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[casi] Union leaders AFL-CIO anti war Resolution

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AFL-CIO Federation Labor Union Passes anti war resolution

The Associated Press
Thursday, February 27, 2003; 4:43 PM

The nation's largest labor federation declared its opposition Thursday to war against Iraq at this 
time, saying President Bush has not made a case for an attack without broad support from U.S. 

The executive council of the AFL-CIO, made up of 65 unions, ended its four-day meeting by 
unanimously passing the carefully worded resolution, which also says Saddam Hussein must be 
disarmed - with "multilateral resolve, not unilateral action."

Organized labor had tough words for President Bush, without naming him directly, saying the United 
States has squandered the goodwill it enjoyed after the terrorist attacks and insulted the nation's 

"The president has not fulfilled his responsibility to make a compelling and coherent explanation 
to the American people and the world," the resolution said.

Organized labor has typically backed military action in the past, including strong support for the 
Vietnam War. "By historical standards, this is unusual and this is significant," Robert Bruno, 
labor professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said of Thursday's resolution.

Morton Bahr, president of the Communications Workers of America, said the resolution was the result 
of a number of briefings on Iraq with officials who worked in the Clinton administration, including 
former national security adviser Sandy Berger and former chief of staff John Podesta.

"We had real broad input from these guys who had been living with this for a long time," Bahr said, 
adding that organized labor has historically taken positions on wars that involve American workers 
and their families.

The resolution urges the Bush administration to pursue broad, global consensus to put pressure on 
Iraq, "ensuring that war, if it comes, will truly be a last resort."

Labor officials ended the meeting with a sense of unity in a time of uncertainty, with mounting job 
losses, a poor economy and a presidential administration that is hostile to their cause, AFL-CIO 
President John Sweeney said.

Perhaps the defining moment was Wednesday's address by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, which shocked 
and enraged labor leaders, Sweeney said.

They were particularly angry about her response to a question about the department's proposed new 
financial reporting requirements. She read from a paper a list of criminal charges involving one 

Teamsters Union President James P. Hoffa, a White House ally whom officials said was growing 
frustrated with Bush for his administration's anti-union tactics and policies, was particularly 
enraged over Chao's remarks. He told colleagues in the closed meeting that unions should support a 
presidential candidate friendly to working Americans.

Teamsters spokesman Bret Caldwell said Thursday that the union received calls from White House 
political director Ken Mehlman and Labor Department lawyer Andrew Siff.

Substantive conversations have not yet occurred, Caldwell said, "but the White House certainly is 
concerned about our dissatisfaction with their approach to labor at this point."

An insider trading scandal at a union-owned life insurance company had been expected to dominate 
the meetings this week. But the executive council took no action or stance regarding Ullico Inc., 
choosing to wait until a special committee completes its review and issues recommendations 
regarding the special stock sale that some union leaders took advantage of, netting millions of 
dollars. The Labor and Justice departments also are investigating, as is a grand jury.


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