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The Labor Party
Organizing Notes
& Short Takes


A Call for 100 Volunteers

In the March issue of Labor Party Press, we issued an appeal to 100 people whose yearly income would allow them to contribute $1000 to the Labor Party, either in a lump sum or incrementally. We announced that when we have reached that 100-pledge goal, we would budget for desperately needed additional staff.

We believe we can get there. We are pleased to say that a number of Labor Party members responded to our printed call. We’re grateful, and we know that there are more of you out there who can painlessly fulfill this pledge.

If you are one of those people, please come forward! Our party has an ambitious agenda and we need your help to advance it.

— Tony Mazzocchi

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Planning the Workers'
Rights Campaign

A Labor Party committee on Workers’ Rights met in May to plan a launch for the campaign, which LP members adopted at our Pittsburgh convention.

Committee members include: LP organizer Ed Bruno; Mineworkers General Counsel Grant Crandall and former General Counsel Bob Stropp; UE Director of Organization Bob Kingsley; Joe Uehlein; Lance Compa of Human Rights Watch; Bill Bon, General Counsel for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees; and Peter Kellman of the Maine Labor Party. Planning will continue through the spring, reports Bruno. The committee expects to select several locations where high visibility local campaigns will be launched. More later.

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New to the Labor Party!

Welcome! Here are some of the new additions to the Labor Party’s growing list of affiliates:

  • AFSCME Local 3145
  • BMWE Lodge 0705
  • HERE Local 2850
  • Immigrants Rights Movement
  • IATSE Local 10
  • UNITE Local 377

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New York City —
Lady Liberty (On Life Support)

Tours the Big Apple

Lady Liberty on Life Support ...
Photo: ©Rob Spencer

Lady Liberty on Life Support toured the Big Apple on May 1. Members of the New York Metro Chapter took the puppet, along with Just Healthcare sign-up sheets to Staten Island, Brooklyn and the New York Hospital Center of Queens in Flushing (pictured).

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New York —
State Labor Party Meets

Roberts, Cheliotes and Bulter (inset)
Photos: ©Michael Kaufman

Mineworkers President Cecil Roberts and New York State Labor Party chair Arthur Cheliotes (president of CWA Local 1180) at a meeting of the New York State Labor Party on May 15. Inset, AFSCME Local 420 President Jim Butler made an impromptu appearance. The packed gathering included workshops, awards, and a pitch for contributions that yielded $7000 in cash and pledges in the space of about ten minutes.

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Massachusetts —
A New Just Healthcare Referendum

Labor Party activists in Somerville, Massachusetts, plan to put Just Healthcare on the municipal ballot. If the effort succeeds, it will be the third Labor Party-sponsored nonbinding referendum to pass in the state. (Last November, LP activists got Just Healthcare on the ballot in two state districts, West Roxbury and Quincy. Voters passed the measures by a 71 percent margin.)

The Somerville Labor Party Club kicked off the effort with a public meeting in May. A leader of Physicians for a National Health Program, a Labor Party activist nurse, and a local hospital administrator were on hand at the meeting to talk about why our healthcare system needs fixing and how we can do it.

"We were pretty psyched to see that some new people from the neighborhood came to the meeting, and we’re hoping we can get them involved in the referendum campaign," says LP activist Jeff Booth. Booth, a librarian, is an officer in the Massachusetts Labor Party, co-chair of the greater Boston Labor Party, and also active in the Somerville club.

"We’re planning to meet literally every weekend from now until September to get signatures," adds Booth. "Every Saturday, we’ll pick a house, meet and then go out and petition, either by tabling or door-to-door." The group must collect signatures of at least 2400 registered voters to get the measure onto the ballot.

Booth says Boston LP activists are now starting to sign people up to join the Committee of a Million for Just Healthcare. And on June 6, local activists were scheduled to hold a barbecue so they could enjoy themselves while listening to the Just Healthcare radio broadcast.

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Massachusetts —
Health Care Reform Rally

Supporters of healthcare reform rallied at the Massachusetts State House in Boston April 27. Three Labor Party members spoke at the rally.


Healthcare reform supporters Rally at the Massachusetts State House
Photo: ©Marilyn Humphries,
Impact Visuals

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Utah —
Finding New Allies

for Just Heathcare

The Labor Party’s Salt Lake City chapter is making organizational allies in the campaign for Just Healthcare.

In April, the chapter invited a doctor (a Labor Party member) and a leader of Utah Issues, a low-income advocacy group, to come talk to Labor Party members about healthcare, reports chapter activist Dayne Goodwin.

The LP members learned that members of Utah Issues and Physicians for a National Health Program had been meeting regularly for some time to talk about how to organize for a single-payer healthcare plan. LP chapter members subsequently met with this working group to see what they were up to. What emerged was a plan to form a coalition in Salt Lake City.

