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NYU Graduate Student Union repeals pro-BDS resolution

June 28, 2016
by Lawrence Gulotta

NYU Graduate Student Union repeals pro-BDS resolution – International – Jerusalem Post


According to the FB page GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine

June 21 at 10:17pm ·

Amazing news! Not only has UAW accepted our appeal to nullify GSOC-UAW Local 2110‘s BDS resolution, they have taken it one step further. No UAW-affiliated union, including student unions at 15 universities, is allowed to endorse BDS. You can read the letter from the President of UAW International, as well as our press release, at this link.

As we celebrate this victory, keep in mind that the battle is far from over. The NYU AWDU caucus, which holds a strong majority of GSOC’s elected leadership, has made BDS an official part of their platform, and they even mentioned it in their statement on the Orlando shooting. Several new (contested, but active) stewards and summer unit representatives are involved BDS activists, and one of the candidates for Fall Unit Representative expressed their enthusiasm for BDS in their candidate statement. But we are optimistic that, despite the challenges, we will continue to have success in our fight for open dialogue and academic freedom, and this new ruling from UAW International is a significant victory along that path.


Also see here, which includes the letter to Maida Rosenstein, head of UAW 2110:


Also see here, which I reproduce in its entirety:


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United Auto Workers Union
CONTACT: Julie Kushner, (860) 674-0143


NATIONAL – An independent review board of the United Auto Workers (UAW) – a union that represents more than 30,000 graduate workers coast to coast – this month issued its final decision upholding the earlier decision of the International Executive Board (IEB) that the resolution on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) adopted by members of Local 2865 at the University of California in December 2014 exceeded its authority under the UAW Constitution.

After the board reviewed the constitution, bylaws and details of the vote at Local 2865 as well as the appeals from a UAW member and the local union, it concluded on May 16th that Local 2865’s vote to support the BDS resolution exceeded its authority under the UAW Constitution.

“The UAW is comprised of a very diverse membership and the strict adherence to our democratic principles is the only way to ensure fairness and that the best interests of all our members are protected,” said Julie Kushner, Director, UAW Region 9A. “We remain focused on supporting graduate workers’ fight for rights and benefits at the universities where they work, and helping to make sure they win on the issues that matter to them most, including fair wages and benefits, clear and reliable scheduling and contract enforcement.”

The UAW currently represents about 400,000 active workers and 580,000 retired workers and is responsible for making political decisions and endorsements that reflect the majority of its membership. Members advocating for BDS include fewer than 3,000 workers nationwide – less than 1% percent of UAW membership.

The UAW’s robust, independent review process and structure is unique to the US labor movement, with a set of independent legal scholars – the Public Review Board (PRB) – that helps to ensure that members’ best interests are protected.

From coast to coast, graduate teaching assistants and research assistants are forming their unions with the UAW and winning a voice at the table to help make their universities the best they can be. The UAW currently represents workers at 45 university campuses, including at the University of California, University of Washington, University of Connecticut, and at New York University (NYU). After an eight-year effort to win back their union after the Bush-era NLRB stripped bargaining rights in 2004, NYU graduate workers supported by the UAW won a neutrality agreement with the university administration in 2013 and negotiated another ground breaking contract that was ratified in 2015.

Since then, the UAW has supported active graduate worker campaigns to form their unions at Columbia, Harvard, the New School, and more, and with workers at Columbia, UAW is leading the legal challenge of the 2004 NLRB ruling that stripped graduate workers of their union rights.



Learned of this today


By DANIELLE ZIRI  |  The Jerusalem Post  |  06/23/2016 18:42

NYU Graduate Student Union repeals pro-BDS resolution

“Whatever ‘pledges’ union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott,” said the group’s parent union.

New York University banner. (photo credit:NYU PHOTO BUREAU)


NEW YORK – Two months after the Graduate Student Union at New York University voted to join the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel, the decision was repealed by the group’s parent union, the United Auto Workers.

The decision made this week was the result of some members of the NYU student union (GSOC) filing an official appeal against the April decision, claiming it violated the UAW constitution’s own bylaws.

The appeal, signed by Ilana Ben-Ezra, member of GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine, pointed out that the resolution is illicit because it violates the UAW’s pledge “to maintain free relations with other organizations.” Ben-Ezra also noted that the resolution goes NYU’s official position and “vilifies” companies that are members of the parent union.
The UAW decision in favor of Ben-Ezra stated that no subordinate body of the parent union can endorse BDS, which affects graduate student unions at more than 15 universities, including others which have passed similar resolutions. It noted that GSOC’s resolution was indeed “contrary to the position of the International Union” and is void of “force or effect.”

In response, GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine said it “applauds and thanks” UAW for “being the first international labor union to take a strong moral stand against BDS, openly denouncing the movement’s discriminatory practices.”

Informed Grads, a student group at the University of California, which also saw its pro-BDS decision overturned, also thanked UAW for “not tolerating academic and cultural discrimination against union members based on national origin and religion, and vilification against Israelis and UAW members who are of Jewish lineage.”
In April, when the NYU student union voted in favor of the BDS resolution, university President Andrew Hamilton expressed opposition to the decision.

“A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas,” he said at the time. “NYU will not be closing its academic program in Tel Aviv, and divestment from Israeli-related investments is not under consideration. And to be clear: whatever ‘pledges’ union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott.”




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