The battle for workers’ rights in the US state of Wisconsin has captured the attention of the entire labour movement.
On Sunday this week, it also resulted in an outspoken statement of support by Israeli unions.
Note also democratic trade union activists in Egypt have compared the Wisconsin workers’ struggle with their own anti-Mubarak protests and sent a message of support.
Unionists in Israel and Egypt today are as one, in support of US workers defending union rights!
The following is the complete text of the letter sent by Arnon Bar-David, chairman, and Motti Geller, international secretary, of UCAPSE – the Histadrut-affiliated Union of Clerical, Administrative and Public Service Employees:
I am writing on behalf of UCAPSE, Israel to express our dismay over the developments regarding the collective bargaining rights for the public employees in Wisconsin.
We have been informed that you will seek to have legislation passed over the coming days that will eliminate collective bargaining rights for the employees in public services. This will be a serious violation of international labour conventions.
We regard your proposed unilateral action as an attack on one of the fundamental pillars in a well-developed democracy, where social dialogue and collective bargaining through trade unions secures constructive relationships between employers and employees. This kind of relationship has proved its high value in many countries, both in times of economic growth and during crisis.
We understand that you have refused to meet the unions to negotiate solutions that could contribute to balancing the budget – this is not the way we expect democratically elected leaders to act.
We have been informed that you have announced that you will call out the National Guard if public sector unions protest in what you may consider a disruptive way.
The right to organise and the right to collective bargaining are part of human rights. The public sector employees are in the front line fighting for democracy. Instead of attacking the public sector unions and their members in your state, we urge you to choose a constructive path and stand by commitments that have already been set out in legally-negotiated collective agreements.
Governor Walker, we ask you to show respect towards public workers and stop the unilateral attacks on their unions. A constructive relationship between your government and trade unions will most benefit the citizens of Wisconsin.