Quorum325
Quorum325 is a webpage for autoworkers of UAW Local 325.
Editor: Dennis Gallie
U.S. Labor Against the War

               Trade Unionists Launch ‘U.S. Labor Against the War’
                   Reported by Bill Onasch, www.kclabor.org


      More than a hundred trade union leaders and activists gathered at the 
      Teamsters Local 705 hall in Chicago January 11, 2003 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
      Alan Netland, President, Duluth CLC, 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 reproduced below.

      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.


                                      *****

                        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 with 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 Security;
      and

      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 Americans; 
      and

      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.