‘CEASEFIRE NOW’ UAW Members ERUPT At Biden Over Israel (Breaking Points)

Video online here.

Max Alvarez interviews three UAW members who protested Joe Biden for his refusal to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

hi I’m Maximillian Alvarez I’m the

0:02editor and chief of the real news

0:04network and host of the podcast working

0:07people and this is the art of class war

0:10on breaking points on Wednesday of this

0:12week sha Fame the reformed president of

0:16the United Auto Workers who led his

0:18Union through last year’s historic

0:20standup strike at Ford General Motors

0:24and stellantis formerly endorsed Joe

0:27Biden for president in the 2024 general

0:30elections on behalf of the Union which


0:34391,000 active members and more than

0:38580,000 retired members feain famously

0:42refused to endorse Biden or any other

0:45candidate last year warning that the

0:47Union’s coveted endorsement would need

0:49to be earned especially when it came to

0:52how candidates responded to the Auto

0:55Workers strike in September and October

0:57but fain’s endorsement of Biden and

1:00Biden’s subsequent acceptance of that

1:02endorsement was greeted with Defiance

1:05from a contingent of rank and file UAW

1:07members who argue that with this

1:10endorsement the union is contradicting

1:13its own stated support for an immediate

1:16permanent ceasefire in Gaza endorsing

1:19Joe Biden for President Joe Biden a

1:22self-proclaimed Zionist whose

1:24administration has been the number one

1:26military financial and political

1:29supporter of Israel’s genocidal assault

1:32on Gaza and its ethnic cleansing of

1:35Palestinians is a clear and blatant

1:38contradiction that undercuts uh fain’s

1:41and the uaw’s stated commitment to quote

1:44standing for justice across the globe

1:47and some UAW members took direct action

1:50to disrupt Biden’s address to the union

1:52on Wednesday in order to hold the union

1:55leadership to their own words here is

1:58cell phone video from the action which

2:01workers shared with us no matter what

2:04that was it should





2:22be for this breaking Point’s exclusive

2:25edition of The Art of class War I got to

2:28interview three of the members who

2:30disrupted Biden’s speech on Wednesday

2:33less than 1 hour after they were dragged

2:36out of the event by Secret Service I sat

2:38down and spoke with shahinaz ganed Nikki

2:41Thomas and Johanna king slotsky of UAW


2:462710 here’s our conversation which we

2:49recorded from the real news Studio here

2:51in Baltimore my name is shahen asgan I

2:54am with um UAW nor Eastern University um

3:00organizing and higher education I am a

3:02fourth year JD PhD student in

3:05criminology and criminal justice um and

3:08we just won our election back in

3:09September so we are new to the UAW yes

3:14um and hello my name is Nikki Thomas I

3:16am also at nor Eastern University with

3:19genu UAW as a higher ed organizer um I’m

3:22in the bioengineering Department if


3:25cares I’m Johanna uh I am a fifth your

3:30PhD candidate and uh Teach as well at

3:33Columbia University I’m getting my

3:35degree in English English and

3:37comparative literature um and I’m a

3:39member of UAW Local 2710 awesome well

3:42again can’t thank y’all enough for uh

3:45making it on this call uh we are

3:48recording this on Wednesday literally

3:51one hour after uh you know the UAW

3:55president sha feain endorsed um

3:58President Joe Biden in the

4:002024 elections on behalf of the UAW and

4:04y’all were there at the event in

4:07Washington DC along with other union

4:10members um making a statement protesting

4:14demonstrating in the midst of this event

4:17uh calling for an immediate ceasefire

4:20demanding that the UAW you know uh

4:23continue to hold President Biden and his

4:25administration accountable for their

4:28complicity in continuing to support uh

4:32the the ongoing genocidal violence in

4:34Gaza I wanted to just ask uh since we

4:37are lucky enough to have the three of

4:38you on here if we could just go back

4:41around the table and and have y’all give

4:43our viewers and listeners a play byplay

4:46of what happened today from start to

4:49finish yes so um I want to give the

4:52broader context first that uh a group of

4:55us within the UAW has formed called

4:58Labor for Palestine UAW labor for

5:00Palestine UW labor for Palestine and we

5:03have been organizing um and particularly

5:07during this UAW conference the cap

5:09conference um around more actions

5:13related to pushing our elected officials

5:16to support a ceasefire so the UAW had

5:19already passed internal resolutions and

5:21we knew that the international executive

