UAW-represented legal services workers overcome roadblocks, pass resolutions for Palestine

The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, United Auto Workers Local 2325, passed a strongly worded “Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech” on Dec. 19. The resolution was approved by a 1,067-570 vote, about two-thirds of vote in favor. With 2,700 members, the ALAA represents legal service workers in a number of agencies in the New York City area.

UAW contingent in march for Palestine, New York City, Dec. 21, 2023. Photo: United Auto Workers

Voting on the resolution was no easy process. Sophia Gurule, an attorney and member of Local 2325, spoke on behalf of UAW Labor for Palestine at a Dec. 21 rally endorsed by multiple unions: “We had opposition from the New York Post, the New York Times, a state-turned-federal lawsuit, big law firms, billionaire Netanyahu donors, and overwhelming opposition from our employers. 

“Our employers sent cease-and-desist letters, held captive audience meetings urging members to vote against the resolution, and issued public statements condemning ALAA members as antisemitic – and still that did not deter us.” 

The vote, originally launched on Nov. 17, was abruptly halted 20 minutes before the poll closed by a temporary restraining order issued by a New York State Supreme Court judge in Nassau County. Four Zionist members of ALAA sought the TRO, making the outlandish claim that passing the resolution would harm Jewish attorneys, clients and jurors.

This slander was once again invoked against anti-Zionists, even Jewish anti-Zionists like those who helped write the union’s resolution. The court ruling denying Local 2325 members their First Amendment rights followed similar false claims in the news media.

However, on Dec. 15, a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York court reversed the lower court ruling and allowed the vote to go forward. 

In the same week, both UAW Local 2320, which represents legal services workers around the country, and Local 7902, representing  part-time faculty, student workers and health care workers at the New School and adjunct professors at New York University, also passed strong pro-Palestine resolutions.

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