FROM RANK AND FILE MEMBERS OF ALAA UAW 2325
For Immediate Release: November 17, 2023
Contact: UAW 2325 Labor For Palestine at email@example.com
Judge Unconstitutionally Muzzles ALAA UAW Local 2325 Membership Vote on Resolution Calling for Ceasefire in Gaza and a Free Palestine
Late this afternoon, in a desperate, last-minute attempt to silence opposition to the Israeli genocide in Gaza, Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Felice J. Muraca issued a blatantly unconstitutional Temporary Restraining Order barring ALAA UAW Local 2325, which represents approximately 2,700 legal and social service workers, from completing a membership vote on a Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech.
This unprecedented free speech violation was sought by plaintiffs Diane T. Clark, Ilana Kopmar, Isaac Altman, and Davis Rosenfeld, who exemplify a two-decade long censorship campaign against Palestinian rights advocacy at The Legal Aid Society of New York and in UAW 2325. The order was enabled by the rightwing New York Post, and by management at Legal Aid and New York Legal Assistance Group, who all publicly smeared the union resolution as “antisemitic.” As a result, one of our members was doxxed based on a pro-Palestine message she sent to our union’s internal mailing list.
On November 16, one day before the scheduled union vote, management at the Legal Aid Society (LAS) released a public statement and held a town hall meeting in which they smeared the ALAA resolution, calling it anti-Semitic to discourage members from voting in favor of the resolution. At that meeting, when pushed by members to identify any anti-Semitic statements in the resolution, LAS management pointed to the following language: “in the occupation of Palestine” and “we stand for human rights and against apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.” Far from being anti-Semitic, this language aligns with human rights organizations across the world in their assessment of Israel’s conduct in Palestine.
On the day of the union vote, management at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) sent a similar all-staff email urging union members to vote no, blasting the resolution as “anti-Semitic” and threatening that it could cause the organization to lose funding. This sentiment was reiterated in their public statement released later the same day.
In their actions, LAS and NYLAG management resorted to fear-mongering in their attempt to silence critiques of Israel by mislabeling them as anti-Semitic—a dishonest, though unfortunately widespread, practice. In doing so, they reflected that their allegiance to corporate funders takes higher priority than the organizations’ stated missions of progressive public defense.
“We, as union members, are appalled by managements’ interference in union activities, and
certain members’ anti-labor and anti-democratic actions, to stoke fear in voting members. Such conduct has exposed individual members to the threat of doxxing and further harm. They have also dangerously and falsely conflated anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism,” said Dany Greene, member of ALAA UAW Local 2325.
“As public defenders representing the most demonized and oppressed communities in the United States—poor, criminalized, immigrant, Black, and Indigenous people—we are familiar with how the U.S. political establishment legitimizes state violence against our communities through courts, prisons, police, deportations, evictions, family policing, and the media,” said Yosmin Badie, member of ALAA UAW Local 2325. “We recognize these same tactics at work in Israel’s 75-year occupation and its apartheid laws enforced by Israel’s military and increasingly fascist court system, and supported by U.S. tax dollars.”
Accordingly, it is our duty to heed the urgent call by Palestinian trade unions for organized workers worldwide “to end all forms of complicity with Israel’s crimes.” In response, the rank and file members of UAW 2325 drafted a resolution. The resolution was passed by a vote of 108-13-8 in the ALAA Joint Council, composed of delegates from local shops’ chapters, on November 14, 2023 to bring the resolution to a wider membership vote.
“We are outraged by this complicity with Israeli genocide in Gaza and the rest of Palestine, and subversion of democratic trade unionism,” said Daniel Kim, member of ALAA UAW Local 2325. In the face of illegal censorship, we Rank and File ALAA 2325 members recommit to standing with Palestinian trade unions and workers worldwide in the fight for a free Palestine.