Arab Auto Workers Strike, Outraged over UAW Israel Bond Purchases
The head of the United Auto Workers was honored at a dinner for his union's purchase of Israel bonds and
then went on a wildcat strike.
This amazing incident happened in 1973 and (according to Michael Letwin) is detailed in the book "Detroit: I Do Mind Dying". In fact
it was the second wildcat strike over the issue of Israel Bonds.
In his Socialist Worker article in 2011 Letwin wrote, "On October 14, 1973, just eight days after Israel provoked its fourth war in 25
years, 3,000 Arab autoworkers in Detroit held a wildcat (unofficial) strike and march
to protest UAW Local 600's purchase, without membership approval, of $300,000 in Israel Bonds.
On November 28, 1973, Arab workers and their supporters struck again,
this time a B'nai B'rith "Humanitarian Award" for UAW International President Leonard Woodcock.(8)
A little more details about this is in a 2003 article republished on a Deaborn, MI blog. The author is listed as a Lauren Ray.
By the late 1960ís and early 1970ís Arab workers were experiencing this same dynamic. Not only did
they get low pay, the worst jobs, and were the first to be fired. But when the local union boss, Leonard
Woodcock accepted a Humanitarian Award from Bínai Bírith, Arab and other workers walked off the job as two
afternoon shifts were shut down to protest the UAW purchase of Israeli bonds. When Ford local 600 union bought
Israeli bonds, only adding to its three-quarters of a million in bonds it already held, Arab workers decided to
organize against union leadership. Arab workers made the argument that the Union should not be invested in the
Zionist state just like it should not
be invested in the Afrikaaner or Rhodesian regime. 3,000 marched to the unionís offices.
A 2012 book that was a collection of articles on the theme of "The Case for Sanctions Against Israel" edit by Audres Kim has an
article by Joel Beinin which says the Arab effort was "unsuccessful" without any further details.
Does anyone know any of the actual workers involved in this action?
It would be great to interview them.
Does the UAW own Israel Bonds today? Could a UAW member write to the international Treasurer and ask? His name is Dennis
Williams? Here's a link to the UAW Executive Board. There's a phone number at
the bottom of the page.