Unions Demonstrate at Iranian Interest Section
February 15, 2006
(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
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
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
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.