5:23board including president Shan feain

5:25supported a ceasefire in Palestine and

5:28now it was time for us to really show

5:32that we wanted to make sure that our

5:34political endorsements were going to

5:36align with that so that’s the context of

5:38the broader week we got about a thousand

5:41signatures um in the span of from Monday

5:45to now so three days um from our members

5:49uh 7:50 at this conference and then many

5:52members sent the link to the petition

5:54back to their own home units as well and

5:56we got signatures that way and

5:58throughout the conference we have been

6:00demonstrating every time that someone

6:03has gotten on the stage who doesn’t want

6:04to talk about the issue we’ve erupted en

6:07chance of ceasefire now we did this with

6:10Bernie we did this quite a bit we’re

6:13lobbying on the hill as well um to get

6:16our elected officials to support a

6:18permanent not just a temporary

6:20ceasefire um and we spoke to the

6:22international executive board because

6:24there was a lot of rumors going around

6:26that they were going to endorse Joe

6:28Biden even though he has still refused

6:30to align himself with the uaw’s position

6:33on a permanent ceasefire and we felt and

6:36the members who signed on to that

6:38petition felt that that was not okay

6:41that the UAW really need to to stick to

6:44our values and stick to the statements

6:46that we had made and that President Sean

6:48Fain had made that we weren’t going to

6:50just hand out endorsements to

6:52politicians they needed to get in line

6:55on the issues that labor cares about and

6:57ceasefire is an issue that labor cares

7:00about so we stood up today because the

7:03international executive board did not

7:05listen to us and did not listen to its

7:07membership and went ahead to endorse

7:09President Biden anyways um we stood up

7:13we had a Palestinian flag that said UAW

7:16labor for Palestine we started to chant

7:19ceasefire now while having our fists up

7:22with a solidarity Fist and we were

7:25immediately rushed by Secret Service

7:27agents um who who grabbed us um at some

7:32point anywhere from between half a dozen

7:34to a dozen were surrounding us um and

7:36dragged us out in a line um as we were

7:40still holding on to the flag trying to

7:41rip the flag out of our hands they

7:43knocked two of our members over they

7:45tried to knock me onto the two of them

7:48while they were on the floor you can see

7:49that in the video with me trying to like

7:52push back against the person who was

7:54holding me and who was trying to push me

7:56onto the other two that are sitting here

7:58next to me and we were ultimately

8:00dragged out of the conference Hall and

8:02removed from the um floor that it was

8:06happening on in the in the conference

8:10Hotel yeah um that was a pretty good

8:13summary of everything that happened uh

8:16there’s not much to add on though I will

8:17say you will probably see like maybe

8:20different statements about how other UAW

8:22members chanted over us um while we were

8:26while we were chanting and um I

8:28definitely think we’ve talked to a lot

8:31of people actually at this conference

8:33over the last few days who have come up

8:35to us and have been supportive on a

8:38personal level but when it comes to this

8:41they seem not ready to publicly come out

8:44and support in the way that we did um

8:47today and I think a lot of it has to do

8:50I’m sure we’ll get into this later but I

8:52think a lot of it has to do with fear

8:54like our politics these days are all

8:57about fear uh the Republic Republican

8:59party runs on fear the Democratic party

9:01runs on fear and there’s a big there’s a

9:04lot of talk within the UAW about fear of

9:07losing their jobs fear of what’s coming

9:09next um and so I think this is a

9:12reflection of that um but I am extremely

9:15disappointed especially since uh it’s

9:18coming off of multiple speeches by

9:20President Shan feain that seem to say

9:22the exact opposite of what happened

9:24today and what President Biden was

9:26saying today and uh if I’m being quite

9:29Frank very disappointing considering

9:31this morning rashita T came and spoke

9:34with us as well um and spoke to our

9:36membership about what it meant to her so

9:40uh that’s all I have to add on that

9:43anyway I think it’s it’s hard

9:46because being here we just walk around

9:49with the CFA and people come up to us

9:52and say like thank you for doing this

9:55like so many people here are behind the

9:58ceasefire and it’s like it’s it’s a

10:01really warm amazing atmosphere and

10:04people are like fired up about this and

10:09I think uh you know it’s true there’s a

