United Auto Workers Union
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 31, 2016
CONTACT: Julie Kushner, (860) 674-0143
INDEPENDENT REVIEW BOARD AFFIRMS UAW DECISION ON LOCAL BDS RESOLUTION
NATIONAL – An independent review board of the United Auto Workers (UAW) - a union that represents more than 30,000 graduate workers coast to coast – this month issued its final decision upholding the earlier decision of the International Executive Board (IEB) that the resolution on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) adopted by members of Local 2865 at the University of California in December 2014 exceeded its authority under the UAW Constitution.
After the board reviewed the constitution, bylaws and details of the vote at Local 2865 as well as the appeals from a UAW member and the local union, it concluded on May 16th that Local 2865’s vote to support the BDS resolution exceeded its authority under the UAW Constitution.
“The UAW is comprised of a very diverse membership and the strict adherence to our democratic principles is the only way to ensure fairness and that the best interests of all our members are protected,” said Julie Kushner, Director, UAW Region 9A. “We remain focused on supporting graduate workers’ fight for rights and benefits at the universities where they work, and helping to make sure they win on the issues that matter to them most, including fair wages and benefits, clear and reliable scheduling and contract enforcement.”
The UAW currently represents about 400,000 active workers and 580,000 retired workers and is responsible for making political decisions and endorsements that reflect the majority of its membership. Members advocating for BDS include fewer than 3,000 workers nationwide – less than 1% percent of UAW membership.
The UAW’s robust, independent review process and structure is unique to the US labor movement, with a set of independent legal scholars – the Public Review Board (PRB) – that helps to ensure that members’ best interests are protected.
From coast to coast, graduate teaching assistants and research assistants are forming their unions with the UAW and winning a voice at the table to help make their universities the best they can be. The UAW currently represents workers at 45 university campuses, including at the University of California, University of Washington, University of Connecticut, and at New York University (NYU). After an eight-year effort to win back their union after the Bush-era NLRB stripped bargaining rights in 2004, NYU graduate workers supported by the UAW won a neutrality agreement with the university administration in 2013 and negotiated another ground breaking contract that was ratified in 2015.
Since then, the UAW has supported active graduate worker campaigns to form their unions at Columbia, Harvard, the New School, and more, and with workers at Columbia, UAW is leading the legal challenge of the 2004 NLRB ruling that stripped graduate workers of their union rights.