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imperialism & war | labor

Labor Against The War

Organized labor was out as I recognized members from a number of different unions including OSEA, AFT, CWA, Farmworkers, and my union, SEIU.
Following is a story about the growing opposition to war by organized labor. It highlights the 2/15/ big event in NYC.

but first i gotta tell ya...

Yesterday, down here in Southern Oregon, there was a march from Ashland to Medford where we had a rally in Veteran's Memorial Park, and then we had a second march to Alba park for a second rally. Organized labor was out as I recognized members from a number of different unions including OSEA, AFT, CWA, Farmworkers, and my union, SEIU.

At 7:30 a.m., and before the march from Ashland even started I did a video interview with Kevin Hare, an SEIU brother who works at Southern Oregon University. Kevin told how there is a growth of resistance among union members, his fellow workers at Cascade Kitchen which is his workplace at the university. After marchers had made the over twelve mile trek to Medford and gathered in Veteran's Park Monty Walters, past president of Jackson County Employees Association, took charge as the event's MC. Monty also made a powerful speech himself, which I videotaped so that others can witness this growing tide...

following is the story I wanted you to see... thnx, union reporter

The estimated 500,000+ people who participated in yesterday's New York City protest included the largest labor antiwar presence to date.

At 11 a.m., 1,000 or more trade unionists held a brief rally at 59 St. and
Fifth Ave. Then, along with thousands of other protesters, they defied
the city's refusal to grant a permit by marching in the streets to the
main rally on First Ave.

Meanwhile, a large 1199SEIU contingent gathered on First Ave., while many other union members arrived at the rally site in smaller groups.

Labor speakers at the main rally were Dennis Rivera, President of 1199SEIU; Larry Cohen, Executive Vice-President of CWA; and Brenda Stokely, NYCLAW Co-Convener and President of AFSCME DC 1707.

Below are media reports of antiwar labor's participation in the massive


**Washington Post, Feb. 16, 2003

Labor unions, too, took a big role. Five major national unions oppose the

"We are going to stop this war," said Dennis Rivera, leader of SEIU 1199, a powerful health-care workers union that brought thousands of mostly black and Latino workers to the rally. "If they can march in Rome and Barcelona and London, we can march in New York, too."

[Full text:
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14348-2003Feb15.html ]


Boston Globe, Feb. 16, 2002

"We haven't seen much widespread opposition like this to any American
war at its beginning. I think you probably will have to go back to the end of Vietnam, when there were massive protests, and before that it was World War I," said Michael Letwin, of New York City Labor Against the War. "Does that mean Bush will pay attention? They don't want to listen to anybody. . . . Nonetheless, I think they may not have a choice."

[Full text:  http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/047/nation/Millions_march_against_war+.shtml ]


**NY1, Feb. 15, 2003

Thousands of union members from across the city also joined in with the
crowds to oppose a war with Iraq.

"Union members are coming out by the thousands today because they are opposed to this war, as most Americans appear to be," said Michael Letwin of the organization New York City Labor Against War. "Workers, I think, in particular know that it's working people and poor people at home who are going to pay for the war. They'll pay for it with their children in uniform, being the ones that die on the front lines. They'll pay for it in terms of cuts in our social services and all the government spending that could go to union services at home but are going to war instead."

[Full text:
 http://www.ny1.com/ny/TopStories/SubTopic/index.html?topicintid=1&subtopicintid=1&contentintid=27979 ]


**Village Voice, Feb. 15, 2003

For Millicent Petersen, a unit clerk in a Long Island hospital who rallied
with her union sisters and brothers from 1199-SEIU, "there's just no purpose to this war that makes sense."

[Full text:  http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0308/solomon.php ]

NYC labor bodies endorsing the protest were:

**AFM L.1000
**AFSCME DC 1707
**AFT Local 3882
**APWU NY-Metro/Local 10
**Bergen Co. (NJ) CTLC
**CWA District 1
**CWA Local 1180
**Federation of Union Reps.
**IAM Lodge 340
**NJ Labor Against the War
**NJ Industrial Union Council
**NY Taxi Workers Alliance
**NY Teachers Against the War
**NYC Labor Against the War
**NWU/UAW Local 1981
**Org. of Staff Analysts
**PACE Local 1-149
**PSC-CUNY/AFT Local 2334
**TWU Local 100
**UAW Region 9A NYC
**UNITE Local 169
**UUP/AFT Local 2190
**Working Families Party

here is another brief report:

NBC-10 TV News, Feb. 15, 2003

Peace activists boarded trains throughout the state to be part of the New
York rally, which organizers hoped would draw 100,000 people.

"We want the world to know that Americans -- the people of America -- don't want war," said Carol Gay, who helped organize the Red Bank protesters. "Stop this insane, mad rush to war. Iraq is no threat to us."

As she spoke, others carried cardboard placards with slogans including "No War In Iraq," "Shut The Door On War," and "If The War Starts, We Are All Collateral Damage." In the background, someone played a tape of Cat Stevens' antiwar hit "Peace Train" over and over.

Gay, whose group NJ Labor Against War rallied at the NJ Transit station
before the 10:28 a.m. train arrived, said an attack on Iraq will actually
make America less safe by destabilizing an already volatile region and
encouraging future terrorist attacks.

"If Bush attacks Iraq, it could set off World War III," she said. "It's a
reckless, impetuous thing to do."

She called such an attack "Bush's war of mass distraction, trying to divert
attention to policies that have declared war on working people and families in this country."

[ Full text:  http://www.nbc10.com/news/1980121/detail.html ]