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US Labor Against War
Defense of Trade Union Independence & Democratic Rights
Trade Unionists Launch "U.S. Labor Against the War"
By BILL ONASCH
More than a hundred trade union leaders and activists gathered at the
Teamsters Local 705 hall in Chicago January 11 to discuss labor's
response to the imminent danger of war on Iraq. At the end of the day
they launched a new organization to mobilize antiwar sentiment within
the union movement -- U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW).
Teamsters Local 705, the second largest Teamsters Local in the
country, offered to host the gathering shortly after their members
overwhelmingly passed an antiwar resolution at a well-attended (over
400) meeting. Two veteran organizers, Gene Bruskin and Bob
Muehlenkamp, did a good job of assembling this impressive gathering
on short notice. The initial invitation letter was signed by:
Alan Benchich, President, UAW 909
Jerry Brown, President, 1199NE/SEIU, Hartford
Bill Hennings, VP, CWA Local 1180, NYC
Bruce J. Kipple, General Sec.-Treas., UE
Richard Mead, President, ILWU Local 10
Bob Muehlenkamp, President, Duluth CLC,
Alan Netland, President AFSCME Local 96
Sal Roselli, President, L. 250/SEIU, Oakland
Brenda Stokely, President, AFSCME Council 1707, Co-chair, NYCLAW
Gerry Zero, Sec-Tr., IBT L. 705, Chicago
After hearing presentations from David Cortright, Fourth Freedom
Forum, and Bill Fletcher, director of TransAfrica and a former
special assistant to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, the delegates
went on to a vigorous debate over a resolution to establish basic
principles. The most contentious issue was that of the United
Nations. A few wanted to denounce the UN as a tool of the U.S. while
a few others wanted to praise the UN for preventing war on Iraq to
this point. In the end the delegates decided we could live without
saying anything about the UN. The final language of the resolution is
The gathering had a practical discussion of how to take our positions
into the rest of the labor movement. The first priority is to get as
many union bodies as possible in the next few weeks to adopt
resolutions and contribute money to the new organization. A
continuations committee, made up of representatives selected by
unions with sizeable delegations, was established to set up
structures to carry on USLAW's work.
In the Kansas City area there will be a meeting to discuss building
USLAW Saturday, January 18, 1PM at 2113 Erie in North Kansas City.
For more information call 816-753-1672 or 816-221-3638 or send an e-
mail to laboradvocate@k...
We Establish U.S. Labor Against the War
WHEREAS, over 100 trade unionists from unions, Central Labor Councils
and other labor organizations representing over 2 million members
gathered in Chicago for an unprecedented meeting to discuss our
concerns about the Bush administrations threat of war; and
WHEREAS, union members and leaders have the responsibility to inform
all working people about issues that affect their lives, jobs and
families, and to be heard in the national debate on these issues; and
WHEREAS, the principal victims of any military action in Iraq will be
the Sons and daughters of working class families serving in the
military who will be put in harms way, and innocent Iraqi civilians
who have already suffered so much; and
Whereas, we have no quarrel wit!, the ordinary working class men,
women and children of Iraq, or any other country; and
Whereas, the billions of dollars spent to stage and execute this war
are being taken away from our schools, hospitals, housing and Social
Whereas, the war is a pretext for attacks on labor, civil, immigrant
and human rights at home; and
Whereas, Bush's drive for war serves as a cover and distraction for
the sinking economy, corporate corruption and layoffs; and
Whereas, such military action is predicted actually to increase the
likelihood of retaliatory terrorist acts; and
Whereas, there is no convincing link between Iraq and Al Qaeda or the
attacks on Sept. 11, and neither the Bush administration nor the UN
inspections have demonstrated that Iraq poses a real threat to
Whereas, U.S. military action against Iraq threatens the peaceful
resolution of disputes among states, jeopardizing the safety and
security of the entire world, including Americans; and
Whereas, labor has had an historic role in fighting for justice; therefore
We hereby establish the "U.S. Labor Against the War' (USLAW); and
Resolve that U.S. Labor Against the War stands firmly against Bush's
war drive; and
Further resolve that U.S. Labor Against the War will publicize this
statement, and promote union, labor and community antiwar activity.
(Adopted January 11, 2003 in Chicago, IL)
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