Canadian Union of Postal Workers passes historic Boycott Resolution
Report by Katherine Nastovski
Published here: 21/04/08
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) Congratulates Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) on Historic Boycott Resolution!
16 April 2008
CAIA extends its warm congratulations to the delegates of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers national convention held in Ottawa, Canada, April 13-17th 2008. At the convention, CUPW passed an historic resolution, Resolution 338/339, in support of the global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli Apartheid. This resolution is an extremely significant landmark for the Palestinian solidarity movement in Canada. It represents the first time in North American history that a national union has passed a BDS resolution. The resolution recognizes Israel as an apartheid state and expresses CUPW’s support for boycott and divestment from Israel. It was passed almost unanimously after nearly one hour of discussion on the convention floor.
CUPW represents more than 50, 000 postal workers across Canada and has been at the forefront of campaigns against privatization and deregulation at Canada Post. The union has a proud history of international solidarity. During the South African apartheid years, CUPW was at the forefront of labour solidarity with South African workers and engaged in concrete actions such as the refusal to handle mail from South Africa.
The CUPW resolution was modeled on Resolution 50 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario), which was passed in May 2006 and re-affirmed in 2007. The resolution commits CUPW to “support the international campaign of BDS until Israel meets its obligations to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”
The resolution states that CUPW will work “Š with Palestinian solidarity and human rights organizations to develop an educational campaign about the apartheid nature of the Israeli state and the political and economic support of Canada for these practices.” The resolution also calls on the Canadian government to increase humanitarian aid to Palestinians who have been affected by the conflict, and commits CUPW to research on Canadian involvement in the occupation.
CAIA congratulates CUPW on this vital show of support for Palestinian workers and their families. At a time when the Palestinian people are suffering under brutal siege and daily bombardment this resolution is an important show of solidarity. Today alone, 22 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were killed by Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip. The explicit recognition by yet another Canadian union that Israel is an apartheid state, deserving of international isolation and boycott in the manner of South African Apartheid, is an inspiration for the North American and international labour movements. It is one further confirmation that the Israeli apartheid regime has deservedly become a pariah for progressive movements across the globe.
We call on supporters across the world to take the following action in support of CUPW:
1) Immediately email and fax the CUPW National office congratulating them on their stand against Israeli apartheid (sample letter below). Please fax your letter of support to CUPW National Office at ++ (613) 563-7861 or email email@example.com and we will pass them on to the CUPW national officeholders.
2) If you are a member of a union then get involved! Please contact the CAIA Labour Committee, Labour for Palestine, at firstname.lastname@example.org for ideas and ways to get involved in Palestinian solidarity work within your workplace and union.
3) Visit your local post office and thank the workers for this resolution! Let them know that you appreciate this show of solidarity with Palestine.
Thank you for passing the resolution to support the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
Like South Africa, Israel will have to be subjected to intense international pressure before it recognizes Palestinians as a people with the right to self-determination. Your union played a critical role in the fight against South African Apartheid – it is wonderful to see you taking on this leadership role again in the fight against Israeli Apartheid.
No doubt you will come under intense pressure from pro-Israeli, pro-apartheid organizations to reverse this courageous decision, but rest assured that the overwhelming majority of people in the world are not fooled by right-wing, racist rhetoric and the mainstream media bias surrounding this issue.
Thank you again!