By DON McINTOSH
Kaiser Permanente physical therapist Hannah Winchester says she and her fellow members of Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP) have been devastated to see hospitals and health care workers among those targeted in the war in Gaza. Winchester is cochair of OFNHP’s political action committee. OFNHP is one of a handful of local unions around the United States that have issued public statements calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.
“We as union members live the life of solidarity,” Winchester told the Labor Press. “And that doesn’t necessarily just mean in our unions. I think that means solidarity as humans.”
On Nov. 11, Winchester was one of several union speakers at a rally calling for a ceasefire. The rally drew over 1,500 people to Sewallcrest Park in Southeast Portland. It was organized by the Portland chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, and OFNHP, Parkrose Faculty Association, and New Seasons Labor Union signed on as cosponsors.
Over a dozen local unions have also signed on to a labor letter calling for a cease-fire, including Oregon Education Association and Portland Association of Teachers.
At press time, American Postal Workers Union was the only national union to take a position on the conflict thus far. In a Nov. 8 statement, it condemned Hamas’ Oct. 7 killing of over 1,000 Israeli civilians and its kidnapping of 200 others, but also called for an immediate cease-fire, the release of hostages, and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. More than 11,100 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, one out of every 200 residents. Most of the dead are women and children.