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October 31, 2003

2003.10.31: Antiwar Update

Filed under: Antiwar,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 3:01 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 4:10 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Update
Importance: High

CONTENTS

War and Occupation
**15,000 Iraqi Fatalities
**Brutal Reality of the Iraq Occupation
**US Bulldozes Farmers’ Crops
**U.S. Razor-Wires Iraqi Village
**Thousands of Detainees Sit, Wait in Iraq
**Permits Ordered for Palestinians
**Death of a Palestinian Town
**Elite Unit Savaged Civilians in Vietnam

Antiwar Movement
**Bring Our Children Home Now
**‘You Lied, They Died,’ US Parents Tell Bush **In D.C., a Diverse Mix Rouses War Protest **National Labor Against the War Conference **NYCLAW Buttons **Next NYCLAW Meeting: Monday, November 3, 2003

================================================

WAR AND OCCUPATION

15,000 Iraqi Fatalities
Project on Defense Alternatives, October 20, 2003 On the Iraqi side: a review and analysis of the available evidence shows that approximately 11,000 – 15,000 Iraqis, combatants and noncombatants, were killed in the course of major combat actions. (Iraqi casualties incurred after 20 April are not included in this estimate).
[Full text:  http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0310rm8exsum.pdf  ]

Brutal Reality of the Iraq Occupation
Independent, September 25, 2003
If anyone wants to know why Iraqis set bombs for American soldiers, they had only to sit in the two-storey villa in this little farming village and look at the frozen face of Ahmed al-Ham and his angry friends yesterday.  Ahmed’s 50-year-old father, Sabah, was buried just a week ago–35 days after he died in American hands at the Abu Ghraib prison–and the 17-year-old youth with his small beard and piercing brown eyes blames George Bush for his death. “Pigs,” he mutters. Ahmed was a prisoner, too, and his father died in his arms.
[Full text:  http://www.counterpunch.org/fisk09252003.html ]

US Bulldozes Farmers’ Crops
Independent, October 12, 2003
Americans accused of brutal ‘punishment’ tactics against villagers, while British are condemned as too soft US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops. . . . When a reporter from the newspaper Iraq Today attempted to take a photograph of the bulldozers at work a soldier grabbed his camera and tried to smash it. The same paper quotes Lt Col Springman, a US commander in the region, as saying: “We asked the farmers several times to stop the attacks, or to tell us who was responsible, but the farmers didn’t tell us.”
[Full text: http://occupationwatch.org/article.php?id=1323 ]

U.S. Razor-Wires Iraqi Village
NY Times, October 31, 2003
American soldiers, working before dawn, surrounded the village with razor wire and set up checkpoints at the exits. They ordered all adults to register for identity cards in the village, about 95 miles north of the capital.
[Full text:  http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/31/international/middleeast/31CND-IRAQ.html ]

Thousands of Detainees Sit, Wait in Iraq AP, October 8, 2003 The U.S. military is detaining more than 5,000 Iraqi men and women accused of common crimes or of being security threats – people whose legal rights are in dispute and whose living conditions are hidden from public view.
[Full text:  http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20031008_1553.html ]

Permits Ordered for Palestinians
Guardian, October 27, 2003
The Israeli military has ordered thousands of Palestinians living near the steel and concrete “security fence” through the West Bank to obtain special permits to live in their own homes. . . . The order said that only Israelis and Jews could enter the designated areas without a pass.
[Full text:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1071616,00.html ]

Death of a Palestinian Town
Guardian, October 27, 2003
With ruthless efficiency, the Israeli army has been crushing and rocketing the Palestinian refugee town of Rafah in a manner which rivals the destruction of Jenin last year. But it is all in the name of stopping terrorism so the international community has remained silent.
[Full text:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1071634,00.html ]

Elite Unit Savaged Civilians in Vietnam
Toledo Blade, October 22, 2003
These Tiger Force soldiers fan out while patrolling the Song Ve Valley in a 1967 photo taken by a former platoon member. The unit committed an untold number of atrocities in the valley as part of a seven-month campaign of terror.
[Full text:  http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=SRTIGERFORCE ]

