Massive gains for Israel’s unions in 2013 as number of new members nearly doubles

Unions in most developed countries face the problem of a declining and ageing membership and struggle to find ways to recruit new members.  The news from Israel this morning should therefore be of considerable interest to trade unionists everywhere.

According to a report in the Ha’aretz newspaper, the number of new union members recruited in 2013 is 90% more than the number recruited in the previous year, as over 25,000 workers joined unions for the first time this year.  The Histadrut alone held over 100 organizing drives.

According to the report, “The Histadrut set up a new unit to organize workers, in part due to growing competition from a rival labor organization, Koach L’Ovdim (Labor Power), while unions have grown more militant.”

According to Ha’aretz, “In 2013, some additional groups of workers that never unionized before joined organized labor. They included Knesset parliamentary assistants, temporary contract teachers at Tel Aviv-Yaffo Academic College, teachers at Democratic schools, kosher ritual slaughterers, kashrut inspectors, employees of Israeli embassies abroad, and after-school daycare employees in Jerusalem. Young workers were not left out of the trend, either, as employees at Burger Ranch unionized. McDonald’s workers, meanwhile, failed to form a union but reached new work agreements with management.”