Monthly Archives: October 2002

NYCLAW Buttons–No Blood For Oil

New NYCLAW antiwar buttons now available in black, white and red:

No Blood For Oil
New York City Labor Against the War

To order, use form below:

—————————————————————————-

Name________________________________

Address_____________________________ City______________________

State/Prov._________________ Zip______________

Enclosed is $___________ for________ buttons (USD $2/ea.)

Send check (payable to NYCLAW) to:

NYCLAW
Prince Street Station
P.O. Box 233
New York, NY 10012-3200

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Labor’s Opportunity (Labor’s Opportunity)

http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=37285&group=webcast

Labor’s Opportunity
by IMC Staff
8:40am Tue Oct 29 ’02

From the October Indypendent

Organized labor, with its 13 million members, has the potential to become one of the most powerful voices for peace and justice.

Though AFL-CIO, hasn’t taken a stance for or against a unilateral invasion of Iraq, it has allowed room for local and regional affiliates to take independent stances.

Most rank-and-file union members don’t think Bush has justified the need for an attack. Like most Americans, they are taking the middle road. While they may not like Saddam Hussein many do not see enough reason to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign nation.

That very few unions have taken a stance in support of the Bush administration is also important. Even among those unions that have, there isn’t a vocal, pro-war section of organized labor, as there was during the Vietnam War.

Many union members are waiting to see how the next few months play out. But in an encouraging trend, some have come out against the war.

An example of a labor-led initiative to oppose war came from the Washington State Central Labor Council (CLC) AFL-CIO. The Washington State CLC, representing close to half a million trade unionists, held its convention August 19 – 22, in Spokane, Washington.

At that convention it was resolved that the Washington State CLC “opposes the U.S. government’s open-ended “war on terrorism” and [urges all its affiliates] to pressure Bush and Congress to stop the war,” assist laid-off workers, restore and expand services, and promote global justice by providing humanitarian and economic aid.”

The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) at a recent State Council meeting passed a resolution against war on Iraq. The resolution said, “the CFT goes on record as strenuously opposing the Bush administration’s march toward war with Iraq. . .” The resolution also urged all affiliates to encourage their members to do the same.

The CFT, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), represents over 100,000 teachers and school employees and has a history of being involved in social, political and economic struggles.

In a phone interview Margaret Shelleda, Assistant to the President of CFT, said, “Bush has shown no evidence that Iraq posses a threat to the U.S. And a war would only exacerbate the situation in the Middle East.” She added, “unilateral action is a violation of international standards.”

On the top of Shelleda’s priorities list were domestic issues. “Twenty five percent of California’s budget is in deficit,” she said. “Education isn’t getting enough money. Hardly any schools have nurses. And Bush is on the brink of committing billions of dollars and thousands of lives without attempting a diplomatic approach.”

And most recently on October 1, the Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO Pride at Work, a constituency group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender union members, passed a resolution against “pre-emptive war strikes on Iraq or any other country.”

The list of official AFL-CIO bodies openly taking a stance against war is small now. But the list is growing.

Independent bodies, comprised of union officers and rank-and-file union members, seeking official recognition from their local, regional and national unions, are forming much more quickly.

New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) is a perfect example. The peace movement has found an important ally in NYCLAW, which formed weeks after the attacks of September 11. According to Michel Letwin, President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW 2325, it has been “both an anti-war pole within labor and a labor pole in the anti-war movement.”

Detroit Labor for Peace and Justice (DLPJ) is another example. Originally formed in response to the bombing of Afghanistan, DLPJ issued a Labor Day statement in the Metro Detroit Labor News. It said, “We condemn the horrific terrorist attack on September 11. Yet the war in Afghanistan has brought further suffering… We therefore oppose the expansion of the War on Terror to include military action in Iraq… or any other country.”

In a phone interview Paul Felton, of DLPJ, said, “Bush’s foreign policy has little to do with helping the American people. It is designed to further corporate interests.”

Felton, a 22-year member of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) area local 480-481, suggested that the labor movement as a whole has been “cautious” and added, “This is the perfect opportunity for labor to break from the legacy of un-critically supporting U.S. foreign policy.” He continued, “Sometimes labor participation in the peace movement seems too small,” but the growing response many unions and union members have shown is “certainly a healthy beginning.

Anti-war movement grows in labor ranks (People’s Weekly World)

http://www.pww.org/article/articleview/2219/

Anti-war movement grows in labor ranks
Author: Tony Pecinovsky

People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 10/26/02 00:00

Growing sections of organized labor are making the connection between U.S. military aggression abroad and cuts in social programs at home. Also, many in the labor movement are openly opposing the curtailment of civil liberties.

Some are also opposing an attack on Iraq. Today, when local, regional and national unions encourage their membership to oppose war with Iraq they are setting an example for the broader labor movement.

