Public Employee Press
Forum speakers: war is a union issue
ANTIWAR forum April 13, from left: Local 2627 2nd VP Gary
Goff, Speakers Nancy Romer and Jose Vasquez, and Local 1930 President
Lies start wars. Bring our troops home.
War No. Union Yes. These button slogans pinned proudly on
union members lapels highlighted the position of many unions at
an anti-war forum held April 13 at DC 37.
We are not Anti-American, we are anti-war, said New York Public
Library Local 1930 President Lynn Taylor.
I am a United States soldier and I recently applied for conscientious
objector status, said panelist Jose Vas-quez, a member of Local
1199 and of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He and Nancy Romer of U.S.
Labor Against the War explained the impact the Iraq War is having on the
nation, New York City, the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons on the
front lines and their families at home.
The speakers called for three major steps to be taken immediately: withdrawal
of troops from Iraq, better psychiatric and medical care for veterans,
and reparations for people affected by the war.
The forum, co-sponsored by Local 1930 and Electronic Data Personnel Local
2627, was part of the unions preparations for the nationwide war
protest that was set for April 29 in New York City. A veterans forum
was scheduled for April 28.
DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts has consistently spoken out against
the war. In 2003, the Delegates Council, the unions highest governing
body, established the unions position against the war and in support
of the troops the stance held by 57 percent of Americans. The delegates
recently endorsed the April 29 demonstration.
Every dollar spent on this war is money taken away from us and the
services we provide, said moderator Gary Goff, 2nd vice president
of Local 2627. Big corporations are making obscene amounts of money
from no-bid contracts while Americans pay for the war with higher taxes,
escalating national debt and the lives of our loved ones.
Its no secret that recruiters target children of working families
and have made this a poverty draft of the working class, Vasquez
said. Forum participants noted similarities between veterans of Iraq and
Vietnam, who were influential in ending that war.
To change American foreign policy, people need to get out the vote and
elect new political leadership in Novembers congressional races,
War is a legitimate union issue, she added. This war
is sophisticated, complicated. It shrinks our rights and cuts into the
money for our pay increases. War is anti-worker, but the enemy is not
the soldier it is the government policy.
Diane S. Williams