FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GEO at UIC statement in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.
The University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employees Organization (UIC-GEO), IFT/AFT AFL-CIO Local 6297 stands in firm solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, and the over 200 other Indigenous Nations, that oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). It is our firmly held belief that the sovereignty and governance of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation land comes from, and can only be decided by, the people of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.
UIC-GEO recognizes that the history of the United States is checkered, and our nation owes its success to the subjugation, genocide, and general disregard for Indigenous lives and nations. This systemic, oppressive history is rearing its ugly head with the construction of DAPL. Environmental assessments have been minimal, and the project has been rushed through with fast-tracked permits. The Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC is willfully ignoring the sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, and there was no meaningful consultation on the part of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. Further concerns relate to the safety of oil pipelines, and the potential for job creation. Serious pipeline incidents have nearly doubled in number since 1996. The U.S. should not be pursuing this outdated mode of energy transport, nor should the U.S. be pursuing investment in fossil fuel infrastructure. More importantly, no Nation should be forced against their will to take on the short and long term risks of a pipeline spill, a spill that would desecrate sacred burial lands and completely decimate a Nation’s water supply.
While the DAPL might provide temporary jobs, UIC-GEO protests against these jobs. Unionism is about lifting up all of our members and respecting all communities. Job creation that is not paired with justice, empathy, respect, and sustainability is not the type of job creation that unions should promote. This is why the UIC-GEO strongly condemns the statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka titled “The AFL-CIO calls on the Obama Administration to allow construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue”. We believe that jobs for union members should not be built on the backs and sacred lands of others.
UIC-GEO calls on the Obama Administration to immediately halt construction on the DAPL and for Richard Trumka to rescind his statement. The sovereignty and self-determination of Standing Rock Sioux Nation must be respected. Water is life.