Progress report on WAC-MAAN, October 1st, 2016.

For the past three months, the labor union WAC-MAAN has attracted much media attention and engaged in a wave of new organizing drives. Among labor organizations in Israel today, and in the political climate of suspicion and hatred between Jews and Arabs, WAC-MAAN remains prominent as a democratic union nurturing cooperation between Jewish and Arab workers as part of its struggle for peace and social justice.

Industry:

A new unionization drive in Yehuda Fencing

On Sep 22, WAC-MAAN announced a labor dispute at the manufacturing company “Yehuda Fencing” in Ashdod. This came after we organized the workers there, registering 108 out of 140. These workers have been employed for many years at low wages, without any promotion ladder or remuneration for seniority or professional skills. They asked us for assistance. On 17 August, WAC-MAAN declared its representative status at the plant and met with some 50 workers. At the same time, a committee was set up to lead the organizing drive. Most of the workers are Jewish and come from the Ashdod area; some of these are Ethiopian or Russian in origin. There are some Arab workers from the Bedouin villages.

At the present political atmosphere, it is not a trivial matter for these workers to unionize with WAC-MAAN. According to some, the management is warning that their union dues would be used to finance terror activities, because WAC-MAAN is a “union of Arabs.” This line of accusations is not new. We make no secret to the workers that WAC-MAAN seeks to build peace between Arabs and Jews, and that our opposition to racism and discrimination is based on principles we hold high.

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Palestinian workers, Area C:

Zarfati Garage, the struggle for a collective agreement continues

After Workers Committee chair, Hatem Abu Ziadeh, had been reinstated in the Garage on May 12, the company is continuing to harass him. Meanwhile WAC-MAAN began negotiations with the garage towards a collective agreement over employment terms, as well as financial compensation for its workers covering years of underpaid, precarious employment. The company continues to resist to give a serious offer for compensating the workers for past years, and will not sign an agreement until this issue is resolved.

For more information press here.

Truck Drivers:

An ongoing complex struggle at Movilei Dror

WAC-MAAN continues its struggle for the sake of drivers at the haulage firm Movilei Dror, where it has been the representative union since September 2015. This company, which employs 160 truck drivers, has paid low wages for years and failed to provide other benefits as required by law.

In addition to its unionizing efforts, WAC-MAAN has also been active vis-à-vis the authorities and the media, issuing a comprehensive report on the subject which received extensive coverage in Haaretz’s business daily The Marker and in the Arabic-language press.

The struggle at Movilei Dror became more complicated after a crisis among the drivers compelled WAC-MAAN to set up a new Workers Committee. In February, when the management tried to take advantage of the crisis to quit negotiations, WAC-MAAN declared a labor dispute, and dozens of workers submitted claims at the labor courts to be compensated for years of injustice.

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