UAW Local 2865, which represents 13,000 student workers in the UC system, is now the first labor union in the United states to officially support the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) campaign against Israel. On December 4, 1,411 student workers voted for the BDS resolution, while 749 students voted against it–a 65% to 35% margin.
The BDS movement claims that Israel violates human rights and would end cooperation between universities and corporations with the Jewish state. The resolution before UAW Local 2865 requires the the University of California and UAW International to divest their holdings from Israeli state institutions and international companies allegedly “complicit in severe and ongoing human rights violations as part of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.”
52% of the voting members of UAW Local 2865 signed an academic boycott pledge. UAW Local 2865 is connected to UAW International, the chief apparatus of the United Auto Workers.
UC students have become increasingly hostile toward Israel. Two-thirds of UC student governments have passed BDS resolutions in the past two years. That animus was supported by 112 faculty members around the world, who wrote in an open letter before the UC vote:
Faculty across the country have taken a position on the right side of history by supporting Palestinian self-determination and supporting BDS as a vehicle to challenge Israel’s violations of human rights. Similar racism in apartheid South Africa led to students and professors in the US engaging in boycott and divestment; increasingly, they are doing the same to challenge bigoted Israeli policies and laws that are upheld by unconditional US support.
In an open letter published a few weeks before the 4 December vote, 112 members of faculty around the world encouraged UAW Local 2865 to take a stand in solidarity with Palestinians.