Boston School Bus Union Five Acquitted

BY ON MARCH 6, 2015

BOSTON SCHOOL BUS UNION

WINS HUGE VICTORY

In 10 Minutes, Jury Returns Not-Guilty Verdict

Commonwealth’s Case Exposed

as a Fraudulent Anti-Union Frame-Up

BostonVictory

The campaign to rehire four Boston school bus drivers, illegally fired by the union-busting Veolia Corporation, got a shot in the arm on Thursday when a jury took only ten minutes to acquit union leader Steve Kirschbaum of all charges brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The ten-minute verdict was the result of an eight-month peoples’ mobilization that included six pack-the-court rallies; national call-in days to both the district attorney and the mayor; and weekly busyard rallies organized by the local. Peoples’ lawyers Barry Wilson and John Pavlos skillfully and passionately tore the frame-up apart and successfully turned the tables, putting the union-busters on trial.

School bus drivers and community supporters of the union packed the court for three days, transforming the inside of the courthouse into a de facto union hall. During lunch breaks the drivers held militant picket lines outside the building, with placards saying “Drop the Charges” and “No Contract, No Work”!

Dorchester District Courthouse became ground zero for the political movement, as Brock Satter with the Mass Mobilization Against Police Violence, as well as Sandra Macintosh of the Coalition for Equal Quality Education and former City Councilmember Chuck Turner all showed up to support the union. City Councilmember Charles Yancey gave updates to the overflow crowd outside the courtroom, and for two of the three trial days, I-93 protester Tsung attended.

Herculano Fecteau of the Boston Teachers Union showed up, as did Tony Van Der Meer of the Africana Studies Department at UMass. The verdict was a victory not only for this political, social union  – which not only fights for its members but marches with the Black Lives Matter movement, resolutely defends LGBTQ rights and marches for Palestine – but a victory for the movement as well.

And it was a defeat for the union-busters, Boston’s 1%, and the city’s entrenched racist forces who want to re-segregate public education.

From the moment the four bogus charges were filed against Kirschbaum in July 2014, it was clear that they were part of the union-busting campaign being waged against the local – a campaign that included the November 2013 firing of Kirschbaum as well as three other union leaders.

When a June 30, 2014 rally of hundreds of school bus drivers – held to demand the rehiring of the four — ended with an indoor rally in the drivers’ breakroom, Veolia managers provided false statements to the Commonwealth to make it look like they had been attacked by Kirschbaum and that the premises had been violently entered.

The charges were totally made-up but serious: three were felonies, initially including breaking and entering to commit a felony; malicious destruction of property; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; and trespassing.

The evidence was so obviously manufactured that in October the first two charges were dismissed by the judge. On Thursday, a working class jury of six – including two union members — “dismissed” the remaining two charges with a not-guilty verdict in record time.

In fact, it was Veolia and its co-conspirators who were put on trial as witness testimony and Kirschbaum’s legal team showed that the events in question had everything to do with the fact that the contract was expiring that day at midnight – and that, in violation of the contract, Veolia had attempted to prevent the union from holding a meeting.

In October 2013, the notorious union-busting company fired four of the union leaders – including Grievance Chair Kirschbaum, Recording Secretary Andre Francois, Steward Garry Murchison and Vice President Steve Gillis – after locking out the workers and falsely claiming that the union had conducted a “wildcat strike.”

The not-guilty verdict — which has so thoroughly discredited the version of events put forward by Veolia managers — can only help the campaign to rehire the four. Those in the Boston establishment who were holding their breath over this trial and hoping to see one of the union’s leaders convicted are now facing a renewed, fighting union that is not afraid to take things to the next level.

Those who know this local also know that its members intend to fight not only to rehire the four but to deepen the Black Lives Matter movement and the struggle against racism; stop the school closings announced by Mayor Walsh; defend public school transportation by keeping middle school students off the subway and on school buses; and defend the righteous I-93 protesters and their First Amendment rights.

Labor for Palestine: Response to Defamatory Attacks and Call to Action

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Labor for Palestine’s Response to Defamatory Attacks and Call to Action
December 21, 2009

Labor for Palestine’s December 14 “Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel” has met with an overwhelmingly positive response.

Posted at, http://www.laborforpalestine.net/wp/2009/12/19/trumka-letter/, the Open Letter supports the growing international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, by calling on trade unionists in the United States to Divest from State of Israel Bonds, support workers’ refusal to handle Israeli cargo, break ties with the racist Histadrut, and oppose U.S. military and economic aid for Israel.

In just a few short days, the letter has been published by Electronic Intifada, Dissident Voice, Global BDS Movement, Indymedia, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, MRZine, Palestinian World, Socialist Worker (U.S.), Tehran Times, U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, and U.S. Palestinian Community Network. It has also been endorsed by nearly 64 additional U.S. labor signers (see below), for a total of 94, and the number continues to grow.

The letter comes in response to the Palestinian call, adopted around the world and supported by all Palestinian trade unions, for BDS as an essential international action to support Palestinian rights.

