On Dec. 15, the executive council for America’s largest health care union, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, representing 450,000 healthcare workers from New York-New Jersey to Florida, issued a call for a “Gaza Ceasefire.” It begins, “1199SEIU calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, to allow for urgent humanitarian relief amid the collapse of the territory’s health and other infrastructure.” With their statement, they join 190 trade unions worldwide demanding a ceasefire for Gaza. Of those 190 unions, 90 of them are in the U.S. stretching from New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania, to the Midwest (Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Minnesota), to the California, Oregon and Washington on the West Coast.
The 1199SEIU statement also condemns the Hamas attack, calls for “unconditional” release of all hostages, and declares, “We reject the notion that Israel’s attacks on hospitals filled with patients, apartment blocks filled with families, and the deaths of 11,000+ Palestinian women and children are acceptable collateral damage.” Further, it decries violations of “international humanitarian law and laws of war,” especially those “which include the inviolability of healthcare facilities.” It asserts: “War crimes committed by one side of the conflict cannot and do not serve as justification for crimes and breaches of the Geneva Conventions by the other.” Finally, it urges: “The world community and all parties involved must commit to negotiating a permanent, just resolution to this conflict which will enable Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and build a future. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia must be rejected in all forms as we come together to support survivors, families, and communities facing incalculable trauma.”
As reported in EIR’s Dec. 15 issue, the United Auto Workers (UAW), (more than 400,000 active members and 580,000 retiree members), the American Postal Workers Union, and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) have similarly issued strong calls for a ceasefire. On Dec. 14, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) joined UAW President Shawn Fain at the Capitol to lend her support to the UAW call. “I’m a proud daughter of a UAW worker, and I know my Yaba (father), if he was here, he would be so proud,” she said. “The UAW taught him he deserved human dignity, even though he only had a fourth-grade education, even though he was Palestinian, even though he was Muslim. On that assembly line, he was equal to every single human being on that line. Who did that for him? The United Auto Workers did that for him.”