1 May 2015
In a landslide vote at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday 27 April 2015, the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3902 voted to endorse the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
CUPE 3902 represents over 7,000 teaching assistants, course instructors, and sessional faculty at the University of Toronto. This vote comes on the heels of the union’s Unit 1 strike earlier this year.
“After impassioned debate, members present at the CUPE 3902 Annual General Meeting on April 27 showed their strong support for the BDS campaign,” said Erin Black, CUPE 3902 chairperson. She added, “The motion of support was carried by a very clear majority.”
During the recent strike at the University of Toronto, Palestinian students and faculty from Al Quds University sent a message of solidarity, and affirmed that the struggle for access to higher education and workers’ rights is a common struggle from Palestine to Turtle Island. CUPE 3902 has now expressed its solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli settler colonial and apartheid system.
The resolution included support for the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) divestment campaign which calls on the University of Toronto to divest from companies that facilitate and profit from violations of international law in Palestine. Companies targeted for divestment include Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin.
“UTGSU regards this as an important victory for the BDS work on campus and across the country,” said UTGSU BDS Committee chairperson, Susanne Waldorf. “CUPE 3902 members have affirmed their commitment to BDS and the divestment campaign,” added Waldorf.
CUPE 3902 joins CUPE Ontario, CUPE 3903 at York University and CUPE 3906 at McMaster University, which have also passed resolutions endorsing BDS, heeding Palestinian trade unions and popular movements’ calls for international solidarity.
This resolution is a milestone for BDS actions in North America. It supports the Palestinian trade unionist call for a military embargo of Israel, and demands that the University of Toronto sever partnerships with Israeli universities that are complicit in Israel’s colonial and racist apartheid policies and its ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.
Below is the full text of the CUPE 3902 resolution:
WHEREAS, the Palestinian trade union movement, with support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates, is unanimously calling on trade unions internationally to take immediate action to stop the Israeli massacre in Gaza and hold Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people.
THEREFORE, Be it resolved that CUPE 3902,
1) dissociate from Israeli trade unions which are complicit in the occupation and support the GSU’s divestment campaign;
2) support the Palestinian trade-union movement’s call for a military embargo on Israel;
3) share information with members about the siege and destruction of Gaza;
4) ask members to boycott Israeli commercial products and companies that actively support the violation of human rights;
5) recommend that the University as well as the members of our Local withdraw their participation from partnerships with Israeli universities that actively support the violation of Palestinian human rights.
For media inquiries, contact:
Susanne Waldorf, Chair, UTGSU BDS Committee