It has also become clear that growing support for BDS is seen as a threat by those who would continue U.S. labor officialdom’s support for the apartheid state of Israel, as evidenced by new attacks on Labor for Palestine.

On December 17, two of the letter’s initial signers, Fred Mason (a co-convener of U.S. Labor Against the War and head of the Maryland AFL-CIO) and Clayola Brown (A. Philip Randolph Institute), issued identical written statements demanding that their names be removed from the letter. The statements assert that they “had never seen such a letter or engaged in discussions about its content,” and that it was “disrespectful that someone would attach my name to a document and circulate such a document without contact with me, or consent from me.”

Brown’s statement has been posted on the website of “Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine” under the heading, “Leading Black trade unionist expresses ‘disgust and dismay’ at misuse of her name by pro-BDS campaigners.” http://www.tuliponline.org/?p=1262. As explained in LFP’s Open Letter, TULIP was founded to derail the growing international labor support for BDS that has followed Israel’s massacres in Gaza.

LFP immediately honored the requests to remove both names. However, the claim that either had been listed without their knowledge of permission is a complete fabrication.

In fact, Fred Mason and Clayola Brown were among 21 people who signed the letter at a USLAW national meeting held in Chicago on December 5. Their endorsements, written in their own hand (signatures 5 and 6.) can be viewed at: http://www.aaumc.org/drupal/system/files/uslaw-signatures.pdf. Nonetheless, “TULIP” has refused to remove Brown’s defamatory statement from its website.

These false assertions come as no surprise. Dishonesty underlies the entire attempt to undermine BDS, and to shore up Israeli apartheid, occupation and oppression.

As the first anniversary of Israel’s massacre in Gaza approaches, LFP will escalate this campaign by posting the expanded list of Open Letter signers, activating a new and expanded website, creating a listserv for LFP supporters, and organizing future action. We ask you to join LFP in supporting the call for BDS, and in standing up against any attempt to silence U.S. workers’ voices in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

Workers around the world responding to the Palestinian call to cut ties with apartheid oppression. In the 1980s, workers stood together around the world to combat South African apartheid — and we can do no less today.

To help make this possible, please:

* Post and forward this report.

* Enlist and refer additional Open Letter signers to: http://www.laborforpalestine.net/wp/2009/12/19/trumka-letter/#endorse

* Write to Cbrown@aflcio.org, fmason@mddcaflcio.org, and info@tuliponline.org (cc: laborforpalestine.us@gmail.com)
to demand immediate retraction of their false accusations against LFP.

* Donate to LFP: http://laborforpalestine.net/wp/2009/12/trumka-letter/#donate

——————–

(List in formation — *For identification only)

Initial Signers (revised, as discussed above)
Monadel Herzallah, President, Arab American Union Members Council, California
Larry Adams, Co-Convener, NYCLAW; Former President, NPMHU L. 300*
Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, NYCLAW, Former President, UAW L. 2325/ALAA*; Al-Awda NY; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network/Labor
Brenda Stokely, Co-Convener, NYCLAW, Former President, AFSCME DC 1707*; Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement
Sam Weinstein, Former President, UWUA L. 132*; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network/Labor
Stanley Heller, AFT L. 1547*, Delegate, CT Central Labor Council*
Marty Goodman, Former Executive Board Member, TWU L.100*
Frank Rosen, General Vice President (retired), UE*
Steve Zeltzer, Producer, Labor Video Project
Anthony Arnove, National Writers Union/UAW L.1981*
Mike Gimbel, Chair, Labor-Community Unity Committee, AFSCME DC 37 L. 375*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*
Dave Welsh, Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council*
Lee Sustar, Chicago Labor Against the War
Timothy Kaminski, UAW L. 110* (ret.)
Janice Rothstein, AFSCME L. 3299*
Andy Griggs, UTLA*; LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, Cafe Intifada
Emma Rosenthal, UTLA*; LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, Cafe Intifada
Pete Nowicki, AFSCME L. 145*
Jim Crampton, 1199SEIU/UHWE*
Allan Fisher, AFT L. 2121, SF Community College*
Sharon Black, AFT L. 2*; Bailout the People Movement
Bill Balderson, Oakland Education Assn.*
Sarah Ringler, AFT L. 1936, PVFT*
Frank Pinto, UPTE-CWA L. 9119*
Steve Desavouret, TCU/IAM 6608*
Louis LaFortune, AFT L. 1936, PVFT*
Azalia Torres, Former Executive Bd. Member, UAW Local 2325/ALAA*
Patrick Langhenry, UAW Local 2325/ALAA*
Lucy Herschel, Delegate 1199SEIU/UHWE*
Carol Seligman, South San Francisco California Teachers Association*

