By: Trevor Loudon
An Emergency Labor Meeting was held in Cleveland, Ohio on March 4-5, 2011.
Ninety-six union leaders and activists from 26 states and from “a broad cross-section of the labor movement” gathered at the Laborers Local 310 Hall in Cleveland in response to an invitation sent out in January urging them to “explore together what we can do to mount a more militant and robust fight-back campaign to defend the interests of working people.”
Three weeks prior to the Emergency Labor Meeting (ELM), “unionists and community and student activists in Wisconsin unleashed a resistance movement against Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting and concessionary attacks that in a short time has breathed new life into the labor movement.”
Participants in the ELM took “full note of the new situation and of the grave dangers to the U.S. labor movement and to workers’ and democratic rights posed by Governor Walker’s attacks.”
They pledged to make the “fight against union-busting and the budget cuts/concessions in Wisconsin the centerpiece of an emergency action plan…”
Part of the plan involves a nationwide “Day of Action” on April 4.
Participants welcomed the call issued by Larry Cohen, International President of the Communication Workers of America to organize on April 4, the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This call has since been supported by the AFL-CIO Executive Board, which is urging “movement-wide dramatic actions” on this day.
The closed doors meeting was endorsed by some of American labor’s most radical socialist labor leaders.
These included Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism affiliates:
- Donna DeWitt – President, South Carolina AFL-CIO
- Sandy Eaton – RN, Chair, National Nurses United Legislative Council
- Lenny Potash – Co-Chair Labor United for Universal Healthcare
- Kenneth Riley – President, International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422
- Monadel Herzallah – President, Arab American Union Members Council – USLAW-affiliate
- Steve Edwards – President, AFSCME Local 2858, Chicago and Steering Committee member, Public Workers Unite!
- Ira Grupper – labor journalist, Louisville, KY
Democratic Socialists of America affiliates:
- Jos Williams – President, Washington Metro Council AFL-CIO
- Henry Nicholas – President, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFSCME
- Jeff Crosby – President, North Shore Labor Council, Massachusetts
- Bill Henning – Vice President, CWA Local 1180
- Ed Sadlowski – Staff Representative, Wisconsin Council 40, AFSCME, AFL-CIO; Member, Local 938, membership in Council 40 Field and Support Staff Union
- Jerry Tucker – former Intl UAW Exec Board Member, Center for Labor Renewal Co-Founder
- Bill Fletcher, Jr. – Center for Labor Renewal, BlackCommentator.com
- Dr. Jack Rasmus – Member, American Federation of Teachers University Council, University of California Berkley, Former National First Vice President, National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, former local union Vice President and Business Representative, CWA Local 9415 and SEIU Local 715
- Bill Leumer – Former President, International Association of Machinists Local 565, Co-Convenor, Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign
- Steve Early – labor journalist, lawyer and former CWA International Representative, author of Embedded with Organized Labor and The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor
Communist Party USA affiliates:
- Lew Moye – President, St Louis Chapter, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
- Dean Gunderson – Minnesota Association of Professional Employees Region 5 Director and past local president
Also listed were affiliates of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Socialist Party USA, International Socialist Organization and several members of the ultra-radical anti-Israel group American Labor for Palestine.
The assembled socialists agreed that they must:
Go to the streets to oppose the concessions demanded by the bosses and the government. There is plenty of money available without demanding givebacks from public employees, but this requires changing our nation’s priorities to raise taxes on the rich, redirect war dollars to meet human needs, and more — all demands that we must place on the federal government. We can no longer effectively deal with such crucial issues as health care and retirement through collective bargaining alone.
Instead of supporting wars of intervention, the labor movement should embrace international worker solidarity. The mutual declarations of support between protesters in Madison and insurgent independent unions in Egypt are a proud example that deserve wide emulation.
The U.S labor movement is now completely dominated by socialists and communists. Given the chance, they intend to bring chaos to several major cities across America. They plan to continue until their man Barack Obama is re-elected President in 2012.
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