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Whereas, in the wake of the 7 October “Al-Aqsa Flood” joint military action by Palestinian resistance organizations the Israeli military has unleashed a brutal campaign of reprisals against the Palestinian people as a whole, destroying vital infrastructure and killing tens of thousands of civilians in its genocidal siege of the Gaza Strip and enacting violent repression in the occupied West Bank;
Whereas, in response to this onslaught and humanitarian crisis the labor movement in Palestine issued a call on 16 October to workers and their unions worldwide to take the following five actions in order to stop arming Israel and end all complicity: “1) to refuse to build weapons destined for Israel; 2) to refuse to transport weapons to Israel; 3) to pass motions in their trade union[s] to this effect; 4) to take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege, especially if they have contracts with your institution; [and] 5) to pressure governments to stop all military trade with Israel, and in the case of the US, funding to it”;
Whereas, inspired by this call, the Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council (TLM CLC) passed a resolution on 18 October declaring that it “opposes in principle any union involvement in the production or transportation of weapons destined for Israel” and asks the AFL-CIO to “publicly support an immediate, permanent ceasefire and equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis”;
Whereas, unions across the nation, including the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE) union and the United Auto Workers (UAW), have also called for an immediate, permanent ceasefire and are exploring divestment from Israel.
Whereas, following a long pattern of support for Israel and efforts to prevent union locals and labor councils from passing resolutions declaring their solidarity with working people and their trade unions in Palestine, such as in 2021 when the San Francisco Labor Council was slated to vote on a resolution endorsing the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign, the AFL-CIO leadership pressured the TLM CLC to retract its 18 October resolution, declaring that it “goes beyond the position that the AFL-CIO has taken”, and then, before a retraction could be discussed and voted on, the AFL-CIO changed their story and unilaterally declared the resolution void without a democratic vote;
Whereas, this is a blatant attack on union democracy and the basic right of union members, union locals, and labor councils to political speech of any kind;
Whereas, this attempt to prevent a local labor council and its member unions from expressing their solidarity with their union siblings in Palestine is a gross violation of the fundamental labor movement principle that an injury to one is an injury to all;
And whereas, the war on Gaza has been especially devastating for freedom of information and cultural heritage, both of which are pillars of library work, and on November 27th, Gaza’s main public library was found destroyed by Israeli forces, destroying thousands of historical documents and following a long pattern of deliberate destruction of Palestinian cultural and historic sites.
Therefore be it resolved that AFSCME Local 3758-B demands the AFL-CIO retract their “request” that the TLM CLC retract their 18 October resolution and stands with the TLM CLC against any and all attempts at censure or discipline by the AFL-CIO and/or any related bodies resulting from the passing of that resolution and;
Be it further resolved that AFSCME 3758-B reaffirms the democratic right of all union members to political speech inside and outside of their union and to organize for changes in policy in their local, their regional and state labor councils, and in the AFL-CIO as a whole and;
Be it further resolved that AFSCME 3758-B endorses the 16 October call by Palestinian trade unions to stop arming Israel and end any complicity the labor movement has in its war against the Palestinian people and opposes in principle any union involvement in the production or transportation of weapons destined for Israel.
Be it finally resolved that AFSCME 3758-B believes that library workers should be at the forefront of this movement, and calls on other local unions representing library workers to pass similar resolutions and to stand against attacks on freedom of information and cultural heritage in Palestine.
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