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Cornell graduate student workers vote to join anti-Israel national union

Cornell graduate student workers vote to join anti-Israel national union

On a campus wracked with anti-Israel activism and antisemitic invective, the connection to an anti-Israel national union raises concerns of a renewed BDS effort: “anti-Israel activists should not be permitted to get in through the union back door what they have been unable to get in through the front door.”

The Cornell Graduate Students United recently voted to join a national union, The Cornell Sun reports:

Cornell graduate students have won their unionization election by a vote of 1,873 to 80, and will federate as Cornell Graduate Students United — an organization fighting for the rights of graduate workers — under the national United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America union. 128 ballots were challenged, but not counted because they would not have determined the outcome of the election.

Voting occurred on the Ithaca campus between Nov. 6 and Nov. 8, as well as on Nov. 6 at the Geneva campus and at New York City’s Cornell Tech campus. Of the 3,175 eligible voters, 1,953 voted in the election….

This overwhelming yes vote follows CGSU’s previous attempt to unionize in 2017 under affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers, which failed 941 to 867.

Cornell was found to have violated federal labor laws in 2018, resulting from an email from former Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara Knuth 24 hours before the March 2017 unionization election began. The email could have been seen as a threat to students voting for unionization, according to the arbitrator’s award document.

I haven’t followed the unionization drive at all, since the types of grad students involved are not part of the law school. I wasn’t even aware an election was ongoing until the Cornell Sun article.

But when I saw the involvement of the United Electrical union, I remembered that UE had endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel:

At its national convention in Baltimore August 16-20 [2015], the United Electrical Workers union (UE) adopted a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) to pressure Israel to end the occupation and grant Palestinians their freedom. UE is now the first national U.S. union to endorse BDS. The full resolution is below.

It was a big deal at the time. The endorsement was upheld by the NLRB in 2016:

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reaffirmed its dismissal an unfair labor practice charge brought by an Israeli law firm against a U.S. union, the United Electrical Workers, over its support of protests against Israeli policies including the union’s endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) movement.

So it was pretty well-known that UE was anti-Israel, confirmed by its recent statement calling for a cut-off of military aid to Israel after the October 7 Hamas massacre:

As the Israeli military relentlessly bombards 2.4 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and a ground invasion appears imminent, one storied, national union — the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) — is opposing U.S. military aid for the state of Israel whose assault on the besieged strip has already taken the lives of at least 1,800 Palestinians (a number that is quickly rising) and displaced more than 420,000 others. The Israeli government’s overwhelming violence comes on the heels of a surprise attack by Hamas militants on October 7 when 150 were taken hostage and more than 1,300 people, almost entirely Israelis, were killed.

We certainly don’t support any killing, whether it’s in the form of bombs, guns, starving people through blockades, or through apartheid, from any side,” says Andrew Dinkelaker, the UE’s general secretary treasurer. ​U.S. military aid going in is pouring gasoline onto a fire. It encourages that there be military solutions, and military solutions will get more people killed.”

The Cornell Sun article doesn’t mention the UE anti-Israel connection. Perhaps that’s why the unionizing effort switched from AFT (led by Randy Weingarten) in 2017 to the anti-Israel UE. Maybe it’s just coincidence.

This raises the stakes at Cornell which has seen three failed BDS resolution attempts at the student General Assembly in the past decade.

The Cornell campus has been dealing with a rise of antisemitism, including death threats leading to an arrest

If the affiliation with UE signals a renewed BDS effort, that would raise the campus temperature even more.

We’ll have to see how things develop.

I was quoted extensively in a Fox News article about the unionization vote, Cornell University graduate student’s union overwhelmingly votes to join union with strong anti-Israel ties

… William Jacobson, founder of and a Cornell University Law Professor, told Fox News Digital that BDS is a plays a large role in antisemitism’s recent rise.

“The BDS movement’s gross dehumanization of Israeli Jews is a prime vehicle giving rise to antisemitism. The reclaiming of the land of Israel by the indigenous Jewish people is the greatest decolonization story of modern times, and had it been any other people, Israel would be celebrated,” Jacobson said. “We cannot allow the union to bring these noxious BDS policies onto campus.”

Jacobson noted that Cornell University’s administration had previously “steadfastly” rejected calls to boycott Israel and has partnered with The Technion of Israel, a top research university in both Israel and the Middle East.

“The Cornell Graduate Student bargaining unit’s affiliation with the United Electrical workers union creates grave concerns because the UE has endorsed the boycott of Israel,” Jacobson said. “Cornell University steadfastly has rejected boycott calls, and even has a partnership with The Technion of Israel at the Cornell Tech campus in NYC. The anti-Israel activists should not be permitted to get in through the union back door what they have been unable to get in through the front door.”

