Unite All Workers for Democracy Statement Against the Repression of the Palestine Movement (UAWD)

Original online here.

Unite All Workers for Democracy Statement Against the Repression of the Palestine Movement

Statement from UAWD, a caucus of the UAW, against the repression of the Palestine movement

UAWD May 4, 2024

Two raised fists, one holds pencils and another holds a wrench

In light of the brutal attacks on the Palestine movement in recent days and weeks, Left Voice will be re-publishing the statements of different groups against the repression. Today we share the statement from Unite All Workers for Democracy, a caucus within the United Auto Workers.

Unite All Workers For Democracy Stands With Student Protests in the U.S. To End the Israel’s War Against the Palestinian People

Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD) issues the following statement regarding the repression of university student encampments and protests across the U.S. in support of the Palestinian people: 

Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD), the rank-and-file caucus in the United Auto Workers (UAW), stands in solidarity with the student movement for Palestinian liberation that is sweeping the country. In over 100 encampments, students, including many student workers, and their campus supporters are demanding that universities divest from Israeli bonds and companies that do business with Israel. UAWD demands an end to the violent repression of these peaceful protests and an end to the violation of the student’s right to assemble and speak freely. UAWD is firm in its position that all criminal charges levied against the hundreds of people arrested must be dropped immediately.

UAW members are among those who have been arrested and brutalized during these protests, including during the violent crackdown by police at Columbia University and the City College of New York on Tuesday night and at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) this morning. In each case, the university invited police onto campus, underlining their central role in the repression of students and workers. The UAW represents higher education workers at a number of colleges and universities involved in these protests. Members of other unions, including the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, have also been arrested in the act of protecting their students.

At our December membership meeting, UAWD passed a resolution reiterating our support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and stating that we “commit to organizing support for Palestinian liberation … and to making BDS the official position of the UAW International.”

Adithya Gungi, a UAWD member, UAW Labor for Palestine organizer, and Columbia student worker at SWC-UAW Local 2710, said of the clearing of the Columbia encampment, “This was a moment of loss, but also optimism. We must deepen our conversations with our coworkers, building coalition with other social justice demands, while we call on UAW IEB leadership to pressure other unions to divest. We must begin to bring more and more of our siblings in weapons manufacturing and all the industries that profit from and ensure the perpetuation of the war machine.”

Aaron Berman, a UAWD member, New School student worker, and recent member of the SENS-UAW Local 7902 bargaining committee, has been a participant in the New School’s encampment and divestment bargaining process. 

Berman said, “University management and politicians are clearly seeking to break decades long precedent against the use of police force to suppress university dissent under the cover of bipartisan support for U.S. backed Israeli genocide in Gaza. It is urgent that rank and file trade unionists stand up immediately in opposition to the repression of student protest and in support of both student demands at our workplaces and  the divestment of our own union funds from those who profit from genocide and imperial war.”

It is powerful to see students and workers organizing together against repression on campuses and beyond. As Brandon Mancilla, UAW Region 9A Director and UAWD member, said, “Workers have strategically and in solidarity decided to become a part of this movement as workers, not just as students. That’s a profound shift in consciousness within the UAW, but also within the labor movement as a whole.”

Shawn Fain, UAW International Union President and UAWD member, said in his statement, “We call on the powers that be to release the students and employees who have been arrested, and if you can’t take the outcry, stop supporting this war.”

About Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD) — UAWD is a political caucus in the UAW organizing for democracy and militancy in the union. If you would like more information, please contact Scott Houldieson at 219.801.2002 or uawdemocracy@gmail.com.

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