ANTIWAR MOVEMENT

Bring Our Children Home Now
Alternet, September 22, 2003
Nancy Lessin, the co-founder of Military Families Speak Out, a rapidly growing antiwar group organized by family members of soldiers posted in Iraq, gave the following speech at a congressional hearing organized by Congresswoman Maxine Waters on Sept. 9.
[Full text:  http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16812 ]

‘You Lied, They Died,’ US Parents Tell Bush Guardian, September 27, 2003
The father of a soldier killed in Iraq accused President George Bush yesterday of being responsible for his son’s death.   Fernando Suarez, whose 20-year-old son, Jesus, was one of the first fatalities, said: “My son died because Bush lied.”
[Full text:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1050949,00.html ]

In D.C., a Diverse Mix Rouses War Protest Washington Post, October 26, 2003 Tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators marched in Washington yesterday to call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, turning out in smaller numbers than for prewar protests but making plain their opposition during a noisy yet peaceful procession.
[Full text:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17636-2003Oct25.html ]

National Labor Against the War Conference Znet, October 28, 2003 “Bring the troops home NOW” is not only the slogan of a growing portion of the US peace movement, but it now part of the ratified program of US Labor Against the War (USLAW). Meeting in Chicago this past weekend (October 24-25), 154 delegates representing approximately 500,000 trade union members from all over the country held the first National Assembly of USLAW, and established the organization.
[Full text:  http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=19&ItemID=4416 ]

NYCLAW Buttons
To get either of the following two new NYC Labor Against the War buttons ($1/ea), please respond by return e-mail.

#1 (round, red and white on black):
End the Occupation of Iraq
Bring the Troops Home Now

#2 (square, black, red and yellow on white):
US OUT OF IRAQ
AFGHANISTAN
PHILIPPINES
PALESTINE
COLOMBIA
NO TO EMPIRE

Appearanace viewable at:  http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=77770&group=webcast   [scroll down to view]

Next NYCLAW Meeting: Monday, November 3, 2003 The next meeting of New York City Labor Against the War will be held on Monday, November 3, 2003, 6:30 p.m., at DC 1707 AFSCME, 75 Varick St., 14 Floor (1/2/A/C/E to Canal St.).  The agenda will include reports on national demos to End the Occupation & Bring the Troops Home Now (October 25), and on the USLAW Chicago conference (October 24-25).

October 17, 2003

2003.10.17: Antiwar Update

Filed under: Antiwar,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 3:05 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 1:35 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Update
Importance: High

Contents

1.  Last Call:  Free Tickets for 10/25 DC Demo 2.  New Buttons 3.  Sat., 11/18:  Vets and Military Families Forum

================================================

1.  Last Call:  Free Tickets for 10/25 DC Demo

Today is the last day to ensure a free ride on 1199 buses to the October 25 demonstration in DC to End the Occupation of Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now! (See below).

Buses leave early in the morning from 310 W. 43 St. and return that night.  All Legal Aiders are invited as are any traveling companions.

To reserve a seat, please contact Jeffrey Olshansky via LAS e-mail with your name, union, division, office, work phone and home or cell phone, and the same for any traveling companions.

2.  New Buttons

To get either of the following two new NYC Labor Against the War buttons ($1/ea), please contact me by return e-mail.

#1 (round, red and white on black):
End the Occupation of Iraq
Bring the Troops Home Now

#2 (square, black, red and yellow on white):
US OUT OF IRAQ
AFGHANISTAN
PHILLIPINES
PALESTINE
COLOMBIA
NO TO EMPIRE

Appearanace viewable at:  http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=77770&group=webcast   [scroll down to view]

2.  Sat., 11/18:  Vets and Military Families Forum

Let’s Talk About Really Supporting Our Troops & Vets: End the Occupation of Iraq–Bring the Troops Home Now!

A Forum Presented by Veterans and Military Family Members
Moderator: Ben Chitty (USN 1965-9, Vietnam 1966-7, 1968) Member AFT Local 2334 and Veterans for Peace

Saturday, October 18, 2003, 4-6 p.m.
AFSCME District Council 1707
75 Varick Street (at Canal), 14 Floor Auditorium

In Iraq:  3-4-5-6 soldiers killed every week . . . another 12-15 wounded . . . another 20-30 so sick they leave by medevac.  Now Bush wants $87 billion more for his war — on top of the $90 billion already spent.