10:11kind of UAW members are known for being

10:14Fearless but there’s a there’s in

10:17moments a culture of fear that we

10:19haven’t gotten rid of yet and so I think

10:22I mean I I don’t want to speak for all

10:23three of us you guys can chime in but I

10:25think that we’re trying to show that you

10:27don’t need to be afraid to stand up to

10:30power and kind of present another

10:32positive option A positive Vision that

10:34isn’t rooted in just like being afraid

10:36of consequences and letting that

10:38determine everything of course you have

10:40to make a political calculus but it

10:42doesn’t have to be rooted only in fear

10:44it can also be rooted in a promise of a

10:46better world and that’s what we’re

10:47trying to create

10:50yes right I mean you know as as we

10:52mentioned in the introduction to this

10:54segment I mean at the time that the

10:57United Auto Workers uh uh formally

11:00signed on to the call for a ceasefire in

11:04Palestine um they were the largest Union

11:07to do so um only replaced this week by

11:10the Service international employees uh

11:13uh Union SEIU service employees

11:16International Union uh who have also um

11:19put out a call for permanent ceasefire

11:22uh and as y’all mentioned like Shan Fain

11:24himself uh you know has been um you know

11:27really at the Forefront of of the labor

11:29movement speaking out against the

11:31violence in Gaza us support of it uh and

11:35yeah how could it not uh undercut that

11:38message to then kind of turn around and

11:40endorse Joe Biden the the

11:42self-proclaimed Zionist president of the

11:44United States of America who has shown

11:47uh no signs really at all of um ending

11:50the US the continual us support for the

11:53very genocidal violence that the union

11:56was calling uh to end so I wanted to

11:59sort of um ask about that right because

12:01I think one question folks will have and

12:03especially given the fact that the

12:04United Auto Workers is not only you know

12:08representing uh workers in the Auto

12:10industry but as you three are are living

12:12proof of UAW has expanded to a number of

12:14other Industries including higher

12:16education uh where it has a a strong

12:19foothold in a number of universities

12:21around the country um and that’s an

12:23important part of the Union’s membership

12:25as well and I canit Envision folks

12:28watching this in trying to sort of pit

12:30that side of the UAW against you know

12:32the traditional Blue Collar you know

12:34rough neck sort of industrial worker

12:37side and the auto manufacturing side of

12:39the Union so I wanted to ask if you

12:41could comment on that if the folks who

12:42signed the petition who have been coming

12:45up to you represent the other sides of

12:47the UAW and if you wanted to to mention

12:50that for viewers and listeners and also

12:53if we could just go back around the

12:54table one more time and and sort of um

12:57yeah talk about about why this was so

13:00important to you all as union members as

13:04workers um and what your message is to

13:06to folks out there uh who are in a union

13:09or you know who are not about why they

13:12should get involved uh in this fight and

13:14what they can do to push for a ceasefire

13:17and to end this madness in

13:21Gaza well I think my answer will

13:23hopefully respond to both of your

13:25questions I think to start off um we

13:27want to really fundamentally reject the

13:29idea that this is some sort of highered

13:31workers versus blue collar workers or

13:34versus Auto Workers type of dynamic the

13:37people that have that are at this

13:39conference and that have been coming up

13:40to us and supporting us have covered all

13:43the industries that the UAW represents

13:46including people who are on the assembly

13:49lines for defense companies and are

13:52making some of the Weaponry that the US

13:55is sending to Palestine currently um or

13:59to Israel actually to sending sending to

14:02Israel to use on

14:04Palestinian unforunately and even those

14:08workers are extremely interested and

14:11have been talking to us about ways that

14:14we can figure out a just transition for

14:17the defense industry in this country so

14:19that we can keep those good union jobs

14:21but stop using the US defense industry

14:25as a way to oppress and colonize other

14:28countries or in this case to help

14:30another country colonize another country

14:33so I want to say that it’s all parts of

14:35the UAW membership that are on board

14:38with this and this is not a higher Edon

14:41issue I’d also say that um a big part of

14:45why this is a labor issue is not just

14:47because of international solidarity