Additional U.S. Labor Endorsers
Manzar Foroohar, CFA.*
Joe Iosbaker, Executive Board, SEIU L. 73.*
David Klein, CFA*
Mary Hughes, WGA, West*
Barbara Harvey, Attorney, Labor and Employment Committee, National Lawyers Guild*
Sherna Berger Gluck, Former Vice President, CFA-SEIU L. 1983*
Sabina Virgo, Founding and Past President, AFSCME L. 2620*
Shelia Cassidy, USW*, Riverside, CA
Evalyn F. Segal, CSEA, SEIU Local 1000*
Mark Kaswan, UAW L. 2865*
Roger Dittmann, President, Scientists Without Borders; CFA-SEIU-AAUP*
Larry Duncan, Co-Producer, Labor Beat Cable TV Series; CWA L. 14408*
Andrew Berman, AFGE L. 375 (ret.)*
Stephen Mahood, UAW L. 2322/Graduate Employees Organization*
James Marc Leas, CWA L. 1601*
Hester Eisenstein, Vice-Chair, Queens College Chapter, PSC-CUNY*
Jerry Silberman, Organizer, PASNAP, AFL-CIO*
Howard Lenow, Union Attorney, Lawyers Coordinating Committee, AFL-CIO*
Bob McCubbin, CTA-NEA (ret.)*
Nagesh Rao, AFT L. 2364*
Anna Potempska, PEF*
James L. Richardson, United Domestic Workers*
Tom Lacey, OPEIU, L. 3*
Joseph Levine, Massachusetts Society of Professors, MTA-NEA*
John Levin, WGA, West*
Rogers Turrentine, WGA*
Dennis Kortheuer, CFA*
Leslie Feinberg, NWU, UAW L. 1981*
Noha Arafa, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Michael Yates, United Association for Labor Education*
Mike Prokosch, IUPAT, DC 35*
Wendy Thompson, Former President, UAW L. 235*
Mary Lou Finley, San Diego Para Chapter Secretary, CSEA, AFL-CIO*
Sam Blan, SAG*
Jeffrey Klein, President (ret.), NAGE/SEIU L. R1-168*
Fred Hirsch, Executive Board, Plumbers and Fitters L. 393*
Gaby Forrell, AFM, New York, NY
Michel Lyon, AFSCME L. 3299*
Sheila Hoyt, BTU*
Steve Early, NWU/UAW L. 1981*
Gabriel Camacho, UNITE HERE L. 66L*
Edie Pistolesi, CFA*
Erin Breault, PFT*
Donna Blythe-Shaw, Staff Representative, USW, Dorchester, MA
Joe Balkis, Steward, IBT, Calumet City, IL
Robert McCauley, Organizer, NUHW*
John J. McColgan, USW L. 9158*
Dan Kaplan, Executive Secretary, AFT L. 1493, San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers*
Andre Powell, Delegate, Baltimore Metro Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*
Leila Kawar, GSOC/UAW Local 2110 NYU, AFL-CIO*
Mary Sully, IUE-CWA L. 201 (ret.), McAllen, TX
Saladin Muhammad, International Representative (ret.), UE*
Ann Pett, NEA, Valley Village, CA
Deborah Rosenstein, Labor Educator, University of Minnesota Labor Education Service*
Keith Rosenthal, AFSCME L. 3650*
Patrick Finn, UUP/SUNY Buffalo*
Daniel Bosch, Twin Cities GMB, IWW*
Chelsea Earles, Hear Our Public Employees Coalition (HOPE), Durham, NC
Joseph Agonito, AFT L. 1845*
Scott D. Egan, IWW, Tucson, AZ
Brian Kelly, International Brotherhood of Carpenters, L. 33, Boston (formerly); IUMSWA L25*
Thomas F. Barton, AFSCME DC 37, L. 768*
Dick Wood, CSEA, Sacramento, CA
Keith Sadler, UAW Local 12*

International Endorsers
Rubina Jamil, Working Women Organization; All Pakistan Trade Union Federation*
Tony Leon, Secretary General, Venezuelan Union of Oil Industry Workers*

Additional International Endorsers
Amir M. Maasoumi, Federation des travailleurs du Quebec (FTQ)*
B. Ross Ashley, Retired Shop Steward, SEIU L. 1, Canada*
Boudemi Abdellah, Federation Generale du Travail Belgium*
Christina Rousseau, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) L. 3903*
Faiz Ahmed, Secretary, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Direct Chartered L. 60550, Union of Graduate Student Workers*
Hanna Braun, National Union of Teachers (ret.)*, London, UK
John M. Darlling, International Typographical Union* (ret.), Toronto, Ontario
Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union New Zealand*
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Life Member, National Union of Journalists (UK)*, member, National Union of Teachers Waltham Forest Branch*
Peter Brogan, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) L. 3903*
Kelvin Bland, Royal Institute of British Architects*

