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UAW Strikes Down Local UCal Branch’s BDS Vote

The United Auto Workers International Union struck down a boycott resolution against Israel.

The University of California Student Workers Union, UAW Local 2865, which represents more than 13,000 teaching assistants, tutors and other student workers in the UC system, approved a resolution in December 2014 to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, against Israel.

On Tuesday the UAW International Executive Board stated its “unanimous belief” that BDS “espouses discrimination and vilification against Israelis and UAW members who are of Jewish lineage.”

The board determined that “the provisions of the BDS Resolution, despite semantical claims to the contrary by the local union, can easily be construed as academic and cultural discrimination against union members on the basis of their national origin and religion.”

The UAW board also called the BDS resolution “a clear and convincing breach” of the union’s constitution, and “would harm UAW-represented workers and other union members” by boycotting companies that employ these individuals, leading to “direct economic deprivation.”

Informed Grads, a UC student group that had opposed the resolution, said the UAW had set a national precedent by denying the local organization the right to adopt such a measure.

“The anti-Semitism and active promotion of hate that ran rampant throughout this BDS campaign cannot and must not be tolerated. We applaud UAW International for taking a firm position against BDS and discrimination based on religion or national origin,” Karra Greenberg of Informed Grads, who testified at the appeal hearing, said Wednesday in a statement.

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