Labor Antiwar Efforts in Three Cities

LABOR ANTIWAR EFFORTS IN THREE CITIES

The following brief reports were written by labor antiwar activists based in Washington, D.C., New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. These independent committees have begun to establish communications in order to share information, to encourage other labor antiwar activists, and to promote common goals. (Statements issued or disseminated by each committee are attached in RTF format.)

Trade unionists making similar efforts elsewhere are invited to contact these committees at: D.C.: <laborpeace@hotmail.com> N.Y.C.: <letwin@alaa.org> S.F. Bay Area: <getorganized@igc.org>

WASHINGTON, D.C.–In Washington, DC, a group of us began meeting to talk about our concerns about our government’s response to the events of September 11. Our working group, which we call Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, is composed of national/international union office staff, union members and local union staff. We have written down our thoughts (Time for Justice document attached) in a statement and are seeking labor activists to sign it. Many of us have participated in peace activities held since September 11. We are constructing a web site to serve as an information sharing resource. It can be viewed at http://communities.msn.com/laborpeaceandjustice. We will also be holding a teach-in for the greater Washington, DC area labor community.

What You Can Do: We are asking those who share the same thoughts expressed in our statement to sign it. You may do so by sending an email to laborpeace@hotmail.com, stating your agreement and providing your name, labor affiliation, email address and telephone number. We will publish the statement in The Nation, and need donations to cover the cost of advertising. Checks may be made out to Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, and sent to Labor Committee, PO Box 34752, Washington, DC
20043-4752. We welcome signatures anytime. However, signatures for the Nation ad must be received by Thursday, October 18 by 4 pm.

NEW YORK CITY–NYC Labor Against the War, a cross-union multiracial committee, has come together over the past month from within a broader antiwar coalition (“Not in Our Name”) in that shared belief that trade unionists at “ground zero” have a special responsibility to speak out. The committee’s primary focus has been an ongoing antiwar petition which has been signed, to date, by 406 entities and/or individual trade unionists: 278 from NYC (including two labor bodies and 12 presidents), and 130 from other cities and countries (including 6 presidents)–the list of signers grows daily. The committee also sponsored a labor contingent at a large October 7 antiwar rally, and is planning labor teach-ins, educational materials, and other efforts. To subscribe to the NYCLAW listserv, please e-mail <LaborAgainstWar-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>.

What You Can Do: Whatever your location, please support these efforts by endorsing and disseminating the attached labor antiwar petition.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA–Labor for Peace & Justice was formed at a meeting of 68 labor movement activists, union staff, and local union leaders from 35 organizations on Sunday, October 7. Three working groups were constituted: education, outreach, and resolutions. While no formal position was adopted, there was general consensus that the resolution against the war adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council provided all the essential points of unity. Rather than spend time and energy perfecting a political declaration, it was agreed that what really mattered was what position could be adopted by each person’s local union and that the most urgent work was to engage members in conversations that connected the union values they cherish with the struggle to pursue alternatives to military aggression, to defend civil liberties, to challenge scapegoating, racism and xenophobia, to defend the social safetynet, to prompt a reappraisal of the foreign policies that create characters like bin Laden. The education working group is preparing fact sheets, train-the-trainer materials, and talking points that can be used to prepare union leaders, stewards and staff to engage members in that conversation. Efforts will be made to have a resolution introduced at the forthcoming state federation of labor convention in November. A labor contingent is being organized for the October 20 march and rally in San Francisco.

What You Can Do: To contact Labor for Peace & Justice, write to <getorganized@igc.org>. Labor4Justice has been established as an email discussion list to which information about the activities of Labor for Peace & Justice will be posted and where participants can exchange information and views. To subscribe to Labor4Justice, send a blank email to <Labor4Justice-subscribe@topica.com> To view this list on the web, use this address: <http://www.topica.com/lists/Labor4Justice@igc.topica.com/read&gt;

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