By DON McINTOSH
Members of Painters Local 10 approved a resolution Oct. 19 calling for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party, was a radio journalist who had exposed police abuses in Philadelphia. He was sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer the year before, but a 2000 investigation by Amnesty International found that political influences may have prevented him from receiving a fair trial. In 2011, a Philadelphia district attorney agreed to convert the death penalty sentence to a sentence of life imprisonment.
Local 10 isn’t the first labor union to take a stand on behalf of Abu-Jamal. On April 24, 1999, International Longshore and Warehouse Union shut down West Coast ports for a day to demand a halt to his execution and his release from prison.