Digest of Select Statements and Positions on Matters of Public Concern by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW 2325

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Digest of Select Statements and Positions on Matters of Public Concern by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW 2325
UAW 2325 Labor for Palestine, November 26, 2023

•March 1978: Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War
[ALAA President] Mike Russek, “Affiliation Now!”, ALAA News, Vol. 1, No. 1, March 1978, p. 1., col. 1: “District 65 has a national reputation as a progressive union. It has been in the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement and was the first significant opponent of the Vietnam War within the American labor movement.”

•Summer 1979: Apartheid South Africa
“South Africa Protest,” ALAA News, Vol. 2, No. 3, Summer 1979, p. 6, col. 2: “In protest against Bankers Trust Company’s support for the racist government of South Africa, the Association by unanimous vote of the Executive Committee has closed its accounts there.”

•January.-February 1985: Apartheid South Africa and Namibia
“Apartheid Protests,” ALAA Organizer, Jan.-Feb. 1985, Vol. 4, No. 1, p. 1, col. 2: “Over the past month, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA) has begun to play a leading role within the legal community in the on-going efforts protesting apartheid in South Africa and Namibia.”

•April 3, 1985: Civil Rights, Apartheid South Africa, Central America
ALAA Letter to Membership: “This April we have a historic opportunity to strengthen the movement for social justice and peace in this country and to thwart the deadly policies of the Reagan Administration. Our challenge is to turn the tide of domestic cutbacks, high unemployment, attacks on civil rights, support for apartheid, and the threat of a Vietnam-style war in Central America.”

•June 14, 1986: Apartheid South Africa
“Anti-Apartheid Demonstration Planned for June 14,” ALAA Organizer, Vol. 5, No. 3, p. 3, col. 1, April-May 1986: “The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA), through its Political Action Committee has begun to play an active role in organizing for a massive demonstration against apartheid in New York City on June 14th.” 

•June-July 1986: Apartheid South Africa
“ALAA Anti-Apartheid Work,” ALAA Organizer, Vol. 5, No. 4, June-July 1986, p. 8, col. 3: “For the second year in a row, ALAA coordinated the publication of a statement by the Legal Committee Against Apartheid in the New York Law Journal. The statement called for the release of Nelson Mandela and 11 other political prisoners in South Africa and was directed to both President Reagan and P.W. Botha, President of South Africa.”

•July 11, 1986: Apartheid South Africa
Letter from Legal Committee Against Apartheid [signed by ALAA President Jean Schneider on behalf of ALAA], p. 1: “We ask that you join with us in taking immediate action to support legislation now pending before Congress which would impose comprehensive sanctions against South Africa.”

•June 1, 1989: Palestine
”ALAA Presents a Discussion on the Middle East Organizing by Hani Baydoun”: “A Palestinian trade unionist who organized hotel workers through the Progressive Labor Front—a coalition of twenty trade unions in the West Bank and Gaza strip.”

•June 1, 1989: Palestine
”ALAA/1199 Lecture Series: The West Bank Turmoil: Eyewitness Views”

•May 1, 1990: Palestine
“American Trade Unionists Appeal for Release of Palestinian Trade Unionist Hani Baydoun” [signed by ALAA President Michael Letwin]: “We believe that we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet with Hani Baydoun when he toured the U.S. and Canada last summer, and to hear him speak of the work of Palestinian trade unionists, we do not want to be deprived of hearing from him in the future. We urge the immediate release of Palestinian trade unionist Hani Baydoun.”

•Jan. 21, 1992: Central America
ALAA Executive Council Endorsements, ALAA Weekly Organizer #57, p. 14, col. 2: “National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights: Campaign for Temporary Protected Status in the U.S. of Guatemalan trade unionists, who have been central targets of that government’s military and death squads. Central American Labor Defense Network: Protest against repression of Central American trade unionists.”

•April 1994: Post-Apartheid South Africa
Yvonne Floyd-Mayers, “ALAA Members Aid in S. Africa Elections,” Working for Justice, #1, July 1994, p. 5, col. 1: “In April, three ALAA members served as international observers in the [sic] South Africa’s historic first non-racial democratic elections.” 

•March 12, 1999: NYPD Killing of Amadou Diallo
[ALAA President] Michael Letwin, “Labor Joins Protest Over New York Police Killing,” Labor Notes, May 1999: “The largest single labor contingent to be arrested came from the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325, whose members provide legal representation to 300,000 indigent New Yorkers who are frequently victims of police abuse.”

