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CWA Convention Calls for Return of U.S. Troops Now!

ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 31st, 1400 delegates to the Communications Workers of
America annual convention in Anaheim, CA voted nearly unanimously in favor 
a resolution that calls upon George W. Bush to abandon his policy of 
preemptive war and to support U.S. troops by 'bringing them home safely now.'

A resolution presented by the resolutions committee entitled 'Making Our 
Country More Secure' condemned the Bush policy of unilateral military 
action and preemptive war.  It was silent, however, on an end to the U.S. 
military occupation of Iraq and return of U.S. troops.  It called upon the 
Bush administration to abandon its policy of preemptive war 'absent a clear 
and present threat ot the United States.'  It also called for the next 
administration to 'vigorously pursue the war on terror in conjunction with 
(U.S.) allies, and for the president and Congress to 'make federal funds 
available to staff and train first responders.'

When that resolution was reported to the floor for consideration, Bill 
Henning, Executive Vice President of Local 1180, took the microphone to 
propose an amendment which added the following 'Resolved':
'That CWA demands that the President abandon his failed policy (of 
preemptive war) which has made our nation less - not more - secure, and 
support our troops and their families by bringing our troops home safely 
now, by providing adequate veterans' benefits and promoting domestic 
policies that prioritize the needs of working people who make up the build 
of the military'....

That amendment was sponsored by Louie Rocha, President of Local 9423 in San 
Jose, Arthur Cheliotes, President of Local 1180 in New York City, Velma 
Patton, President of Local 7708 in Colorado Springs, Don Trementozzi, 
President of Local 1400 in New Hampshire, and Jegler Kalmijn, President of 
Local 9119 in California.

As Bill Henning introduced the amendment, more than fifty delegates from 
locals across the country formed a line at the microphone designated for 
speakers in favor of the motion.  First to speak was Velma Patton, who 
introduced herself as the daughter of a military family with a long and 
proud tradition of serving the country.  She then informed delegates that 
her son, who is now in the Armed Services, is scheduled to be sent to Iraq 
next week.   She strongly supported the call for an immediate return of all 
U.S. troops.  She said she did not want one more son or daughter, husband 
or wife, or anyone else to be sacrificed for Bush's war.  Her remarks were 
greeted by resounding applause.

No one rose to speak in opposition.  When President Morty Bahr called for a 
vote by hand, there was no doubt as to the outcome.  Only a handful among 
the 1400 delegates were raised their hands in opposition.

Following the vote on the amendment, Mike Milliman, Executive Board member 
and delegate from CWA Local 9510 in Orange County, CA, took the microphone 
to support the amended motion.  He introduced himself as a Vietnam Veteran 
and delivered a searing condemnation of the Bush administration's 
militaristic policies.  He told the delegates that any continued military 
presence in Iraq would be a disaster.  He proclaimed that not one more life 
should be lost in defense of an invasion based on Bush administration lies 
and deception.

Then Bill Lehman, Jr., Vice President of the America West Council of the 
Association of Flight Attendants (an affiliate of CWA) offered another 
amendment calling for 'any and all actions to ensure that the 46,000 
members of the Association of Flight Attendants receive mandatory security 
training as first responders' who face the prospect of either having their 
flights highjacked and used as missiles or being shot down by U.S. air 
defenses in the event of a terrorist takeover of a plane in flight.  He 
condemned the hypocrisy of the administration for hyping its 'War on 
Terror' while failing to provide first responders (police, fire fighters, 
paramedics, flight attendants and others) with appropriate training and 
equipment essential to the security of the traveling public.  His amendment 
was unanimously adopted.

The resolution, as twice amended, was then adopted without any visible sign 
of dissent.

CWA joins the Service Employees (SEIU), American Federation of State, 
County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Postal Workers (APWU), Mail 
Handlers (a division of the Laborers' Union - LIUNA), and the California, 
Washington, and Maryland/DC Federations of Labor in adopting strong antiwar 
resolutions this year.  The APWU, Mail Handlers and Washington State 
Federation resolutions were adopted within the last week.  Also in the last 
few weeks the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) and Labor 
Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) joined the Coalition of 
Labor Union Women and Pride At Work (all allied organizations of the 
AFL-CIO), in  condemning the war and calling for an immediate return of 
U.S. troops.  Over the course of the year dozens of labor councils, 
regional labor bodies, local unions and other labor organizations have 
taken similar action.

CWA claims 700,000 members.  SEIU has 1.6 million; AFSCME, 1.2 million; the 
CA State Federation includes one-sixth of all members of the 13 million 
member AFL-CIO.  The antiwar momentum in organized labor is emerging as a 
powerful expression of discontent among working people with the Bush 
administration's dangerous and provocative militarism that has left the 
U.S. more isolated in the world than at any time since prior to World War II.

Many of these labor organizations are affiliated with U.S. Labor Against 
the War (USLAW), which includes more than 80 affiliates in the U.S. labor 
movement.  USLAW has provided leadership and coordination to the growing 
labor antiwar movement.  It helped coordinate support for antiwar 
resolutions passed at most of the recent union conventions that have taken 
such action, most significantly at the SEIU, CWA and California State 
Federation of Labor conventions.