Jacobson said that this is not the first attempt to oppose the university’s partnership with the Israel-based university, but that it is paramount that the Ivy League university’s graduate student union does not “interfere” with Cornell’s relationship with the Technion of Israel.

“The attempts to disrupt the Cornell-Technion Tech Campus relationship have been ongoing for many years, and continue with an event scheduled later this month. Since the Tech Campus is a shining star on Cornell’s horizon, it is critical that the union’s political objectives not interfere with the university’s educational mission,” Jacobson said.

The Cornell Law Professor called on the administration to publicly oppose BDS and oppose “any union effort to inject BDS” into campus life.

“The Cornell administration needs to publicly reiterate its opposition to BDS, and commit to opposing any union effort to inject BDS into the Cornell system either openly or surreptitiously,” Jacobson said.

The university has “left itself open” to BDS-influence by providing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programming on campus in student groups, Jacobson said.

“Cornell has left itself open to BDS agitation by pushing group-identity DEI programming using a racial lens, leaving Jews on the sideline,” Jacobson said. “Student groups are promoting anti-Israel activism around race. Cornell should refocus the campus on the inherent dignity and rights of each individual, rather than identity groups.”

The United Electrical Workers Union and Cornell University did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Will we go back to the bad old days of BDS activity at Cornell?


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It goes from worse to tragic. Now the million dollar question Professor Jacobson is when are these anti semites going after you?

Soon to don brown shirts.

It’s time to ban unions anyway. They’re unconstitutional. X and Y should not be able to gain more rights against Z by joining forces than they had individually. In particular they can’t force Z to bargain with them.

This all reminds me of the meme of The Simpsons’ Principal Skinner asking in the top frame of the two-frame meme, “Am I out of touch?” In the bottom frame, the clueless and self-deluding elementary school principal answers his own question: “No, it’s the children who are wrong.”

University president or administrator: “Am I out of touch?”

“No. It’s the polite pro-Israel protesters who don’t use intimidation and don’t call for genocide, and who don’t tear down flyers of kidnapped children who are wrong.”

Grad student workers:

Good luck siding with terrorists and terrorist-supporting people over people who only strike in self-defense and who sacrifice their own brave young men and women to minimize as much as possible the unintentional killing of their enemies’ children during conflicts.

Good luck siding with the side who give out candies to celebrate the slaughter of their enemies’ children, over those who regret the unavoidable and completely unintended deaths of their enemies’ children.

Good luck siding with savages who decapitate and bake in ovens their enemies’ babies over those who will treat their enemies’ babies in their hospitals.

Good luck siding against a tiny minority who have contributed hugely disproportionate numbers of prominent world figures in all fields and disciplines.

Good luck … because you’re going to need it in the future.

Talk about being on the wrong side of history.

LukeHandCool (who has thrown his lot in with the good side)

Now when I see the Cornells or other “Ivy League-caliber” schools of the US on applicant’s resume, I see that as a red flag. When I interview the applicant, I frame my questions so as to identify whether they’ll be an asset or progressive nutjob/ideologue. Not looking professional when they show up for the interview, is the first step in their failing to secure the job.

Employers should have to right of refusal to give any faction of BDS members including CGSU.

Just wait until they start paying union dues, ahem, donations to the Democrat Socialist Party.

Political, no longer mere educational institutions. Revoke tax exempt status and deny federal student loans (which should be gone anyway.)

Defund and eliminate dept of education/indoctrination including all fed mandated edicts.. Make equal value vouchers mandatory for all K-12. Eliminate all taxpayer funding, grants, etc. to colleges and universities. Presto!!! All fixed in a jiffy. Super simple really.

These young people have been radicalized. There is no reaching them with discussion, withheld funds from donors or anything else.

On a campus wracked with Racism….. there, fixed your intro.

“Follow the money” is the answer to all of this college madness. If Middle East money was forbidden, none of these colleges would be pushing this crap. Look at professors hired by colleges that take ME money. I can guarantee that there will be anti-Israels among them. Check out visas of people from the ME. There will be an overwhelming number who are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. This isn’t MENSA work but simple police work. We have let millions of people into our country who hate us and our way of life and then recoil when they show their true feelings. The remedy has to come from DC.

These grad students are idiiots. Employers are looking for people who are smart and talentekd and able to work with others. Unionizing with an anti-seminitic union and taking one’s self so seriously doesn’t indicate a willingnessto work with others – especially as a neophyte.

Now lets have review of their immigration status, and a word with them about the behavior required to retain a visa and not be immediately deported.

Thousands of them should have been on their way back to their home countries by now due to their actions. Or at least out of this one.

I remember when the TAs unionized when I was in grad school. Fortunately, I was on a federal grant, so I could tell them to pound sand and not join. But the supposed “improvements in working conditions” was actually less the zero. Nothing changed, and all anyone noticed was a decrease in their already meager pay, because suddenly part of their check was going to pay “union dues”.