June 22, 2011
Mr. Hezi Soroka, General Manager
Mr. Natan Natanzon, Chair of Board
Mishor Adumim, West Bank
Dear Mssrs. Soroka and Natanzon
We are writing to you on behalf of the tens of thousands of U.S. workers who are members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) to express our grave concern about your failure to respect the rights of freedom of association of the workers at the Sali’t Quarries.
We have been informed that workers at your company began organizing in 2007 due to
intolerable working conditions, including the lack of facilities such as a dining room, washrooms or water cooler as well as the lack of health and safety protections, pay slips or pension insurance.
It is our understanding that some improvements were made and that in the Fall of 2009 the company recognized WAC-Maan and began negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement. Negotiations have been rocky. We are aware that there was a four day strike in May 2010, after your management withdrew from negotiations and that the strike ended after management sent a letter committing to engage in intensive negotiations towards an agreement. After ten more months of difficult negotiations, we understand that on April 10, 2011 an agreement was finally reached and that on April 12 the draft agreement was brought to the workers’ general assembly where it was approved by a decisive majority of the workers.
Given the difficulty in reaching such an agreement we were shocked to learn that rather than signing it, management repeatedly postponed the date which had been set for the signing, attempting to create divisions among the workers.
We have been informed that on May 23, WAC-Maan declared a labor dispute and provided the 15 day notice required by law in the hope that a solution could be found and the strike prevented. The union even granted an additional six days based on the representation that a decisive meeting would be held on June 16 to determine the date for signing the collective agreement.
However, three days before the meeting was set to occur, the quarry manager called WAC-Maan to say the “decisive meeting” had been postponed yet again. Tired of the management’s maneuvers, and faced with no apparent alternative, the workers determined that a general and unlimited strike would be declared until the agreement be signed.
Our union believes that all workers are entitled to exercise their freedom of association without interference from their employer. We strongly urge you to take immediate steps to sign the collective bargaining agreement that you have negotiated and to begin to establish a productive and respectful relationship with WAC-Maan, the union selected by your employees.
We appreciate your consideration of this matter and look forward to your response.
Bruce J. Klipple (General secretary Treasurer)
John H. Hovis, Jr (General President)
Robert B. Kingsley (Director of Organization)