Meanwhile:  Congressional Republicans propose reducing combat pay and family separation allowances, and making veterans disability compensation harder to get

Meanwhile:  The Pentagon refuses to verify baseline medical data for deployed troops (even though more than 200,000 veterans from Desert Shield and Desert Storm are already rated disabled), denies that depleted uranium may be hazardous, and claims to be exempt from FDA and EPA regulations

Meanwhile:  One in three women veterans report being abused or raped, and domestic violence in military families occurs at twice the national average

Meanwhile:  The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to close seven veterans hospitals (including the Manhattan V.A. Medical Center on 23rd Street)

Sponsored by: New York City Labor Against the War For more information: 718.997.3734 workdays 9-5, or nyclaw@comcast.net

2003.10.07: Economic Proposals

From: Susan Morris
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2003 4:27 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Economic Proposals

Economic Proposals

As an ALAA citywide officer, I have been on the non-economic issues bargaining subcommittee throughout these contract negotiations. I must comment on Jim Rogers’ “Report to Membership on Non-Economic Agreement” of October 6, 2003. Since this report isn’t redlined, proposed changes are not easy to follow. No explanations are given for the “changes” that are indicated in the Report. This Report also omits important information that the membership has a right to know – information about the PROCESS.

For example:

In JRD negotiations, Management’s response to our demands for case caps (*) was incredibly insulting. Essentially, the numbers provided by management as appropriate caseloads were AT OR ABOVE the current caseloads carried by JRD attorneys. If the Executive Board had informed the membership of this when it happened, we might have been able to put pressure on Management to do better. As it is, we have ended up with nothing.

It also didn’t help JRD negotiations that, on two separate occasions, the Union president told Management “we are at an impasse.” As I wrote to the rest of the EB on July 8 (*), “the word ‘impasse’ in bargaining is so much more than childish – it is a legal term of art that has devastating consequences! . . . . To say we are at an impasse indicates to management that there will be no more negotiation on this issue – that we are relieving management of their duty to bargain.”

In the same meeting, Jim Rogers told Management that LAS has done “everything it can do” on affirmative action issues. As I recounted to the EB on July 8 in my same memo/email, “Specifically, TDL [Theresa de Leon] said something along the lines of management is doing all it can [on affirmative action], and Jim responded in a similar vein that he was willing to concede that management has done so; I spoke up and said that I was not willing to concede this and that I did not think the membership was either.)”

These are simply examples of SOME of the process and problems that have occurred during the negotiations – process that the membership was left in the dark about. I am not the only member of the EB that has vehemently recommended that we advise the membership AS WE PROCEED as to our progress.

At one EB meeting(*), I suggested that we post in a similar vein as 1199 did, advising our membership that management’s early offers (not so different from the current offer) as to the economic package was virtually no raises for 2 years. While some members of the EB agreed with me, the majority did not. Actually at this suggestion, Jim Rogers resoundingly advised me that 1199’s tactics in posting management’s offers was a very poor tactic.

This raises another issue: certain members of the EB bandy about the word “unanimous” as if we on the EB are all of one mind. This is more than merely an error, it is an outright lie. We are NOT of one mind; there are many differences and many different opinions. I do not understand the members that use this word so freely, my personal opinion is that there is no need to be afraid of admitting that we have differences and that it affects our decision-making process. There are very few votes actually taken in the EB meetings, so to even suggest that there is unanimity is a misnomer.

I am publishing this information, although a little late, in the hopes that the DC meeting for tonight will promote conversation and discussion, rather than the silence and secrecy that has been attendant with the last few month’s work. I have stacks and stacks of PROGRESS REPORTS from the last two contract negotiations where I was not a member of the negotiating process. I am ashamed that I am now a member of the most secretive board since I have arrived at Legal Aid. I stress again, I am not alone in my concerns with this issue as a member of the EB, but this is a democracy, and the majority rules.

