San Francisco Labor Council Resolution on Occupy San Francisco and Occupy Wall Street
[adopted unanimously by San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Delegates Meeting on Monday, October 24, 2011]
WHEREAS: the San Francisco Labor Council recognizes the rights of all people to living wage jobs with affordable health care, quality education, a voice on the job, fair housing and a well-funded public sector, and
WHEREAS: Unemployment is the highest it has been since the Great Depression, and people are staying unemployed longer now than in the Great Depression, 1/3 of California homes are underwater, 1/5 of the foreclosures nation-wide are in California, and San Franciscans have lost almost $6 billion in home value costing our city over $74 million, and
WHEREAS: Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Manhattan's Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and the Wisconsin protests earlier this year, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future, and
WHEREAS: the Occupy Movement started at Occupy Wall Street has galvanized public sentiment and a broad-based movement protesting the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations, and
WHEREAS: the National AFL-CIO and Change to Win coalitions have endorsed Occupy Wall Street, a growing number of trade union activists have joined this movement, both as individual workers, and as part of an increasing number of International and Local union contingents connecting their own fights to the larger demands of the movement for economic justice and fairness, and
WHEREAS: in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, Occupy San Francisco began on September 17, 2011 and has steadily developed an encampment at the Federal Reserve Bank and Justin Herman Plaza that has served as a new spark and locus for economic justice activism in the Bay Area, and
WHEREAS: both rank and file and various locals are already participating in and supporting Occupy San Francisco and more are interested in offering solidarity and support such as California Nurses Association providing a staffed First Aid tent, SEIU 1021's direct action support of families in foreclosure and media and staff support for actions, UNITE-HERE Local 2 providing staff organizers and in-kind donations, and LIUNA Local 261's act of solidarity wherein their member's reluctance to break up or confiscate the belonging of protesters led to inaction, and
WHEREAS: Union and Community organizations together have been working in coalition since the crash of the economy to force Banks to pay their fair share of taxes, and renegotiate predatory loans with home owners, governments, and non-profit agencies, and
WHEREAS: Immigrant Rights, Worker Rights Centers, Unions, Housing Rights, Civil Rights, Student and Youth Rights, and other social justice minded people and organizations have organized weekly actions for the last month, each larger than that last, including but not limited to: September 27, 2011 march through the Financial District and civil disobedience at CHASE, October 12, 2011 Foreclose on Wall Street West march and civil disobedience at Wells Fargo Corporate Headquarters, and October 15, 2011 Global Day of Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street march through Financial District and Civic Center. As the October 12th call to action stated, in part:
"BECAUSE it's time to take action against the greed and corruption of the wealthiest 1% of America, who control the vast majority of our nation's wealth and of the wealth of the world.
"BECAUSE while the rest of us struggle, surviving on less and less, the big banks profit more and more. They are getting rich by taking all we have. We have paid with our lives and livelihoods so that a select few can be the richest in the world.
"BECAUSE all around the country, people are standing up and demanding accountability from banks, corporations, and from our governments. We recognize that we are not alone, and that together we have power."
WHEREAS: the Labor Movement values the importance of peaceful civil disobedience as a continuing foundation for our work, and
WHEREAS: public safety officers have conducted at least two night time enforcement actions on the Occupy San Francisco encampment to remove essential materials including a kitchen and medical tent, and the October 5, 2011 was the first direct public safety action against an Occupy encampment in a major U.S. city. These actions have been an infringement on Occupy San Francisco participants' first amendment rights and have led to escalated tension and physical conflict with public safety officers, as witnessed by three labor council delegates in the early hours of Monday the 17th of October at Justin Herman Plaza,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council endorses and honors as a "Sanctioned Union Strike Line" Occupy San Francisco and Occupy Wall Street, encourages union members and Local unions to participate in the movement, will actively support any unionized or non-unionized worker who refuses to break up, "raid," or confiscate the belongings of protesters, and calls on unions representing DPW workers to not participate in such activity, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco labor movement and its allies stand with our sisters and brothers of Occupy Wall Street, the San Francisco Financial District, and cities and towns across the country who are fed up with an unfair economy that works for 1% of Americans while the vast majority of people struggle to pay the bills, get an education and raise their families, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council recognizes that protest movements, like strike lines and organizing campaigns, do not have curfews, are not 9-5 activities, and in doing so the SFLC recognizes and will work to protect the right for Occupy San Francisco to protest 24 hours a day, on-site and with proper protection including food, medical supplies, water, and tents, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council has endorsed and will continue to endorse and turn-out members to Occupy San Francisco rallies and events, to provide in-kind donations like tents and food, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council will adopt Thursdays as "Occupy Labor Day" and encourage Local unions to provide teach-ins and discussion groups with the Occupy SF members on our proud labor history and current labor struggles in order to unite and strengthen the labor movement and the Occupy movement, and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council forwards this resolution for adoption to the California Labor Federation, the AFL-CIO, and to other local unions and central labor bodies.
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Submitted by SFLC Executive Board members Maria Guillen, SEIU 1021; Conny Ford, OPEIU Local 3, and Alan Benjamin, OPEIU Local 3