Report: UC Student-Workers Union Demands Divestment from ‘Oppression of Palestinians’

Israel accused Human Rights Watch's local director of supporting the campaign to boycott the country
AFP

TEL AVIV – A University of California student workers’ union demanded as part of a renewed contract that UC administrators divest from companies that profit from “the oppression of Palestinians,” the Algemeiner reported. 

Representing some 16,000 members, the UC Student-Workers Union (UAW Local 2865) shared a list of demands for its new agreement that included “divest[ment] from corporations that profit from the prison industry, fossil fuels and the oppression of Palestinians, including with funds invested in UC Safe Harbor.”

The four-year term of the current contract is set to expire at the end of the month.

UAW Local 2865 is a branch of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), which has more than 400,000 active members in North America comprised of teaching assistants, graduate student instructors, readers, graders and tutors.

The bargaining document contained no mention of any other foreign conflict.

The demand was apparently drawn up by the union’s divestment working group, which was charged with targeting companies that profit from, among other things, “armed occupation.” The demand did not appear in a list of “Initial Bargaining Goals” the union presented to administrators earlier this year, the Algemeiner stated.

UAW Local 2865 had initially said it would endorse its latest list of demands during a meeting with administrators last week at UC-Santa Cruz.

Yet according to the report, the union said that administrators offered “little to no movement on core issues” at the meeting. Another round of bargaining took place on Wednesday at UC-Riverside and is set to continue on Thursday.

In 2014, UAW Local 2865 passed what it said was a historic vote making it the first major labor union in the U.S. to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. However, the resolution was overturned by UAW’s International Executive Board (IED), which determined that it violated its own constitution.

“[It] is our unanimous belief that the notion of BDS, credibly, espouses discrimination and vilification against Israelis and UAW members who are of Jewish lineage,” the IED said at the time.

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