AFL-CIO leadership on Palestine/Israel praised

Trumka at Podium custom63One of the founders of Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP) has written to the new AFL-CIO President, Rich Trumka, to congratulate him for  re-affirming  the strong and continuing relationship between the AFL-CIO and Israel.

“ The leadership you are showing on this important issue for the global trade union movement cannot be underestimated,” Paul Howes, the National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, said in a letter to President Trumka.

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU), formed in 1886,  is Australia’s oldest trade union as well as that nation’s biggest blue-collar union.

Mr Howes wrote to Rich Trumka after the AFL-CIO president  spoke at the Jewish Labor Committee’s Annual Human Rights Award dinner and told his audience that there is only one way we’re going to stop the violence in the Middle East – and it’s not bashing Israel – it’s by supporting President Obama’s peace initiative.

TULIP  mission to promote positive voice for unions in Palestine and Israel

Outlining the mission of  TULIP Mr Howes said the new global union grouping was keen to promote a positive voice for unions who want to promote peace, justice and the unity of all working people in Palestine and Israel.

The current TULIP executive consists of  Paul Howes from the AWU; President Stuart Appelbaum of  the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in the USA and  Canada, and Michael Leahy OBE, General Secretary of the Community Union in the UK .

Effective alternative to anti-Israel BDS movement which creates further divisions between workers

paulhowes“ We want to provide an effective alternative to those in the union movement, across the globe, supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” Paul Howes told President Trumka in his letter to the AFL-CIO leader.

“ It is disturbing to see some national trade union centres and their affiliates adopting BDS positions, which simply create further divisions between the peoples of Palestine and Israel, and their democratic trade unions.

ITUC affiliates in Palestine and Israel developing close working relationship

“ The evidence is quite clear that the national trade union centres affiliated to the ITUC, in Israel (Histadrut) and Palestine (PGFTU), are working hard to develop close working relationships.

“ That’s not to say that the relationship is smooth. There are problems from time to time, but the two sides are committed to making it work.

” After all it cannot be easy to maintain this relationship in the context of the turmoil of the region.

Global unions should back PGFTU and Histadrut ambitions to work together

“ Most importantly the PGFTU leadership points to the European union movement as the model for co-operative worker organization, representation and support that they want from their partnership with the Histadrut. I believe that this model is worthwhile supporting.

“ Where necessary I think the ITUC, its affiliates and the Global Union Federations should offer a helping hand to strengthen these union centres, and help them with their ambitions to work together.

Strong unions can build democracy and support peace process

“ I am sure that you and I both believe that unions in the USA and Australia play an important role in guaranteeing democratic values in our respective countries.

“ Similarly I believe  that strong union organizations on the ground in Israel and Palestine can help build the democratic civic culture which is a prerequisite for an effective peace process for the region,’ Paul Howes concluded.