California labor calls for troops home now

SAN DIEGO – The California Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, has voted in favor of “an immediate end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and to support the repeal of the Patriot Act and the reordering of national priorities toward the human needs of our people.”

The state labor federation, the nation’s largest representing more than 2 million members, met here July 13 for its 25th biennial convention.

The antiwar resolution, proposed by the San Francisco Labor Council, came out of the resolutions committee with the word “expedient” instead of “immediate.” Federation Vice President Nancy Wohlforth took the floor and argued for the restoration of the original language. Her motion passed overwhelmingly by an overwhelming voice vote of the 400-plus delegates.

The California AFL-CIO also adopted a resolution demanding transparency and accountability by the AFL-CIO in its international programs. It urged both the AFL-CIO and its Solidarity Center to “exercise extreme caution in seeking or accepting funding from the U.S. government, its agencies and any other institutions which it funds.” One such governmental funding source is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The California federation’s resolution warned that accepting NED or other funding could “give the appearance, if not the effect, of making the AFL-CIO appear to be an agent of the U.S. government and its foreign policies” which may “taint the good reputation of the Federation … and draw into question the motivation and true independence of the Federation in its international affairs.” The convention called upon the AFL-CIO to fund its international programs with membership- and affiliate-generated funds.