Press Release

Teamsters Demand Release of Imprisoned Iranian Bus Drivers

Teamsters, Other Unions Demonstrate at Iranian Interest Section

February 15, 2006

Contact: Galen Munroe
(202) 624-6904

(Washington, D.C.) – Dozens of Teamsters participated in an International Day of Action at the Iranian Interest Section to demand the release of hundreds of imprisoned Iranian bus drivers. The drivers were arrested after police brutally cracked down on a planned January 28 strike.

“We call on the Iranian government to recognize the bus drivers’ right to form a union,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “We demand that the Iranian government release imprisoned union members and return all fired drivers to work immediately and unconditionally."

The drivers, who belong to the 17,000-member Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), called the January 28 strike to protest the detention of their union President Mansour Osanloo. They also demanded that the government recognize their union.

President Osanloo and trade unionists were arrested in late December during a union meeting. As thousands of bus drivers demonstrated in protest, the Iranian government arrested hundreds more.

As a member of the International Labor Organization, the Iranian government must comply with the principles of freedom of association, including the right to form and join unions, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to strike. Article 26 of Iran’s own constitution permits “the formation of parties, societies, political or professional associations,” and Iran's labor law recognizes the right to strike.

Some of the trade unionist prisoners have been freed, following several widely supported strikes and pressure from international worker and human rights organizations, including the Teamsters. But released workers are reporting that they have been denied the right to return to their jobs, and more arrests have occurred.

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States and Canada.

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