Labor for a Ceasefire goes public with Israel-Gaza war webinar
People in Gaza, many of whom have not eaten for days, wait to get the small amounts of food available as they struggle with hunger and disease. This makes all the more urgent the ceasefire called for by growing numbers of U.S. unions. | World Health Organization

WASHINGTON—After weeks of quiet consolidation of their coalition, Labor for a Ceasefire, a group of seven big unions, 220 other locals and central labor councils, and two other groups, will go public with its mass movement advocating a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas War. Its kickoff will be a webinar on February 22 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

“The road to justice cannot be paved by bombs and war,” the coalition says. “The road to peace cannot be found through warfare. We commit ourselves to work in solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli peoples to achieve peace and justice… The rising escalation of war and arms sales doesn’t serve the interests of workers anywhere.

Founding unions include the Auto Workers, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Painters, the Postal Workers, National Nurses United—all; AFL-CIO members—and the independent United Electrical Workers.

The coalition’s four-point platform demands Democratic President Joe Biden “immediately call for a ceasefire.” Biden has called Israel’s attack on Gaza “over the top,” but his actions don’t match his words.

Shoveled in military aid

Instead, the U.S. government has shoveled billions of dollars in military aid to the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who uses it to buy weaponry from U.S. arms contractors—and use it, bombs and all, on Gaza.

Besides an immediate ceasefire “so that negotiations for an enduring peace” between Israel and the Palestinians “can proceed,” the coalition also demands “the basic rights of people must be restored.

“Water, fuel, food, and other humanitarian aid must be allowed into Gaza, power must be restored, and foreign nationals and Palestinians requiring medical care must be allowed out of Gaza.

“Israeli hostages taken by Hamas must be immediately released,” the coalition declares. “Both Hamas and Israel must adhere to standards of international law and Geneva Convention rules of warfare concerning the welfare and security of civilians. There must be a ceasefire in Gaza. The cycle of violence must stop so that negotiations for an enduring peace proceed.”

Besides the founding unions, other unions and union-affiliated groups in the coalition include the Coalition of Labor Union Women, central labor councils in Albany, N.Y., Austin, Texas, and Monterey Bay, Calif., and Teachers (AFT) locals in Chicago, Boston, Albuquerque, N.M., St. Paul, Minn., Berkeley, Calif., Portland, Ore., and San Antonio, Texas.

Locals from the UAW, the National Education Association, the Painters, the Service Employees, and the Communications Workers are also signers.

One signer, Auto Workers Region 9, goes further than demanding a ceasefire. It wants a cutoff of U.S. military aid to Israel.  Biden still insists on shoveling $15 billion more in military aid to the Jewish state—aid that actually buys U.S.-made weapons, benefitting arms contractors here. The ceasefire campaign, at, doesn’t call for an arms cutoff.

Nor does a recent ceasefire convert, the AFL-CIO.

State teachers’ groups from Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island also signed on. Those teachers locals and state associations are one sign of the pressure exerted by the AFT rank and file which persuaded that large union to reverse course recently.

AFT now not only demands a ceasefire but also blasts Netanyahu’s right-wing regime for escalating the war. The Israelis in return are devastating Gaza, killing almost 30,000 civilians.

Speakers at the webinar will include Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., the only Palestinian-American in Congress, Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., a political target of the notorious pro-Netanyahu American Israel Public Affairs Committee, National Education Association President Becky Pringle, and UAW President Shawn Fain.

To register for the webinar, go to

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Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.