Monthly Archives: July 2022

Press Release: UAW 2325 (Association of Legal Aid Attorneys) Votes to Divest From Israel Bonds


New York City, July 26, 2022. On Friday, July 22nd, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA/UAW 2325) passed a resolution calling for the divestment of UAW member dues from Israel bonds. The resolution was adopted by a wide margin in a membership-wide vote, with 75% of those who participated voting in favor. 

The resolution sets itself out as a direct response to the May 2021 call by Palestinian labor organizations, made during a historic general strike, for union workers around the world to join in the anti-apartheid movement for Palestinian liberation by supporting the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which calls for an end to an end to Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return. 

The resolution comes nearly half a century after Detroit autoworkers held a 1973 wildcat strike to demand that UAW divest from Israel bonds, which fund dispossession of the Palestinian people. A similar call was adopted in an overwhelming vote by the 13,000 teaching assistant and student-worker members of UAW 2865 at the University of California in 2014, before being undemocratically “nullified” by UAW’s International Executive Board. 

The ALAA/UAW 2325 resolution endorses collective action in support of Palestinian liberation and calls on UAW to divest from its holdings  in Israel bonds. The resolution also calls on UAW to practice transparency in its holdings funded by member dues, and to develop democratic processes for members to control further investments. 

“As legal aid workers, we should ask whether our union dues are being used to promote justice or inhibit it,” said Ihab Mikati, one of the members who proposed the resolution. “How can we build a legitimate movement while materially supporting exploitation, or occupation, or apartheid? Labor is stronger when we recognize that solidarity extends beyond the walls of our offices.”  

“By this landslide membership vote, we join the growing ranks in labor who honor the BDS picket line,” said Michael Letwin, former president of UAW 2325, co-convener of Labor for Palestine, and co-founder of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return. “Solidarity with Palestine is natural given our work as public defenders and indigent legal services workers, and intersects with our union’s tradition of support for labor, Black Lives, immigrants, reproductive rights, and countless other justice movements.” 

Ihab Mikati – 
Michael Letwin –

Resolution on Divestment from Israel Bonds and on Transparency in Investments funded through Union Membership Dues (Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325, July 22, 2022)

Resolution on Divestment from Israel Bonds and on Transparency in Investments funded through Union Membership Dues

The following resolution was approved by a membership vote by a margin of 555-182:

Whereas in May of 2021, Palestinian labor unions organized a historic general strike and issued a call appealing to their union siblings around the world to take a role in helping to “build a new anti-apartheid movement” through our work; and

Whereas current investments funded by UAW member dues are not disclosed to members, but holdings in Israel bonds by the American labor community have in the past been estimated to total billions of dollars; and

Whereas UAW’s International Executive Board has, without adequate justification, nullified democratic resolutions by locals which called for divestment from Israel; and

Whereas human rights experts at international and Israeli human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and B’Tselem have concluded that the Israel now functions as an apartheid state; and

Whereas Israeli law grants a high degree of free movement to Jewish settlers in occupied territory, while strictly policing movement of Palestinians in that same space; and

Whereas the goals of an international workers’ movement are advanced by rejecting systems such as apartheid that privilege one particular ethnic/religious group over another; and

Whereas ALAA 2325 has previously recognized the societal harm and the discrediting effect upon labor movements that results from union cooperation with bodies “which uphold and reinforce racist oppression,” such as police unions;

Therefore be it resolved that ALAA 2325 supports taking action, both as individual members and as a chapter collectively, in support of Palestinian liberation from Israeli apartheid; and

Be it further resolved that ALAA 2325 calls on UAW International to divest itself from any and all Israel bonds; and

Be it further resolved that ALAA 2325 calls on UAW to practice full transparency in any current or future holdings funded by member dues; and

Be it further resolved that ALAA 2325 calls on UAW to develop democratic processes by which members can call for divestment from funds that are in conflict with members’ interests and values.