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CUPE 3902 Executive statement on the call for an academic boycott

Source: CUPE 2902, January, 2009

Many members have inquired about the process by which the CUPE Ontario leadership came to a position that calls for a boycott of Israeli academics and academic institutions who fail to publicly condemn the Israeli military action in Gaza.

The position being advanced by some members of the CUPE Ontario leadership has not yet undergone the scrutiny of democratic consideration.  Fulsome debate will take place at future meetings of the Ontario University Workersí Coordinating Committee (February 20-22 in Windsor) and the CUPE Ontario Division (May 27-30 in Toronto).

For over thirty years, CUPE 3902 has advocated for and defended academic freedom. We continue to prioritize academic freedom in collective bargaining with the Employer, and to defend our members, in their teaching, against erosions and elisions of this freedom. 

As an autonomous local affiliated with CUPE Ontario, CUPE 3902 is not bound by any of the provincial divisionís resolutions. We do choose to support and participate in CUPE Ontario campaigns for coordinated bargaining, an end to the private UHIP health care plan, more union resources for the trades, an extensive worker organizing strategy, and an end to Canadian military presence in Afghanistan, among other campaigns. However, until the membership decides otherwise, CUPE 3902 will not endorse a call for a boycott of Israeli academics.

Our unionís strength rests upon its ability to unite large numbers of workers around common concerns, despite individual differences. We value the contributions that CUPE Ontario and the OUWCC have made to advancing the labour movement in our province and in our sector, and we will continue to participate in the democratic process by which they operate.

CUPE 3902 has its own policy on the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict, adopted by the membership on October 24, 2006 after a difficult decision-making process and heated debate:

Be It Resolved That: CUPE Local 3902 adopt as its policy on the Middle East, the provisions of CUPE National's 2003 Resolution that state:

"call for and actively work towards an end to all acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people, whether they be Palestinian or Israeli"

"help develop a peace process based on equality between Israelis and Palestinians and based on the implementation of UN resolutions and international law"

Be It Further Resolved That: CUPE Local 3902 will not endorse or implement Resolution 50 passed by CUPE Ontario Division.

Be It Further Resolved That: as a local we will help to promote the interests of our fellow workers in the Middle East by consulting with and actively pursuing positive relations with the free and democratic labour union movement in the Middle East.

Members interested in attending the OUWCC or CUPE Ontario Division meetings as delegates are free to stand for election, and should contact External Representative Judy Pocock at external@cupe3902.org for more information.

Additionally, on January 6, 2009, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), an organization with which CUPE 3902 is affiliated, released a statement on the conflict in Gaza, which can be found here: http://www.caut.ca/pages.asp?page=729 

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