NLRB upholds union’s right to support Israel boycott

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The following press release was sent out by the the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE):

July 22, 2016 – For Immediate Release

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reaffirmed its dismissal an unfair labor practice charge brought by an Israeli law firm against a U.S. union, the United Electrical Workers, over its support of protests against Israeli policies including the union’s endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) movement.

At its national convention in Baltimore August 16-20, 2015, the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) adopted a resolution endorsing the BDS movement to pressure Israel to negotiate peace with the Palestinians and end the occupation. UE is the first national U.S. union to endorse BDS. The full resolution is attached.

On October 23, the Israeli law firm Shurat Hadin filed a charge with the NLRB alleging that UE’s resolution violated the prohibition in U.S. labor law against “secondary boycotts.” The union disputed the charge, arguing that Shurat Hadin’s action was an attempt to interfere with the First Amendment rights of the union and its members to express opinions on political and international issues, and also that the Israeli firm’s allegation were factually untrue. On January 12, Region 6 of the NLRB dismissed the charge. Shurat HaDin then appealed to the Office of the General Counsel of the NLRB, and on May 26 that office denied the appeal.

UE National President Peter Knowlton says the union “welcomes the labor board’s decision” to reject, for a second time, Shurat Hadin’s charge. He said that UE in the past had “withstood attempts by the U.S. government to silence us during the McCarthy era in the 1950s,” and was “unbowed by the latest attempt of a surrogate of the Israeli government to stifle our call for justice for Palestinian and Israeli workers.” Knowlton added, “The NLRB’s decision is a victory for the growing BDS movement across the U.S., which faces increasing political attempts to silence and intimidate critics of the Israeli government.  As Americans who have a constitutional right to criticize our own government, we certainly have a right to criticize and, if we choose, boycott a foreign government that is heavily subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.”

UE General President Peter Knowlton commented: “Since the 1980s, the delegates to our national conventions have voted to support equal rights and even-handed treatment of Palestinian and Israeli people as the only path to peace. At the 2015 convention UE delegates voted to support BDS because of the atrocities committed by the Israeli government in Gaza in 2014, and the increasing discrimination and repression of Palestinian people and workers by the Israeli government and military. Our U.S. tax dollars, in excess of $3 billion a year, are funding this system of apartheid, and we must do more to change it.”

UE is very concerned about attacks on the BDS movement by U.S. politicians who advocate or have adopted resolutions, executive orders, and statutes targeting the BDS movement, said Knowlton. He pointed out that the 2016 party platforms of both the Democrats and Republicans condemn BDS. “These are unconstitutional attacks on free speech,” said the union president. “Boycotts have been an essential component of non-violent struggles for workers’ rights and other struggles for justice throughout our history. The Montgomery Bus Boycott launched the modern Civil Rights Movement. The worldwide campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against South Africa in the 1980s helped end the apartheid system in that country.”

“UE opposes any legislation and legislative resolutions that outlaw or condemn legitimate criticism of Israel and support for BDS, or attempt to sanction individuals, organizations, companies or governments simply because they have legitimately criticized Israel or supported BDS. We will support legal and political challenges to overturn such attacks on fundamental civil liberties.”

UE is an independent, member-run union, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, representing 30,000 workers across the country in the private and public sectors. At its five-day convention last August member delegates acted on 37 resolutions on collective bargaining, organizing, and political issues.

Shurat Hadin is an Israeli organization that uses legal cases to harass supporters of Palestinian rights and critics of Israel, a strategy known as lawfare. Its most infamous case was a 2011 lawsuit against former President Jimmy Carter for writing a book critical of Israel, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The suit against Carter failed, as did a suit aimed at censoring Al Jazeera’s reporting. Its attacks on UE began Sept. 2, 2015 when Shurat Hadin wrote a letter to the CEO of the General Electric Company, UE’s largest employer, “warning” GE to “rescind its recently concluded labor agreement” with UE because Shurat Hadin didn’t like the union’s resolution on Israel and Palestine. On July 11, 2016, Shurat HaDin sued Facebook for $1 billion, charging the social media company with insufficiently censoring Palestinians.

The global BDS movement arose from a 2005 call by Palestinian trade unions and human rights groups. UE’s resolution also calls for a cutoff of U.S. aid to Israel and for U.S. support for a peace settlement on the basis of self-determination for Palestinians and the right to return. With its resolution UE joined the South African labor union confederation COSATU, Unite the Union in Britain and many other labor unions around the world in supporting BDS as a step toward justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.

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8 Responses

  1. guyn
    July 22, 2016, 6:50 pm

    “Its attacks on UE began Sept. 2, 2015 when Shurat Hadin wrote a letter to the CEO of the General Electric Company, UE’s largest employer, “warning” GE to “rescind its recently concluded labor agreement” with UE because Shurat Hadin didn’t like the union’s resolution on Israel and Palestine.”

    Wow. The “good work” of these guys should be recognized much much more broadly.

  2. oneangrycomic
    July 23, 2016, 8:54 am

    Zionism = McCarthyism and RACISM!