Organizational Endorsers
BDS National Committee, Palestine
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Glossary
AAUP. American Association of University Professors
AFGE. American Federation of Government Employees
AFM. American Federation of Musicians
AFSCME. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
AFT. American Federation of Teachers
ALAA. Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
BTU. Boston Teachers Union
CFA. California Faculty Association
CSEA. California State Employees Association
CTA. California Teachers Association
CWA. Communication Workers of America
GSOC. Graduate Student Organizing Committee
IAM. International Association of Machinists
IBT. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
IUE. International Union of Electronic Workers
IUPAT. International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
IUMSWA. Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America
IWW. Industrial Workers of the World
MTA. Massachusetts Teachers Association
NAGE. National Association of Government Employees
NEA. National Education Association
NPMHU. National Postal Mail Handlers Union
NUHW. National Union of Healthcare Workers
NWU. National Writers Union
NYCLAW. New York City Labor Against the War
OPEIU. Office and Professional Employees International Union
PASNAP. Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals
PEF. Public Employees Federation
PFT. Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers
PFVT. Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers
PSC-CUNY. Professional Staff Congress
SAG. Screen Actors Guild
SEIU. Service Employees International Union
TCU. Transportation Communications International Union
TWU. Transport Workers Union
UAW. United Auto Workers
UE. United Electrical Workers
UHWE: United Health Care Workers East
UPTE. University Professional and Technical Employees
USW. United Steel Workers
UTLA. United Teachers of Los Angeles
UUP. United University Professions
UWUA. Utility Workers Union of America
WGA. Writers Guild of America

Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel

To endorse this statement, click here.
To donate to Labor for Palestine, click here.

Labor for Palestine
Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel
December 4, 2009


“Sanctions alone cannot eradicate apartheid; that task is ultimately left to the people of South Africa themselves. But economic pressure and political isolation of the South African government can hasten the day when justice and freedom reign in that troubled land.”
–Richard L. Trumka, June 23, 1987

“We call on other workers and unions to . . . do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free.” –Congress of South African Trade Unions, February 3, 2009

“We urge all international trade unions to heed the call of Palestinian civil society, including the trade union movement, by endorsing BDS. We further urge all trade unions and trade union federations to sever their links with the Histadrut, a Zionist organization that has always played a key role in perpetuating Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of racial discrimination, and that has justified and applauded Israel’s war crimes in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.” –Palestinian Trade Union Movement Unanimously Confirms Support for BDS, November 25, 2009

——————-

Dear Brother Trumka:

As labor and anti-apartheid activists, we strongly disagree with your October 27 speech denouncing the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

The BDS campaign was initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society — including its entire labor movement. Inspired by the international boycott that helped topple apartheid South Africa, it demands Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of refugees to return to the land from which they have been ethnically cleansed since the Nakba of 1947-1948, and equal rights for all throughout historic Palestine.

Support for BDS has grown rapidly, especially since December 27, 2008, when Israel broke a truce with the democratically-elected Palestinian government and attacked Gaza. In the resulting massacre, Israel killed more than 1400 Palestinians, hundreds of them children; maimed and wounded thousands more; and utterly devastated Gaza’s infrastructure, including the Gaza headquarters of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions.

In the best tradition of labor solidarity, South African and Australian dockworkers responded by refusing to handle Israeli cargo, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) “call[ed] on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free.”

Their action echoes the West Coast dock-workers who refused to handle cargo for Nazi Germany (1934) or fascist Italy (1935); those in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused shipping for apartheid South Africa; those in Oakland who refused to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and those at all twenty-nine West Coast ports who held a May Day strike against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008).

Since Gaza, the 2005 BDS call also been endorsed or reaffirmed by numerous other labor bodies around the world, including the trades union congresses of Ireland, Scotland and the UK; UNISON (UK); Transport and General Workers’ Union (UK); L’Union syndicale Solidaires Industrie (France); Canadian Union of Postal Workers; Canadian Union of Public Employees-Ontario; six Norwegian trade unions; and Intersindical Alternativa de Catallunya.

It is no accident that South African workers play a leading role in the BDS movement. They remember that Israel was apartheid South Africa’s closest ally. They agree with Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s observation that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is “worse than apartheid.” They recognize that the Gaza massacre mirrors the infamous Sharpeville massacre of 1960, which gave birth to an international boycott against South African apartheid.

This rising tide of labor support for BDS has only been further vindicated by Israel’s rejection of the war crimes indictments issued against it by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN’s Goldstone Report and numerous other bodies — many of them Israeli.

The BDS campaign is particularly relevant to workers in the United States.

In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be another $30 billion. As in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous and bullets kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers, while both Democratic and Republican politicians condone the slaughter. Amidst deepening economic crisis, workers in this country pay a staggering human and financial price for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation throughout the region.

Despite all of this, however, many U.S. labor officials — often without the knowledge or con-sent of union members — have ignored Palestinian appeals for justice. Instead, they continue to collaborate with the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation that not only supported Israel’s war on Gaza, but which has spearheaded — and whitewashed — racism, apartheid, dispossession and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians since the 1920s.

They have invested billions of our union pension funds and retirement plans in State of Israel Bonds. They have actively encouraged the U.S. to provide the money and weapons that oppress Palestinian workers, and to ensure Israel’s role as watchdog for U.S. domination over the oil-rich Middle East.

