SEIU National Media, ,

Issued January 22, 2024

SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry Statement on War in Gaza

WASHINGTON, DC – Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement today:

“SEIU’s almost two million members believe that wherever violence, fear and hatred thrive, working people cannot. We condemn antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism and hate in all its forms around the world. Our union includes many members and their families—Palestinian and Israeli, Jewish, Muslim and Christian—who have been impacted by the recent violence. As a union family strongly committed to justice and democracy, we believe all people across the globe deserve to live safely and free of fear, with dignity and respect for their human rights, as well as access to food, water, shelter, medicine and other necessities. SEIU members understand that working people often feel the impact of war most deeply and bear the brunt of its terrible consequences.

We condemn the horrific attacks by Hamas on October 7th, which included the killing of over 1,200 Israelis and others, unconscionable acts of sexual violence, the abduction of over 200 hostages, and other atrocities.

We also condemn the widespread attacks on innocent civilians, including the bombardment of neighborhoods, healthcare facilities, and refugee camps, by the Israeli military. Months of assaults on Gaza have killed over 20,000 Palestinians, and led to the displacement of more than 85% of the Gazan population. Palestinians face an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis, threatened by starvation and disease as well as by violence, and desperately need aid.

We call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and the delivery of life-saving food, water, medicine and other resources to the people of Gaza.

Our call for a ceasefire is a call for peace, rooted in the pain that SEIU members are feeling, from the Jewish member concerned for her son’s safety in Tel Aviv, to the Muslim member who immigrated to this country from the Middle East to escape war and violence, to the hundreds of thousands of SEIU healthcare workers who see themselves in the healthcare workers in Gaza who have been killed trying to save lives.

We call on elected leaders to come together to bring an end to the violence and demand a peaceful resolution that ensures both lasting security for the Israeli people and a sustained end to decades of occupation, blockades and lack of freedom endured by the Palestinian people. This war must end, as it is expanding into a regional conflict. It is time for long-term solutions that will bring safety, peace, democracy, and justice to all in the region.”