Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Letter Carriers Union #214 supports Gulf Coast Reconstruction Program like WPA

Gulf Coast Reconstruction Program Resolution

Resolution calls for federally-funded public works program (like WPA of the 1930s) with prevailing wages and the right to organize...the Right of Return of evacuees...and an end to state repression, racial profiling and police brutality in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

WHEREAS, During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the world watched the United States government stand by and let thousands of African Americans and poor people in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast suffer and hundreds die a most tragic and unnecessary death;

WHEREAS, Robert "Tiger" Hammond, president of the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO recently said, "Parts of this town look like a nuclear bomb hit two days ago, not like it was two years ago.";

WHEREAS, The AFL-CIO Housing Trust (HIT) is participating in the $1 billion Gulf Coast Revitalization Program for New Orleans and other communities ravaged by Hurricane Katrina;

WHEREAS, The AFL-CIO will be investing in the building of modular housing and will coordinate union sponsored worker training programs;

WHEREAS, The AFL-CIO community fund and affiliated unions have raised millions of dollars to assist Katrina survivors;

WHEREAS, ILWU Locals 10, 19, 52, and the International in conjunction with the African American Longshore Coalition sent several 40 foot containers of humanitarian and construction supplies, and vehicles along with financial support to the Gulf;

WHEREAS, Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters volunteered to drive trucks filled with supplies to the Gulf for survivors;

WHEREAS, The American Federation of Teachers has dispatched tutors and specialists to assist local workers in preparing for apprenticeship opportunities, investing its resources in the people of New Orleans despite the city's attacks on public education and wholesale privatization of education;

WHEREAS, Almost immediately after Katrina, President George W. Bush issued an executive order suspending prevailing wage requirements on federally funded projects. Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress suspended affirmative action requirements, relaxed environmental regulations, and started handing out privatized, no-bid contracts like they were bottled water;

WHEREAS, In the weeks after Katrina and Rita, New Orleans witnessed an influx of more than 150,000 workers from outside the region, many of them recruited from Mexico and Central America by temporary agencies;

WHEREAS, Fifty percent of migrant day laborers were never paid for their work and the New Orleans Workers Center has countless stories of transient workers who showed up at a certain location to get paid, and instead were met by ICE agents and deported;

WHEREAS, Katrina brought about the largest displacement of African Americans in the U.S. South since the post-Reconstruction period at the end of the 19th century;

WHEREAS, The ACLU has released a report revealing continuing incidents of racial injustice and human rights abuses in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina;

WHEREAS, These violations include reports of heightened racially motivated police activity, housing discrimination, and prisoner abuse;

WHEREAS, On August 29th thru September 2, 2007, an International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was held in New Orleans made up of an international panel of judges from 7 countries, a prosecution team of leading attorneys from across the country, experts and witnesses (survivors) who provided testimony regarding human rights abuses and crimes by the government at all levels (federal, state and local);

WHEREAS, Both Katrina survivors (witnesses) and prosecutors at the International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita called for a reconstruction program to rebuild the Gulf;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That National Association of Letter Carriers Branch #214 support the call for the implementation of a federally funded Gulf Coast Reconstruction Program which shall include prevailing wages for workers, and the right to organize; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Gulf Coast Reconstruction Program include the right to return to the Gulf, a Gulf Coast Public Works Program (similar to the WPA of the 1930's), an end to state repression via police brutality and racial profiling, and building solidarity committees nationally to continue the struggle for a just reconstruction in the Gulf Coast; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That this Resolution be sent to our affiliates and forwarded to the democratic leadership of the House, the Senate, and the Congressional Black Caucus.

This resolution was adopted by NALC Branch #214 on January 9, 2008 in San Francisco, California, by unanimous vote. It is modeled after a resolution adopted by the Central Labor Council of Alameda County in November 2007. NALC Branch #214 represents 2,500 letter carriers in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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