    The NLRB’s support of BDS is another nail in the coffin of terrorist Zionism! As organizations like BDS continue to grow and the truth about the terrorist government of Apartheid Israel is reported by Mondoweiss and others, the Israeli Hasbara shield will continue to crumble!

    With young Jews speaking out against Israeli genocide, it’s only a matter of time before Palestinians win their rights. One can smell the fear of the vile ZioNazis as they scramble to keep the lid on the truth. Blackmailing and bribing their US ZioPuppets to contain the damage will eventually prove futile! Even the treasonous Saban pet Clinton will be brushed aside as more Americans demand that AIPAC be thrown out and we take back our government. Even with a Zionist stranglehold on MSM, enough truth is available to incite the people to action!

    As more Americans learn that our treasonous politicians have turned our military into Israeli mercenaries, fighting unjust wars – squandering $TRILLIONS and sacrificing American lives, they will rise up in anger and shame! We aren’t the most hated country/people on the planet because others are envious of our wealth – we are hated because of our slaughter of millions of innocents while fighting wars for and blind support of the terrorist government of Israel! We are hated for our hypocrisy of demanding justice from others while we enable the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people!

    • Doubtom
      July 23, 2016, 11:32 am

      oneangrycomic—-may this all come to pass! Certainly the American people should be able to figure out that Israel controls our election process, when and despite the fact that neither of the main candidates, need Israeli money, they nevertheless are groveling for Israeli support. That spectacle alone should tell any thinking person all he needs to know about this very “special relationship” we’re suppose to have with Israel. It may be ‘special’ but it’s not in our favor!
      No one has ever explained or defined this “special relationship” to the American populace, we don’t have a clue as to what it entails, except for the annual drain on our Treasury of billions of dollars. The American public hasn’t been informed about what constitutes this relationship; are we joined at the hip with this troublesome state? If so, who voted for this? In fact, what is the source of this “special relationship”? Who decided this? Certainly not the American public!
      This “special relationship” is a fine example of Israeli propaganda; there’s NO basis for it but if you repeat it often enough it becomes accepted as real. So there’s our “special relationship”!

  3. klm90046
    July 23, 2016, 9:29 pm

    “As organizations like BDS continue to grow and the truth about the terrorist government of Apartheid Israel is reported by Mondoweiss and others, the Israeli Hasbara shield will continue to crumble!” I’d give it another fifty years.

    “…it’s only a matter of time before Palestinians win their rights. ” I’d give it another seventy-five years. ”

    “One can smell the fear of the vile ZioNazis as they scramble…” Can you? I can’t. Don’t hold your breath. I’d give them another one hundred years.

    “Even with a Zionist stranglehold on MSM, enough truth is available to incite the people to action!” People? When did people ever count?

    What these Zionists are telling Palestinians is, “Don’t waste your time–and our time–on non-violent methods. They won’t get you anywhere.”

    • Cazador
      July 24, 2016, 5:02 am

      You sound like a white supremacist South African of old, klm90046. Zionist Israel will have its turn at facing the world, and the US won’t be able to control the UN against that forever. Its Exceptionalism is not seen as such by the rest of the planet, and when the Dream will have become the Nightmare we see coming, the US will have more important and pressing matters to deal with than backing the little fascist country of the Middle East, built on stolen land belonging to the Palestinians. Without the help of the British and US with the League of Nations and then the UN, the European Zionist Jews would have remained in Europe. Some British and US officials must have been paid dearly back then to allow such a coup be perpetrated against the Palestinians. A partition of 53% against 47% in favour of a couple hundred thousand European Zionists against about 2 million Palestinians living on their own territory, fully developped and inhabited…

      • klm90046
        July 24, 2016, 9:30 pm

        Annie, where are you? Please help!

      • MHughes976
        July 25, 2016, 5:24 am

        Klm, who may be an airline but is absolutely certainly not a Zionist or a white supremacist or anything like that, is merely saying that we tend to overestimate our successes so far, sometimes rather wildly. I agree with that. I sometimes think that my favourite quote from James Thurber – ‘the night is dark and getting darker, the road is long and getting longer’ – applies. I see the sense in Cazador’s statement that the West will one day see that it has better things to do than back Israel, but I really can’t see that that day is near at hand.
        Klm says that Israel’s message to the Palestinians is ‘non-violence will get you nowhere in this predicament’ and something of a taunting invitation to violence is there. But the taunt is really even more diabolical – ‘Non-violence will get you nowhere, violence will be crushed – and see how far your complaints to the UN and your Goldstone Reports get you. So you cannot act here, so you cannot exist here, so go somewhere else: maybe we’ll help you’.
        It’s not easy to see Western support for Israel as on the brink of collapse at the moment when the US Presidency is on its way to Clinton or Trump.

  4. amigo
    July 25, 2016, 9:50 am

    Message from Nut and yahoo to NLRB , “Stand down , we have defeated BDS” .

    “Netanyahu said that “we are acting against BDS and this why they are on the defensive,” adding that “they are taking hits of many fronts. We have beaten them.”
    read more: “.

    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.733113

    No paywall on this article.

    Truly , the ability of the zionist mind to self delude knows no bounds.

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