The other insurgents
Iraqi labor unions resist US designs on that country's oil
By Sadaf Siddique
Guns and bombs aren't the only tools that Iraqis are using to resist the US occupation. They're also using labor unions and a belief that the Iraqi people own their natural resources.
That was the message sounded by Hassan Juma'a Awad and Faleh Abbood Umara of the General Union of Oil Employees, who spoke June 19 at St. Joseph the Worker Church, in Berkeley. The GUOE – with 23,000 members, the strongest independent and secular union in Iraq – has boldly resisted the privatization and foreign control of Iraq's oil sector. The event was part of a US tour by Iraqi labor leaders sponsored by US Labor Against the War.
Awad, president of the GUOE in Basra, began with a demand that President George W. Bush "leave our country alone." He noted that when the coalition forces invaded Iraq, they allowed hospitals, universities, and factories to be destroyed while they protected the oil fields and refineries.
"This," he said, "was the corporate invasion of Iraq."