By Michael Sainato

December 1, 2023  The Guardian

 

The UAW, representing 400,000 in the US and over 580,000 retired workers, makes announcement as military operations resume.

The United Auto Workers, one of the US’s largest labor unions, has come out in support of a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine as a temporary ceasefire ended on Friday with Israel resuming military operations in Gaza.

The UAW is now the largest union to have called for a ceasefire. It represents 400,000 workers in the US and more than 580,000 retired workers.

“I’m proud today to announce that the UAW international has joined the call for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine,” Brandon Mancilla, UAW director, said at a press conference on Friday outside the White House where protesters have been on hunger strike.

“From opposing fascism in WWII to mobilizing against apartheid South Africa and the Contra war, the UAW has consistently stood for justice across the globe. A labor movement that fights for social and economic justice for all workers must always stand against war and for peace.”

“Our international executive board will also be forming a divestment and just transition working group to study the history of Israel and Palestine, our union’s economic ties to the conflict, and explore how we can have a just transition for US workers from war to peace.”

Ceasefire resolutions among local and national labor unions in the US have been increasing since early October. The American Postal Workers Union, the UE union, the California Nurses Association, the Chicago Teachers Union and several other local unions and worker groups have issued public calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

The announcement comes as the UAW recently secured historic gains in new union contracts with the Big Three automakers, Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors, and have launched a nationwide unionizing campaign aimed at organizing nearly 150,000 workers at 13 other large automakers in the US.

In a social media post Shawn Fain, the UAW’s recently elected president, said he was “proud” of the decision and that the UAW had “consistently stood for justice across the globe”.

 

 

Both Joe Biden and his likely presidential rival Donald Trump have been courting the UAW and came out in support of strikers.