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Rank-and-File Initiative
Secures Bus, Builds Coalition




School of the Americas— 'Torture U' (Main Story)


A Name on a Cross,
The Story of a Victim



School of the America's -
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Visit the School of the Americas Watch website  at


Call it rank-and-file initiative.

Other delegates were still on their way home from the 2000 UE Convention when John Thompson, Local 690 was already busy carrying out one of the recently adopted convention resolutions, with a convention speaker in tow.

The Convention had just called for closure of the U.S. Army School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga., and endorsed the annual Nov. 18-19 demonstration outside the military base there.

Taking the resolution to heart, Thompson arranged three speaking engagements for Rev. Roy Bourgeois in the Pittsburgh area immediately after his appearance at the UE Convention in Erie. A Maryknoll missionary, Bourgeois has devoted himself to shutting down the school. He is the founder of School of the Americas Watch, which coordinates annual protests at Ft. Benning and in Washington, D.C.


Thanks to Thompson’s efforts, Bourgeois met with staff and members of the United Steelworkers, at the union’s international headquarters; with more than 60 students at the University of Pittsburgh; and with religious, peace and social justice groups at St. Hyacinth’s Church near the university campus.

The result was the creation of the Western Pennsylvania Coalition to Close the School of the Americas and a successful fundraising effort that sent a bus to Ft. Benning.

"The coalition is going to stay together," Thompson says. The group will be considering what can be done locally to build support for Congressional action to close the SOA.

UE News - 12/00

Home -> UE News -> 2000 Archives -> Article

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