Vermont AFL-CIO Affiliates to USLAW

Report from Hal Leyshon, Vermont AFL-CIO Executive Board member and central labor council president

On September 25th the Vermont State Labor Council’s annual convention voted, nearly unanimously, to support bringing our troops home and to affiliate to US Labor Against the War. The discussion and vote had been prepared by months of discussions with union leaders and activists and holding public forums together with Military Families Speak Out. Activists manned a USLAW table, distributing literature, asking delegates and observers to sign a pledge to support the anti-war resolution, and getting some one third of the delegates to wear USLAW buttons.

Speakers from the CWA’s Alliance@IBM, UAW 1981 and the AFT cited the growing number of international unions (CWA, AFSCME, SEIU, APWU, Mail Handlers), the California, Washington, Maryland/DC Federations of Labor, the AFL-CIO constituency groups, as well as the dozens of labor councils and local unions that had already taken similar action.

With this vote, the Vermont AFL-CIO joins with the Vermont Workers Center/ Jobs with Justice and the Washington-Orange-Lamoille Central Labor Council in building a Vermont component of US Labor Against the War. State Federation Dan Brush has appointed an official representative to USLAW’s Steering Committee. Delegates met immediately following the vote to begin to organize an official Vermont AFL-CIO committee to take USLAW’s message and educational materials deeper into the rank-and-file membership of our affiliates.

End the occupation of Iraq Bring our troops home!

Submitted by: Washington-Orange-Lamoille Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

WHEREAS, there is general agreement in the United States and throughout the world that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to this country or to Iraq’s neighbors, and that the government of Iraq had few if any discernable ties to those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; and

WHEREAS, the pretexts for war have been systematically revealed to have been fabricated, manipulated, exaggerated, or distorted to justify an invasion of Iraq planned long before September 11, 2001; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has approved $150 billion in public funds for the U.S. war in Iraq, draining those funds away from domestic priorities including transportation, health care, and national security; and

WHEREAS, working families have paid a heavy price for the U.S. involvement in Iraq with dead and wounded loved ones and Vermont has paid a disproportionate share of the loss of citizens to the war, and

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration has kept in force Saddam Husseins ban on public sector labor unions and used the Iraq war as an excuse to attack labor unions in this country; and

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration has used the Iraq War and the "War on Terrorism" as a platform to advocate for restrictions of civil liberties, with measures such as the Patriot Act; and

WHEREAS, the best way to support our troops is to bring them home; and

WHEREAS, US Labor Against the War was founded to represent the millions of working people who oppose the war and who pay a disproportionate cost in dollars and the lives of our sons and daughters; be it therefore

RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO recognizes the courage and sacrifices of U.S. military personnel who have faced extraordinary dangers in the U.S. war in Iraq and who now want to come home; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on Vermont Governor James Douglas to demand the discharge from duty in Iraq and the immediate return of all Vermont National Guard and Reserves to Vermont; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on the National AFL-CIO to demand an immediate end to the US military occupation of Iraq and speedy return of all U.S. military personnel to their homes and families, and to support the repeal of the Patriot Act and the reordering of national priorities toward the human needs; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, in recognition and furtherance of its position in opposition to current U.S. policy in Iraq, will affiliate with and help actively support and promote U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) to protect our members, their families, communities and jobs, and the lives and livelihoods of working people everywhere.