October 22, 2010

AFSCME Local 3800 Resolution Condemning the FBI Raids and Grand Jury Witch Hunt of Trade Union and Anti-War Activists

[Note: The following resolution was adopted unanimously at the October 21, 2010 general membership meeting of AFSCME Local 3800 – University of Minnesota Clerical Workers]

Whereas: The homes of three members of AFSCME Local 3800 and the Local 3800 organizer, Jess Sundin, Steff Yorek, Anh Pham and Tracy Molm were raided by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 7:00AM on September 24, 2010; and,

Whereas: Tracy Molm, Jess Sundin, Anh Pham and Steff Yorek were issued subpoenas to appear before a grand jury in Chicago in October, and,

Whereas: AFSCME Local 3800 is an affiliate of ASFCME Council 5, and

Whereas: These members have not been arrested or charged with any crime, and

Whereas: These four members in good standing are well-known and respected activists in our union, and

Whereas: FBI spokespersons have stated that the raids were prompted by the activities of these four members, and other individuals subject to the same raids, in seeking peace and justice for workers and other oppressed peoples throughout the world, and,

Whereas: These persons are entitled to a presumption of innocence under the United States Constitution, and,

Whereas: Every American has the constitutional right to advocate and organize for change in the foreign policy of the United States, and,

Whereas: AFSCME Local 3800 takes note of the very recent report by the Department of Justice Inspector General that soundly criticized the FBI for improperly targeting domestic peace and antiwar groups for investigation, and,

Whereas:  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has frequently gone on record in defense of trade unionists and others to educate, agitate and organize for the legitimate goals of peace, justice and solidarity with all working people, and,

Whereas: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has repeatedly demanded that Congress and the White House (quote) “disavow and reverse any practices or policies which threaten trade union rights or civil liberties,” as well as (quote) “opposing attacks on traditional constitutional guarantees” including in Resolution No. 156 of the 25th AFSCME International Convention in 1984 submitted by delegate Peter Benner, and in Resolution No. 79, adopted by the 35th AFSCME convention in 2002 which stated that “AFSCME, a union built out of the combined struggle of the civil rights and labor movements, take leadership in opposing granting wider powers to the FBI to infiltrate community groups and unions in the name of preventing further terrorist attacks,” (end quote) and,

Therefore Be It Resolved: That AFSCME Local 3800 goes on record as expressing its grave concern that the recent FBI raids are reminiscent of the Palmer Raids of the 1920’s, the McCarthy hearings of the 1950’s, and the FBI’s harassment of the civil rights movement, and our grave concern that these raids be the beginning of a new and dangerous assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner and,

Further Be It Resolved: That AFSCME Local 3800 finds that no acceptable justification or evidence has been presented for these raids and subpoenas and that we have no reason to believe any will be forthcoming, and,

Further Be It Resolved: That we notify the Minnesota Congressional Delegation that AFSCME Local 3800 opposes these arbitrary and capricious raids, and,

Be It Finally Resolved:  that in light of the Inspector General’s recent report, AFSCME Local 3800 calls upon President Obama to order an immediate investigation into the circumstances, motivation and propriety of the judicial and police intimidation of our members and others.