SEIU 1021 Joins the November 2nd General Strike
By Steven Argue
Representing 50,000 workers, Oakland Local 1021 of the SEIU issued a statement saying the "SEIU 1021 Executive Board calls on all members of SEIU 1021 to join a day-long “Peaceful Day of Action” in support of Occupy Oakland and against the banking industry and last week’s police brutality against the Occupy Oakland encampment."
With this statement the SEIU joins Carpenters Local 713 and leading local members of the ILWU and IBU in backing the vote of the Occupy Oakland General Assembly for a general strike and mass demonstrations on November 2nd. (For more on the support of those unions read “Scott Olsen Cannot Talk, General Strike Nov. 2nd!” linked after this article)
Speaking of the repression carried out by the City government that sparked the strike Local 1021 pointed out, "Last Monday and Tuesday, Oakland made headlines when 30 police departments were brought in to break up the protest. Several SEIU 1021 members and their family members were injured or arrested for peacefully exercising their 1st Amendment rights. This is not right. We need to stand up for Oakland!"
During those attacks, Scott Olsen, a 24 year-old Iraq War veteran and member of Iraq War Veterans Against the War, was shot in the head by the police with a projectile at short range. Scott was knocked out in critical condition with swelling on his brain. He has sustained an injury to the speech center of his brain and cannot talk.
The city government, facing mass outrage over their vicious attacks on protesters, has, according to the SEIU statement, “agreed that workers may use a day of comp time, vacation time, a floating holiday or leave without pay in order to participate".
The SEIU Executive Board does make the legal disclaimer that they are not calling on the membership to strike because that would be a violation of their contract. Such no strike provisions have hogtied the political strength of the American labor movement for decades. Generally, collectively walking off the job would be a much more effective procedure than filing grievances. Likewise, general strikes win political demands in countries like France much faster than the American union movement’s decades-old strategy of funding politicians that forget about workers the day after they’re elected.
Despite union support for the Democrats it is currently the Democrats in power in Sacramento and cities throughout the state and country who are directly carrying out austerity against members of the SEIU. These cuts to government jobs are also hurting needed social services. Likewise, it was Democrat Mayor Jean Quan who attacked the Oakland Occupy protesters with her police last week.
Yet, despite not calling it a strike, this call by the SEIU leadership will strengthen the powerful participation of organized labor in the Weds, November 2nd general strike and mass protests.
Expressing agreement with the Occupy movement Dwight McElroy, president of the SEIU 1021 Oakland chapter, declared, “We are also part of the 99 percent. Our jobs have been cut, our people unemployed, and our community has lost needed services in these hard times.”
Call to Action of Occupy Oakland:
Shut Down the 1%
General Strike & Mass Day of Action called for by Occupy Oakland
Everyone to the Streets!
No Work! No School!
Mass gatherings at 14th & Broadway:
9:00am • 12 noon • 5:00pm
5:00pm start at 14th and Broadway and march to the port to shut it down before the 7pm night shift
All banks and corporations must close down for the day or we will march on them
Liberation News joins the Oakland Occupy General Assembly in Demanding:
• Solidarity with the worldwide Occupy Movement
• End Police Attacks on Our Communities
• Defend Oakland Schools & Libraries
• Against an economic system built on inequality & corporate power that perpetuates racism, sexism & the destruction of the environment
And Liberation News adds the additional demand:
Drop The Charges Against All Occupy Protesters!
For more on what led up to the strike call and the participation of other unions read:
Scott Olsen Cannot Talk, General Strike Nov. 2nd!
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