ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

October 28, 2001

2001.10.28: Labor Against the War Statement


To: ALAA Members
Fr: Michael Letwin (Pres.), George Albro (Sec’y-Treas.) & Charlotte Hitchcock (Rec. Sec’y)
Re: Labor Against the War Statement
Da: October 28, 2001
Several recent e-mail messages allege that Michael Letwin and other Union members have made unauthorized antiwar statements on behalf of ALAA. The facts are as follows.

Letwin has been a principal supporter of New York City Labor Against the War (attached). To date, this statement has been endorsed by more than 500 union members, including 24 presidents, and numerous other elected officers and representatives.

Signers-including Letwin, Albro, and 29 other current or former ALAA members[1]-have consistently been shown with their union and position (if any), beneath the standard disclaimer, in capital letters, that “ALL INDIVIDUAL AFFILIATIONS AND TITLES [ARE] LISTED FOR IDENTIFICATION ONLY (UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED).”

From its inception, this statement has been widely circulated within ALAA and the UAW.

On September 20, the statement was discussed in draft form at the ALAA Executive Board, at which there was a unanimous consensus not to propose its adoption by the Union.

On September 27, the final statement was circulated to UAW Regional Director Phil Wheeler, and to UAW local presidents-two of whom signed, along with affiliation and title.[2]

On October 1, the statement was faxed to ALAA representatives (LAS e-mail was still down) under the bold capitalized statement that “THE ATTACHED IS NOT AN OFFICIAL ALAA STATEMENT.” (Emphasis in original).

On October 4, hard copies, along with written and verbal disclaimers, were distributed to a meeting of ALAA delegates at 111 Livingston Street.

At the October 23 Delegate Council, Letwin distributed an article from the October 26 Chief (attached) which stated that he has “spearheaded the [antiwar] petition drive,” and that municipal labor leaders had “signed as individuals, not as representatives of their respective organizations.”  (Emphasis added.)[3]

This caveat reflected an October 3 press release which conspicuously noted that the statement is “supported by . . . union members (in their individual capacity) . . .” (Emphasis added.) Letwin has written the Chief to reiterate that the above disclaimer applied to both him and the municipal union presidents.[4]

No ALAA funds have been used for New York City Labor Against the War.

1. To date, the following signers, all of whom identified themselves with ALAA and, where applicable, Union position, are:  George Albro, Daniel Ashworth, Harold Bahr III, Tracey Bing-Hampson, Peter Blum, Ricky Blum, Maria J. Chiu, Antonia Codling, Brooke P. Davis, Kate Fitzer, Winston A. Gordon, Elon Harpaz, Carol Hochberg, Adriene Holder, Daniella Korotzer, Michael Letwin, Eileen A. McCann, Aaron Micheau, Florence Morgan, Susan Olivia Morris, Catherine Newton, Gloria E. Quiñones, Mimi Rosenberg, Andrew Rowe, Hasan Shafiqullah, Claudette R. Spencer, Steve Terry, Azalia Torres, Edlyn Willer, Milton Zelermyer, and Robert Zuss.

2. In addition to Letwin, these were Maida Rosenstein of UAW Local 2110 and Jonathan Tasini of the National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981.  Both were identified as presidents of their respective local unions.

3. The article also reported that, despite AFL-CIO support for the war, New York City Central Labor Council president Brian McLaughlin “respect[ed] the difference of opinion.”

4. ”While accurate, ‘Justice, Not Vengeance’ Some Union Heads Oppose ‘Bush War’ (October 26) may have left some readers with the mistaken impression that I speak for my union in opposing the war.  As explained in the antiwar declaration and elsewhere, our union has not endorsed this statement, and, like nearly all the signers, my union affiliation and title are listed for identification only.”

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