This page aims to document the substantial opposition within the labour movement to one-sided condemnations of Israel.  Such opposition comes from non-Jews as well as Jews.  This is despite the tendency of established labour organizations to demonize Israel, both in Canada (particularly within CUPE) and elsewhere.


NEW GROUP STARTED:  Union Members for Israel  see also Facebook group.


Click here for an Academic Boycott Resource Centre, documenting the history of proposed anti-Israel academic boycotts around the world and opposition to them.



Within the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)


CUPE Local 3902:

In the aftermath of CUPE Ontario Division’s Resolution 50 of May, 2006, the general membership of CUPE Local 3902 adopted a statement opposing Resolution 50.

CUPE 3902 represents over 6000 teaching assistants and sessional lecturers at the University of Toronto.  It is a chartered local of CUPE (National), and is affiliated with CUPE’s Ontario Division as well as its Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC).  It is the largest university-sector local in Ontario (maybe even in Canada).



CUPE Local 79:

On June 20, 2006, and again on November 15, 2006, the President of CUPE Local 79 wrote letters stating the Local’s opposition to Resolution 50.

CUPE 79 represents 18,000 City of Toronto municipal workers.  It is CUPE’s largest chartered local.  At the time these letters were written, CUPE 79 was affiliated with CUPE’s Ontario Division, although it has since disaffiliated.



CUPE Local 1393:

The President of CUPE Local 1393 said that the local’s representatives would oppose a ban on Israeli academics, and that the local would disaffiliate from CUPE’s Ontario Division if the ban is adopted.  CUPE 1393 represents 210 technical, professional and trades staff at the University of Windsor.  It is a chartered local of CUPE (National), and is affiliated with CUPE’s Ontario Division as well as its Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC). 



CUPE Local 110:

The long-time President of CUPE Local 110 wrote his opposition to CUPE Ontario Division’s taking a position on Israel. 

CUPE 110 represents over 400 support staff at the Winnipeg School Division.



Disaffiliation from CUPE Ontario Division:

Several CUPE Locals have withdrawn their affiliations with the Ontario Division as a result of its anti-Israel activity, including:

Local 2137 (180 workers at Jewish Vocational Services of Greater Toronto)

Local 2063 (workers from UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Canadian Jewish Congress, and Jewish Immigrant Aid Services Toronto)

Local 265 (100 workers at Jewish Family and Child Service in Toronto)



Decertification from CUPE:

Former members of CUPE Local 2063(a) (77 workers at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and Canadian Jewish Congress) have completely decertified from CUPE (National) in 2007 as a result of anti-Israel activity.  These former members created the United Employees Association to represent them, which later merged with OPSEU.



Individual Member Activity:

150 CUPE members, both Jewish and non-Jewish, picketed outside CUPE Ontario Division’s offices in Scarborough on Friday, June 16, 2006, calling on the Division to rescind Resolution 50.


One individual resigned from her position as a teacher in the Toronto District School Board so as not to contribute union dues toward CUPE’s anti-Israel activity.



Other Unions in Canada


Canada Council of Carpenters:

In September, 2008, the Canada Council of Carpenters adopted a resolution giving “Support for Israel and Peace in the Middle East” and calling for “a cessation of threats to boycott and divest from the state of Israel”.

The Council represents over 60,000 workers throughout Canada.



Buzz Hargrove:

The former president of Canadian Auto Workers, the largest private sector union in Canada, wrote in 2006 against CUPE Ontario’s call to boycott Israel.



Outside Canada


Histadrut (Israel):

The Histadrut is the General Federation of Labour in Israel, representing 700,000 workers regardless of religion, race or gender.  In its Statement on the Situation in Southern Israel and Gaza, it “recognizes the urgent need of the State of Israel to operate against the command and control centers of the organizational terror network belonging to Hamas.”  Furthermore, “It is clear to the Histadrut that the culprit responsible for this situation is Hamas – an extremist Jihadist organization recognized as a terrorist organization….”


In a message from January, 2007, Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini asks for “cooperation, fostering of good relations, and the creation of solidarity between Israeli workers and their counterparts throughout the world.”  He also states:

“Trade unions are called upon to act to remove any boycott against the Israeli economy.  The effect of such a boycott can only cause harm to Israeli workers organised in fellow trade unions.  Furthermore, the Histadrut believes that all trade unions in the Middle East should take steps to initiate joint activities with the Histadrut for the benefit all workers in the region, to promote peace and create economic stability.”

Also from Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini:  How Canadian labour can truly help Palestinians

A Brief History of the Histadrut can be found here.



Trade Union Friends of Israel (United Kingdom):

Trade Union Friends of Israel is an organization of British trade unionists “established to strengthen the links between the Histadrut (the Israeli TUC), the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the British Trade Union Movement.” 

Among their statements:

TUFI aims to get British trade unionists to lend support to their Israeli and Palestinian counterparts in order to promote trade union co-operation and understanding….”

“Calling for boycotts of Israel is not the right approach for trade unions for a number of important reasons….”



Eric Lee:

Eric Lee, the founding editor of “LabourStart: Where trade unionists start their day on the net”, has written extensively about Israel on his blog.

Two particularly good pieces:

Unions - If you want to help the Palestinians, don't boycott Israel” (June, 2007)

The Left should be supporting Israel in this war” (July, 2006, during Israel’s war with Lebanon)



United States:

Here is the Jewish Labour Committee’s Statement on Gaza.

Here is a long list of American unions opposed to boycotts of Israel.


This page copyright © by Ari Meir Brodsky.  Last updated Thursday, February 26, 2009.

To submit any corrections, factual additions, or source clarifications to this list, please e-mail me at: ari.brodsky@utoronto.ca   Please include sources (either web-based or otherwise).