On the evening prior to CWA convention action on the antiwar resolution, 
USLAW sponsored a forum at the convention center in Anaheim where David 
Bacon, a freelance labor journalist and member of the Newspaper Guild 
(another affiliate of CWA), reported on his experience as one of two U.S. 
trade unionists who were part of the first international labor delegation 
to visit Iraq last October.  USLAW also had a literature booth at the 
convention from which thousands of flyers and fact sheets were distributed 
to delegates and nearly 500 buttons were sold.

USLAW also helped mobilize labor turnout at the massive  antiwar 
demonstration conducted on Saturday on the eve of the Republican National 
Convention in NYC.  Thousands of trade unionists joined in the half-million 
strong march from lower Manhattan to Madison Square Garden, the site of the 
RNC, and back to Union Square.


Resolution 66A-04-2
Making Our Country More Secure

America was born in pursuit of an idea; that a free people with diverse 
beliefs can govern themselves in peace.

Throughout our history, we have forged powerful alliances to defend, 
encourage, and promote that idea around the world. Through two World Wars, 
the Cold War, the Gulf War and Kosovo, America led broad coalitions instead 
of 'going it alone.' We respected the world - and the world respected us.

The current administration has walked away from more than a century of 
American leadership in the world to embrace a new and dangerously 
ineffective path of preemptive war without an imminent threat to the United 

In the months following September 11, 2001, America enjoyed unprecedented 
goodwill and global solidarity in the war on terrorism. This goodwill has 
been squandered by unilateral action of the Bush administration. The 
current administration has demonstrated American disregard for the world 
community.    It confuses leadership with 'going it alone.' It bullies 
instead of persuades. It fails to understand that real leadership means 
standing by your principles and encouraging others to join you.

The Bush administration's approach toward world affairs divides us here at 
home and separates us from our traditional allies in the world community. 
Such divisions stand in sharp contrast to the unity and global solidarity 
that America enjoyed in the days and months after September 11. We have 
wasted much of that goodwill, managed to insult many of our strong allies 
and divided the world at a time when it should speak as one.

So far the 'go it alone' approach has cost U.S. taxpayers $144.4 billion 
for the war in Iraq. This money could have been better spent. Instead of 
engaging in a war that has already taken a thousand American lives and the 
lives of countless thousands of Iraqis, we could have spent the money to 
fund already existing security programs and other measures to strengthen 
our first responders. We should have spent:

  • $7.5 billion to fund the Maritime Transportation Security Act to safeguard our ports;
  • $4 billion to expedite the upgrade of our Coast Guard; $2 billion for improved cargo security;
  • $10 billion to protect American commercial airliners from shoulder-fired rockets;
  • $5 billion for state-of-art baggage screening machines;
  • $7 billion for 100,000 police officers;
  • $350 million for integrating emergency radio systems;
  • $3 billion to secure major roads and railways;
  • $30.5 billion to secure from theft the world's weapons-grade nuclear material;
  • $2.25 billion to expedite the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program;
  • $24 billion to add two divisions to the Army;
  • $15.5 billion to double the 25,000 active-duty troops in the Special Operations Forces;
  • $8.6 billion to rebuild Afghanistan;
  • $11 billion to finance crop conversion in Afghanistan;
  • $10 billion to increase American development assistance to the neediest countries: and $775 million for public diplomacy. We have a particularly strong interest in all conflicts involving the U.S. Armed Forces. Those who fight for the United States are, as they always have been, the men and women of America's working families. We are proud of our members and their families now serving in our armed forces. The CWA reiterates its support for all working men and women in our armed forces and honors their courage. The process by which we, as members of the family of nations, decide how to deal with such  international threats is critical to our future. The threat of terrorism with a global reach is real. We have experienced the terrible destruction it can wreak. To respond to that threat, America will need the support of our allies and the major nations of the world. Our country and our families will be more secure if America is the respected leader of a broad coalition against terrorism, rather than isolated as a lone enforcer. RESOLVED: The Communications Workers of America calls on the Bush administration to reject the philosophy of pre-emptive war without a clear and present threat to the United States; RESOLVED: That CWA demands that the President abandon his failed policy (of preemptive war) which has made our nation less - not more - secure, and support our troops and their families by bringing our troops home safely now, by providing adequate veterans' benefits and promoting domestic policies that prioritize the needs of working people who make up the bulk of the military; RESOLVED: The Communications Workers of America calls on the next administration to vigorously pursue the war on terror in conjunction with our allies; RESOLVED: The Communications Workers of America encourages the president and the Congress to make federal funds available to staff and train first responders; RESOLVED:  That the Communications Workers of America will take any and all action to ensure that the 46,000 members of the Association of Flight Attendants receive mandatory security training as first responders. U.S. Labor Against War (USLAW) www.uslaboragainstwar.org info@uslaboragainstwar.org PMB 153 1718 'M' Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20036 Gene Bruskin and Bob Muehlenkamp, Co-convenors Amy Newell, National Organizer Michael Eisenscher, Organizer & Web Coordinator Adrienne Nicosia, Administrative Staff

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