The AFL-CIO condemns the violent invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military. We stand in solidarity with the workers and their families who are impacted by the devastation, and offer our condolences for lives that have been lost.
We join the global labor movement and our allies in calling for an immediate end to President Vladimir Putin’s military aggression and we support extensive economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, particularly those focused on Putin and his protectors. These sanctions should be strengthened, by excluding Russia from the SWIFT international banking system and by taking effective multilateral action against tax havens and financial secrecy laws that protect Putin and his enablers. We further call on all U.S.-based corporations doing business in Russia to publicly condemn Putin’s government while calling for an end to the attack on Ukraine. We stand ready to assist the Biden administration in its efforts to implement and strengthen these measures, and we call on global leaders to build toward re-establishing peace and democracy in Ukraine and the region.
Ukrainian unions have struggled for decades to guarantee the internationally recognized right to organize and bargain collectively. They have been at the forefront of campaigns to protect working people from precarious or “informal” work; fight climate change while preserving jobs and livelihoods; and end gender-based violence and harassment and employment discrimination against LGBTQ+ workers. Unions have courageously fought corruption that is widespread in the Ukrainian economy. All these brave efforts by Ukraine’s unions are now threatened by the Russian military invasion, which is destroying the basic democratic rights of freedom of association, assembly and speech that are necessary for all effective trade union action.
The Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine flagrantly violates international law and undermines the right of Ukraine and of all nations to self-determination free from the threat of violence. The consequences of the attack on Ukraine are vast—tens of thousands of lives may be lost, millions may be displaced. Countries will need to house, feed and support the many refugees fleeing the violence. President Putin’s war jeopardizes international peace and global economic recovery. Workers and their families are still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and can ill afford the higher oil and food prices and further disruption to the supply chains this war will cause.
Going forward, the global community must come together immediately to re-establish a common security framework that ends violent conflicts and prioritizes investments in shared economic security, including jobs and basic social protections. The AFL-CIO stands ready to support policies that will bring security, peace and democracy, and we will provide continued solidarity and support to the people of Ukraine.