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Program Information
 Building Bridges 
 
 Weekly Program
 
 Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg  
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The Workers' Advice Center (WAC), A New Unionism Developing in Israel After a Decade of Organizing Palestinian Workers in the West Bank Settlements
with
Assaf Adiv is National Coordinator of the independent union WAC-Maan. He has been active in the movement against the oppression of Palestinians and the struggle for workers rights since the 1970s. During this time he worked as a journalist in the ArabicHebrew newspaper Tarik Al-Shararaa, spending 18 months in jail on political charges along with 3 other editors of the paper. He is a leading member of the left Marxist-oriented Daam " Workers Party and writes on social and political issues in the local Hebrew and Arabic press and in the e-magazines Etgar (Hebrew) Al-Sabar (Arabic) Challenge (English).



The Workers Advice Center WAC was established in the mid-1990s. It was set up outside the framework of Israels largest trade union federation, the Histadrut,.and was openly opposed to neo-liberalism. WAC has sought to combine social struggle with the struggle for peace and against the occupation, together with the fight against discrimination on a national basis. While capitalism in the 90s was promising growth for all, WAC defended workers who were being pushed to the margins. WAC confronted insular Jewish and Arab nationalistic and religious trends, which developed after the second intifada (in 2000), arguing for a new model of partnership on a class basis between Jewish and Arab workers.

Initially, WAC was a workers advice center. The transition to a representative workers organization came with the struggle against unemployment among Arab Israeli workers in construction and agriculture. Since 2002, the organization has been involved in campaigning against the importation of migrant labor under semi-slavery conditions. At the same time, the union has established itself as an organization able to assist employers in recruiting workers in construction and agriculture in the Arab sector, on condition that their employment is within the framework of an industry-wide collective agreement.

WAC has established itself as a responsible and determined workers organization, ready to fight relentlessly for Palestinian workers rights. WAC is becoming a significant player in the industrial relations arena in Israel. It gives a voice to young people, women and men, both Arabs and Jews, people who have lost their dignity as well as their rights in a state that worships capital and neglects labor. WAC works to give a voice to the forces currently not represented. It is convinced that there are opportunities for the working class and Arab workers to rise out of passivity and despair. WACs call for bringing down the rightwing government is not just due to the governments anti-social agenda, but also its extremely militant approach towards the Palestinians. The deep lack of faith in the economic and political establishment which is being expressed through social protest enables WAC to promote the unionization of workers and encourage workers to defend themselves and act independently on the political level too.
produced by Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg
please notify us if you plan to broadcast this program -
knash@igc.org

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