(JTA) – A union that represents University of California student workers and academic employees approved a resolution to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. The United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents more than 13,000 teaching assistants, tutors and other student workers in the UC system, announced Wednesday that the measure was approved on Dec. 4 by a vote of 1,411 to 749. The UAW local became the first major U.S. labor union to hold a membership vote on Israel and BDS. The union also announced that during the vote, 1,136 members pledged to personally adhere to the academic boycott of Israel.
The measure calls on the University of California and UAW International to “divest from companies involved in Israeli occupation and apartheid” and calls on the U.S. government to end military aid to Israel. Some 53 percent of voting members also pledged not to “take part in any research, conferences, events, exchange programs, or other activities that are sponsored by Israeli universities complicit in the occupation of Palestine and the settler-colonial policies of the state of Israel” until the Israeli universities “take steps to end complicity with dispossession, occupation, and apartheid.”
UAW 2865 joins several labor unions in the United Kingdom and Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, as well as several dockworker unions around the world, in supporting the BDS movement. The undergraduate student governments of several UC schools, including at Berkeley, San Diego, Riverside, Irvine and Los Angeles, also have passed resolutions in support of divestment from Israel.