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.”