At its monthly meeting in Oakland at the hearquarters of CA Nurses Association, the Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice demonstrated its solidarity with Hassan Juma’a Awad, President of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions with this photo and adoption of the resolution below.
Brother Hassan faces criminal charges filed by the Ministry of Oil that seeks to cripple the union and intimidate oil workers who have conducted a series of strikes and work actions to protest unresolved grievances and violations of agreements reached with management of the South Oil Company. His court appearance had been scheduled for March 20, then postponed to April 7 and postponed again to April 14. International pressure is building on the administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to drop the charges, cease harassment and repression of union activists, honor agreements reached with the workers and respect their internationally recognized right of free association to organize, bargain and strike without government interference. Despite being required by its new constitution, the Iraqi Parliament has yet to enact a basic labor and union law that guarantees those rights. The Iraqi government continues to enforce the anti-union decrees promulgated by Saddam Hussein, kept on the books by the occupation authority and passed on to the new government. Most recently, the union called for a 10 day “work interruption” when promises made by the government in response to earlier strikes went unfulfilled. U.S. Labor against the War (USLAW), with which the Bay Area Committee for Peace & Justice is affiliated, has joined in the international campaign in signing and circulating an open letter to al-Maliki that has since been signed by a growing list of U.S. and international unions, labor federations, and NGOs, including the AFL-CIO, International Federation of Trade Unions, United Steelworkers, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (IBT), Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (AEGC), International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, United Transportation Union, and a growing number of local unions, labor councils and allied social justice organizations. The letter is available for signing by organizations at http://bit.ly/Letter_to_Maliki.
Signs like those in the photo can be downloaded HERE.
Other articles on the struggle for labor rights in Iraq can be found on the USLAW website in a section devoted to that topic.