The following solidarity statement was passed by the House of Delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union on January 5, 2011.
Whereas, early morning September 24 in coordinated raids, FBI agents entered seven homes of union workers and anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis, confiscating crates full of computers, documents, cell phones, children’s drawings, photos of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and personal belongings. They handed out subpoenas to testify before a federal Grand Jury to 14 activists.
Whereas, 10 of the 14 people subpoenaed are union members and 2 are teachers with a long history of activism and leadership within their unions and local labor communities. 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.
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 .
Whereas, the grand jury for those subpoenaed is an unfair process where the defendants’ lawyers are not present, nor is the grand jury screened for biases. Similar to how teachers have a right to due process by their unions, these 10 union members and 4 other activists have a right to receive a fair judicial process.
Whereas, the nationally coordinated raids and fishing expedition is an assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner. This time the FBI is using the pretext of investigating "terrorism" in an attempt to intimidate activists.
Therefore be it resolved, that the Chicago Teachers Union supports the following demands:
1. Stop using the national security laws to intimidate people from using their 1st amendment rights.
2. Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, personal belongings, etc.
3. End the Grand Jury proceedings and FBI raids against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists
And be it further resolved, that the Chicago Teachers Union participate in the ongoing movement to defend our civil rights and civil liberties from FBI infringement; forward this resolution to the Illinois Federation of Teachers; and call on similar organizations at all levels to similarly oppose the witch hunt.