UAW Local 4121 Passes Resolution in Support of UC Student Worker Union Boycott Divestment and Sanction Vote

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February 11, 2016

UAW Local 4121 Passes Resolution in Support of UC Student Worker Union Boycott Divestment and Sanction Vote

University of Washington student workers urge UAW International Union to reverse undemocratic ruling against rank-and-file member vote in support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)

Seattle, WA – Members of UAW Local 4121, which represents academic student workers at the University of Washington, unanimously passed a resolution expressing solidarity with University of California student workers represented by UAW Local 2865 who recently voted to support Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights. The resolution was submitted by UAW rank-and-file members and endorsed by Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Atzlan (MEChA), Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER), and United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS).

In December 2014, UAW 2865, the labor union representing over 14,000 graduate student workers at the University of California (UC), voted by an overwhelming majority to demand that their union and their employer divest from companies complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians. The United Auto Workers, the international union with which the UC local union is affiliated, nullified the vote — despite its own finding that the local conducted a fair and democratic election and an overwhelming majority of members voted in support of BDS. The local union has appealed the decision.

Local 4121 members brought this resolution to their fellow members in support of the California union. “I’m proud of our union membership for taking this stand in support of union democracy and Palestinian liberation,” said Yasi Naraghi, a union member and graduate student organizer with AWDU. “UAW 2865 is the first major labor union in the U.S. to answer the call of Palestinian trade unions to support BDS; the UAW International should be celebrating the UC vote, rather than attempting to silence it.”

Citing the fact that 65% of Local 2865’s voting members endorsed the resolution to divest, union member and member of SUPER Oliver Hoidn pointed out that the question of Palestinian human rights was a meaningful one to many UAW members. “The fact that a small group of members brought in a high-priced corporate law firm that brags about defending multinational corporations against wage and hour, whistleblower, and gender discrimination lawsuits filed by their workers should worry all who take seriously principles of union solidarity and union leadership in movements for justice.”

The resolution urges the UAW International to reverse its initial ruling against UAW Local 2865’s BDS resolution during the Public Review Board process

SUPER UW is a diverse student-led group made up of students, faculty, and community members around the University of Washington in Seattle, working to educate students and the broader community about the struggle for Palestinian equal rights.

UW AWDU is a caucus of academic workers and students at the University of Washington fighting for equitable public education and a democratic, member-driven union for all academic student workers.

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