Organized Labor Forms Anti War Coalition

Sisters & Brothers:

On Saturday, January 11 in Chicago history was made. More than one hundred trade union leaders gathered there to found US Labor Against the War (USLAW). These union officers, officials and activists came from organizations representing more than 2 million members. Below you will find the final resolution adopted unanimously after a lively and thoughtful debate. It represents the blending of elements from two resolutions submitted for consideration by organizers of the meeting and by some of those attending. Also below are remarks I made early in the opening session, a preliminary tabulation of the affiliation and union positions of those attending, and a census of organizations which had gone on record against Bush’s wars against Iraq and workers here in the U.S. The census, prepared in advance of the meeting on the basis of resolutions available to me, greatly understates the actual extent of labor opposition, as many other organizations that had gone on record were identified in the course of the meeting, and a significant and growing number will be taking action at meetings in the coming month. A revised analysis will be forthcoming.

A caucus of attendees from CA which met after the meeting concluded decided to schedule a Bay Area report-back on Sunday, January 26th at 10:00 a.m. It will be held at ILWU Local 10 in SF (pending confirmation of availability). A final notice with confirmed location will be forthcoming. At this meeting, we will decide who from CA will serve as our geographic area representative to a continuations committee. I was designated as a "place-holder" representative until that meeting. More details from the event will be forthcoming.

Needless to say, this development is unprecedented and portends a significant shift in the posture of the labor movement toward U.S. foreign policy in general and the Bush administration’s dual war strategy (war on the world and war on workers) in particular.

Also attending from the Greater Bay/So. Bay area were representatives of the SF Labor Council, CA Nurses Association, ILWU Local 10, NALC Local 214, CUE Local 3, SEIU Local 250, No. CA Media Workers Union, National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981, Monterey Bay Labor Council, AFT Local 1936, and Labor Committee for Peace & Justice.

The immediate objectives are to (a) build the largest possible labor participation in the January 18 demonstrations in DC and SF (assemble at 11:00 a.m. in SF at Drumm and Market in front of the Hyatt Hotel with union banners and colors), and (b) to get as many unions and labor bodies to adopt or endorse the founding resolution (see below).

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