The Jewish Labor Committee has exploited its carefully groomed “progressive” image by hurling false accusations of “anti-Semitism” against those who challenge racism in the U.S. labor movement, who support affirmative action for workers of color, who criticize notorious “AFL-CIA” support U.S. war and empire, and — above all — who oppose apartheid Israel.

Thus, it was the JLC that in July 2007 mobilized top AFL-CIO and Change to Win officials to condemn British union support for BDS. It is the JLC that seeks to deflect outrage over the Gaza massacres by launching Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine, whose stated purpose is to sabotage the BDS campaign, while demanding boycotts against Iran, which — unlike Israel — receives no U.S. aid and has no “weapons of mass destruction.”

In the 1980s, as president of the United Mine Workers, you rightly argued that, “economic pressure and political isolation of the South African government can hasten the day when justice and freedom reign in that troubled land.” Two decades later, the cause of “justice and freedom” for Palestinians requires no less of you as president of the AFL-CIO. As trade unionists, we must immediately and completely:

1. Divest from State of Israel Bonds.

2. Support workers’ refusal to handle Israeli cargo.

3. Break ties with the racist Histadrut.

4. Oppose U.S. military and economic aid for Israel.

Initial Signers
(List in formation — *For identification only)

Monadel Herzallah, President, Arab American Union Members Council, California

Larry Adams, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, NPMHU L. 300*

Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, UAW L. 2325/ALAA*; Al-Awda NY; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network/Labor

Brenda Stokely, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, AFSCME DC 1707*; Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement

Sam Weinstein, Former President, UWUA L. 132*; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network/Labor

Stanley Heller, AFT L. 1547*, Delegate, CT Central Labor Council*

Marty Goodman, Former Executive Board Member, TWU L.100*

Frank Rosen, General Vice President (retired), UE*

Steve Zeltzer, Producer, Labor Video Project

Anthony Arnove, National Writers Union/UAW L.1981*

Mike Gimbel, Chair, Labor-Community Unity Committee, AFSCME DC 37 L. 375*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*

Dave Welsh, Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council*

Lee Sustar, Chicago Labor Against the War

Timothy Kaminski, UAW L. 110* (ret.)

Janice Rothstein, AFSCME L. 3299*

Andy Griggs, UTLA*; LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, Cafe Intifada

Emma Rosenthal, UTLA*; LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, Cafe Intifada

Pete Nowicki, AFSCME L. 145*

Jim Crampton, 1199SEIU/UHWE*

Allan Fisher, AFT L. 2121, SF Community College*

Alan Benjamin, OPEIU L. 3*

Sharon Black, AFT L. 2*; Bailout the People Movement

Bill Balderson, Oakland Education Assn.*

Sarah Ringler, AFT L. 1936, PVFT*

Frank Pinto, UPTE-CWA L. 9119*

Steve Desavouret, TCU/IAM 6608*

Louis LaFortune, AFT L. 1936, PVFT*

Azalia Torres, Former Executive Bd. Member, UAW Local 2325/ALAA*

Patrick Langhenry, UAW Local 2325/ALAA*

Lucy Herschel, Delegate 1199SEIU/UHWE*

Carol Seligman, South San Francisco California Teachers Association*

International Endorsers

Rubina Jamil, Working Women Organization; All Pakistan Trade Union Federation*

Tony Leon, Secretary General, Venezuelan Union of Oil Industry Workers*

——————-

To endorse this statement, click here.
To donate to Labor for Palestine, click here.

https://laborforpalestine.wordpress.com/

Boycott Appeals from Palestinian Labor

Palestinian trade unions unanimously support boycott movement
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10915.shtml

A Statement by the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the Palestinian Trade Union Blocs and Frameworks
http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/596

IJAN-Labor Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian General Strike

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http://www.facebook.com/l/f89dd;www.ijsn.net/430/

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Labor
Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian General Strike
October 1, 2009

In the long tradition of Jewish working class involvement in and support for liberation struggles, IJAN-Labor stands in solidarity with the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel, the National Committee of Local Authorities, and all parties, movements and institutions of Palestinian civil society in Israel, who have called a general strike for today, October 1, 2009.

This strike marks the ninth anniversary of the Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Day in October 2000 when Israeli authorities massacred 13 Palestinian protesters. The killers have never been brought to justice.

IJAN-Labor also welcomes the Trades Union Congress (U.K.) resolution of 17 September, which endorses the growing movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid, and calls for reconsideration of the TUC’s relationship with the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation whose latest crime was to support Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

The BDS campaign has been endorsed by a growing number of labor bodies, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Solidaires Industrie (France), UNISON (UK), Transport and General Workers’ Union (UK), Western Australia Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees-Ontario, six Norwegian trade unions, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Scottish Trades Union Congress, and Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya.

