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For Immediate Release: December 22, 2023
Contact: Diana Moreno, 352-275-4535, press@socialists.nyc
Photos and video available here, more upon request

2000+ UNION WORKERS, LABOR LEADERS, AND WORKING NEW YORKERS RALLY FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE FOR PALESTINE, DEMAND AIPAC OUT OF US POLITICS

A coalition of labor and community organizations demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire to protect all civilian lives, open humanitarian aid flows into Gaza, and say no to US military aid for Israel

New York, NY–On Thursday night, more than two thousand workers from a broad labor and social justice coalition including United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 9A, American Postal Workers Union (APWU), United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Eastern Region, Amazon Labor Union (ALU), National Writers Union (NWU), United Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW), Rutgers American Association of University Professors – American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU), and the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (NYC-DSA) rallied and marched to AIPAC’s offices in Midtown to demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza. This powerful coalition of labor unions, worker centers, worker co-ops, rank-and-file unionists, Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim, and community organizations representing tens of thousands of New Yorkers demanded New York’s elected officials, including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, join their colleagues in calling for a ceasefire, calling for unconditional humanitarian aid to Gaza, and voting NO on billions in additional military funding for Israel.

To date, over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, 10,000 of whom were infants or children. Disease, hunger, and thirst are spreading rapidly. Two million Palestinians have been displaced and thousands imprisoned by the Israeli state. All lives are precious and deserve to be cherished and grieved. The only way to end the unfolding genocide, the only way to bring hostages home and release Palestinian prisoners, is for a permanent ceasefire to be enacted immediately.

Recent polls have shown that a supermajority of Americans want an end to the violence in Gaza, yet out-of-touch political leaders are siding with racist right-wing lobbyists like AIPAC instead of siding with their constituents. Representatives have underwritten the Israeli government while ignoring dire warnings from the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, from numerous human rights organizations including Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, and from people of conscience and protesters across the world, including many of the the families of the hostages, who have cried out for a ceasefire as the only means to save lives and bring hostages home. 

Workers, who have historically stood up against injustices such as the war in Vietnam, apartheid in South Africa, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are once again leading the call for peace. This new generation of workers and labor leaders joins this tradition understanding that organized unions and people can stop this violence. 

The coalition marched from the New York Public Library at Bryant Park to AIPAC headquarters on 3rd Ave to protest the concerning influence of AIPAC, which supports insurrectionist MAGA Republicans and has pledged $100 million dollars to oust progressive elected officials of color. Congressional Democrats are caving to those same Republicans who are using this humanitarian crisis to pass destructive anti-immigrant policies and more blank checks for endless wars instead of listening to the majority of Americans. Demonstrators demanded that New York’s elected officials refuse AIPAC contributions, publicly denounce their influence on our democracy, and refuse to sacrifice immigration rights in exchange for more funding for massacres against Palestinians.

Speakers and community leaders including Director of UAW Region 9A, Brandon Mancilla; Chuck Zlatkin, APWU, New York Legislative Director; George Waksmunski, President of the UE Eastern Region; Dr. Dina Jaber, New York Vice-President of CIR/SEIU, Eva Borgwardt of IfNotNow, Fedeaa Mohammad of Palestinian American Community Center, and others, addressed the crowd highlighting the urgent need for a ceasefire and calling for an end to the siege in Gaza. Participants, uniting their voices in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

“Workers and unions have stood up before to protest against the crimes of the war in Vietnam, apartheid in South Africa, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; today a new generation of workers and labor leaders is joining in that tradition to call for a permanent and lasting ceasefire and an end to the massacre in Gaza,” said Jeremy Cohan of NYC-DSA. “Organized labor, social movements, and people of conscience are our only hope to stop horrific wars, far-right organizations like AIPAC, and authoritarian leaders like Netanyahu and Trump—and to create the world of peace, freedom and justice that every human being deserves.”

