California Health Care Workers, SEIU Local 205, Pass Resolution Against War on Iraq

The following message was posted on the Internet October 29, 2002, from Sal Rosselli, president of Local 250 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). A message from Rosselli to the staff of Local 250 precedes the text of the resolution adopted against Bush’s war on Iraq.

I'm pleased to report that our Executive Board unanimously adopted the attached position against Bush's Iraq plan. I'm thinking of organizing a labor memorial for Paul Wellstone (Ed Herzog is doing a video using his visits to our Union) and doing a brainstorm/planning session on labor's program to oppose the war. I'll keep you informed and always welcome your ideas.

Thanks, Sal

Sal Rosselli, President
SEIU Local 250
510-251-1250 Phone
510-763-2680 Fax


The Health Care Workers Union, SEIU Local 250, has 85,000 members in Northern California. Our members spend their working lives giving care to the sick, the elderly, and the disabled. We work in both the public and the private sectors. We care about human life and we care about our country. We participate fully in our communities, in our state and local politics and government, in our religious institutions, and in our union. As a union and as patriotic Americans, we are obligated to educate ourselves about current affairs that affect our members, our families, and our patients. We are obliged to make our opinions known to our representatives. Through this resolution we are addressing an issue of overriding concern to us—the possibility of the war on Iraq initiated by our government.

After discussion and debate by our Executive Board, we adopt the following positions concerning a possible war with Iraq:

  1. We oppose any unilateral, preemptive war against Iraq initiated by the United States or any other nation. We urge our government to bring its case against Iraq to the United Nations (UN) and to abide by the decision of the United Nations.
  2. Preemptive war should need a higher standard of support from the international community than does defensive war. If the United States or its close allies were under attack from Iraq, the support of the United Nations would not be required. Fortunately, this is not the case.
  3. We encourage the President to continue to raise the issue of compliance by Iraq with the terms of the 1991 agreement. We think the United Nations should enforce its resolutions concerning inspection and disarmament, and it is appropriate for the United States to use diplomatic and economic pressure to achieve this end. It is not appropriate for the United States to bypass the UN absent an immediate threat by Iraq against us or our allies or Iraq’s neighbors.
  4. In our modern world we must strengthen multinational institutions such as the UN or else we risk a breakdown of international law. The U.S. must not be the nation that sets the precedent for unilateral, preemptive war.
  5. The timing of this rush to war by President Bush is very troubling and suspicious. Our economy is in trouble; our social safety net is being weakened; our seniors need coverage for prescription drugs; our health care system is in crisis, and we have an election on the horizon. Suddenly President Bush has changed the discussion into a referendum on whether or not the American people will support our military in a war. And he has done this in spite of the fact that there is no evidence that Iraq is more of an immediate danger to any other nation that it was 6 months or a year ago or even two years ago when President Bush was inaugurated.
  6. The American people support a response to Al-Qaeda in reaction to the horrific September 11 attacks. This support must not be misused to justify attacking Iraq. There is no credible evidence that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. A preemptive attack against Iraq will weaken appropriate, multilateral efforts to reduce terrorism.
  7. And, finally, we are mindful that wars kill people and destroy societies. The potential death toll in Iraq is staggering. Furthermore, an attack on Iraq would cause an estimated 1.5 million Iraqi civilians to become refugees. War will spend huge resources in people and money—resources that could be used for health care, schools, and social services. Experts estimate that an attack would use more than $100 billion of U.S. taxpayer monies. Because of these many reasons, a war should be the last resort. We are not convinced that all other options have been exhausted. We are not convinced that Iraq poses an immediate threat to our country, our allies, or its neighbors, and we are extremely suspicious of the timing of this rush to war.

We are circulating this resolution to all of our senators and representatives from California. We are also sending it to the Service Employees International Union and we are requesting our International Union to circulate it to our local unions.