In the United States, despite growing support from labor organizations and populations across the globe, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win fail to recognize what their British counterpart has now acknowledged: that Israel is a state built on defeating the aspirations and solidarity of working families not only in Israel but internationally.

Often without the knowledge or consent of union members, US Labor officialdom remains a leading accomplice of Israeli apartheid and the Zionist colonialism of which it is part. For more than sixty years, it has closely collaborated with the Histadrut, which has spearheaded — and whitewashed — apartheid, dispossession, ethnic cleansing and exploitation of the Palestinians since the 1920s.

Indeed, the Histadrut (as both employer and union) provided lethal weapons which the South African apartheid government used against Black workers, while at home it either excluded or segregated Arab workers.

Today, in solidarity with the general strike of Palestinian workers in Israel and growing international labor support for BDS, we call on US labor organizations to divest their estimated $5 billion investment in State of Israel Bonds, and to end all relations with the Histadrut.

———-

For more information IJAN Labor, please see our Labor Network page

If you are interested in participating in IJAN Labor, please email us at: Labor-IJAN@ijsn.net

Labor
What is IJAN Labor?

As historic victims of state-sponsored discrimination and violence, Jews have long stood with the oppressed, including the labor, civil rights and anti-apartheid movements. Indeed, many of us in the labor movement today are the descendants of parents and grandparents who considered working class struggles to be their lives’ work — as do we.

In that spirit, the Labor Network of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) wholeheartedly supports the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), including the academic boycott, against Israeli apartheid.

Labor for Palestine Supports Viva Palestina USA

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To be listed as a signer of the following statement, please send your name, union affiliation and title (if any) to: laborforpalestine.us@gmail.com

VIVA PALESTINA

Labor for Palestine Supports Viva Palestina USA
June 18, 2009

As labor activists, we urge you to join us in supporting Viva Palestina USA, a humanitarian convoy led by British Member of Parliament George Galloway and Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, which leaves New York City on July 4 with $10 million in medical aid for the people of Gaza (see below).

The devastation of Gaza is not a natural disaster, but the calculated result of Israel’s brutal siege, with support from government and labor officialdom in the United States.

In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be another $30 billion. In Gaza, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous, bombs and bullets kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers.

Top labor officials in this country — often without the knowledge or consent of union members — have plowed billions of dollars from our pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds, have remained silent about the war on Gaza and have sought to undermine growing international trade union opposition to Israeli apartheid.

To show the real meaning of labor solidarity, and to help alleviate the terrible harm done in our name, please join us in supporting Viva Palestina USA.

https://laborforpalestine.wordpress.com/

Initial Signers (*For identification only.)

Michael Letwin
Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*

Brenda Stokely
Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, AFSCME DC 1707*; Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement

Monadel Herzallah
President, Arab American Union Members Council, California

Clarence Thomas
Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement

Sam Weinstein
Former President, UWUA Local 132*

Marty Goodman
Former Executive Board Member, TWU Local 100*

Anthony Arnove
National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981*

Mike Gimbel
Chair, Labor-Community Unity Committee, AFSCME DC 37 Local 375*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Dave Welsh
Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council*

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http://intifada-palestine.com/2009/06/03/viva-palestina-usa-convoy-to-gaza-update/

VIVA PALESTINA USA CONVOY TO GAZA — UPDATE

Palestina USA Email Update — June 3

Dear Friend,

We were all moved to tears of grief and anger when Israel launched its murderous bombardment against the people of Gaza in December and January. Millions of us took to the streets in unprecedented protests around the globe. Each and every one of us has asked ourselves what more we can do to help stop the suffering.

The inspirational anti-war and pro-Palestinian British MP, George Galloway, decided that while it is necessary to speak out — in his case with great force and eloquence — it is actions that speak louder than words.

While the bombs were still showering down on what has been called the largest open-air prison in history, Galloway decided to organize a humanitarian convoy that would start in Britain, drive through France and Spain, and across North Africa to arrive in Gaza with aid, even as all borders to the devastated region were under complete blockade. In just five short weeks, he pulled together 107 vehicles — including ambulances and a fire engine — 255 people and $2 million of aid, which set off from London on February 14. Some 23 days and 5,500 miles later it arrived in Gaza to tumultuous acclaim.

The fact that so many people come from Britain whose government had, along with George W Bush, backed the Israeli aggression had an enormous impact on the besieged people of Gaza.

Now, Galloway is heading a second convoy — this time from the USA. The Vietnam War veteran, Ron Kovic, whose experiences in the war led him to become a life-long advocate of a more just US foreign policy, has readily agreed to be co-leader of the convoy.

The convoy’s aim is to take hundreds of US citizens in 500 vehicles, bearing $10 million in medical aid from Cairo to Gaza. Convoy participants will leave from JFK airport on July 4, bearing the simple yet powerful message that Palestinian independence is as precious as US independence. The group will organize the convoy in Cairo and proceed to Gaza the following weekend, proudly waving US and Palestinian flags, as well as banners declaring thousands of supporting organizations and institutions.

