CHICAGO – U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) was founded Jan. 12 at a meeting repeatedly described as “historic” by the participants. The 100 delegates were representatives of local unions, central labor councils and labor peace groupings, as well as individual labor leaders from across the country. The unions involved included Service Employees International Union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, United Electrical Union, American Federation of Teachers, International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Teamsters.

The meeting adopted a comprehensive resolution pointing out the devastating impact of a war on the lives and livelihood of working class youth and families and on “labor, civil, immigrant and human rights.” It resolved to “stand firmly against Bush’s war drive and to promote union, labor and community anti-war activity.”

The new organization will establish a web site to circulate the flood of anti-war resolutions and statements coming from locals, central labor bodies and principle officers.

Other projects in the works include an anti-war ad campaign and convening of a national meeting of rank-and-file activists.

Discussion during the daylong session focused on the conviction that war is not inevitable, that the unprecedented outpouring even before war has begun has kept war at bay and that labor can play a decisive role in preventing war. Delegates likened the challenge of how to educate and mobilize the rank and file to an organizing campaign where workers will mobilize if given the information they need and if the message if clear.

The gathering was hosted by Teamsters Local 705 Secretary-Treasurer Jerry Zero who welcomed the delegates with the results of a recent poll taken among his membership. “Half our members think George Bush is a liar,” stated Zero, “the other half don’t think you can believe a word he says.”

The author can be reached at robertawood@ameritech.net

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