Feb 19, 2003 11:49 ET

Speak-Out Set for February 22 in Dearborn; Labor Builds Opposition to Impending War in Iraq

DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- With increasing numbers of Michigan union members expressing concerns about the impending war on Iraq, individuals from at least a half-dozen labor groups are planning to speak out at a public meeting on the war Saturday, February 22, at 1:30 p.m. at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn.

"As George Bush leads our country into a war with Iraq, a growing portion of the labor movement is standing up in opposition," declare sponsors of the event, which include the Detroit chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Detroit Labor Committee for Peace & Justice, and the National Lawyers Guild/Sugar Law Center.

Individual speakers at the February 22 event will include Michigan AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney; UAW Vice President Bob King; Millie Hall, president of Detroit's CLUW; Paul Felton, executive-board member, Postal Workers Local 480- 481; Al Benchich, president, UAW Local 909, and Elena Herrada, Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union Local 1064.

They will be joined by Noel Beasley, international vice president of UNITE, a union representing workers in the apparel industry. Julie Hurwitz, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild/Sugar Law Center, an organization that defends workers' rights, will chair the event.

The February 22 meeting comes amid growing concerns in the labor movement about the danger of war in the Mideast. Late last month, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and his British counterpart, John Monks, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress of Great Britain, wrote President Bush and Prime Minister Blair to disarm Iraq "without recourse to war." Last Saturday, union leaders were among the speakers at an anti-war rally at Cobo Hall, following a march from Grand Circus Park.

"Working people and their families have always borne the burden of war and will continue to do so if war is waged on Iraq," the two said, according to a media statement issued by the AFL-CIO. Earlier, Sweeney wrote Congress to share his concern about unilateral U.S. action in Iraq and the effects of war on workers' lives.

The February 22 meeting will also provide time for discussion and questions, according to sponsors of the event. They encourage union members, their families, and the general public to attend the 1:30 p.m. meeting and share their concerns. UAW Local 600 is located at 10550 Dix, Dearborn.

National Lawyers Guild/Sugar Law Center;
Detroit Labor Committee for Peace & Justice

Source: Detroit Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women;

CONTACT: Julie Hurwitz, executive director of the National Lawyers
Guild/Sugar Law Center, +1-313-893-1421