This is set to be the biggest single aid effort for Palestine ever to leave US shores. It will be a source of great strength and hope for the Palestinian people. It will also have a major impact here in the United States, helping to stir US public opinion about the conflict in the Middle East and to bring about a permanent shift in government policy.

The US has a chance right now to step into a more progressive role in the world. But Viva Palestina USA needs your help to make this venture successful and to get this aid through the siege that has been strangling the people of Gaza for three years.

What YOU can do to help:

1) Circulate this email to everyone you know through your listserv/contacts list, Facebook and any other means to which you have access, share the brilliant documentary detailing the UK Convoy with your friends, family and coworkers: Viva Palestina US Media/Resources AND add our donation link to your website, blog, or email: Donate to Viva Palestina Now!

2) Donate towards the $10 million target! Every penny makes a difference! Donations are being handled by Viva Palestina’s not-for-profit fiscal sponsor, the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), and are tax deductible. The funds will be used for medical aid and the entire convoy is within the restrictions and guidelines laid out by the US authorities governing such activities.

You can donate on our webpage Viva Palestina US or, to link directly to our donation page, click here: Donate to Viva Palestina Now!

You can also make a check payable to Viva Palestina – IFCO and send it to:

Viva Palestina USA
47 West Polk Street
Suite 100 – 403
Chicago, IL 60605-2085

3) Come as a delegate on the convoy! To register, visit: Viva Palestina US Join the Convoy. You’ll need to raise the funds to cover the costs of your flight to and accommodations in Egypt, and commit to raising aid towards our target goal. See our website Viva Palestina US for further details and answers to any questions you might have.

4) Endorse and/or Sponsor the convoy! Details can be found on our webpage, but generally: sponsorship for national organizations is $1,000; state, $500; local chapters and individuals, $100, and endorsements require you/your organization’s contact information and a written, publishable statement of endorsement.

5) Contact your local and state media to tell them why you support the Viva Palestina USA convoy. If you need help communicating with the media or if you have media contacts who would like to speak with a convoy leader, contact us at: usmedia@vivapalestina.org.

6) Send us stories, pictures and videos of your efforts to support Viva Palestina USA. We’ve heard amazing stories of creative fundraising efforts and events from around the country and we encourage your unique participation in the movement for justice for Palestine!

Together, we WILL break the siege, we WILL deliver much-needed aid to the people of Gaza, and we WILL help free Palestine! VIVA, VIVA PALESTINA!

In solidarity,
Viva Palestina USA

http://www.vivapalestina-us.org/
usinformation@vivapalestina.org
773.226.2742

NYCLAW Statement On the 61st Anniversary of the Nakba

[Presented at the NYC rally and march sponsored by the Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition-NY <http://www.bsg-ny.org/> and Al-Awda NY <http://www.al-awdany.org/index.htm>]

Statement On the 61st Anniversary of the Nakba
Times Square, New York City, May 17, 2009
Presented by Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW); Founding Member, Labor for Palestine

Today we commemorate the Nakba of 1947-1948, when Zionists ethnically cleansed Palestine by massacring Palestinians in places like Deir Yassin, erasing 531 towns and village, emptying 11 urban neighborhoods, and expelling more than 750,000 (85 percent) of the Palestinians from 78 percent of their country.

But the Nakba did not end there.

In 1967, Israel seized the remaining 22 percent of Palestine  —  including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza  —  which, in violation of UN resolutions, remains under Israeli military rule.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

Today, at least 70 percent of 10 million Palestinians remain refugees  —  the largest such population in the world. Despite other UN resolutions, Israel vows that it will never allow them to return.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

Palestinians who managed to remain within the 1948 areas  —  today, 1.4 million (or 20 percent of the population in Israel)  —  are permanently separated from their families in exile, subject to more than 20 discriminatory laws, treated as a “demographic threat,” and threatened with mass expulsion.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

In East Jerusalem and the West Bank, 140 illegal, ever-expanding Jewish-only settlements and road systems dominate the water resources and control 40 percent of the land. Palestinians are confined, separated, denied medical treatment, and degraded by an 8-meter-high separation wall, pass laws, curfews and 600 military checkpoints.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

From 2000-2007, 4274 Palestinians in these 1967 territories were killed. During the same period, the military seized 60,000 political prisoners; it still holds and tortures 10,000 or more.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

In 2006, Israel turned Lebanon into a killing ground, slaughtering and maiming thousands of people, destroying the civilian infrastructure, and turning a quarter of the population into refugees in their own land. At the same time, it continued to brutalize Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

On December 27, 2008, Israel invaded Gaza, killing 1400 Palestinians and wounding another 5,000; nearly all were civilians, including hundreds of children. Gaza remains under brutal Israeli siege.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

Since 1948, the U.S. government has given Israel  —  its foreign aid recipient  — at least $108 billion. In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. Just as in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous and bullets kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers, while both Democratic and Republican politicians condone the slaughter.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

The U.S. and Israeli regimes continue to arm and train the corrupt Quisling Palestinian Authority in order to suppress Palestinian resistance and overthrow the democratically elected Hamas government.
Isn’t that the Nakba?

