Growing labor support for April 29 peace march

Trade union endorsements of the April 29 national “March for Peace, Justice and Democracy” in New York City are growing.

Several large locals and district bodies, including Wisconsin State Federation of Labor, AFSCME District Council 37, Philadelphia’s AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, 1199 SEIU and the United Teachers Los Angeles, have recently added their names to the expanding list of labor movement supporters. Unite Here leaders Bruce Raynor and John Wilhelm are also on the list.

Michael Eisenscher, national coordinator of U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), told the World that labor’s support indicates “the majority of the American people oppose the war and want the troops home. Since the Bush administration is not responsive to normal political discourse, it’s crucial for working people to demonstrate the depth of their conviction in the streets.”

The list of initiating organizations, including United for Peace and Justice, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, USLAW, Friends of the Earth, NOW and Veterans for Peace, shows broad-based support for the march’s main slogan, “End the war in Iraq — Bring all our troops home now!” Demands also include protecting civil liberties, immigrant rights, the environment and funding human needs, including those of Katrina survivors.

Fred Mason, president of the Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, told the World that labor’s readiness to build this action shows the depth of the changes taking place in the union movement. The AFL-CIO’s July 2005 resolution opposing the war was a “quantum leap” for labor, he said, and the growing list of local endorsements shows the resolution expressed grassroots sentiments.

Mason noted that workers’ taxes provide the main source of revenue that the administration is diverting from people’s needs and using to fund the war.

Pat Eiding, president of the Philadelphia Central Labor Council, told the World the war was an irresponsible decision from the beginning, and that “with all the problems working people face in this country today, if we don’t get this thing turned around soon, our grandchildren will be paying for it.”

Judith Le Blanc, national co-chair of United for Peace and Justice, said that labor’s participation in the April 29 antiwar march will help to energize people for the 2006 elections and to confront the Bush policies that threaten the nation on so many fronts: the environment, immigrant rights, civil rights, disaster relief, reproductive rights, jobs and labor rights.

For additional information or to endorse the demonstration, contact USLAW at