In These Times: "U.S. Unions Are Voicing Unprecedented Support for Palestine"

A May 26 article in In These Times provides a fairly good roundup of the diversity of union statements in support of Palestine and the Palestinian people. The Alphabet Workers Union is mentioned, as some AWU members were involved in drafting the recent letter of support for Palestine written by Google's Jewish Diaspora in Tech. I'll include some extracts from the article below.

- Bruce

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inthesetimes.com/article/palestine-israel-labor-unions-afl-cio-aft-bds-gaza

U.S. Unions Are Voicing Unprecedented Support for Palestine
While some national labor groups remain silent, union locals across the country are speaking out to defend Palestinians from Israeli aggression.

by Jeff Schuhrke, May 26, 2021

While a ceasefire announced on May 20 has helped stem some of the deadliest attacks by Israel in the latest round of aggression, Palestinians are still enduring state violence at the hands of the right-wing Israeli government. In response, Palestinian trade unions have been repeating longstanding calls for the international labor movement to join them in their struggle for freedom — including by supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which aims to put economic and diplomatic pressure on Israel to end the occupation. 

Over the past two weeks, several unions in the United States have responded to these calls with an unprecedented outpouring of support for Palestinians...

At Google, members of the recently formed Alphabet Workers Union-CWA were involved in drafting a petition circulated by Jewish employees last week calling on the company to support Palestine and reject equating opposition to Zionism with antisemitism...

One of the most significant displays of U.S. labor solidarity with Palestine in recent weeks came on May 19, when the general assembly of United Educators of San Francisco, Local 61 of the AFT, voted to approve a resolution endorsing BDS — making it the first K‑12 teacher union in the United States to do so...

“U.S. labor institutions traditionally and currently have played a role in legitimizing Israel. We need to hold those U.S. labor institutions accountable for that because Israel is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Suzanne Adely, co-director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance and president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild.

Adely... told In These Times that she has personally seen incidents of union ​“gatekeepers” actively trying to ​“keep the Palestinian question outside of labor spaces,” pointing to the example of UAW members in multiple locals voting to endorse BDS between 2014 and 2016, only to have the union’s International Executive Board undemocratically ​“nullify” those measures. 

“It’s been my experience that when we actually can bring conversations about Palestine into spaces where workers are, the workers are very sympathetic. But the problem is the gatekeepers have worked to keep those conversations out,” Adely explained.

“I always tell workers, whatever issues they care about are union issues,” Zahra said. ​“The members are the union. The union can be a machine to serve humanity, an instrument for building an equal society for all workers.”...

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