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Labor Unions Join SF Antiwar March
While the antiwar movement has apparently reached a plateau in the numbers attending large antiwar marches, it has broadened significantly in recent months with accelerating support from labor unions.
On Saturday, October 27th, 30,000 people marched in San Francisco, demanding an end to war and occupation in Iraq. They joined tens of thousands of others in major cities throughout the U.S.
In sheer numbers, it was impressive, but substantially fewer than the numbers seen at the beginning of the current or previous Iraq wars. Yet this demonstration marks a turning point.
Setting aside their differences, International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), United for Peace and Justice, Troops Out Now, World Can't Wait, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), Progressive Democrats, Iraq war veterans, trade unions, religious groups, youth and students joined together to make these nationally-coordinated protests on a single day one of the broadest ever.
But more importantly, many trade unions came out in force, often with multiple locals participating. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU); California Nurses Association (CNA); Communications Workers of America (CWA); American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); United Educators of San Francisco (UESF); Sign Display Union; among many others had prominent contingents in the march from City Hall to Mission Dolores Park.
While trade unions have always played an important role in previous antiwar demonstrations, their participation was frequently modest or muted. The top trade union and labor federation bureaucrats have traditionally kept some distance from the antiwar movement owing to their preferred role as brokers in labor-management disputes rather than as true labor leaders.
But overwhelming opposition to immoral, illegal, and failed war policies of the U.S. government has led union locals to come out openly in support of the antiwar protests. This, combined with increasing numbers of Iraq war veterans speaking out and engaging in non-violent civil disobedience against the war, marks a qualitative boost to the antiwar movement.
Communications Workers of America (CWA) marching in San Francisco on October 27th, 2007.
California Nurses Association (CNA). marching in San Francisco on October 27th, 2007.
United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) marching in San Francisco.
Sign Display Union marching in San Francisco.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) marching at Civic Center Plaza.