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AFT 1931 Standing Rock Resolution

Dec 10, 2018

Whereas the heroic resistance to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has inspired international solidarity and drawn attention to both the issues of climate change and indigenous rights;


Whereas there is incontrovertible evidence that fossil fuel extraction and use is the main cause of global warming, which is an existential threat to humanity;


Whereas we Americans are painfully aware of the history of Native American dispossession and broken treaties, leaving native people in often impoverished reservations which have become prey to extractive industries, allowing only short-term profit but long term destruction to these areas;


Whereas recent statements by other unionists and the president of the AFL-CIO, of which the AFT is a part, have mislabeled protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) “environmental extremists” and “professional agitators” who “hold union members’ livelihoods and their families’ financial security hostage to endless delay.”;


Whereas in fact the growth of the fossil fuel industry is incompatible with good union jobs, and more generally, there are no jobs on a dead planet;


Whereas we teachers of young people are interested in them achieving economic independence, being engaged with the wider world, and making sure they have a viable planet to live on and enjoy;


Whereas the California Federation of Teachers has already passed a resolution in support of a Climate Justice Agenda that includes both addressing climate change and divestment;


Whereas the CFT has formed a Climate Justice Task Force committed to educating our members, students, and the public about the pressing need for climate justice;


Whereas our own earned money, in the form of contributions to the California Teachers Retirement System (CALSTRS), is being invested in and thus supporting fossil fuel and extractive industries, and that teachers in California and across the US have been pressuring their retirement funds to divest from these industries;


Whereas more than a dozen other unions and labor organizations, including the Alameda Labor Council and our sister locals AFT 2121 in San Francisco, and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, Local 1079 have passed resolutions or offered support to the protest at Standing Rock;


Therefore, be it resolved:

That the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931 stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the coalition of Native leaders and activists defending their cultural heritage, sacred grounds, right to protest, sovereign rights and right to clean water;


That the AFT call on the AFL-CIO to reverse its support of the Dakota Access Pipeline, reject the false “jobs vs. planet” paradigm, and advocate for real, sustainable and safe jobs that are compatible with the survival of all life on earth;


That the AFT call on the leadership of our state level organization, the California Federation of Teachers, and the directors of CALSTRS to heed the growing demand to divest our hard-earned pension money from any fossil fuel or extractive industries.


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