Resolution - FBI Raids on Trade Union, Anti-War, and Solidarity Activists

This Resolution was passed by the Graduate Employees’ Union (GEO) of the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign on February 15th, 2011.

Whereas, on September 24th, 2010 in coordinated raids, FBI agents entered seven homes of union workers and anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis, confiscating computers, documents, cell phones, and personal belongings. They handed out subpoenas to testify before a federal Grand Jury to 14 activists; and

Whereas, 10 of the 14 subpoenaed are union members. One target of the raid was the home of Joe Iosbaker, chief steward and executive board member of SEIU Local 73 in Chicago, where he has led struggles at the University of Illinois for employee rights and pay equity. He has also been instrumental in providing solidarity for the GEO at UIC; and

Whereas, since September 24th, at least 23 subpoenas, in total, have been issued to activists. Nine of those subpoenaed were ordered to testify on January 25th, 2011. All nine refused to testify in front of the Grand Jury; and

Whereas, the FBI has a long history of violating peoples’ human and civil rights. During the 1960s the FBI COINTELPRO spied on and harassed civil rights and anti-war activists, including the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr .; and

Whereas, the nationally coordinated raids and fishing expedition is an assault on the First Amendment rights of every unionist, anti-war campaigner, and solidarity activist. This time the FBI is using the pretext of investigating "terrorism" in an attempt to intimidate activists; and

Whereas, the Graduate Employees Organization believes that the freedom of expression is fundamental to the health of our democracy and our work as academic employees:

Therefore be it resolved, that the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign stands in solidarity with numerous labor, anti-war, and civil liberties organizations in condemning the recent raids on union, antiwar and solidarity activists and demand the following:

  1. That the U.S. government stop using the national security laws to intimidate people from using their 1st Amendment rights;
  2. That all improperly confiscated materials are returned immediately, including computers, cell phones, papers, documents, and personal belongings;
  3. For President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately end the Grand Jury proceedings and FBI raids against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists;
  4. Immediate investigation into the circumstances, motivation and propriety of the judicial and police intimidation of union members, anti-war and international solidarity activists;
  5. We further call on the United States Senate to investigate post-9/11 federal surveillance of labor, peace and other legitimate organizations and movements, and the use of expansive anti-terror laws to intimidate and criminalize peaceful dissent.