United Auto Workers calls for ceasefire in Gaza

One of the largest unions in North America adds its voice to the call for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine on the first day that Israel resumed its attacks on Gaza

December 01, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
The UAW is the largest union in the US that has joined the call for a ceasefire (Photo: UAW)

The United Auto Workers, one of the largest unions in North America, added its voice to the global call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The announcement was made hours after Israel resumed its attacks on the Gaza Strip following a seven-day pause.

On December 1, Brandon Mancilla, Director for United Auto Workers Region 9A, wrote on X that the UAW is calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine and is creating “a Divestment and Just Transition working group to study the history of Israel and Palestine, our union’s economic ties to the conflict, and explore how we can have a just transition for US workers from war to peace.” 

UAW President Shawn Fain stated shortly afterwards, “I am proud that the UAW International Union is calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine. From opposing fascism in WWII to mobilizing against apartheid South Africa and the CONTRA war, the UAW has consistently stood for justice across the globe.”

The United Auto Workers has risen in prominence with a historic victory over the three largest automakers in the US in their recent “big three” contract campaign, which mobilized all rank and filers in the union in an unprecedented way. Members partook in “practice pickets” and fought for a series of demands far more radical than anything the UAW had demanded of corporations in decades. 145,000 auto workers won historic pay raises that lifted everyone up, especially those at the lowest rungs of the workforce, eliminated divisive tiers, tied wage increases to inflation, among other victories. 

This massive win had a ripple effect across the industry. Non-union automakers Toyota, Honda and Hyundai announced that they would increase workers’ pay shortly after the victory.

Speaking outside of the White House gates at a press conference on the morning of December 1, where a group of activists have been in a hunger strike since November 27 for a permanent ceasefire, Brandon Mancilla said, “For so long we’ve been silent and we’ve been ignorant in the labor movement to this issue.”

“That time is over,” he said. “I wanna thank all the rank and file members who have made this happen.”