14:49we’ve had calls from trade unionists in

14:51Palestine to stand up in solidarity with

14:53them and I think people have heard that

14:55but also because here in the US workers

14:59not just us other Industries as well

15:02have been facing a lot of push back from


15:06employers um when they try to speak out

15:09even the most sort of mild level of

15:11support of Palestine any even vaguely

15:15anti-israel statement is being used by

15:18employers at this point to suspend

15:21people to fire people in various ways um

15:24not just at our campuses where we’re

15:26employed but in different Industries as

15:28well and so I think that part of that

15:31fear as my comrades were saying is what

15:35is motivating people to really be

15:37concerned about voicing the support that

15:40they’ve privately shared with us out

15:42into the world I’d also want to name

15:45respectability Politics as one of the

15:47things that maybe have contributed to

15:50people shouting UAW UAW in response to

15:53our calls for ceasefire now because

15:55every other time we did it at this

15:57conference people were in extreme

16:00amounts of support and we coming up and

16:02congratulating us afterwards but after

16:04this particular instance we had the UA

16:06wuaw chance and then we had people

16:09coming up and say did you know you just

16:11disrupted the president did you just

16:13know that you disrespected the president

16:15I think this idea even though we live in

16:18a democracy even though we have free

16:20speech some people still hold on to this

16:22idea of treating our politicians like

16:26they’re almost Kings like royalty that

16:28we have to show this particular amount

16:31of Defence to and we’re rejecting that

16:33we’re saying the UAW has power right Joe

16:36Biden would not have come to the UAW

16:38looking for an endorsement if workers

16:40did not have power in this country we do

16:42not need to cow down in fear we need to

16:47stand up together and show that workers

16:49across this country support a free

16:51Palestine and support a permanent

16:53ceasefire right um I I I definitely

16:57agree with everything uh that China has

16:59just said and just to add on to that

17:01because I know you also asked about like

17:03what can we do um a lot of these

17:06conversations that we’ve been having

17:08actually all boil down to just awareness

17:12and education like a lot of the

17:14conversations I’ve been having with

17:15people they don’t know all the

17:16information maybe that we know about

17:18what’s H happening um in in Palestine or

17:21even the history of the conflict and so

17:24a lot of the conversation that we’ve

17:25been having have just been going over

17:27some of that basic information every

17:29single person I’ve talked to once I’ve

17:31done that like go wow I didn’t realize I

17:36didn’t know and so I think when it comes

17:38to other unionists trying to do similar

17:41kinds of movements in their unions

17:43getting their unions call for a

17:44ceasefire I think people really have to

17:46spend a good amount of time on speaking

17:49with their fellow union members and and

17:52and educating them on the truth because

17:55the only thing that they get to see is

17:57what American media shows them and as we

18:00all know at this current time it’s full

18:03of propaganda and lies um and they’ve

18:06never even heard the other side of this

18:08story so I think that’s going to be

18:11really important for us even moving

18:12forward um that educational aspect of it

18:16um because I think once people realize

18:19what’s actually going on that’s when

18:21they really start standing behind us

18:23like there were people I talked to over

18:24multiple days who on this last day came

18:27up and said hey we just signed I just

18:29signed your petition um and just to

18:32clarify the petition that we have

18:34specifically is asking for UAW cap to

18:37not endorse or fund candidates who have

18:40not called for a ceasefire so while what

18:42we saw there was like people chanting

18:45over us in the background we are still

18:48actively working to make some kind of

18:50essentially BDS happen within our

18:53Union yeah um I think that was all great

18:57and I guess I

18:58I want to add

19:00like anybody who came here to this

19:04conference will know that there is no

19:08division in UAW between the different

19:11Industries this is such a space of

19:13warmth and solidarity yeah and people

19:16know what our views are because we’ve

19:17been walking around with the cfas the

19:19entire time we all have ceasefire badges

19:22on our stickers there we gave out

19:24stickers people are wearing these all

