Canadian Labour to Iraq
From: Vallie Stearns firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 12:06 PM
Sisters and Brothers:
My name is Vallie Stearns, member and past president of CUPE Local 3851, a
worker at a women's shelter and a lawyer. I am not a paid staffer nor an
elected official, but I am an anti-war and union activist. I have applied
to join the international labour delegation to Iraq. I am inviting you to
Activists who are members of the newly formed Ottawa Labour Against the War
held a priliminary strategy session. Our goal is to animate rank-and-file
union members, local by local, to engage in accelerated work actions against
this illegal, unjustified and senseless war.
The leadership of national unions, such as CUPE, CAW, CUPW, SEIU and others,
have made public statements agains the war. Notably, there was a telephone
conference with members of the US Labour Against the War, where unions
across this continent condemned the war. However, a concerted union action
against the war has yet to materialize. Our work is to animate the
"sleeping giant" of organized labour to give workers a forum to express
their opposition to the war.
There is no time for official endorsements. We need a Canadian team or 2 or
3 rank-and-filers from different cities and different unions who are a
willing to take action, now. With photographs of worker-to-worker contact
between ourselves and Iraqi postal, hospital, education, municipal workers,
we can meet with locals one-by-one, seeking funding and endorsements for
Canadian Labour Against the War, and the commitment to engage in work
stoppages and disruptions. Our goal is to promote free and democratic trade
unionism and to oppose war and genocide on our sisters and brothers across
There is a window of opportunity for us to go to Iraq safely if we act
quickly. A tentative departure date would be Monday or Tuesday of next week
for a 3-4 day visit, joining the Korean advance team and teams from other
nations that are being organized in the next few days.
The US-UK-Spanish resolution does not have the support it needs to pass yet,
and the vote has been delayed another week. We would be supported by Voices
in the Wilderness, a Chicago-based organization that has sponsored Iraq
Peace Teams since September 2002 and have developed a network of contacts
that would permit us to meet workers. If we are successful in building an
international delegation, we may be able to secure visas. It took me a few
days of intense soul-searching to reach the decision to put my name forward.
I do not want to put myself in unreasonable danger, but I am willing to
take a certain level of personal risk if I felt that it could accelerate the
awakening of Canadian people that we have the strength to alter the course
of history towards justice and peace.
I want you to join me.
Please distribute this appeal among your labour, justice and anti-war
networks in Canada and abroad.