CUNY for Palestine Welcomes PSC-CUNY Endorsement of Ceasefire and Affirms Support for the Palestinian Trade Union Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

CUNY for Palestine Welcomes PSC-CUNY Endorsement of Ceasefire and Affirms Support for the Palestinian Trade Union Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

On December 14, the PSC-CUNY, a 30,000 strong union of faculty, staff and graduate students, became the first public sector union in New York state to endorse a ceasefire, voting to sign on to this letter from the U.S. labor movement calling for “an immediate ceasefire and end to the siege of Gaza.” This is a crucial step in the movement to end the genocide in Gaza. With a vote of 117-32,  including many CUNY for Palestine members who are delegates, the PSC Delegate Assembly has joined the growing list of unions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, including the United Autoworkers International (UAW), the American Postal Workers Union, the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE), the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), and a long list of local unions, such as the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). 

 These unions have been spurred into action by the grassroots organizing efforts of rank and file trade unionists that understand the liberation of Palestine as connected to working class liberation here and across the globe. Likewise, the vote at the PSC-CUNY follows major pro-Palestine mobilizations across CUNY’s campuses, led by students and union workers. The ceasefire motion is a testament to the fact that, despite all the doxxing, harassment and repression, our CUNY community organizing in solidarity with Palestine is growing stronger each day. We draw our strength and inspiration from the steadfastness and resistance of the Palestinian people. 

CUNY for Palestine celebrates this ceasefire endorsement. At the same time, however, we recognize that a ceasefire is the floor, not the ceiling of our demands in solidarity with Palestine liberation at CUNY. Therefore, we reaffirm the CUNY-wide BDS statement, that states that “CUNY’s financial support flows into the coffers of a US backed genocidal settler colonial state, one that has callously taken the lives, land and livelihoods of Palestinians for over 75 years. CUNY cannot overlook or remain complicit any longer in the heinous crimes being committed against the Palestinians.”

We also reaffirm the 2021 CUNY Law BDS resolution and the 2021 PSC-CUNY resolution, which identified Israel as a settler-colonial and apartheid state, and called on PSC-CUNY members to “facilitate discussions at the chapter level of the…2005 call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)—a movement launched by 170 Palestinian unions, refugee networks, women’s organizations, professional associations and other Palestinian civil society organizations, which calls on ‘people of conscience in the international community’ to act as they did against apartheid South Africa ‘in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression”—and report back on these conversations to the Delegate Assembly by the end of 2021’. These chapter discussions were never held. Had they taken place, they would have offered the groundwork for what is needed at this moment.

Now, in this moment of a heightened genocidal military campaign by Israel against Palestinians, we call on the PSC-CUNY – as well as the labor federations with which it is affiliated, including the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) – to make good on the spirit of its 2021 resolution, and act now to endorse and implement BDS against all institutions complicit in Israeli settler colonialism by taking the following concrete steps:

  • Terminate all ties with the Histadrut, Israel’s racist labor federation;
  • Divest our union and employer from Israel Bonds and the Israeli military, as well as extractive and technological industries connected with the Israeli occupation and U.S. imperialism;
  • Organize PSC contingents to protests and endorse actions in solidarity with Palestine to end the genocide. 
  • Demand that the United States government immediately halt all aid and military support to Israel;
  • Protect PSC-CUNY members who engage in pro-Palestine speech and advocacy – particularly Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab workers – from doxxing, surveillance, and repression within and beyond the workplace;
  • Follow the lead of the UAW and establish a working group to investigate CUNY’s and the union’s economic ties to Israel, and to militarism more broadly.

Taking the above steps would help the union heed the call of our union siblings in the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) for US based unions to end all complicity and to stop arming Israel.

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