted by the S.F.
Labor Council at its delegates meeting on Monday, September 24, 2001. The
statement was submitted to the Labor Council by the Executive Board of OPEIU
Local 3. It was adopted following one friendly amendment from the floor.]
The San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO) joins the
nation and the world in mourning the devastating loss of life resulting from the
vicious attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the
crashed plane in Pennsylvania. We condemn the criminality of those attacks and
Many of those killed were union members and other
workers killed on the job. Our hearts go out to our sisters and brothers and
their loved ones. We particularly honor the rescue workers who continue to risk
their lives to save others.
No one, in this country or any other, should suffer the
fate of the victims in these attacks. We demand that the perpetrators of these
crimes be brought to justice. The United States has a responsibility to
establish with irrefutable facts the identity of those who were behind these
attacks. The tragic attacks of September 11 should be treated as a heinous crime
rather than an act of war.
As we mourn this tremendous loss of life, we declare
our resistance to efforts to use this tragedy to engage in military actions that
can lead only to more carnage and senseless loss of life. We reject the idea
that entire nations should be punished for the actions of a few. Bombing raids
and military strikes will only fuel an endless cycle of revenge that can only
bring the deaths of more innocent civilians, both here and around the world.
In the face of such sorrow, we urge all people,
particularly members of the labor family, to stand united against prejudice,
hatred, and intolerance wherever it arises. Within our own borders, we call upon
all in our communities to join us in immediately confronting any anti-Arab,
anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh or other anti-immigrant hate speech or acts of violence,
whether in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, or in the media. We strongly
oppose efforts to curtail the rights of immigrants and refugees, including
expulsion of suspect foreign nationals without due process.
We also declare our resistance to efforts to use this
tragedy to curtail our civil liberties. Militarization of our society inevitably
leads to erosion of civil liberties and workers’ rights. We must remain
vigilant in the defense of our democratic principles, including the protection
of our civil liberties. Already proposals have been put forward to allow
increased federal surveillance of private activities, and there is a strong push
for greater use of racial profiling. In the past, national security has often
been used to justify interference with our rights to freedom of association, to
organize, to strike, and to picket. We must redouble our efforts to fight for
justice, and must not allow those who oppose our goals to use a national crisis
as an excuse to assault our civil and economic rights.
We encourage open discussion as to the origins of this
crisis and the most appropriate response to the atrocities that have taken
place — particularly about the need for a foreign policy that is based on
economic and political justice.
A century ago, Samuel Gompers, first President of the
AFL, said that labor wants more justice and less revenge. Our greatest memorial
to our fallen sisters and brothers will be a world of peace, justice, tolerance,
and understanding, underscored by the solidarity of working people.