Labour Against the War

eugene eugene at
Sat Jan 18 08:23:04 MST 2003

here are two statements from Labour against the War, one from the CLC in
Canada and the other from US trade unions.

Working People Want Peace - Canadian labour rallies January 18th Day of
Action Against War on Iraq
OTTAWA - Canadian labour voices will join the activities scheduled in
Halifax, Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon,
Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and many other communities on Saturday,
January 18th, the Cross-Canada Day of Action Against the War on Iraq. In
preparation for that day, Marie Clarke Walker, Executive Vice-President of
the Canadian Labour Congress released the following statement:
On August 20, 2002, the President of the Canadian Labour Congress, Ken
Georgetti stated, in a news release, that "Canadian workers are watching
with growing disbelief the U.S. government's preparations for a full-scale
attack against Iraq and they want nothing to do with it." Five months later
it is with dismay and disapproval that we receive the words of the Canadian
Minister of Defence, John McCallum, who, at a meeting with his American
counterpart, half-promises that Canada might participate in their war with
or without the endorsement or involvement of the United Nations.
On behalf of the 2.5 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress and on
behalf of the large majority of Canadians, the labour movement says a
clear: No to the war against Iraq. Working families do NOT want to go to
war in Iraq just to give George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their corporate
friends even more control of the world's oil supply!
Working people everywhere have no illusions about the nature of the
dictatorship imposed by Saddam Hussein on the Iraqi people for the past
three decades. We know that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tried in the
past to manufacture or to use weapons of mass destruction. We are also
aware that a large U.N. team of professional inspectors is scouring the
countryside of Iraq looking for evidence of the presence of such weapons.
Thus far, they have not found any, and they need to be given more time to
do their job.
It is not apparent either that Iraq constitutes a terrorist threat. Even
the CIA has admitted that Iraq is not harbouring terrorist organizations
nor being used to launch them. In fact, as a secular Arab state, Iraq has
been one of the targets of criticism of Osama bin Laden and his terrorist
allies. A war against Iraq at this time is clearly not part of a "war
against terrorism". On the contrary, attacking Iraq would only exacerbate
feelings in the Arab and Muslim world that the United States and its allies
are simply racist and involved in a modern day "holy crusade".
U.S. President George W. Bush said that he will resolve the problem of
weapons of mass destruction in North Korea through diplomatic means. He can
do the same with Iraq. In so doing he would spare the lives of innocent
Iraqi civilians, as well as the lives of American and other soldiers which
would be lost in a war.
In November 2002 we endorsed and participated in an International Day of
Action Against War on Iraq and on January 18, 2003 together with thousands
of Canadians we are renewing the call.
Today the Canadian Labour Congress yet again urges Prime Minister Jean
Chrétien to advocate the lifting of sanctions against Iraq which have only
hurt the innocent civilian population and to instruct his ministers to act
as truly independent and outspoken agents for peace. 
The members of the Canadian Labour Congress want world peace, not a world
at war.
For a list of activities scheduled during the Cross-Canada Day of Action
Against the War on Iraq, please visit: 
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement,
represents 2.5 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together the
majority of Canada's national and international unions along with the
provincial and territorial federations of labour and 137 district labour
councils. Web site: 
For more information... 
Contact phone: Jeff Atkinson 613-526-7425, 613-292-1413
Contact fax: 613-521-0423
Contact email: communications at 

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, 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.

Bill Onasch is a member of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1287, webmaster
of, and a member of the Interim National Council of the Labor
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.

For more information contact:  Bob Muehlenkamp  Kabob240 at  Gene
Bruskin  G8751 at 

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