This isn’t to imply that there is now a broad-based peace movement in organized labor. Many trade unionists are cautious on this issue. But while they may not like Saddam Hussein many do not see enough reason to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign nation.

It is significant that very few unions have taken a stand supporting the Bush administration, and there isn’t a vocal pro-war section in organized labor, as there was during the Vietnam War.

Many union members are waiting to see how the next few months play out. But some have come out against war, and the speed at which this is happening is almost unprecedented.

Even though the national AFL-CIO hasn’t taken a position for or against war on Iraq, it has allowed room for local and regional affiliates to take independent stances.

An important labor initiative opposing war came from the Washington State Central Labor Council (CLC), representing close to half a million trade unionists.

Its Aug. 19-22 convention resolved that the Washington State CLC “opposes the U.S. government’s open-ended ‘war on terrorism’ and [urges all its affiliates] to pressure Bush and Congress to stop the war … assist laid-off workers, restore and expand services, and promote global justice by providing humanitarian and economic aid …”

The California Federation of Teachers (CFT), representing over 100,000 teachers and school employees, at a recent State Council meeting passed a resolution saying, “the CFT goes on record as strenuously opposing the Bush administration’s march toward war with Iraq …” The resolution urged all affiliates to encourage their members to do the same.

Margaret Shelleda, assistant to the president of CFT, told the World Bush has shown no evidence that Iraq poses a threat to the U.S. and war would only exacerbate the situation in the Middle East. “Unilateral action is a violation of international standards,” she said.

“Twenty-five percent of California’s budget is in deficit,” Shellada commented. “Education isn’t getting enough money. Hardly any schools have nurses. And Bush is on the brink of committing billions of dollars and thousands of lives without attempting a diplomatic approach.”

Most recently, on Oct. 1, the Executive Committee of AFL-CIO Pride at Work, a constituency group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender union members, passed a resolution opposing “pre-emptive war strikes on Iraq or any other country.”

The list of official AFL-CIO bodies openly taking a stance against war is small now. But it is growing.

Independent groups of union officers and rank-and-file union members are forming and seeking official recognition by local, regional and national unions.

New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), a coalition formed weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, is one example. The peace movement has found an important ally in NYCLAW. According to Michael Letwin, president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW 2325, it has been “both an anti-war pole within labor and a labor pole in the anti-war movement.”

Detroit Labor for Peace and Justice (DLPJ), originally formed in response to the bombing of Afghanistan, is another example. DLPJ issued a Labor Day statement in the Metro Detroit Labor News saying, “We condemn the horrific terrorist attack on Sept. 11. Yet the war in Afghanistan has brought further suffering … We therefore oppose the expansion of the War on Terror to include military action in Iraq … or any other country.”

In an interview, Paul Felton of DLPJ said, “Bush’s foreign policy has little to do with helping the American people. It is designed to further corporate interests.”

Felton, a 22-year member of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 480-481, said, “This is the perfect opportunity for labor to break from the legacy of uncritically supporting U.S. foreign policy.” Observing that “sometimes labor participation in the peace movement seems too small,” he said the quick response many unions and union members have shown is “a healthy beginning.”

The backing of the labor movement, with its potential to mobilize its 13 million members, would greatly increase the influence of the peace movement. Organized labor is the only mass group that can mobilize enough votes to defeat the Republicans in November, elect a pro-peace majority, and put the Bush administration on the defensive. By sheer numbers alone, labor, in coalition with progressive, environmental, community, peace and student organizations, can shift the balance of political forces.

Labor can make or break Bush’s war.

Tony Pecinovsky is a frequent contributor in New York. He can be reached at tonypec@pww.org

New Location for Trade Union Contingent to Stop the War on Iraq–Defend Labor at Home

[DUE TO NEW INFORMATION, THE 10/26 LABOR CONTINGENT WILL BE LOCATED AS DISCUSSED BELOW, RATHER THAN AT THE WOMEN VETERANS MEMORIAL. Apologies for any confusion]

New Location for Trade Union Contingent to Stop the War on Iraq–Defend Labor at Home

Washington, DC Sat., October 26, 2002

New Location: 11 am–Trade union contingent will assemble on the Mall on the south side Constitution Ave. NW @ 21 St., just NE of the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial (see X on map)

Labor endorsers include: SEIU Local 1199; ILWU Local 10 Exec. Bd.; ILWU Local 400; San Francisco Central Labor Council; Albany NY Central Labor Federation; Troy NY Area Labor Council; Rochester NY Labor Council; New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW); DC Labor for Peace & Justice; PSSU/SEIU Local 668 (Phila.); NALC Local 214; Sign Display Union Local 510; Oakland
(CA) Education Assn.; United University Professions Delegate Assembly, SUNY; Typographical Sector, N. CA Media Workers Union/CWA; Sacramento Valley Labor Comm. for Peace & Justice; Kenneth Lerch, Pres., NALC Local 3825*; Filipino Workers Association (FWA); Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates; Sally Davies, Pres., AFSCME Council 92*; Ray Markey, Pres. AFSCME Local
1930, DC 37*; Sally Davis, Pres., AFSCME Council 92*; Ken Lerch, Pres., NALC Local 3825*; David Sole, Pres. Local 2334, UAW*; Paramedics for Peace, NC; Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

*denotes organization listed for identification purposes only.