Fifteen hundred 500 U.S. labor bodies have plowed at least $5 billion of our union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

In July 2007, top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win signed a statement by the Jewish Labor Committee that condemned British unions for even considering the nonviolent campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

What can *we* do to end the Nakba?

Above all, we can support the growing international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, which demands full Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

When those goals have been won — and only then — will the Nakba truly end.

Open Letter to the Labor Research Association: Don’t Honor Israeli Apartheid

Open Letter to the Labor Research Association: Don’t Honor Israeli Apartheid
May 4, 2009

As longtime labor and anti-apartheid activists, we strongly disagree with the decision to honor Stuart Appelbaum at tonight’s annual dinner of the Labor Research Association in New York City.

The LRA’s dinner program praises Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, for building “relationships with community organizations in an effort to expand the rights of unorganized workers.”

What it doesn’t say is that, as head of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), he leads the witch-hunt against labor bodies in South Africa and around the world that support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid.

The BDS campaign was initiated by Palestinian civil society, including its entire labor movement. The campaign demands Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the land from which they have been ethnically cleansed since the Nakba of 1947-1948, and equal rights for all throughout historic Palestine.

It has been endorsed by numerous labor bodies, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), UNISON (UK), Transport and General Workers’ Union (UK), Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees-Ontario, six Norwegian trade unions, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Scottish Trades Union Congress, and Intersindical Alternativa de Catallunya.

The campaign gained still greater urgency after the Gaza Ghetto Massacre launched by Israel on December 27, and which left 1,400 dead and 5,000 wounded; nearly all were civilians, hundreds of them children. Gaza remains under Israeli siege.

War crime investigations have been called for by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN officials, Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, and Israeli soldiers themselves.

But the strongest response was made by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union in Durban, and the Western Australia Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, both of which refused to handle Israeli cargo.

Their action is in the honorable tradition of dockworkers in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused to handle shipping for apartheid South Africa; Oakland dockworkers who refused to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and West Coast dockworkers who struck against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008).

COSATU, in turn, “call[ed] on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free.”

That call took on renewed urgency after Israeli Occupation forces fired on a nonviolent May Day protest against the Apartheid Wall in the Bethlehem area of the West Bank. Nine marchers were injured, including the head of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), Shaher Sa’ad. Six protesters were arrested and remain in prison.

As the protest organizers point out, “The events of May 1 are the latest of a strategy of escalation implemented over the last months by the Occupation forces and which has lead to increased arrests, injuries and deaths among the coordinators and activists against the Apartheid Wall.”

In response to the May Day attack, the Bethlehem branch of the PGFTU and its allies have specifically called on “trade unions across the globe” to “Support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and promote concrete BDS actions to hold Israel accountable for its crimes and force it to respect Palestinian rights.”

This appeal is particularly relevant to workers in the United States.

In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be another $30 billion. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous and bullets kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers, while both Democratic and Republican politicians condone the slaughter.

U.S. support bolsters Israel’s longstanding role as watchdog and junior partner for U.S. domination over the oil-rich Middle East — and beyond. In that capacity, Israel was apartheid South Africa’s closest ally; no wonder South African anti-apartheid veterans lead the international movement against Israeli apartheid.

Moreover, as with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, workers in the United States also pay a staggering human and financial price, including deepening economic crisis, for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation throughout the region.

Yet Appelbaum and the JLC denounce those in labor who respond to Palestinian appeals for solidarity. They smear BDS supporters with accusations of “anti-Semitism,” just as the Israel Lobby routinely attacks Archbishop Desmond Tutu and numerous other critics of Israeli apartheid — many of whom are Jewish.

This is standard JLC operating procedure. For decades, it has served as “progressive” mouthpiece for the Histadrut, the Zionist labor federation that has spearheaded — and whitewashed — apartheid, dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since the 1920s. Meanwhile, U.S. labor leaders have plowed at least $5 billion of our union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

In 2007, Appelbaum and the JLC recruited top AFL-CIO and Change to Win officials to sign a statement condemning British unions for supporting the BDS campaign. Now, to deflect international outrage over Gaza, they have launched “Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP),” a benign-sounding name whose express purpose is to target labor BDS supporters.

Their shameful complicity with Israeli apartheid echoes “AFL-CIA” support for U.S. war and dictatorship in Vietnam, Latin America, Gulf War I, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

For all these reasons, we call on the LRA to revoke its award to Stuart Appelbaum, and suggest that it be given instead to COSATU, whose courageous leadership against Israeli apartheid is an example to workers everywhere.

Issued by New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) Co-Conveners:

Larry Adams
Former President, NPMHU Local 300

Michael Letwin
Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys

Brenda Stokely
Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Chair, Million Worker March

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nyclaw01@gmail.com
http://nyclaw01.wordpress.com/
https://laborforpalestine.wordpress.com/