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SEIU Local 668 Statewide Executive Board Calls for Ceasefire in Palestine and Israel

December 18, 2023

The Statewide Executive Board of SEIU Local 668, a labor union representing 19,000 workers in social, human, and public services, calls for an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine.

In line with our union's values, our board has released the following statement:

As a union of workers in social and human services who are committed to helping those in the most dire need, our values demand that we stand with our innocent fellow human beings caught in the crossfire of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

We condemn Hamas, perpetrators of its deadly attack against Israel, the vile intent of its masterminds, and all of the horrors of October 7 and its aftermath. We mourn the loss of over 1,400 lives and the wounding of thousands more.

We condemn the disproportionate and ongoing response of indiscriminate, brutal aerial bombardment and collective punishment by the Israeli Government that has displaced countless Gazans, killed over 18,000, and the wounding of tens of thousands more.

We mourn the mounting loss of life - now breaching 20,000 lives in this conflict, a disproportionate number of which are children. We condemn the leadership of Hamas and the Israeli Government for their actions.

We decry antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Arabism, and the rhetoric of ethnic cleansing and genocide used throughout this conflict - both internationally and at home, often in our own communities.

We refuse to equate the actions of the Israeli Government with the Jewish or Israeli people; we refuse to equate the actions of Hamas with Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim people. We align ourselves with innocent Israelis and Palestinians; Christians, Jews, Muslims, and human beings of all nationalities and faiths, if any, who stand on the side of peace and justice with us.

We decry the continued disappointing response of our government, its complicity in many of these acts, and its inability to utilize its unique position of power to stop the ongoing bloodshed.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a long, proud history of refugee resettlement and the protection of religious freedom. In our work providing life-sustaining services to the public, every day our members assist individuals who come to this country to escape violence and oppression and build vibrant lives for themselves in thriving communities. Some of our members providing such services themselves were once refugees and immigrants who fled violent conflict, having struggled and sacrificed to keep their families and loved ones safe and provide a hopeful future to their children.

We all deserve to live with dignity and hold hope for our future and that of our families. This is the keystone principle of our values as a union. We refuse to accept a reality where killing, starvation, sexual violence, kidnapping, and destruction are considered tools to achieve military and political gains. It is in the spirit of human solidarity that we assert that our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel, too, have the right to dignity and hope for their futures as well.

Stating the above, we are compelled to use our voice and solidarity to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank.

We join our sister union SEIU Healthcare PA and call on the U.S. government to take the the following actions:

We invite other unions, organizations and individuals to join us in calling for a ceasefire, the immediate release of hostages and a commitment to ensuring the dignity and liberation of all people.