19:25over the place by the way like all

19:27people are just it’s like you just walk

19:30around and you hit five people with a

19:32ceasefire sticker it’s everywhere right

19:34and we’ve been chanting getting up it’s

19:36speeches like there are a million

19:38opportunities and people people know

19:40that we’re in higher red too uh there

19:43are a million opportunities for people

19:46to you know say something unored about

19:50us or to us doesn’t happen we’re only

19:52getting thank you thank you for doing

19:55that like how can I be part of it we

19:57handed out flyers we literally ran out

20:00like three or four times of people

20:02asking for links to the petition or our

20:04website to join the movement like this

20:06is a big Grassroots movement and people

20:08here are interested and excited about it

20:11the only thing is you know convincing

20:13people to move past this initial anxiety

20:16that they’re still working through of

20:19like what can I do when I’m in a room

20:22with the president of the United States

20:24and he stands for something different

20:26you know we have to show people no it’s

20:28safe to do this you can you can take

20:30action to fulfill your vision for a

20:32better world but they share that vision

20:34and I really I see our movement growing

20:37every single day the fact that we

20:38managed to get like nearly a thousand

20:41signatures in the space of a couple days

20:43when we’re like all sleep deprived and

20:45barely coherent when we’re writing a

20:47petition that’s like that’s incredible

20:50that’s a sign of people being like fired

20:52up and I know there’s going to be some

20:55some change in UAW as long as the

20:57leadership follows through with their

20:59values and listens to their members

21:01right if I could add on really really

21:03quickly to that even because we’ve been

21:06chanting actually for the entire

21:07conference even right before President

21:10Biden came out people knew we were gonna

21:12like our members knew we were gonna do

21:15everybody knew and we had like I want to

21:17say at least like seven different people

21:19approach us before to like thank us

21:23offer us support they knew they were

21:25like if you get arrested we’re here for

21:27you like that all happened right before

21:31so even though like it may seem like we

21:33have Division I really don’t think I

21:36don’t perceive it that way we’re holding

21:38up the solidarity fist I don’t know hard

21:41because it got BL bled by secret service

21:43we were we were not alone there was

21:45solidarity in the room even if it was

21:47difficult to hear our table was full of

21:49people from other Industries it was like

21:51I’m goingon to say like 75% 25% of like

21:54these more conventional like Factory

21:57type jobs jobs manufacturing jobs and

21:59then the higher ed books we’re all

22:00sitting at the same table it’s like they

22:02took a p they asked for a picture

22:04together with us before CU they knew

22:06this would happen up their fists like

22:08we’re all on the same team here yeah

22:11just everyone offering can we call a

22:12lawyer for you can we do anything like

22:14are you concerned about getting arrested

22:15are you concerned about anything

22:16happening can we raise funds jail bond

22:19like jail funds people were expecting us

22:22to do this because we done it I mean we

22:24started chanting ceasefire now in the

22:27middle of one of Sean f speeches and he

22:29smiled and I have it on my Twitter and

22:31on the UAW Twitter actually so like

22:34people knew and they were happy for us

22:36and they were supportive going into it

22:39and I really just do want to highlight

22:40that I don’t think that there is

22:42division between higher ed and the rest

22:44of the UAW Industries what we did was in

22:47the very Spirit of the UAW and in the

22:49spirit of of unionists in general that’s

22:52right yes that’s right and we’ll be

22:53doing it again until President Biden

22:55calls for a ceas that’s correct that’s

22:56right free Palestine fre paltin hell

22:59yeah so that was shahinaz ganed Nikki

23:03Thomas and Johanna King three

23:05union members and organizers with UAW


23:092710 I want to thank our guests again

23:12for joining us and I want to thank you

23:14all for watching this segment with

23:15breaking points and be sure to subscribe

23:18to my news Outlet the real news network

23:20with links in the description of this

23:22video see you soon for the next edition

23:25of The Art of class war take care of

23:28yourselves take care of each other

23:30solidarity forever hey guys if you like

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