Goodwin, a member of AFSCME Local 1004 who works night shift as a janitor, says the Salt Lake City chapter has been "reenergized" since the Pittsburgh convention. The chapter has a new president, Mark Nelson, a pipefitter. "It’s exciting to have someone from the building trades to be leading the chapter," says Goodwin. He adds that locals of PACE (Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union, the new union created when OCAW and the Paperworkers merged) continue to provide a solid base of support for the chapter.

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Pennsylvania —
Mural Dedicated to Bob Kasen

Philadelphia mural dedicated to Bob Kasen ...

On April 25, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union’s Art & Culture Committee dedicated a mural in North Philadelphia in memory of LP organizer Bob Kasen.

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Illinois —
New Organizer, New

Committees, New Coalitions

Illinois now has a Labor Party organizer on staff, thanks to support from UE and UNITE’s Midwest Region. Sam Smucker, a former UE organizer, works more than half-time organizing labor and community support for the Labor Party in Chicago and statewide.

"We have two Labor Party entities organizing in Chicago," reports Smucker, "the Chicago Chapter and the Illinois State Labor Party. Many unions are focusing their organizing on the statewide group. The chapter, meanwhile, has set up working committees on Social Security, Just Healthcare and Fair Trade." Everyone came together on May 1, when Chicago had its second annual May Day Dinner, drawing over 200 people and raising funds to support LP organizing.

Much of the Chicago organizing to date has focused on linking up with other organizations and activists — healthcare groups, Social Security activists, and community organizations.

Reports Smucker: "We’re going to neighborhood groups in areas of the city where we’re strong and saying, ‘Affiliate with the Labor Party!’ And then that combined group can become a kind of organizing committee. What the neighborhood group gets out of it — besides the incredible prestige of being affiliated with the Labor Party! — is that we can then send all of our people from the neighborhood into that organization to help bring it to life."

In a city that is "saturated with community groups," explains Smucker, it makes sense to combine forces rather than duplicate them.

The Healthcare Committee, meanwhile, has reached out to a statewide network called the Campaign for Better Healthcare. In fact, says Smucker, that group is sending a mailer out to all their members encouraging them to organize around the June 6 broadcast.

He adds that several Chicago Labor Party members are ministers and are helping the chapter find allies in the religious community.

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New Mexico —
Benefit Performance I

Labor Party members in New Mexico arranged for a special May 1 benefit performance of the Adobe Theater’s production of "Working," a musical based on Studs Terkel’s famous book of interviews with working people. The performance at the Albuquerque theater was sold out, reports LP activist Charles Powell.

On June 6, the Albuquerque Chapter was scheduled to host a "listening brunch" so people could nosh while listening to the Just Healthcare radio broadcast.

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New York —
Benefit Performance II

NY City Benefit Concert

A benefit May 17 for the NY Metro Chapter and Musicians Union Local 1000 drew an audience of 470 to hear (and sing along with), from left, John O’Connor, Tom Chapin, Tao Rodriguez, Pete Seeger, Michael Mark, Christine Lavin, Alix Olson, Guy Davis and others. Photo: ©Michael Kaufman

Folksingers Pete Seeger, Christine Lavin, Tom Chapin, John O’Connor, and Tao Rodriguez; blues performer Guy Davis; Michael Moore; Village Voice columnist Michael Musto; poet Alix Olson and others put on a rollicking two-and-a-half hour hootenanny for some 470 people at New York City’s Symphony Space on May 17, benefitting the New York Metro Chapter’s Just Healthcare Campaign and Musicians Local 1000. Local 1000 represents travelling musicians.

The joint benefit, which netted the chapter’s Just Healthcare campaign several thousand dollars, was coordinated by LP activist Gregory Langdon.

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California —
A Just Healthcare Afternoon,

With Original Music

The Los Angeles Chapter and Labor Party affiliate Rock-A-Mole presented a Just Healthcare Afternoon on May 23. Philadelphian Cheri Honkala, director of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and member of the Labor Party’s Interim National Council, was there to talk about her members’ experiences with our healthcare system and their efforts to change it. Lee Ballinger of Rock & Rap Confidential played a CD of a new Just Healthcare theme song, "Just Health," performed by Atlantic Records recording artist Ernie Perez of the Boxing Gandhis.

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Labor Party Press
Labor Party

July, 1999
Labor Party
Press Index

Civil Rights ...
Even at Work

[Page 1Page 2]

Democrats and Workers' Rights
Organizing Facts: At Home and Abroad
The Labor Party's Call for a Workplace Bill of Rights

Just Healthcare:
Just Healthcare
Radio a Hit

Capitol Hill
Shop Steward

Add Money and Stir

Labor Party:
Organizing Notes
& Short Takes

Agrichemicals —
Sci-Fi Food

Back to Labor Party Press July, 1999

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