Labor for Mumia vs. Reno’s Justice

Against the Current, No. 90, January/ February 2001

Randy Christensen

THE LABOR FOR Mumia Campaign continues to gain steam since our last report for ATC readers (ATC 87). The California Federation of Labor, representing the organized labor movement in California, 1.8 million strong, has lent its support. Nancy Wohlforth, Vice-President of the Federation and National Co-Chair of Pride at Work, was part of a December 11 international labor delegation that took Mumia’s fight for justice to Janet Reno’s Department of Justice in Washington D.C.

Nancy was accompanied by representatives of the organized workers movement from England, France & Germany, along with other union reps like Dennis O’Neil, Legislative Director of the New York Metro Postal Union and Baldemar Velasquez, President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee.

The purpose of the delegation was laid out by Roland Biosah of the Race Relations Committee of the British Trade Unions Congress and the Black Socialist Society of the Labour Party, who informed Reno: “We submitted to your office a list of 29 documented violations of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s civil and constitutional rights, and we are asking that you open an investigation into the violations of these rights, which you have a statutory obligation to do when the evidence of the violation of rights is compelling — as it is in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

Significantly, Richard Womack, Director of the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Dept had intended to participate, but was called away at the last moment to participate in the historic events taking place at the Supreme Court that same day. Congresswoman Maxine Waters was represented by Sam Jordan, former Director of Amnesty International’s Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.

The stonewalling response from Mr. Ishimaru, who spoke on behalf of the U.S. Dept of Justice, indicating “We don’t know if we have jurisdiction” to open a federal investigation just didn’t cut it after 19 years with Mumia’s life on the line. These worker representatives let him know this, whereupon he responded, “I make a commitment that you will have a written report with the conclusions of our deliberations — before the end of this administration on January 20.”

Letters of protest, widely distributed by Labor for Mumia, were presented from U.S. trade unionists to the Atty General helped lay the groundwork for this delegation and were presented along with tens of thousands of letters and petitions sent by working people throughout the world To join the letter writing campaign, find pictures of this international delegation or to hook up with Labor for Mumia, simply go to the very extensive web site we’ve developed at

ATC 90, January-April 2001