•December 23, 1999: Free Speech, Civil and Labor Rights
”In Defense of Free Speech, Labor and Civil Rights in New York City” [Statement initiated by ALAA]: “On April 3, 1968, the day before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous ‘mountaintop’ speech, in which he called for resistance to an ‘illegal, unconstitutional injunction’ against African-American municipal sanitation workers in Memphis. The Giuliani/MTA 1999 order against NYC transit workers—who are also overwhelmingly people of color—is strikingly similar to that Memphis injunction of more than 30 years ago. We, therefore, seek to honor Dr. King’s final battle by condemning these unconscionable orders and by demanding that such egregious violations of free speech, labor, and civil rights never again be permitted to occur.”

•March 22, 2000: NYPD Killing of People of Color
“Statement on Police Violence and Abuse” (ALAA Delegate Council Resolution) “In response to the police murder of Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond and other people of color, ALAA calls for immediate abolition of the Street Crime Unit and Operation Condor; dismissal of police commissioner Howard Safir; federal prosecution, oversight and reform of the NYPD; creation of an independent state agency to prosecute police abuse; and an end to the ‘War on Drugs,’ including the Draconian Rockefeller sentencing laws, which only serves to promote violent crime, police brutality, and mass criminalization, particularly against communities of color.”

•April 2000: NYPD Killing of Amadou Diallo
[ALAA President} Michael Letwin, “Legal Aid Union Defends Protesters Arrested After Cops Are Acquitted” (Labor Notes, April 2000): “ALAA has argued that Diallo’s death reflects the criminal justice system’s organized hostility to young people of color, as reflected in routine police abuse, unfair trials, Draconian drug laws, and the death penalty. It has also argued that labor has a common interest in uniting with movements opposed to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s attack on legal and constitutional rights, as witnessed curing the transit workers’ contract negotiations last December.”

•January. 5, 2001: Palestine
“WBAI Protest Saturday” (Email from ALAA President Michael Letwin to ALAA members): “ALAA has endorsed a rally at 12 Noon tomorrow (Saturday) to oppose a management purge now in progress designed to undermine WBAI radio’s long-time commitment to activist public broadcasting. . . . For example, after receiving a complaint from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Pacifica upbraided van Isler for allowing coverage of the Palestinian Right-To-Return march in Washington D.C. on September 23rd, and demanded that Program Director Bernard White remove that program.”

•February 21, 2002: Civil Liberties, Islamophobia, and Democratic Rights
“In Defense of Civil Liberties” (ALAA Delegate Council Resolution): “As a labor union whose members fight each day for the statutory and constitutional rights of indigent New Yorkers, The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325, is deeply opposed to the Bush administration’s broad assault on precious civil liberties and democratic rights,” [including the systematic attack on] “men of Muslim and Middle Eastern origin.” 

•September 7, 2002: Civil Liberties, Islamophobia, and Democratic Rights
“NYC Labor Solidarity With Immigrant Workers and Detainees”: “ALAA, the UAW and 1199 are among the many labor, civil liberties, community, religious and political organizations to endorse this event, the second day of NYC labor solidarity with post-9/11 immigrants who continue to be detained without charges, some of them secretly and without attorneys.”

•January 27, 2003: Iraq War
UAW Region 9A Metro Area CAP Council Antiwar Resolution: “On January 16, ALAA’s parent union, the 30,000-member UAW Region 9A NY Metro Area CAP Council,  overwhelmingly adopted the resolution below endorsing U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW).”

•July 29, 2014: Free Speech for Palestine
ALAA Joint Council Authorizes Grievance of Legal Aid Society Management Ban “non-work-related matter involving the current situation in the Middle East.”

•August 12, 2014: NYPD Killing of Eric Garner
“ALAA Members Demand NYPD Accountability for Death of Eric Garner”: (ALAA Executive Board Resolution): “We, the undersigned members of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325, demand justice for Eric Garner.”

•October 20, 2020: Police Unions
”Resolution Calling On the International UAW and AFL-CIO To Cut Ties With Policing Unions” (ALAA Joint Council Resolution): “[We] call on the AFL-CIO and all other labor bodies to immediately sever ties with International Brotherhood of Police Officers and the International Union of Police Association; other unions of police, sheriffs, jail and prison guards, Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), security guards, and “child protective” specialists; and all other wings of the prison-industrial complex.”

•May 11, 2021: Philippines
“ALAA Endorses the Philippine Human Rights Act” (Delegate Council Resolution): “ALAA will show solidarity with unionists and progressive lawyers in the Philippines.”

•July 22, 2022: Palestine
“Resolution on Divestment from Israel Bonds and on Transparency in Investments funded through Union Membership Dues” (ALAA Membership Vote): “ALAA 2325 supports taking action, both as individual members and as a chapter collectively, in support of Palestinian liberation from Israeli apartheid.”

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