I am only sorry that we seem to be moving away from a member-driven democracy. Please, come to the meeting tonight and speak out and DEMAND discussion. If the members don’t require it, it won’t happen. We are no longer under the gun from the Giuliani administration, but rather are being embraced by a new administration. A request to increase our work and an additional $8.6 million in funds, and there are those who say that we have no leverage??? It is only a shame that we are at this point in the process before our membership has been given an opportunity to participate.

(*) – I do not have exact dates and attachments at this time, but will be happy to provide them – I hope to have them gathered by the end of next week.

October 15, 2003

2003.10.15: Free Bus Tickets to 10.25 DC Antiwar Demo

Filed under: Antiwar,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 3:05 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2003 10:20 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Free Bus Tickets to 10.25 DC Antiwar Demo
Importance: High

1199 has generously offered ALAA members free bus seats for the October 25 demonstration in DC to End the Occupation of Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now! (See below).

Buses leave early in the morning from 310 W. 43 St. and return that night.  All Legal Aiders are invited as are any traveling companions.

To reserve a seat, please contact Jeffrey Olshansky via LAS e-mail with your name, union, division, office, work phone and home or cell phone, and the same for any traveling companions.

The deadline for registration is this Friday, 10/17, but responses by Noon on Thursday would be greatly appreciated.

————————————————————
March In DC, Oct. 25, 2003
End the Occupation of Iraq!
Bring the Troops Home Now!

Who Pays For Bush’s War Of Oil & Empire in Iraq?

*G.I.s. Already more than 300 dead, 1,500 wounded – mostly workers and people of color from our communities. $1 billion per week for another Vietnam war, another $87 billion more on the way. And no end in sight.

*Iraqis. Up to 8,000 dead, 20,000 wounded; a despised U.S.
occupation so that union-busting companies like Halliburton, Bechtel and Verizon get multi-billion dollar contracts to plunder Iraq.

*Workers at Home. The very same corporate thieves get huge tax cuts, while slashing our wages, jobs, schools, housing, transit and health care, while trampling on the right to strike, civil liberties and immigrants.

What Can We Do?

Millions of workers around the world – including labor bodies that represent one-third of union members in the U.S. – have opposed Bush’s war for oil and empire.

Iraqis demand an immediate end to U.S. occupation. Our friends and family in the military want to come home now.
It’s up to NYC to:

*Educate. Hold a union or community meeting, with speakers from groups like NYCLAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out.

*Take a Stand. Join the 1,500 trade union endorsers of New York City Labor Against the War (see other side). Organize a NYCLAW committee in your union. Propose a resolution to support U.S. Labor Against the War.

*March on October 25. Get your union to send buses to the mass demonstration in DC to Bring the Troops Home Now! and march with the labor contingent

Details:
http://internationalanswer.org/campaigns/o25/index.html
http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=1957

Please also join us at NYCLAW meetings, the first Monday of each
month, 6:30 p.m., at AFSCME DC 1707, 75 Varick St., 14 Floor
(1/2/A/C/E to Canal St.).

Or contact: New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW),
PO Box 233, Prince St. Station, NY, NY 10012-3900,
nyclaw@comcast.net  917.282.0139.

October 6, 2003

2003.10.06: Proposed Salary Increases In Annualized Percentages

M E M O

To:       ALAA Members

Fr:        Michael Letwin, CDD-Brooklyn, Former President (1989-2002)

Re:       Proposed Salary Increases In Annualized Percentages

Da:       October 6, 2003

 

 

The following table presents an annualized view of the proposed salary increases, which total a cumulative 8.75% over three years, the bulk of it (6%) in Year 3.

 

 

Proposed Salary Increases In Annualized Percentages (2002-2005)      

 

Y1 (10/1/02-9/30/03)

 

Y2 (10/1/03-9/30/04)

 

Y3 (10/1/04-9/30/05)

 

2.00

 

0.75[[1]]

 

6.00[[2]]

 


[1]That portion of the 7/1/04 3% increase that takes effect in Y2.

[2]2.25% (balance of 3% effective 7/1/04); 3% effective 10/1/04; .75% (that portion of the 7/1/05 3% increase that takes effect in Y3.