Info: NYCLAW01@excite.com; NYC Bus Tickets: 212.633.6646; http://www.InternationalANSWER.org.

Union Labor Donated–October 23, 2002

Watch – Rally Against War in Iraq Saturday, October 26, 2002 – Washington, DC (C-Span)

http://www.c-span.org/international/

Watch – Rally Against War in Iraq Saturday, October 26, 2002 – Washington, DC

Labor speakers include:

**Gene Bruskin, Secy-Treasurer, Food and Allied Service Trades (AFL-CIO)
**Clarence Thomas, Secy-Treasurer, ILWU Local 10
**Michael Letwin, Pres., Co-Convener, NYC Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)

Labor at October 26 DC Antiwar Rally

http://www.nobloodforoil.org/DCRally.htm

Labor at October 26 DC Antiwar Rally

Clarence Thomas, ILWU Secretary-Treasurer, Local 10 of the Longshoreman’s union in San Francisco provided a further perspective. “You are the true fighters for social justice and peace,” he said, noting in addition that his union was one of the first to come out in opposition against war with Iraq. “Let the Iraqis make regime change, not Bush,” he continued. He reminded us that his union’s refusal to unload cargo from South Africa had been an initial provocation that led to the end of Apartheid there. Additional support had been offered in 1999 when his union shut down in support of the WTO and also supported the freeing of the political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. He referred further to Bush’s threat to use the military to unload cargo if the current alleged slowdown in cargo unloading persists. “Hands off the dock! Stay out of Iraq!” he warned. . . .

Close to two hundred different labor organizations so far have endorsed the protest marches on October 26. Michael Letwin, president of UAW Local 2325 in New York and also Legal Aid Attorneys, representing the organization NYC Labor against War, spoke next. “So many workers died in the illegal, immoral war in Vietnam,” he said. 1200 unionists signed a petition opposed to terror wars in Africa, Iraq, and anywhere else, he continued. “In recent weeks alone, other unions are protesting the war all over the country.” He referred to 400,000 workers who protested in England recently and said that we can make this country work as they did.

Hundreds of Thousands March Against War In Washington, San Francisco and Cities Around the World (ANSWER)

Regime Change, Begins at Home Drop Bush, Not Bombs
Hundreds of Thousands March Against War In Washington, San Francisco and Cities Around the World

In the largest anti-war demonstration since the Vietnam War era, more than a quarter of a million people took to the streets in Washington, DC and San Francisco. Other demonstrations took place in cities around the world.

Organizers for the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition announced the peoples anti-war referendum: a nationwide grassroots campaign in which people will vote no on war. The results will be announced at national demonstrations on January 18-19, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday celebration weekend http://www.votenowar.org

The largest demonstration took place in Washington D.C., where tens of thousands of people participated in a rally that began adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. While the Washington Post and police put the figure at above 100,000, news anchors on Pacifica radio, which broadcast the event live, put the figure at over 200,000.

The San Francisco march of 100,000 filled the entire 1.7-mile march route from Justin Herman Plaza to Civic Center. The march took three hours and people were still in Justin Herman Plaza as the march reached Civic Center.

The march in Washington D.C. was so large that when marchers at the front of the procession returned to Constitution Avenue on their way back, they had to wait to allow demonstrators at the tail of the march to pass.

Organizers say a demonstration of this magnitude had not happened since 1969, five years after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin authorizing President Johnson to launch a war on Vietnam. Last week Congress passed a similar resolution giving Bush a blank check to wage war on Iraq.

The more well known speakers included Susan Sarandon, Al Sharpton, Congressmember Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, and singer Patti Smith, who performed with a guitarist.

Also speaking was Clarence Thomas, Secretary-General of the International Longshore Workers Union Local 10; Mahdi Bray, Muslim American Freedom Foundation; attorneys Leonard Weinglass and Lynne Stewart; Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s; Ahmed Al-Awazza of the Muslim Students Association; Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War; Peta Lindsay, youth organizer for A.N.S.W.E.R., and author Leslie Feinberg.

“The huge outpouring on October 26 far exceeded our expectations, when we initiated this demonstration six weeks ago,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard. “The massive turnout is a clear indication of the frustration and anger people feel about Congress rubber stamping Bush’s war drive. People are going into the streets again as they have in the past in a classic grassroots organizing strategy that we feel can be decisive in stopping the war.”