Convention Resolution

Resolution 21: Resolution in Support of Labor Rights in Iraq

Submitted by the South Carolina AFL-CIO

Referred to the Resolutions Committee

WHEREAS, Hassan Juma’a Awad, President of the Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq, has been criminally charged by the Ministry of Oil for allegedly organizing strikes at the South Oil Company; and 

WHEREAS, strikes in this sector have taken place with increasingly regularity as workers in the oil industry seek to protect their rights and interests, improve their working conditions, and seek redress for their grievances; and

WHEREAS, if convicted, Hassan Juma’a Awad could face stiff fines or even 3 years of imprisonment, and the Federation of Oil Unions could be severely crippled—all part of an effort by the al-Maliki government to remove a huge obstacle and source of resistance to privatization of Iraq’s oil resources; and

WHEREAS, the attacks on Hassan Juma’a Awad and the Federation of Oil Unions—which are attacks on freedom of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively—reflect the government of Iraq’s intention to hold onto repressive laws and policies issued by the Saddam Hussein regime, namely, Decree 150 of 1987 and Labor Law No. 71, both of which are in contradiction with ILO conventions and international labor standards, including conventions to which Iraq is signatory; and

WHEREAS, U.S. Labor Against the War (with which CWA is affiliated), the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center and the Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative have spearheaded an international campaign to protest the ongoing violation and denial of worker rights in Iraq, the harassment and persecution of labor activists, interference in the internal affairs of unions, and now an effort to criminalize union activity and prosecute Hassan Juma’a Awad and other union leaders; and

WHEREAS, these actions on the part of the al-Maliki regime are part of a larger pattern of increasingly authoritarian, sectarian and anti-democratic actions and policies that threaten not only the labor movement but all independent civil society organizations that seek to build a peaceful, tolerant, democratic society;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the South Carolina AFL-CIO joins USLAW, Solidarity Center, the Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative and unions the world over to demand that the government of Iraq immediately drop all charges against Hassan Juma’a Awad and cancel the punitive orders issued by the Ministry of Oil to union activists, including all retaliatory transfers, reprimands  and disciplinary penalties against union activists; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the South Carolina AFL-CIO calls upon the Iraqi government to abide by internationally recognized labor standards, including the right of free association to organize, collectively bargain and strike as reflected in International Labor Organization Conventions and Iraq’s own Constitution, and further calls upon the Iraqi government to expeditiously adopt a basic labor law that affirms those rights for all workers, both public and private sector; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the South Carolina AFL-CIO will inform its members about the threat to labor rights in Iraq and encourage them to participate in appropriate solidarity activities in support of the unions and workers of Iraq, and will submit this resolution  to the AFL-CIO with a request that it be adopted at the forthcoming Quadrennial Convention of the Federation.