The Philadelphia Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO on Jan. 8, 2003, passed by voice vote a strong resolution against the war on Iraq. Approximately 45 people attended the meeting, with only 4 people voting against the resolution.
When one of the delegates objected to the resolution on the grounds that “we didn’t pass resolutions like this when the U.S. invaded Haiti,” Pat Gillespie, a vice president of the Council and head of the building trades, replied: “We should have had a resolution then and that’s why we need it now. That whole Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (authorizing U.S. escalation of the war in Vietnam) was a big lie. It’s a good thing we have organizations like this one that are willing to challenge the president…”
Philadelphia may be the largest city Central Labor Council so far to pass a resolution against the war. The text of the resolution follows.
For more information contact members of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO Committee on Iraq:
Pat Eiding, Philadelphia AFL-CIO President (215/ 665-9800)
Royce Adams, Trustee, International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1291 (215/425-6938; 856/547-6388)
John Braxton, Co-President, American Federation of Teachers Local 2026 (215/751-8555)
Art Doherty, American Postal Workers Union (215/988-0211)
Pat Gathers, AFSCME Local 1971 (215/209-8683)
Pat Gillespie, Philadelphia AFL-CIO VP and President, Building Trades Council (215/677-8500)
Jim Moran, Communications Workers of America Local 38010 (215/ 386-7000)
Charlie Murphy (opposed to the resolution) Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 274 (215/563-0274)
Henry Nicholas, President, AFSCME District Council 1199C (Hospital and Health Care Employees) (215/735-1300)
Ben Sears, American Federation of Teachers Local 3, (215/844-3784)
Wendell Young, President, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776 (610/940-1801)
Resolution Opposing a War
Philadelphia Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, January 8, 2003
WHEREAS, the mission of the labor movement is to struggle for justice on the job and in our communities; and
WHEREAS, in today’s corporate-dominated global economy the struggle for justice is necessarily international; and
WHEREAS, the administration of President Bush has declared its determination to overthrow the Iraqi regime and is threatening to launch a preemptive war without the approval of the United Nations; and
WHEREAS, there is no convincing link between Iraq and Al Qaeda or between Iraq and the horrific events of September 11, 2001; and
WHEREAS, the Bush administration has presented no credible evidence that Iraq presents any immediate threat to the United States; and
WHEREAS, a war with Iraq would likely result in massive death and carnage among Iraqi civilians and U.S. combatants, most of whom are the sons and daughters of the working classes; and
WHEREAS, such a war could easily draw in neighboring countries in a wider conflict that could destabilize the entire region; and
WHEREAS, such a war would be in violation of international law; and
WHEREAS, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has noted [in October 2002] that “the sudden urgency for a decision about war and peace, an urgency that did not exist a month ago, has as much to do with the political calendar as with the situation in Iraq”; and
WHEREAS, Philadelphia Congressmen Bob Brady and Chakah Fattah voted against the Bush resolution on Iraq; and
WHEREAS, the Bush administration’s rush to war seeks to distract Americans from the real threats posed by corporate corruption and greed, which have stolen or destroyed the jobs, health, retirement benefits, and savings of millions of working Americans; and
WHEREAS, a war with Iraq would sap the U.S. treasury of many billions of dollars desperately needed for job creation, health care, education, and other human needs;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the AFL-CIO Philadelphia Council goes on record as strenuously opposing the Bush Administration’s march towards war with Iraq; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the AFL-CIO Philadelphia Council urges the Bush administration to continue to abide by and work through the resolution of the UN Security Council, and we oppose an invasion of Iraq without UN Security Council approval.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the AFL-CIO Philadelphia Council supports the men and women in our armed forces even if we do not support President Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the AFL-CIO Philadelphia Council urges its members and affiliates to support organizations working nonviolently to stop the Bush administration’s march toward war against Iraq.