Steering Committee Statement on Student Protests

As an independent grocery store union representing workers & community members from all walks of life, we condemn the widespread criminalization of protest and first amendment rights happening not only on campuses across the country, but in our own community of Portland, Oregon. The suppression of any of our community’s protected rights sets a vicious precedent for those who demand justice in the face of institutional oppression. Whether they be students standing up in movements demanding an end to genocide or workers struggling for better wages on the shop floor, the suppression of any basic right is unacceptable.

While universities, colleges, and high schools across the United States stand up to their institutions in protest of the horrific ethnic cleansing & genocide that is being enacted upon the Palestinian people, New Seasons Labor Union (NSLU) stands in solidarity with the students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members exercising their resistance to the war crimes occuring in Gaza & the West Bank. Echoing the calls from campus & community groups like Reed College SJP, Jewish Voice for Peace PDX, PSU SUPER, Portland Jobs with Justice; and our union siblings at the United Auto Workers and SEIU; New Seasons Labor Union demands that the right of communities to resist war crimes be upheld.

We condemn any and all efforts to silence morally righteous protest opposing genocide, in the Portland metro area and across the country.

And while we watch on and support those calling for their schools to divest from backing that supports the Israeli state, we must continue to keep our focus on the matter at hand: the atrocities occurring in Palestine. In the past month alone, evidence of mass graves has been uncovered outside of Gaza’s Nasser Hospital, a manufactured famine exists as an imminent danger in Palestine, & the state of Israel has now threatened an invasion of Rafah: an assault which would lead to untold numbers of dead & further atrocities. There is no longer a debate; Israel is committing an ethnic cleansing & a genocide, and it must come to an end.

As stated in our November resolution regarding the ongoing assault on Palestine, New Seasons Labor Union remains committed to seeing the complete liberation of Palestine & her peoples in “the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and an end to the Israeli apartheid system”. In keeping with this aim; and seeking to follow in the brave footsteps of our community’s students at Reed College, Portland State University, University of Oregon, and Lewis & Clark College; NSLU calls upon New Seasons Market to cease any & all relationships with any organization with ties to the Israeli state, and to remove any & all products whose sale benefits the Israeli state or businesses tied to the Israeli state. As a commitment to our previous resolution heeding the calls from Palestinian civil society to support the BDS movement, NSLU encourages New Seasons Market to remove these products from our shelves and to replace them with ethically sourced alternatives which are more in line with the mission of our stores; and whose production, further in line with our mission, is more local to the Portland metro area instead of 7,000 miles away.

Additionally, NSLU has signed onto a request from UAW Local 2710, indicating our solidarity in opposition to repression of the current set of protests. Echoing this statement, we call for the repression & criminalization of students, faculty, alumni, staff and community members to immediately cease; as these actions violate basic human rights to protest & resistance of genocide, as well as those First Amendment rights laid out in the United States Constitution. We call for the immediate reinstatement of any and all students, faculty and staff who have been punished for their expression of basic rights; and call on local DA’s to drop charges against those opposing genocide.

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