Skip to comments.AFL-CIO's Gene Bruskin & USLAW join with British & Iraqi Trade Unions against War & unions in Iraq
Posted on 10/08/2004 12:13:47 AM PDT by Bronc1
U. S. Labor Against the War (also known as USLAW) met with British & Iraqi trade union representatives to reaffirm opposition to the Iraqi War and in support of Iraqi unionization. Here's a report by USLAW's Gene Bruskin on the August 4-7, 2004 meeting in London...and evidence of what American union dues are funding!
(Excerpt) Read more at uslaboragainstwar.org ...
Report: Gene Bruskin Meeting with Trade Unionists from UK and Iraq in London
August 4-7, 2004 by Gene Bruskin, USLAW Co-Convenor September 20th, 2004
A Report on a USLAW-British Labor Solidarity Visit Opposing the War and Supporting Iraqi Unions August 4-7, 2004 London England By Gene Bruskin, Co-Convenor, US Labor Against the War INTRODUCTION
From August 4-7, 2004 I visited London on behalf of US Labor Against the War (USLAW). The tightly packed trip consisted of a series of one on one meetings with British national anti war labor leaders and members of Parliament, public speaking events, discussions with London-based Iraqi representatives from the two major Iraqi labor federations and media interviews.
The enthusiastic response I received on behalf of USLAW was based on the respect and importance attributed to the labor-anti-war movement in the US by our British brothers and sisters. There was little concern about the fact that I didnt come as an official representative of the AFL-CIO or one of its International affiliates. The fact that a significant sector of the labor movement in the belly of the beast was breaking from its traditional role of unquestioned support of US foreign policy adventures was a sign of hope and encouragement to our British counterparts and to the Iraqi labor representatives based in London. The news of the strong anti-war resolutions that had recently passed at SEIU, AFSCME and the California State AFL-CIO was enthusiastically received. Many trade unionists in England were familiar with the work of USLAW.
Despite the fact that many labor leaders were on vacation during the visit, I was able to meet the national presidents of the railroad, university lecturers and the communication workers unions and the national vice president of the union representing employees in the national government.
In addition I was able to meet privately with Jeremy Corbin, a prominent Labour Party member of Parliament and a central figure in the British anti-war and international solidarity movements and as Tony Benn, a renowned long-time leader of the British Labour Party and progressive movements.
I also met separately with Abdullah Muhsin, the International Representative for the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) and Dashti Jamal, the London Representative for the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI). On behalf of USLAW I presented each federation a check for $5000, funds contributed by workers and their unions in the U.S, to support their organizing work in Iraq.
I spoke at a public meeting for 75-100 trade unionists from a variety of unions that was hosted by the Camden Branch of Unison, the largest union in England, which represents public sector workers. I also spoke at a well-attended public meeting for the broader anti-war community, including trade unionists and Iraqis as well as other anti-war activists, that was hosted by Iraq Occupation Focus.
I spoke at a Hiroshima day ceremony on August 6 in remembrance of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in August 1945.
On the last evening of my visit I was given a reception at a union-owned pub, Bread and Roses, sponsored by an area Trades Council, the equivalent of a Central Labor Council in the US. The pub was a large bustling labor center, which gives its profits to anti-sweatshop campaigns, and other progressive struggles.
I owe a special thanks to Ewa Jasiewicz of the Iraq Occupation Focus who put in a lot of work setting up my itinerary and helping me to get from place to place. Alex Gordon of the RMT (railroad workers union) and a leader in the Iraq Solidarity movement also helped facilitate my trip, educated me about some of the work being done in England and was a gracious host as well. Most of the people and unions mentioned in this report made a special effort to make my visit successful.
British Labor Movement and Iraq
The British Labor movement has been a leading force in the opposition to the war in Iraq from the outset of anti-war activity in 2002/2003. Twenty national unions are formally affiliated to the large Stop the War Coalition. Anti-war sentiment is widespread among the rank and file and the leadership in the labor movement and the population.
The labor movement has provided significant support for the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions whose international representative, Abdullah Muhsin, is based in London. Abdullah has spoken regularly to British labor audiences and union leaders.
The first British delegation to Iraq occurred shortly before the October 2003 USLAW delegation. In fact, the delegations missed overlapping by only one day. The delegation consisted of members of the Fire Brigades Union, RMT (railroad workers), the National Union of Journalists and Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA).It was telling that the labor anti-war movements in our countries were not even aware that our respective delegations were going to Iraq in the same time period and thus made no attempt to arrange to meet there. This speaks directly to the need for coordination and communications between our two movements which was a central reason for my trips to England. Our governments coordinate their actions and yet our labor movements have been totally out of touch. The Coalition between our governments will likely be central not only to the outcome of the occupation in Iraq but to any future US led military adventures and, therefore, the importance of combining our labor anti-war forces is critical.
In February of 2004, Owen Tudor of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the British equivalent of the AFL-CIO, visited Iraq as part of an International Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU) delegation, including the AFL-CIO.
The British labor movement has provided considerable material support to the Iraqis. The RMT supplied ten laptop computers. The British civil service union PCS donated 500 Pounds (about $800) to the IFTU. In March of this year the Fire Brigades Union shipped badly needed fire-fighting equipment to Iraqi fire fighters. Currently the labor movement is developing a training CD in English and Arabic to provide basic training materials and training to the Iraqis in collective bargaining and union representation. The Fire Brigades Union is planning additional material support and a second visit to Iraq. IFTU General Secretary Subhi Abdullah was brought to England in June of 2004 and addressed a national meeting of the public employees union UNISON, Britains largest union. He will be given a prominent speaking opportunity at the European Social Forum to be held in London in October of this year, with the support of the British labor movement. UNISON just recently provided Abdullah Muhsin with an office with a computer and telephone to facilitate his work in England. The labor movement has taken up a new campaign to raise money to buy a bus for a traveling IFTU workers theater education project in Iraq.
In September 2004 the TUC voted to support a resolution by NPFTHE, the college lecturers union, that condemns the occupation, calls for a speedy withdrawal and the dismantling of Coalition military bases, condemns the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners, establishes a TUC solidarity committee to provide for ongoing practical support for Iraqi unions, calls for union-to-union relationships with a special emphasis on facilitating connections between Iraqi and British women trade unionists.
But the dem nominee said Iraq was a complete disaster area, what are they gonna unionize, the homeless, starving, bombedout American haters Kerry claims make up the population there?
Yap, yap, yap...another front for Communist stupidity.
Our enemies are laughing at us!
What a difference! And the Left blames BUSH?