The Bronx Defenders Union – UAW Local 2325 Statement Condemning Violent State Repression of Pro-Palestine Speech and Reaffirming the Union’s Commitment to Palestinian Liberation

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The Bronx Defenders Union – UAW Local 2325
Statement Condemning Violent State Repression of Pro-Palestine Speech and Reaffirming the Union’s Commitment to Palestinian Liberation

We, The Bronx Defenders Union – UAW Local 2325, represent the workers of The Bronx Defenders. As public defenders, we are acutely aware that the police, courts, prisons, and media operate in concert to criminalize and repress dissent. In recent weeks, we have seen this pattern borne out with the NYPD’s brutal arrests of New Yorkers organizing in solidarity with Palestine.1 We are disturbed, but not surprised, by the brutality of the NYPD—a police force that travels to Israel to receive training on surveillance and racist profiling tactics.2 We condemn the violent repression of pro-Palestine organizing, call for all charges against protesters to be dropped, and reaffirm our commitment to Palestinian liberation as organized labor.

As a Union, we have also experienced state and institutional repression for expressing support for Palestinians. On October 20, 2023, our Union heeded the call of Palestinian trade unions urging workers everywhere “to end all forms of complicity with Israel’s crimes,”3 and issued a statement in support of Palestinian liberation and resistance under occupation.4 Prior to our vote on adopting this statement, The Bronx Defenders’ executive management threatened the Union with a cease-and-desist letter5 and has since publicly condemned the unionized workers of The Bronx Defenders for our statement of solidarity.6 Seven months and more than 35,000 slaughtered Palestinians later,7 The Bronx Defenders’ executive management continues to exhibit hostility towards the Union, most notably by failing to bargain in good faith as our contract expiration approaches. In the same vein, since our larger labor body ALAA-UAW Local 2325 overwhelmingly voted in favor of a statement calling for a ceasefire, an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and support for workers’ political speech,8 we have faced frivolous litigation,9 congressional subpoenas,10 and related far-right attacks.

Let us be clear: these efforts to silence our Union’s support for Palestinian liberation will never succeed and, in fact, only deepen our commitment to and solidarity with Palestine. We salute all New Yorkers, as well as all unionized and non-unionized workers, organizing for Palestine. We are especially inspired by our UAW siblings organizing across the country for Palestine, including UAW Local 4811, who authorized by a membership wide vote a historic strike in response to the violent repression of pro-Palestine students and workers.12

We further recognize our obligation to publicly defend New Yorkers harmed by state repression, even as our management fails to live up to that duty. The Bronx Defenders’ executive management has not acknowledged, much less condemned, the brutality of the NYPD’s recent attacks on protesters. For an organization nominally committed to “redefining public defense” for the South Bronx, one of the most
policed neighborhoods in New York City, this silence is a tacit endorsement of militarized policing tactics that the organization would surely decry in any other context. We call on our employer, The Bronx Defenders—which claims to be committed to “radically transforming” the “justice system”—13 to end its silence regarding this recent wave of violent arrests, which even peer organizations have condemned.14

While our employer fails to live up to its professed values, we, The Bronx Defenders Union – UAW Local 2325, remain unified in our solidarity and commitment to the liberation of oppressed peoples in The Bronx and across the world. Free Palestine, from the river to the sea.

1 See, e.g., Max Rivlin-Nadler, NYPD Raids CUNY’s City College, Violently Arrests Students, Then Hoists American Flag, HellGate (May 1, 2024),

2 See Mersiha Gadzo, How the US and Israel Exchange Tactics in Violence and Control, Al Jazeera (June 12, 2020),

3 An Urgent Call from Palestinian Trade Unions: End All Complicity, Stop Arming Israel, Progressive International (Oct. 16, 2023),

4 See The Bronx Defenders Union – UAW Local 2325 Statement in Support of Palestinians, The Bronx Defenders Union – UAW Local 2325 (Oct. 20, 2023), Notwithstanding claims in the media, the majority of Union members, and the overwhelming majority of members who participated in the vote, supported adopting the statement. See Santul Nerkar & Jonah E. Bromwich, How the Israel-Hamas War Tore Apart Public Defenders in the Bronx, N.Y. Times (Dec. 14, 2023),

5 See Akela Lacy, Public Defenders Block Their Own Union from Voting on Gaza Statement, The Intercept (Nov. 17, 2023),

6 See The Bronx Defenders Response to Its Union’s October 20 Statement, The Bronx Defenders (Nov. 15, 2023),

7 Michelle Nicholas & Emma Farge, UN Says Gaza Death Toll Over 35,000, But Not All Bodies Identified, Reuters (May 13, 2024), (“The death toll in the Gaza Strip from the Israel-Hamas war is still more than 35,000 . . . .”). When the Union issued its statement on October 20, 2023, Israel had killed around 4,000 Palestinians. See Eyad Khourdi, More than 4,000 People Killed in Gaza Strip, Palestinian Health Ministry Says (Oct. 20, 2023),

8 See Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys – UAW Local 2325,

9 See Maximillian Alvarez, The New York Supreme Court Just Blocked a Union From Voting on a Pro-Palestine Resolution, In These Times (Nov. 22, 2023),; see also Daniel Weissner, Jewish Legal Aid Lawyers Sue NYC Union Over Criticism of Israel, Reuters (Apr. 11, 2024),

10 See House Republicans Now Somehow Involved in NY Public Defenders Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, HellGate (Mar. 26, 2024),; see also U.S. House of Representatives Comm. on Education and the Workforce, Subpoena (Mar. 11, 2024),

11 See Michelle Goldberg, Why Is Congress Investigating a Union for Being Anti-Israel?, N.Y. Times (Mar. 15, 2024),

12 See Matthew Royer, United Auto Workers Local 4811 Votes to Authorize Strike, Daily Bruin (May 17, 2024),

13 See Who We Are, The Bronx Defenders (undated), (“The Bronx Defenders is a public defender nonprofit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the justice system and, in doing so, is transforming the system itself.”); see also Holistic Advocacy and Representation: How to be an Abolitionist Public Defender, Harvard Law School (Sept. 19, 2023), (“Robyn [Mar] will talk about the joys and challenges of direct services work, as well as how representing individual people ensnared in oppressive legal systems can support efforts to achieve broader systemic transformation and abolition.”).

14 See LAS Condemns NYPD Over Unlawful Actions at Student Protests, Legal Aid Society (May 2, 2024),

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