Labor Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
President Joseph Biden & Members of Congress
The underlying conflict between the US/NATO and Russia has escalated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and with it another step toward a wider conflagration that could result in a nuclear holocaust.
As founders, leaders and supporters of what until 2020 was U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)*, we cannot be silent in the face of this gross violation of international law. We have cosigned this Labor Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. If you agree with us, we invite you to endorse it by signing here and urge other union members and labor movement activists to join you.
The demand for peace will only be heard if masses of people speak out now!
Let labor's voice for peace be prominent at this time!
*U.S. Labor Against the War ended in 2020.
President Joseph Biden & Members of Congress
From: [Your Name]
US Labor Statement on Russian Invasion of Ukraine
We who founded, helped to build, and supported U.S. Labor Against the War beginning in 2003 now condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, just as we condemned the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. We offer our heartfelt concern and compassion for the people of Ukraine suffering from the dislocations, destruction, and death of this unjust war. We express our solidarity with the working people of Ukraine and Russia, including those who have bravely demonstrated, in their streets and in battle, their opposition to Russia’s aggression.
With them, we call for an immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine and the resolution of the conflict through intensive diplomatic negotiations that respect Ukrainian sovereignty, address Russian security concerns, disarm all neo-nazi and ultra-nationalist elements, and respect the rights of all sectors of Ukrainian society. Diplomacy, not war and military power, is the only way to pursue a foreign policy that promotes security and prosperity for working people in Ukraine, in Russia, in the U.S., and around the world.
We call on President Biden and Congress to forego our long and destructive history of a militarized foreign policy and unwind the power of our military-industrial complex, including in Asia. In the immediate crisis that means devoting all U.S. resources to the resolution of the conflict through negotiations to achieve the full withdrawal of Russian regular and paramilitary forces from Ukraine and the construction of a new architecture of European security and disarmament. As a minimum immediate first step in the diplomatic process, we call on President Biden to declare that it is U.S. policy that Ukraine not be admitted to NATO, now or in the future (a country can enter NATO only with the unanimous consent of all NATO countries).
War is always a catastrophe for ordinary working people. But war is a boon to the corporations and oligarchs who grow rich from the armaments industry. The military-industrial complex, fossil fuel corporations, and a small super-wealthy elite drive the militarized foreign policies of both the U.S. and Russia to serve their own interests at the expense of working people in both countries.
Working people in the U.S., as well as those in Russia, Ukraine, Europe, and China, have a common interest in reining in the power of their militaries and redirecting the vast resources going to war into programs that support and improve their lives and address climate change.
We oppose increases in U.S. military spending using the excuse of arming Ukraine. We oppose the further expansion of NATO or shipment of yet more U.S. arms to NATO countries. NATO is a military alliance, a vestige of the Cold War, that has been kept alive to justify inflated military budgets and as a mechanism for ‘containing’ Russia after the Soviet Union dissolved. Indeed, the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders since 1991 has fueled tensions leading to Russia’s invasion. We call on the U.S. government to return to the arms control agreements from which Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. We call on the U.S. to engage in a diplomatic process to achieve a new architecture of European common security through a negotiated agreement among all relevant parties. And we call for the drawdown and elimination of all nuclear weapons that should have no place in any nation’s arsenal.
Sanctions are no substitute for patient persistent diplomacy. They are a blunt instrument that in the past have proven ineffective in deterring international aggression or domestic repression. Sanctions have almost always increased the suffering and deprivation of ordinary working people in countries subject to them, where ruling elites have almost always escaped their force.
True national security is based on the broad welfare of the people – healthcare, education, jobs at decent wages, environmental sustainability, voting rights and democratic civic engagement, and social justice – not on larger military budgets and ever more deadly weapons.
We stand with working people worldwide on behalf of peace.
If you agree with this statement, please sign it, post it widely, and turn it into a resolution to be considered in your union. We urge all those who support a peaceful resolution to this conflict to encourage discussion of this in their unions and participate in peace movement actions that call for a peaceful outcome.
Let labor’s antiwar voice be heard in the national debate.
David Bacon, Independent Photojournalist, Pacific Media Workers Guild/CWA
Kathy Black, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); AFSCME DC 47 (retired); Treasurer, Philadelphia CLUW
John Braxton, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); Co-President Emeritus, AFT Local 2026
Gene Bruskin, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired)
Elise Bryant, President, CLUW (Coalition of Labor Union Women); Exec Board Member, CWA/TNG Local 32035
Thomas Paine Cronin, President Emeritus, AFSCME DC47, Philadelphia
Jeff Crosby, former President, North Shore Labor Council
Ajamu Dillahunt, APWU Local President (retired); Black Workers for Justice(BWFJ); Southern Workers Assembly (SWA)
Michael Eisenscher, USLAW National Coordinator (retired); American Federation of Teachers AFT Local 1603; Publisher, SolidarityINFOService
Frank Emspak, AFT local 223 President; retired
Bill Fletcher, Jr., former president of TransAfrica Forum; lifelong trade unionist
Tom Gogan, USLAW National Organizer (retired); National Writers Union
Bob Muehlenkamp, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); Organizing Director (retired), International Brotherhood of Teamsters
David Newby, President Emeritus, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO
Marcia Newfield, Professional Staff Congress- CUNY, AFT 2334 (retired); Sec’y., NYC Chapter of USLAW; former VP of PSC Part Timers
Dennis O'Neil, APWU (USPS retired), Save Our Postal Service campaign (administrator)
Harry Richardson, AFSCME Local 171
Carl Rosen, President, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America
Barbara Smith, AFT Local 4848
Brooks Sunkett, USLAW National Co-convenor (retired); Vice President, Communications Workers of America (retired)
Nancy Wohlforth, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); National Secretary-Treasurer, Office & Professional Workers International Union (retired)
Michael Zweig, USLAW National Co-Convenor (retired); United University Professions - AFT 2190