Monthly Archives: March 2010

March 30: Canadian Union of Postal Workers supports BDS Day of Action

On March 30th, CUPW is asking you to show your solidarity with people in Palestine and Israel who are struggling to end Israel’s Occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.  I am asking you to participate in the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS Day of Action).

The announcement of the first Global BDS Day of Action came after Israel’s 23 day military offensive “Operation Cast Lead”, during which it killed more than 1,400 and injured over 5,000 Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip.  Israel is still continuing its suffocating blockade of the entire Gaza Strip in what has been described by human rights experts and analysts as an act of “slow genocide”.

In 2009, the BDS Day of Action took place in 40 cities worldwide.  BDS activities on that day targeted, among others, companies such as Chapters Indigo bookstore, whose profits fund “lone” Israeli soldiers; and Motorola, supplier of telecommunications and electronic systems for the Israeli occupation forces.

Since then, the Global BDS campaign has grown.  Students, trade unions, and other social justice organizations worldwide have come to see that Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people cannot be tolerated any longer and have adopted diverse forms of BDS against Israel until it ends its oppression of the Palestinian people and fully complies with international law.

CUPW has joined this movement.  At the 2008 CUPW National Convention, CUPW delegates overwhelmingly passed a motion endorsing boycott, divestment, and sanctions in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people.

I am asking CUPW to show their solidarity on this day by boycotting Ahava Cosmetics, Chapters Indigo Bookstore and Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Ahava Cosmetics: Ahava manufactures products using minerals and mud from the Dead Sea.  Ahava’s products – such as Grape & Avocado Body Wash, Dead Sea Mineral Mud and Mineral Foot Cream – are widely available.  The company’s main factory and its visitors’ center are located in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the Occupied West Bank.  Ahava products are labelled as of “Israeli origin”, but according to international public law, the West Bank cannot be considered to be part of the State of Israel.  Ahava uses in its products mud from the Dead Sea, excavated in an occupied area, and thus it exploits occupied natural resources for profit, which is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Chapters/Indigo Bookstores: The controlling owners of this bookstore chain founded the HESEG foundation.  This provides scholarships and other support to former “lone soldiers” in the Israeli military – individuals from outside Israel with no family in the country who join the Israeli military and participate in all aspects of its repression of Palestinians.  In January 2009, HESEG Representatives handed out $160,000 worth of “thank you” gifts to Israeli soldiers participating in the attacks on Gaza.

Mountain Equipment Co-op: currently sources 19 individual products from Israeli companies.  These include products made by Source‑Vagabond, an Israeli military contractor whose founder, Yoki Gill, and most of its management is “experienced ex-officers of elite IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) units.”  MEC also partners with Israeli factories in the production of its “house brand” line of seamless undergarments.

For justice, freedom, peace and self determination of the Palestinian people:

Join the Global BDS Day of Action on March 30, 2010

In solidarity,

Denis Lemelin
National President

Remembering Rachel Corrie: A Rank and File Union Sister

Rachel Corrie (1979-2003) was an impassioned activist for Palestine, who was killed by an Israeli armored Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza as she protected a Palestinian pharmacist’s home from arbitrary demolition by the occupation military.

She was also our union sister, a rank-and-file member of SEIU 1199 North West, dedicated to justice for workers and for people everywhere struggling for justice and against oppression. Rachel joins the list of countless union martyrs, including Sami Taha, the leader of the Palestine Arab Workers Society, assassinated in 1947, who have fallen as they stood to defend their fellow workers and the popular classes.

On March 16, 2010, the seventh anniversary of her death, we salute our union sister and pledge to continue to struggle in her path – for freedom, for justice, and against oppression – and to honor her sacrifice by bringing those responsible for her murder – and the murder of thousands of Palestinians, the occupation of Palestinian land, the denial of the Palestinian right to return, the siege on Gaza, the home demolitions, land confiscations and apartheid wall, the war on Palestinian identity – to justice, and to stand with Palestinian workers, the Palestinian and Arab people, and progressive forces throughout the world, in the struggle for liberation and justice.

– Labor for Palestine

Pop-Quiz on Free Speech at LAS 101

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 12:55 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Pop-Quiz on Free Speech at LAS 101

(Don’t cheat — you probably know the right answers* anyway).

1. Free speech exists precisely to protect the expression of opinions that other people may find:

A. Untrue.

B. Inflammatory.

C. Offensive.

D. Boring.

E. Annoying.

F. Upsetting.

G. Provocative.

H. Too controversial.

I. They really don’t like to hear.

J. All of the Above.

2. “Hostile work environment” means:

A. You really don’t like what someone else says or does at work.

B. “[D]iscriminatory workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age or sex. Additionally, the harassment typically must be severe, recurring and pervasive.”

3. Under ALAA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a message entitled “Stand with the People of Gaza & Palestine – protest tomorrow 3/9/2010” is just as protected as a “non-work” message about:

A. Tillikim and the other Whales at SeaWorld (e.g., Edda Ness, 3/3/10).

B. Public Petition to Support Qing Wu (Christine Bella, 3/1/10).

C. Contacting Your Representatives on Health Care Reform (Debbora Gerressu, 2/22/10).

D. Food for thought, the next time you think of spending any of your money at Whole Foods (David Affler, 2/6/10).

E. Cocktail Reception to Raise Funds for the Victims of the Haitian Earthquake – 2/4/10 (Allen Popper, 2/2/10).

F. A bit of wisdom from Sarah Palin (Jeffrey Bloom, 11/19/09).

G. RE: Ted Kennedy has Come and Gone (Sam Roberts, 8/26/09).

H. Queens Charter Event 5-13-09 (Mary Anderson, 5/8/09).

I. All of the above.

4. When someone writes a message you don’t like, union and free speech principles entitle you to:

A. Ignore it.

B. Selectively block messages from the sender and/or about that topic.

C. Express your own opinion.

D. Whine loudly until management agrees to selectively censor the union e-list.

E. A, B and/or C.

5. Since “New ALAA Email Policy” went into effect on October 7, 2009, there have been at least 555 “non-work” messages — not one of them sent to a specially created group.

A. True.

B. False.

6. Since the “New ALAA Email Policy” went into effect on October 7, 2009, management has issued a public warning only against the one entitled “Stand with the People of Gaza & Palestine – protest tomorrow 3/9/2010.”

A. True.

B. False.

7. Since everyone has the option to selectively ignore and/or block unwanted messages, we can reasonably infer that the real purpose of selective censorship is to inhibit criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

A. True.

B. False.

8. People try to censor opinions they disagree with because they:

A. Have confidence in their own position.

B. Lack confidence in their own position.

9. I believe that Palestinian lives are just as precious as anyone else’s. (Be honest.)

A. True.

B. False.

10. In the last Sunday sermon before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. defended his opposition to the Vietnam War, explaining, “there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

A. Yes, I agree with Dr. King’s philosophy.

B. No, this doesn’t apply to positions that I deem “too controversial.”












10:It’s not about Dr. King, it’s about us.