Union Members Meet, March To Protest Iraq War
Two events in October gave evidence of growing activity among union members who are opposed to beginning a war in Iraq. A conference initiated by New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) drew 125 people October 19, and conference participants joined other union members at the 100,000-person October 26 antiwar demonstration in Washington. Many New York unionists arrived on buses sponsored by NYCLAW, 1199 SEIU, or the UAW Region 9A CAP Council.
Local committees with names like Labor Committee for Peace and Justice now exist in Detroit, Albany, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, and Seattle. Antiwar committees have been formed in three large New York unions: 1199, the Teachers (UFT), and AFSCME DC 37.
The conference drew officers and staffers from 1199 SEIU, AFSCME, Postal Workers, Letter Carriers, IEU-CWA, Machinists, Mail Handlers, PACE, Teachers, Carpenters, Transport Workers, Masters, Mates and Piles, Newspaper Guild, Public Employees Federation, UAW, and others.
At the D.C. rally, labor was represented by Clarence Thomas, secretary-treasurer of ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco; Gene Bruskin, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Food and Allied Service Trades Department; and Michael Letwin, president of UAW Local 2325, speaking in his capacity as a NYCLAW co-convener.