We, the Progressive Workers Union, write this statement to show our full solidarity with the students of the Gaza Solidarity Encampments who are demanding their universities divest from companies linked to Israel’s apartheid, genocide, and illegal occupation of Palestine. 

We want to uplift these actions, as one of the first environmental unions to vote in favor of a Palestine solidarity resolution voted on by our over 500 represented workers across the nation, who are working with well-recognized environmental organizations: the Sierra Club, 350.org, Greenpeace USA, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Appalachian Voices.

As an organizing union situated at the intersection of the environmental and labor movements, we find it imperative to speak on these students’ defense and rights to protest. We know that mass movements for liberated Palestine and other states experiencing genocides, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan, are growing and we need to protect this right more than ever. 

But these attacks on the First Amendment rights of protesting students and youth uphold Israel’s denial of the human rights of Palestinians. And, all the while, the police and major news networks are being used as a political weapon yet again.

From the bombing campaign leveling Rafah to the mass murder and graves of 400 Palestinian doctors, children, men, and women recently discovered at the Nasser Hospital, the Al Shifa Hospital bombing and another mass grave, and over 34,000 Palestinians killed since October 7 – with the real number including thousands missing, buried under rubble estimated to be 42,000, including 15,000+ children and 10,000+ women, there is no other word to describe this than a genocide committed by the Zionist state of Israel funded by Western governments and our tax dollars here in the United States. 

Speaking to the power and duty of solidarity, we deeply know as a labor union that it’s the lifeblood of our struggle to win workers’ rights and we see that connection. Clearly, students are being met with increasing state violence and this is a threat to all just-led movements which means we must speak out and stand together, holding the line for these actions to achieve their intended goal. 

We condemn this state violence, as we see it as Islamophobic, xenophobic, Anti-Palestinian, and Anti-Black. Nonviolent civil disobedience has proven to be the only option for many people who are advocating for an end to Israel’s current siege. 

These students have reminded us we have a long lineage to honor – from our past Palestinian freedom fighters, labor siblings, anti-war protestors, and student-led movements, these actions build upon each other for us to know that we must continue fierce advocacy for Palestine. 

Palestine liberation IS a fight for freedom and justice — environmental justice, land back, labor justice, reproductive justice and so much more. 

Students, you make us proud, and we heed the call to continue the demands to end all forms of U.S. complicity in the genocide of the Palestinian people.  

With power and solidarity, always and forever, 

Progressive Workers Union