First, two corrections to last month’s
column. Peace activist Rachel Corrie was
murdered in Israeli-occupied territory on
March 16, not March 13. She was wearing a
florescent orange jacket, not a bright red one.
Shukran to Huwaida Arraf for writing in.
The fight for a world at peace is at least
as crucial to the working class as is the fight
for better wages, hours and working condi-
tions. The Middle East conflicts —Israel/
Palestine, Iraq, and more — are not just
threats to that region, but to the entire globe.
A very important event occurred about
a year ago: the founding of Brit Tzedek
v’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice
and Peace (BTvS). BTvS calls itself “a
national organization of American Jews
deeply committed to Israel’s well-being
through… a negotiated settlement to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Its founding
principles, much abridged, are:
• A complete end to the Israeli military
occupation of the territories occupied
since 1967 in the West Bank, the Gaza
Strip and East Jerusalem.
• The establishment of a viable Palestinian
state based on the pre-1967 borders
alongside Israel… with secure and
recognized boundaries free from threats
or acts of force.
• Jerusalem as the capital of both states.
• A just resolution of the Palestinian
refugee problem that takes into account
the needs and aspirations of both peoples.
• The termination of terrorism and state-
• The evacuation of Israeli settlements in
the Occupied Territories.
• The recognition that as Jews and U.S.
citizens, we have a special responsibility to
urge our government to pursue policies
consistent with the requirements of a just
peace for Israel and the Palestinian people.
BTvS has grown to over 2,500
members in the short space of a year. We (I
am privileged to have been one of its
founders, and currently sit on its national
board of directors) have a website
(www.btvshalom.org ), which I urge you
to access. It contains much information,
including how to join. Please write me for
more information — my email is at the end
of this column.
The fight for a just peace is also being
waged on a Louisville battlefront. An admin-
istrative law judge of the National Labor
Relations Board has ruled that Norton
Healthcare, owner-operator of five Louis-
ville hospitals, must reinstate Patty Clark and
Ann Hurst as charge nurses at Norton-
Audubon Hospital, and offer Joanne
Sandusky, a nurse who was a lactation spe-
cialist, another job. The judge also ordered
Norton to pay a large amount of back pay.
This is a particularly sweet victory for
the Nurses Professional Organization
(NPO), which has been trying to organize
the nurses into a union since 1989. The
NPO wants to conduct a representation
election, and Audubon was also told it
must turn over its nurses’ roster, with names
and addresses, to the union, and update
same every six months.
Norton is appealing, which
means justice will be delayed a little
longer. Nurses, as a result of NPO’s
good work, are gaining the conscious-
ness that, though they are trained
professionals, they are in fact just
like all other workers who sell their
labor power for a wage.
Speaking of sick people — the
U.S. Senate recently confirmed Jef-
frey Sutton as a judge on the Sixth
Circuit Court of Appeals. Sutton was
attacked by Democrats, who accused
the Bush administration of trying to
pack the courts with conservative
ideologues, and by the disability-
rights movement, which charged that
Sutton wants to dismantle the Ameri-
cans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
“One case that has most angered
disability-rights groups involved a suit
filed by Patricia Garrett, a breast-can-
cer victim who had worked 17 years
for the University of Alabama but was
demoted after returning from medical
leave,” the website www.adawatch.org
reported. Sutton represented the uni-
versity, of course.
Senators Dianne Feinstein of
California and Ben Nelson of Ne-
braska were the only Democrats who
voted for Sutton. He will be meting
out justice from Cincinnati. Maybe
he can confer with Marge Schott, she
of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team
owning, nazi memento collecting and
racial justice standard-bearing, and
give her lessons in legerdemain.
To turn from the high and mighty,
and the high rollers — to the high
flyers. Jennifer Biddle, an IAM (Ma-
chinists) shop steward, has an excel-
lent article in the May issue of Labor
Notes, “War Spurs Big Layoffs and
Concessions for Airline Workers”:
“Just a few short days after the
United States launched its invasion of
Iraq, United Airlines announced that
(thousands of workers) would be forced
to take time off with no pay….
“It was a move that would al-
low United to close its Indianapolis
Maintenance Center, something the
company had been trying to negoti-
ate with the mechanics union for
months…. (A) Marine Corps vet-
eran of the first Gulf War, now a
United mechanic, described it as the
company’s own ‘shock and awe.’ ”
She continues: “By invoking ‘force
majeure,’ the airlines have essen-
tially tossed out (many of the provi-
sions of) their labor contracts —
again.” Now, the airlines may not be
guilty of war crimes, but methinks
there should be a category called
Speaking of war crimes. A Bel-
gian lawyer is filing suit alleging
Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of
U.S. troops in Iraq, is guilty of war
crimes, particularly that coalition
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