October 12, 2011

SEIU Staff, Members of OPEIU Local 2 condemn the FBI raids on activist homes

Whereas, on the morning of September 24, 2010, the home of Joe Iosbaker, SEIU Local 73 Executive Board member, Chief Steward at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and union activist, and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, was raided by the FBI who confiscated crates of computers, books, cell phones, passports, children’s drawings and photos of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr;

Whereas, Tom Burke, a former SEIU Local 73 Executive Board member and steward has also been targeted by these raids;

Whereas, simultaneous to the same time and date, the FBI conducted raids on nine (9) other union activists in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Michigan and issued subpoenas to all 14 activists to appear at a grand jury hearing; 

Whereas, these members have not been arrested or charged with any crime, and;

Whereas, FBI spokespersons have stated that the raids were prompted by the activities of these other individuals subject to the same coordinated raid, in seeking peace and justice for workers and other oppressed people throughout the world, and;

Whereas, Carlos Montes—a veteran Chicano leader, immigrant rights activist, and former SEIU organizer—had his home subsequently raided by the LA sheriffs department under direction by the FBI, and;

Whereas, many of these individuals are members of the workers’ organization where we are employed, and are our brothers and sisters in the labor movement we are trying to build, and;

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

Whereas, every individual living in the United States has the constitutional right to advocate and organize for peace and change in the foreign policy of the United States, and;

Whereas, SEIU staff members of OPEIU Local 2 take 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, these FBI raids have all the earmarks of a fishing expedition and whereas the FBI has a terrible history including the Palmer Raids, the McCarthy hearings, J. Edgar Hoover, the Civil Rights movement and mark a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, and;

**Therefore Be It Resolved that SEIU International staff—as members of OPEIU Local 2–goes on record:**
Publicly denounces these raids as a new and dangerous assault on the 1st Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner,

That we notify members of Congress in every state where SEIU or OPEIU Local 2 has members that we oppose these arbitrary and capricious FBI raids, and

In light of the Inspector General’s recent critical report of FBI conduct, that the SEIU staff members of OPEIU Local 2 call 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.