May Day Peace Activism Spreading

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7,000-member NY Metro Area Postal Union (APWU) votes May Day action to protest 'unjust' US war in Iraq

The New York Metro Area local of the American Postal Workers Union will observe a "2-minute period of silence at 1:00 AM, 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM" during all three shifts on May 1st, 2008 - International Workers Day - to show their opposition to the Iraq war and occupation and Bush's threats to attack Iran and Syria.

The resolution, "in support of labor actions to stop the war," passed without opposition at the general membership meeting March 19th. NY Metro is the largest local in the APWU, representing many thousands of clerks and other postal workers in Manhattan, the Bronx and several large mail processing facilities in New Jersey.

The vote by NY Metro is "in solidarity with the actions of our brothers and sisters in the ILWU," which plans to shut down all West Coast ports for 8 hours on May 1st, and with San Francisco Branch 214 letter carriers, who voted to have a 2-minute period of silence (at 8:15 AM) on May Day in all carrier stations, in opposition to the war.

The resolution also urged NY Metro members in all postal facilities to "wear a button, ribbon, badge or some other symbol in protest of the war on May Day." On March 22, NY Metro leaders and members marched with other unionists in the "River to River Against the War" protest on the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war. They marched on 14th Street in both directions, from the East River to the Hudson, meeting up for a rally at Union Square with wounded veterans of the war and military families.

N.Y. METRO APWU RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF LABOR ACTIONS TO STOP THE WAR

WHEREAS New York Metro has long opposed the U.S. war against and occupation of Iraq as unnecessary and unjust; and

WHEREAS the Bush administration is threatening to expand the war to Iran and Syria; and

WHEREAS the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is planning to shut down all Pacific Coast ports on 1 May 2008---International Workers Day, or Mayday---to protest the war; and

WHEREAS National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 214 in San Francisco is requesting its members to observe a 2-minute period of silence in all stations on Mayday in solidarity with the ILWU;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that New York Metro requests that all its members in all its stations observe a 2-minute period of silence at 1AM, 9AM and 5PM on Mayday in solidarity with the actions of our brothers and sisters in the ILWU and NALC; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that New York Metro requests all its members to wear a button, ribbon, badge or some other symbol in protest of the war on Mayday. --Adopted without opposition March 19, 2008

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ILWU website on May Day Stop Work to Stop the War
protest in West Coast ports

ILWU Longshore Caucus calls for Iraq war protest at Pacific ports on May 1

Longshore Caucus calls for Iraq war protest at ports on May 1.

Nearly one hundred Longshore Caucus delegates voted on February 8 to support a resolution calling for an eight-hour "stop-work" meeting during the day-shift on Thursday, May 1 at ports in CA, OR and WA to protest the war by calling for the immediate, safe return of U.S. troops from Iraq.

“The Caucus has spoken on this important issue and I’ve notified the employers about our plans for 'stop work' meetings on May 1,” said ILWU International President Bob McEllrath.

Caucus delegates, including several military veterans, spoke passionately about the importance of supporting the troops by bringing them home safely and ending the War in Iraq. Concerns were also raised about the growing cost of the war that has threatened funding for domestic needs, including education and healthcare. Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard economist Linda J. Bilmes recently estimated that the true cost of the War in Iraq to American taxpayers will exceed 3 trillion dollars--a figure they describe as "conservative."

The union’s International Executive Board recently endorsed Barack Obama, citing his opposition to the War in Iraq as one of the key factors in the union's decision-making process.

Caucus delegates are democratically elected representatives from every longshore local who set policy for the Longshore Division.

ILWU International President Robert McEllrath has written letters to President John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO and President Andy Stern of the Change-to-Win Coalition, and to the presidents of the International Transport Workers Federation and theInternational Dockworkers Council to inform them of the ILWU's plans for May 1. [From ILWU website]

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Text of ILWU letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, dated February 22, 2008
ILWU President asks Sweeney's help "spreading the word" about May 1 action opposing Iraq war
President Sweeney,

"ILWU delegates recently concluded a two-week caucus where we reached agreement on our approach for bargaining a new Pacific Coast Longshore Contract that expires on July 1, 2008. We expect talks to begin sometime in March and will keep you informed of developments.

"One of the resolutions adopted by caucus delegates called on longshore workers to stop work during the day shift on May 1, 2008, to express their opposition to the war in Iraq.

"We're writing to inform you of this action, and inquire if other AFL-CIO affiliates are also planning to participate in similar events on May 1 to honor labor history and express support for the troops by bringing them home safely. We would appreciate your assistance with spreading word about this May 1 action."

In solidarity,

Robert McEllrath
ILWU International President

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Reno May Day

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About a dozen people turned out at Reno's Federal Building with signs that read:

"Solidarity with Longshore Workers, Hot Cargo War Profiteers, Cut Off Bush' War Allowance, No More Blood for Halliburton War Pigs, Impeach Bush, Impeach Cheney, End Iraq Occupation, Bring the Troops Home Now" and other slogans.  Local Channel 4 interviewed participants.  A leaflet with the ILWU's stop work against the war resolution was distributed.

Later in the day, a much larger group of three hundred gathered for immigrant rights.