October 2, 2003

2003.10.02: Contract Negotiations

[Original Format: Contract Memo]

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2003 2:12 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Contract Negotiations
Importance: High

The attached memo (with appendices) addresses recent questions about Management’s promise of 3% annual salary increases, and the proposed contract now before us.

———–

M E M O

To: ALAA Members

Fr: Michael Letwin, CDD-Brooklyn, Former President (1989-2002)

Re: Contract Negotiations

Da: October 2, 2003

Introduction

This memo addresses recent questions about Management’s promise of 3% annual salary increases, and the proposed contract now before us.

Management’s 3% Offer

In 2002, cumulative joint efforts by ALAA, 1199 and LAS won an $8.6 million increase in city funding. The city conditioned this increase on: (1) Withdrawal of pending federal litigation brought by the unions and the Society that challenged the Giuliani administration’s retaliation for the 1994 strike; and (2) Legal Aid representation of at least 86% of the cases in arraignments. Wise, Legal Aid Society’s Contract Increases Trial Level Funding, NYLJ, Dec. 18, 2002.

On July 23, 2002, to enable consummation of this agreement, and to ensure that at least some of those new funds would be reserved for salary increases, the ALAA Delegate Council “authorize[d] the ALAA Executive Board to decide settlement of the Union’s litigation concerning the 1994 strike, following negotiations with LAS management over allocation of additional city funds.” ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin #85 (Sept. 19, 2002).

At a subsequent meeting to discuss these issues, LAS President and Attorney-in-Chief Danny Greenberg responded to Union representatives with the assurance of at least 3% annual salary increases in the upcoming ALAA and 1199 contracts. Pursuant to the above DC resolution, ALAA then authorized settlement of the federal litigation. Id.

The Current Offer

Staff Attorneys in each CDD boro have consistently fulfilled or exceeded the new city contract’s 86% intake requirement. Members have now learned, however, that Management has not honored its “3% + 3%” promise.

In the proposed three-year package, only 2% of the total 11% salary increases would occur during the first 22 months, Summary of Economic Agreement Between ALAA and LAS (ALAA, Sept. 16, 2003)—a period nearly as long as ALAA’s traditional two-year contract. The next 3% increases would not take effect, respectively, until July 1, 2004, October 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005—the latter, just three months before expiration of the proposed contract on September 30, 2005. The following table contrasts that offer with the two previous contracts and with the promised offer for this contract.

Comparative Salary Increases (In Percentages)

Terms

Y1 (retro to 10/1)

Y2

Y3

Y4

1998-2004

2.5-3.2

2.0-8.8

3.0

2.0-8.8

2002-2004 (promised)

3.0+

3.0+

UK

2002-2005 (proposed)

2.0

7/1/04: 3.0

10/1/04: 3.0

7/1/05: 3.0

UK

The current offer is not significantly improved by a proposed 1.5% first-year bonus (not payable until July 1, 2004), which ranges from $630 for law graduates to $1290 for Step 25—before taxes. ALAA has always rejected such across-the-board bonuses, which neither recur nor generate 6.5% pension contributions.

Negotiations and Democracy

No matter how many hours Union representatives may put in, their leverage at the bargaining table depends on active membership participation and, when necessary, mobilization during negotiations. In the past, ALAA leaders have periodically provided the membership with detailed written bulletins, office meetings and/or e-mail. This highly-democratic process has allowed members to play an active—and often determinative—role in influencing both the Union bargaining team and Management.

This year, however, the Union leadership has provided virtually no information during contract negotiations. Members, therefore, have been unable to influence the conduct of their bargaining team, or to provide our negotiators with the pressure necessary to hold Management to its promised 3% annual salary increases.

Before ratification, therefore, the membership is entitled to a complete, written report on the course of negotiations, the exact text of any tentative agreement, and an open and democratic discussion of such questions as:

(1) When, and on what grounds, did Management breach its promise?

(2) Why wasn’t the membership immediately informed and mobilized to enforce it, as some EB members had reportedly proposed?

(3) By what means (if any) are members prepared to seek enforcement of Management’s earlier promise?

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