For Immediate Release: January 23rd, 2024
UAW Labor for Palestine Demands that UAW Leadership Withhold Endorsement of President Joe Biden
An endorsement of Biden’s re-election campaign must be conditional upon Biden’s support for a permanent ceasefire, cutting all military aid to Israel, and support for Palestinian liberation
Detroit, Michigan—The rank-and-file working group UAW Labor for Palestine demands that the UAW International withhold any endorsement of President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign given the Biden administration’s funding and facilitation of the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the American government’s political and economic complicity in the murder of more than 25,000 Palestinians, including more than 10,000 children. Despite Biden’s direct complicity in these war crimes, he has been invited to speak at the UAW Community Action Program (CAP) conference, an action that directly contradicts the UAW International’s call for ceasefire in Gaza and UAW President Shawn Fain’s claims to uphold justice in and beyond the workplace.
We demand that UAW leadership forcefully condemn Biden’s actions in Gaza and commit to withhold any political endorsement of him until he calls for a permanent ceasefire, stops sending arms to Israel, and supports a free Palestine from the river to the sea. Furthermore, we call on our CAP representatives to only endorse and allocate our dues and V-CAP contributions to candidates who publicly call for a ceasefire and vote accordingly on any relevant legislation. More than 1,000 members have signed a petition supporting this demand, and many are prepared to withhold their vote for Biden.
“I am withdrawing my contribution to the UAW PAC, effective immediately,” said Merwan Beyoun, a 29-year member of UAW – Region 1A, Local 600, Steel Unit. “My primary concern is the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the lack of attention given to an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza. I firmly believe that it is crucial for individuals and organizations to take a stand against any form of genocide. Unfortunately, I have not witnessed sufficient action or advocacy from the UAW PAC in addressing this pressing issue.”
“UAW members are committed not to support Joe Biden in November unless he earns our vote,” Johannah King-Slutzky said. “Regardless of my union’s official endorsement, I will not vote for Joe Biden unless he earns our vote by honoring UAW’s long legacy of social justice by using his power to call for a ceasefire and defend the victims of genocide whose Palestinian and Arab brothers and sisters are at the heart of our UAW family.”
In all our efforts, we call on UAW leadership to honor the urgent appeal from Palestinian trade unions by taking “immediate action—wherever you are in the world—to prevent the arming of the Israeli state and the companies involved in the infrastructure of the blockade.” Specifically, we reiterate our demands from December 6th which call on leadership at the local, regional, and international levels of the UAW to take action on the promises to investigate their economic ties to Israel and to support a just transition.
Rank-and-file member Niki Thomas summarized the core issues at stake in a speech today on the CAP conference floor. “[Palestine] is a worker issue for us,” they said. “We do not want to be contributing to this kind of mass death or any wars like this around the world.” We urge our fellow unionists to stand with us against any UAW International’s endorsement of President Biden’s re-election campaign and organize to end the labor movement’s complicity in the genocide in Gaza and throughout the state of Palestine.
About UAW Labor for Palestine: UAW Labor for Palestine—formally a working group created through the UAW Region 9A Rank-and-File Assembly—is a collective of rank-and-file members organizing across the UAW to demand an immediate end to Israel’s apartheid regime, occupation, and ongoing genocide in Palestine, to embrace the recent urgent call from Palestinian trade unions to stop arming Israel, and to act upon the UAW Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) sign-on letter by advancing Palestine solidarity priorities. We organize at the individual, shop, local, and regional levels, and we work towards ending the International UAW’s complicity in Israeli apartheid and oppression of the Palestinian people.
About the UAW Region 9A Rank-and-File Assembly: The Region 9A Rank-and-File Assembly (RFA) is the only regional organizing space of its kind in the UAW. In it, rank-and-file members across all industries develop cross-sector strategies to strengthen our solidarity within our union and to build a stronger UAW. In addition to UAW Labor for Palestine, RFA working groups currently exist for reproductive justice, higher education, union recognition and inclusive units, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and organizing in the social services sector. All regional initiatives launched by the RFA—from working group creation to campaigns and direct action—are developed and led by our union’s rank and file.