“The Palestinian American Community Center calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, end to the occupation and an end to funding Israel. We stand in support of the workers demanding peace and justice. We fully recognize the intersectionality of all our struggles and know that we are not free, until we are all free,” said Fedaa Mohammad, Palestinian American Community Center (PACC) 

“The UAW proudly stands for human rights and civil rights at home and around the world. The atrocities in Gaza are no different. We call for a ceasefire alongside our union family in New York City to demand peace and justice,” said Brandon Mancilla, Director of UAW Region 9A

Chuck Zlatkin,  NY Metro Area Local Legislative Director at APWU stated “The American Postal Workers Union calls for an immediate ceasefire, the release of hostages, and urgently needed massive humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. The cries of humanity demand nothing less”

“Workers have the power to change society. That’s our mantra as socialists and that’s what history has taught us. It’s so critical to have labor unions showing solidarity with Gaza. There is a long history here, going back to the Palestinian autoworkers in Detroit during the sixties and seventies, Rep Rashida Tlaib’s dad one among them. We have been so inspired by the victory of the autoworkers this fall, and by the SAG-AFTRA strike. And we know that, ultimately, organized labor has the power not only to build a better society here in the US, but a more just foreign policy, as well. Unions know better than anyone what solidarity means. That’s why they’re increasingly refusing to stay silent in the face of Israel’s horrendous genocide our government is backing in Gaza,” said, Sumaya Awad, Director of Strategy and Communications at Adalah Justice Project, a Palestinian-led advocacy organization.

Michelle Valentin Nieves, Vice-President of Amazon Labor Union, said “The Amazon Labor Union demands that Amazon cease all funding to project Nimbus and stop the genocide in Gaza. We also demand an end to all illegal and unjust terminations of Amazon workers, a cost of living increase in wages, and the abolition of this grueling inhumane 7-week mandatory over-time peak season where workers are forced to work 60 hour work weeks that cause an influx of workplace related injuries. Our fight for workers rights and justice all over the world and here at home are inextricably connected.”

“As both journalists and union members, the National Writers Union believes that we have a responsibility to tell the truth of this genocide, and then act to end it,” said Olivia Schwob, co-chair of the National Writers Union’s Freelance Solidarity Project. “As the sibling union of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, who have lost dozens of members as media is directly targeted by the Israeli state, we have an opportunity to intervene in the manufacturing of consent for the deaths of almost 20,000 Palestinians, to call out the cynical claims to objectivity and disingenuous allegations of bias. As members of a global working people’s movement, our only bias is a bias for life. We can, and must, come together with organized workers across the country and across the world to demand a permanent ceasefire and a lasting, just peace.”

Andrew Skeete, Dissenters, remarked: “Student repression is oil on a fire. Every obstacle makes us even more energized to fight, and we get louder every time.”

“We welcome growing union calls for a permanent ceasefire to end the U.S.-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza. Now, we call on our labor bodies to take the next step of fully embracing the Urgent Call from Palestinian Trade Unions: End all Complicity, Stop Arming Israel,”  said Sophia Gurulé from UAW Labor for Palestine. “Real union solidarity means taking concrete action to support fellow unionists. We urge all labor organizations to take concrete steps in support of the struggle for Palestinian liberation and return.”

“AIPAC and other right-wing organizations are pushing for Israel’s disastrous war on Gaza while promoting dangerous conservative policies here in the US that make Jews and other marginalized people less safe. It’s time to get AIPAC and other right-wing organizations out of our politics so we can build a strong multiracial democracy here in the US and work towards equality, justice, and safety for Palestinians and Israelis,” said Eva Borgwardt, National Spokesperson of IfNotNow
It is inspiring to be part of a global movement for ceasefire that includes Jewish organizations and organized labor,” said Alicia Singham Goodwin, Political Director of Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ). “At the core of our politics at Jews For Racial & Economic Justice is the belief that our liberation is tied up with one another; the endless bipartisan funding for the war machine and surveillance state sucks resources from working Americans and undermines our democracy. Not in our name and not with our tax dollars!”

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ABOUT NYC-DSA: New York City Democratic Socialists is the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America—the largest socialist organization in the United States with over 85,000 members. NYC-DSA is run by its 6,000+ members and activists who are working together to build a democratic socialist organization in the five boroughs.