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UAW Labour for Palestine’s endorsement? ‘Uncommitted’ in Michigan

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Picture: UAW Labour for Palestine – UAW members march in solidarity with Palestine. As rank-and-file members of the UAW, we refuse to shore up the political power of officials who do not show accountability to their bases, let alone adhere to social justice imperatives to end war and genocide, the group says.

By UAW Labour for Palestine

United Auto Workers, or UAW, Labour for Palestine has unanimously voted to endorse Listen to Michigan’s “Uncommitted” strategy for the upcoming Michigan Democratic presidential primary.

Backed by Representative Rashida Tlaib (Democrat-Michigan) — who was censured late last year for her critiques of Israel’s genocide as the only Palestinian member of Congress — the “Uncommitted” strategy is designed to put pressure on President Joe Biden to call for a permanent ceasefire and stop arming Israel. To build this pressure, Tlaib and many other allies are urging Michigan voters to withhold their vote for Biden and instead cast a ballot for “uncommitted” during the state’s February 27 election.

UAW Labour for Palestine is part of a broader formation of Labour for Palestine with affiliates across the US. Founded in 2004, Labour for Palestine is a growing coalition of workers who are heeding an urgent call to global action issued on October 16, 2023 by Palestinian trade unions to end all complicity and stop arming Israel. Members of UAW Labour for Palestine respect the Palestinian trade union picket line by opposing any endorsement of Biden as long as he is providing weapons for Israeli genocide.

UAW Labour for Palestine is committed to working with grassroots groups in and beyond the labour movement that are tirelessly advancing the cause for Palestinian liberation and building the social power needed to transform the US into a peace economy.

UAW Labour for Palestine’s support for the “Uncommitted” strategy comes on the heels of what many felt was the UAW leadership’s premature and unprincipled endorsement of Biden’s re-election campaign in late January, given his role in arming and bankrolling Israel’s genocide against Palestinians. Leadership’s decision was made in secret without any input from union members. Having become the largest US union to call for a ceasefire just the month before, many rank-and-file members felt confused and betrayed by leadership’s announcement to support Biden at the annual UAW political conference, sparking a wave of internal dissent.

Joining unionists from the National Education Association (NEA) and Communications Workers of America (CWA), UAW Labour for Palestine has called on its union leadership to rescind the nomination of Biden on the grounds that it violates solidarity with Palestinian workers. As a union that includes academic workers, some of whose research is funded by the defence industry; manufacturing workers, some of whom work in plants that build weapons components; and logistics workers, some of whom help store and transport weapons destined for Israel and other militarised zones, the UAW has a unique role to play at this moment in creating the worker pressure to implement a permanent ceasefire. But doing so necessitates real pressure on Biden as part of a broader mass movement against the current escalation of Israel’s decades-long project of ethnic cleansing and genocide. The Listen to Michigan-led campaign to vote “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary is an important step in that direction.

UAW Labour for Palestine is committed to working with grassroots groups in and beyond the labour movement that are tirelessly advancing the cause for Palestinian liberation and building the social power needed to transform the US into a peace economy. As rank-and-file members of the UAW, we refuse to shore up the political power of officials who do not show accountability to their bases, let alone adhere to social justice imperatives to end war and genocide. With our union headquarters based in Michigan, we urge voters to support Listen to Michigan’s “Uncommitted” primary strategy to build critical pressure on Biden to stop enabling and arming Israel until a permanent ceasefire can actually be realised, and indeed, until Palestine is free, from the river to the sea.

UAW Labour for Palestine — formally a working group created through the UAW Region 9A Rank-and-File Assembly — is a collective of rank-and-file members organising across the UAW to demand an immediate end to Israel’s apartheid regime, occupation, and ongoing genocide in Palestine; to embrace the recent urgent call from Palestinian trade unions to stop arming Israel; and to act upon the UAW Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) sign-on letter by advancing Palestine solidarity priorities. We organise at the individual, shop, local, and regional levels, and work toward ending the International UAW’s complicity in Israeli apartheid and oppression of the Palestinian people.

This article was published on Common Dreams