February 25, 2015
To: the Federations, Unions and Members of the Iraqi labor movement and all workers of the self-funded companies-MOI
Dear Sister, Brothers, comrades in the cause of peace and justice,
U.S. Labor Against the War and its 165 affiliates express our solidarity, support, admiration and respect to the tens of thousands of courageous workers employed by self-financed companies in the textile, leather, food production, batteries, petrochemical, electrical and other industries under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Industry. You have conducted a heroic peaceful struggle for freedom of association and other internationally recognized labor and human rights.
Your struggle has not been for yourselves alone, but for all Iraqi working people. Under conditions of occupation followed by continuing conflict and a challenging security environment, you have remained steadfast in patriotic defense of national industries and resources that are the birthright and endowment of the entire Iraqi people. We salute you.
We have been informed that your struggle has finally produced a concession that will enable you to receive some of the unpaid wages owed to you. This tremendous victory is the result of your steadfast nationwide strikes and demonstrations over the course of many months.
But we recognize that this is only a partial victory. The Iraqi government has yet to enact basic labor and union rights laws. Fundamental labor rights are still denied to workers in the public sector and public enterprises. Many grievances go unresolved and injustices unaddressed. The cabinet failed to adopt a budget that would provide stable long term funding for your companies and address the many social needs of Iraqi working people. Your jobs and social welfare continue to be subject to the threat of privatization.
But your persistent principled struggle has set an example for all of Iraqi civil society that it is possible to organize, fight and win through peaceful protests under the most adverse conditions. We will continue to stand with and support you as you struggle for freedom of association and other basic labor and human rights. We will continue to urge the Iraqi government to live up to its obligations to all workers regardless of sector as a signatory to ILO conventions.
Your unity, solidarity, militancy and determination will assure your ultimate victory. USLAW will continue to organize and mobilize support in the American labor movement in solidarity with your cause. Your fight is our fight. Your victory is our victory.
In Solidarity and Struggle,
Kathy Black, John Braxton, Bob Muehlenkamp, Nancy Wohlforth, Michael Zweig, Co-Convenors Michael Eisenscher, Thomas Gogan and Beth Via, staff