Resolution: Committing to a Labor Strategy towards Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions at the University of California (UAW 2865 and 5810 Berkeley)

[Adopted January 31, 2024]

Resolution: Committing to a Labor Strategy towards Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions at the University of California

Whereas: For over three months the Israeli government has pursued an indiscriminate assault on Gaza, which at the time of writing has killed more than 26,000 Palestinians in Gaza, an overwhelming majority of whom were civilian non-combatants, caused serious bodily injury to a further 65,000 Palestinians, internally displaced 1.9 million of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million, and destroyed the civilian housing, food, health, power, water, and education infrastructure needed to sustain life in Gaza; and,

Whereas: These “grave violations committed by Israel against Palestinians” in combination with “evidence of increasing genocidal incitement” against Palestinians prompted the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to issue a statement calling on the “international community to prevent genocide against the Palestinian people,” highlighting an avalanche of calls for a ceasefire and an end to the siege on Gaza from international institutions and NGOs; the government of South Africa, citing “the indiscriminate use of force and forcible removal of inhabitants” in Gaza, filed a suit on December 29 at the International Court of Justice charging Israel with “committing genocide in manifest violation of the Genocide Convention;” and,

Whereas: The current assault takes place in the context of decades of apartheid Israeli policies towards Palestinians, which began with the Nakba in 1948 when the state of Israel was established through the violent mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land and continued an ethnic cleansing project that includes a 17 year blockade of Gaza which has turned it into an “open-air prison;” illegal settlement expansion, surveillance, and state-sponsored violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem; discriminatory apartheid laws targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the denial of the internationally recognized inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes and receive reparations; and,

Whereas: On October 16, Palestinian trade unions issued a plea for workers around the globe to “end all forms of complicity with Israel’s crimes — most urgently halting the arms trade with Israel, as well as all funding and military research;” and on November 29, fifteen Palestinian institutions of higher education co-signed a letter calling for “an end to 75 years of Israel’s regime of settler-colonial oppression and apartheid;” echoing long-standing calls from historic coalitions of Palestinian civil society and political organizations in 2005 by the Boycott National Committee for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights” and in 2004 by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to “boycott … events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy;” and,

Whereas: In recent months workers in the U.S. have issued statements and taken action in response to the Palestinian trade unions’ call, including the UAW Local 551 Ford Chicago Assembly Plant workers’ call for a ceasefire and end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. After a similar successful campaign at Harvard’s HGSU-UAW 5118, academic workers at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz voted to sign on as locals to a BDS Sign-On letter that calls on the UAW to “endorse and implement the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions call from Palestinian civil society,” a plea which we second and build upon in this resolution; and,

Whereas: On October 13, the UAW 2865 Executive Board wrote a statement calling for a ceasefire and end to the occupation, which was forwarded to the UAW International Executive Board at an October 28 meeting of the 2865 Joint Council; and,

Whereas: On December 1, 2023, the UAW International Executive Board called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and announced their intent to form “a Divestment and Just Transition working group to study the history of Israel and Palestine, our union’s economic ties to the conflict, and explore how we can have a just transition for US workers from war to peace;”

THEREFORE let it be resolved: That, in the context of our local’s January 2024 membership approval vote on union efforts pursuing a ceasefire in Gaza passing by over 90%, UAW Local 2865 and 5810 at Berkeley reaffirm our local’s 2021 resolution and 2014 referendum to endorse and join the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel, and views this commitment as a necessary step towards the “just transition” called for by the IEB;

Let it be further resolved: That UAW 2865 and 5810 Berkeley urge the IEB to ensure that the working group on a “Divestment and Just Transition” has the needed resources to execute its mission, and that Palestinian, Arab and Muslim workers whose communities are disproportionately affected by U.S.-backed wars are well-represented on the committee;

Let it be further resolved: That UAW 2865 and 5810 Berkeley commits to protecting all workers at the University of California facing harassment or retaliation for their Palestinian identity or advocacy, and views such harassment and retaliation as violations of the university’s contractual and moral responsibility to ensure a respectful, non-discriminatory work environment;

Let it be further resolved: That UAW 2865 and 5810 Berkeley shall establish a BDS exploratory committee to investigate and document our current financial and labor ties to the occupation and weapons trade with Israel. The exploratory committee will present preliminary reports at the subsequent Spring 2024 Monthly Membership Meetings, which will (i) identify potential targets for a BDS campaign at the University of California, including the University’s ties to the occupation and the economic, cultural, and political structures that sustain it, and (ii) analyze what strategies could be employed against those targets, including but not limited to those listed below;

Let it be further resolved: That UAW 2865 and 5810 Berkeley will commit to a program of mass anti-imperialist political education and labor organizing which will leverage our power as workers to wage a BDS campaign at the University of California. Such a campaign may include direct actions, reminiscent of the disruption tactics used by UC students in the fight for divestment from South African apartheid; advocacy with local elected leadership; targeted campaigns against specific UC partnerships or programs; and through the formal bargaining process; and,

Let it finally be resolved: That UAW 2865 and 5810 Berkeley, on January 31, 2024, will sign the pledge to be apartheid free, which, in agreement with the Palestinian BDS National Committee, we view as a step toward building the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S., and a commitment to take further action.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.