Monday, February 21, 2011

Union solidarity with Egypt: UTLA

A statement of solidarity from the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) with the Egyptian revolution and the ongoing workers' strikes and protests:

Support democracy and workers' rights in Egypt! End U.S. aid to the military regime!

MOVED THAT UTLA express our support for the struggle for workers' rights in Egypt following the heroic protests that ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, and for the recent formation of the Egyptian Federation for Independent Unions as an alternative to the state-controlled Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions.

Further moved that UTLA express our support for the immediate transition to free and fair democratic elections, and demand that President Obama and the U.S. Congress immediately halt all financial support for Egypt's military regime--which has ruled the country and thwarted democracy for six decades.

Rationale: The U.S. government gives Egypt's military regime approximately $1.3 billion per year. This "foreign aid" does not help the 40 percent of Egyptian people who survive on less than $2 per day, but instead helps the military purchase the tear gas, guns and other weapons that were used by Mubarak's police and supporters to attack the peaceful democracy protesters in Tahrir Square.

It is unconscionable that our tax dollars are being used to help foreign governments repress their own populations while education, health care and other public services face budget cuts and layoffs across the U.S.

A rising wave of workers' struggles, strikes and union organizing played a critical role in Mubarak's ouster. Now for the first time many Egyptian workers are creating their own independent unions not controlled by the government. The right to independent unions is a cornerstone of democracy and civil liberties. Our sisters and brothers in the Teachers Independent Union are among the founders of the Egyptian Federation for Independent Unions.

Time Sensitive: Protests and strikes continue as we speak in Egypt, with the future of the country in the balance every day. Messages of support from unions like ours will make a huge difference by giving confidence to the Egyptian workers' movement. Moreover, President Obama just announced his budget proposal, which cuts dozens of crucial public services at a time when they're needed the most.

Thus the federal government is now deciding on budgetary expenditures, including aid to Egypt and other undemocratic regimes. Now is the perfect time to demand "money for educators, not for dictators!"

UTLA House of Representatives, Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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