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New York labor against war

By Deirdre Griswold
New York

On Oct. 4 a newly formed group, New York City Labor Against War, held a press conference at Union Square here to affirm that there are many progressives in the labor movement who will not go along with the Bush administration's assault on Afghanistan.

The group issued a statement signed by nine local union presidents and hundreds of other union members that called for a just and effective response to Sept. 11 based on five demands: no war; justice, not vengeance; opposition to racism and defense of civil liberties; aid for the needy, not the greedy; and no labor "austerity."

The statement was read by Michael Letwin of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, one of the nine union presidents to sign on. The other eight are Larry Adams of the Postal Mail Handlers Local 300; Barbara Bowen of the Professional Staff Congress; Arthur Cheliotes of Communications Workers Local 1180; Jill Levy of the American Federation of School Administrators Local 1; Maida Rosenstein of the Autoworkers Local 2110; Joel Schwartz of the Civil Services Employees Local 446; Brenda Stokely of AFSCME Local 215; and Jonathan Tasini of the National Writers Union Local 1981.

Taking note of the fact that 1,000 union members were among those killed in New York on Sept. 11, and that an estimated 100,000 New Yorkers will lose their jobs, the statement went on to say that "George Bush's war is not the answer. No one should suffer what we experienced on Sept. 11. Yet war will inevitably harm countless innocent civilians, strengthen American alliances with brutal dictatorships and deepen global poverty--just as the United States and its allies have already inflicted widespread suffering on innocent people in such places as Iraq, Sudan, Israel and the Occupied Territories, the former Yugoslavia and Latin America."

Other speakers at the press conference included Brenda Stokely, Mike Gimbel and Ray Laforest of AFSCME, and Miguel Maldonado of the Immigrant Workers Association.

Reprinted from the Oct. 18, 2001, issue of Workers World newspaper

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