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News ::
Union Writers Join In Call On AFL-CIO to 'Come Clean' on International Activitie (english)
27 Feb 2003
The National Writers Union has joined a growing list of labor organizations to have passed resolutions calling on the AFL-CIO to “come clean” about its foreign relations activities and to make amends for the “excesses of the Cold War era.”
In November of last year, Delegates to the National Writers Union Delegate Assembly finally passed a 'Come Clean' resolution that had been introduced in July, at their annual meeting.

The long delay between the introduction of the resolution and its passage reflects both the amount of business occupying the delegates and the manner in which the current NWU administration prioritized reaching a vote on unfinished business.

The Resolution calls for the NWU's Political Issues Committee to work with the President to, "...take responsibility for disseminating this resolution to all unions and other labor organizations with close association to The National Writers Union, and to the United Auto Workers Union, the AFL-CIO Executive Council and AFL-CIO regional labor councils and federations, and for their consideration and adoption."

As the current Chair of the NWU Political Issues Committee I would like to use this forum to move forward with what this last paragraph of the resolution calls for. The NWU currently has a lame-duck President by virtue of resignation, and a large period of time will pass between his departure and the sitting of a new President. The Political Issues Committee deems it necessary then, to at least take this action to comply with the wishes of the NWU’s Delegates. By making it a matter of record, others will have a published frame of reference should they wish to pursue passage of similar resolutions. I also assume that members of the labor organizations cited in the resolution read this forum, and urge them to take similar action.

A copy of the resolution is attached below.

Call for the AFL-CIO to Reveal Past Foreign Relations Activities and to Affirm Its New Policy of Genuine Global Solidarity

Resolution Presented to the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981, AFL-CIO) at its Delegate Assembly, Amherst, Massachusetts, July 2002.

WHEREAS, the impact of economic globalization on American working families and workers everywhere is causing more job dislocation, impoverishment of working families, division among workers and a huge economic gap between rich and poor in the U.S. and among nations, with power shifting more and more into corporate hands; and

WHEREAS, an effective strategy to serve our members’ interests and counter the corporate economic globalization agenda is to build solidarity and unity among unions and workers’ organizations worldwide based upon mutual respect and our common needs, with mutually determined labor standards based on social justice and human rights as they are perceived by workers in each nation; and

WHEREAS, while recognize and applaud the many changes in international policy and practice of the AFL-CIO in recent years and as we are taking steps to increase credibility among workers and members in the U.S. we must also overcome fear and suspicion of workers abroad based on errors and excesses of the Cold War years so that the AFL-CIO may become a more trusted and vital actor on the stage of working class international affairs; and

WHEREAS, recent articles in the Labor Studies Journal for Summer 2000 show that the AFL-CIO played a role leading to the bloody Pinochet overthrow of the democratically elected government in Chile, that its work was linked to corporate and CIA intervention ordered by Richard Nixon and led by Henry Kissinger (clearly against the best interest of the labor movement in Latin America and the United States), that the AFL-CIO engaged in similar activities in many countries on almost every continent and that such activities served corporate interests and were largely funded by the U.S. government; and

WHEREAS, the bitter fruit of the experience in Chile and other countries was a strengthened hand for Corporate America, destruction of militant unions and support of spurious unions, persecution of working families and the torture, disappearance and death of many trade union activists and leaders, situation which defy rebuilding trust without our taking responsibility for such events where it may be due, and accounting for and repudiating such policies; and

WHEREAS, the Asian-American Free Labor Institute of the AFL-CIO accepted government money to intervene in Asian union affairs until 1996, for example, funding the pro-Marcos Trade Union Congress of the Philippines in the 1980’s and its successor organization the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS) is also funded by the U.S. government; now therefore be it

RESOLVED that to advance the progressive new policies of the AFL-CIO in global affairs, we call upon our Federation to fully account for what was done in Chile and other countries (e.g., Guatemala, 1954-1986; Cuba, 1955; The Dominican Republic, 1961-1974; Honduras, 1962-1986; Guyana, 1962-1967; Ecuador, 1962-1975; Brazil, 1962-1964; Argentina, 1964-1973; Uruguay, 1964; Costa Rica, 1966-1986; Mexico, 1966; Bolivia, 1968; El Salvador, 1970-1985; Columbia, 1970-1980; Jamaica, 1975; Nicaragua, 1979-1989; Panama, 1984 and Haiti, 1986), where similar roles may have been played in our name, to renounce such polices and practices and to openly invite concerned union members and researchers to review and discuss all AFL-CIO archives on international labor affairs; and be it further

RESOLVED that the AFL-CIO describe, country by country, exactly what activities it may still be engaged in abroad with funds paid by government agencies and renounce any such ties that could compromise our authentic credibility and trust of workers here and abroad and that would make us paid agents of government or of the forces of corporate economic globalization; and be it further

RESOLVED that the above actions be taken to clear the air in affirmation of an AFL-CIO policy of genuine global labor solidarity in pursuit of economic and social justice with attention to domestic and international labor standards that include the right to organize and strike, and adequate social safety net, living wages, the right to health care and education, elimination of mandatory overtime, protection of the rights of immigrant workers, prohibitions on strikebreaking and the pursuit of peace among nations and peoples; and be it further

RESOLVED that this action is taken in solidarity with: The Washington State Labor Council, Communications Workers of America, Local 9423; Service and Employees International Union, Locals 250, 535, and 715; Newspaper Guild Local 98; San Francisco Labor Council; Plumbers, Steamfitters and Refrigeration Fitters UA, Local 393; South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council; King County Labor Council; and the AFL-CIO Pride at Work Constituency Council, who have already adopted the resolution, and be it finally

RESOLVED that this resolution be posted on the NWU's website and that the Political Issues Committee or its designee, working in consultation with the President, take responsibility for disseminating this resolution to all unions and other labor organizations with close association to The National Writers Union, and to the United Auto Workers Union, the AFL-CIO Executive Council and AFL-CIO regional labor councils and federations, and for their consideration and adoption.

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