In a November 4 letter, the California Teamsters, which represents nearly 250,000 workers statewide and 14,000 workers in the UC system, sharply criticized the UAW 2865 Executive Board’s decision to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.
The Teamsters, our union allies, emphasize that they “cannot conceive of an action more hostile to the interests of [Teamsters] members and more antithetical to the most basic principles of the union movement,” and we agree completely.
Images of the letter and a text version appear below.
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Dear [Michelle] Glowa and Members of the Executive Board,
It has come to our attention that the Executive Board of UAW Local 2865 has endorsed the “Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction Movement” against companies that do business in Israel. In addition, we understand you have also endorsed the so-called “Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.” We further understand that you are putting the matter to a vote of your bargaining unit members on December 6 [sic], 2014.
Teamsters Joint Council 7 and 42 is comprised of our members in California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific. This includes Local 2010 that represents 14,000 employees throughout the University of California system.
As you are no doubt aware, the companies that are targeted by the BDS movement include numerous employers that are represented by organized labor, including many thousands who are represented by the Teamsters. Indeed, some of the companies you wish your union to boycott and divest from are represented by the United Auto Workers. In the case of the Teamsters, we represent tens of thousands of employees at the following companies that are listed as targets of the BDS campaign:
Whatever your motives, we cannot conceive of an action more hostile to the interests of our members and more antithetical to the most basic principles of the union movement than for a union to call for actions which are intended to do harm to the economic security of other union members. We would find it difficult to ask our members to support your union in a labor dispute with the University of California so long as you are engaged in activities that are fundamentally hostile to their interests.
Giving you the benefit of the doubt, we can only assume that you took your actions without consideration of the potential harm to hard working union members across California and the United States. We ask you to look at that issue now. Unlike the members of your union, who are graduate students and therefore union members for a short period of time, our members are working in jobs that must support them for a lifetime and it is our job to protect them for all of their working lives.
We would strongly request that you reconsider your actions.