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Iraqi Workers in the Turbulent Middle East
Hassan Juma'a Awad, Founding member of and President of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions
Building Bridges brings you an exclusive interview with Hassan Juma'a Awad who was an opponent of the Saddam Hussein regime, a human rights activist, and unionist who was imprisoned by the Ba'athist regime 3 times for "subversive" activity. Now, under the current Malaki government, Hassan and many others continue to face threats of jail and heavy fines for "threatening the economic interests and stability of the state" for challenging the ill-treatment of oil workers and the give-away of Iraqi oil to private companies.
Unions played a vital role in the Arab Spring rebellions in Tunisia and Egypt as do the Iraqi workers who are also challenging their government. Hassan Juma'a Awad is a leading force in the movement of Iraqi workers and he is part of a broad mobilization of civil society organizations struggling to establish a
democratic, non-sectarian society in Iraq after the war, with internationally accepted labor rights. The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions faces many of the same issues we face in the U.S.: struggles against privatization; for the right to organize unions without retribution and with legal protection; and for the active role of unions in securing the interests of working people. Hear Hassan's report on the lives of Iraqi workers today, their fight for labor rights, and the place of Iraq in the broader turmoil of the Middle East.
produced by Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg
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