UAW Local 2325 defends ‘freedom to speak in support of Palestinian liberation’

United Auto Workers Local 2325, which represents legal service workers in the New York City area, passed a strong resolution in solidarity with Palestine on Dec. 19, 2023. The vote came after the union beat back a bogus lawsuit by four pro-Zionist members of Local 2325, who sought to block the union’s democratic right to vote on the resolution. 

UAW members march on Palestine Land Day, March 30, 2024, New York City. Photo: UAW Labor4Palestine

On March 11, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce issued a subpoena demanding six categories of documents pertaining to the resolution. Local 2325 is refusing to provide the committee any of the requested documentation. Below are excerpts of the union’s letter to the Committee chair, Rep. Virginia Foxx. 

We, the Amalgamated Council of UAW Local 2325, the Association of Legal Aid

Attorneys (“ALAA” or “UAW Local 2325”), write on behalf of the union’s membership in response to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s subpoena, served on March 11, 2024, which follows your request for information (RFI) dated January 29, 2024. 

Both requests relate to our democratically-passed “Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech.” This Resolution calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, cessation of military aid to Israel, and an end to Israeli apartheid, settler occupation and genocide. 

Both the RFI and the subpoena contain concerning and untrue mischaracterizations of UAW Local 2325, our internal democratic processes and representation of our membership, and the resolution, including baseless accusations of antisemitic behavior and undemocratic conduct. We unequivocally stand by the democratically passed resolution and reject these mischaracterizations. 

In addition, the information sought by the RFI and subpoena implicates the First Amendment rights and autonomy of our membership and our union, including the right to engage in democratic decision-making and free speech without being subjected to governmental overreach and unfounded inquiries by Congress. UAW Local 2325 will not produce any documents whose production would violate our membership’s constitutional rights.

It is clear from the language of the inquiry, the subpoena, and public statements made by Chairwoman Foxx that the Committee’s core objection to the resolution is based on animus towards the political views expressed therein. It is also clear that the Committee disagrees with, and actively seeks to discourage, any expressed union support for Palestine, workers’ free speech, and an end to the Israeli settler occupation, apartheid, and genocide of Palestinians. 

The Committee has no jurisdiction to retaliate against a union or its members for the exercise of core First Amendment rights to organize and advocate on matters of public concern. We urge the Committee to strictly adhere to the Constitution’s democratic principles and guaranteed freedoms, including the freedom to speak in support of Palestinian liberation.

UAW Local 2325 will continue to represent the interests of our membership and defend the union from demands that threaten union democracy and freedom of speech, including our constitutional right to join the call for a free Palestine.

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