Monthly Archives: September 2015

NLRB Email Settlement

NLRB Free Speech Notice LAS

Settlement Agreement
Notice to Employees

From: Morris, Susan
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 11:14 AM
Subject: NLRB Email Settlement
Importance: High

Management has settled an unfair labor practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board by Susan Morris (CDP-Brooklyn) that challenged management’s ban on use of the Society’s email system for Union email.

As reflected in the materials below, the NLRB charge arose after CDP chief Tina Luongo threatened Susan with sanctions for having posted a message (below) that stated: “Long gone are the days when anyone with a union card has a voice in LAS.” In response to NLRB investigation, Scott Rosenberg (LAS Counsel) and Susan Morris signed a Settlement Agreement (attached) that requires management to comply with Purple Communications, 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014), under which union members cannot be prohibited from using work email to communicate about “the terms and conditions of employment [and] protected concerted activity.”

On September 18, pursuant to this agreement, Allan Fox posted a mandatory NLRB notice (attached) informing all employees, inter alia, that “WE HAVE AMENDED our e-mail policy in our employee handbook to allow employees to use out email system to communicate about terms and conditions of employment,” and that “WE WILL NOT threaten employees with adverse action for using our e-mail system to communicate about terms and conditions of employment on nonworking time.”

This is the second recent victory for free speech at Legal Aid. On May 1, Seymour James upheld a grievance (endorsed by ALAA) challenging management’s email restrictions against Michael Letwin (CDP-Brooklyn) for sending a message entitled “Racial Justice Update: Black and Palestinian Lives Matter.” That decision was issued two weeks after the public statement In Defense of Free Speech at The Legal Aid Society (April 14, 2015), signed by 118 ALAA and 1199 union members.

These victories show, once again, that we can successfully defend and exercise our rights. The next step is to ensure that management fully respects those rights by restoring ALAA’s longstanding, workplace-based email discussion list; lifting its prohibition on “unapproved” messages regarding Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements; and ending the indefensible discrimination that censors antiwar and Palestine human rights advocacy, while turning a blind eye to all manner of other “non-work” messages.

Settlement Agreement
Notice to Employees

Related Links
Purple Communications, 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014)
Racial Justice Update: Black and Palestinian Lives Matter (March 6, 2015)
In Defense of Free Speech at The Legal Aid Society (April 14, 2015)
Great News: Free Speech Victory (June 23, 2015)

Exhibits (Below)

From: Fox, Allan
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2015 11:57 AM
To: LAS All
Subject: Amendment to our e-mail policy

We are notifying you of an amendment to our e-mail policy pursuant to a Settlement Agreement Approved by the Regional Director of Region Two of the National Labor Relations Board in Case 02-CA- 148285.  The amendment conforms our e-mail policy to recent decisions of the Board.  A copy of the revised policy may be found on LASnet hereand at pp. 41-44 of the Employee Handbook.

From: “Luongo, Justine”
Date:03/08/2015 1:54 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: “Morris, Susan”
Cc: “Ryan, Dawn” ,”Wright, Deborah” ,”Pate, Michael”
Subject: Re: RE:

Susan- this is precisely the type of email that I indicated is a violation of the policy. You have already been spoken to about this by your supervisors. Should you continue to use the email in this way, your use of all distribution lists will be suspended.

Sent from my iPhone. Apologies for any typos.

On Mar 8, 2015, at 1:46 PM, Morris, Susan <> wrote:
Long gone are the days when anyone with a union card has a voice in LAS.

US Labor and the Boycott of Israel (SWANA Region Radio, September 14, 2015)


SWANA Radio Intifada (MP3 download)

9/14/2015 SWANA REGION RADIO 3:30-4:00pm: US Labor and the Boycott of Israel


Voices from Kolkota to Casablanca

Voices of struggle, Voices for change

Monday, September 14, 3:30-4:00PM

KPFK/Pacifica Radio 90.7 fm, Los Angeles

Streaming at or and available on audio
archive for 90 days at

US Labor and the Boycott of Israel

At its its national convention in Baltimore this August, UE, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers endorsed the worldwide BDS movement – Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions – to pressure Israel to end its apartheid over the Palestinians just as similar tactics helped to end South African apartheid in the 1980s. UE represents more than 30,000 workers across the country in a range of private and public sector occupations.and is now the first U.S. national union to endorse BDS.  Today we talk to Michael Letwin, co-founder of Labor for Palestine, about this remarkable victory for the BDS movement.  We also discuss the progress being made on the cultural boycott and the current campaign to persuade Kanye West to respect the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel by canceling his planned September 30 concert in Israel.

Guest: Michael Letwin is a public defender in Brooklyn, New York; and a veteran Vietnam antiwar, South Africa anti-apartheid, and racial justice activist since the 1960s. He is former president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325(1990-2002); and a co-founder of New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)(2001), Labor for Palestine(2004) and Jews for Palestinian Right of Return(2013). He is affiliated with Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and MENA Solidarity Network US; and a member of the Organizing Collective of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Letwin was a member of an attorney/activist delegation to the West Bank and 1948 Palestine (2007),and  a featured speaker at a Palestine solidarity conference of the Irish Confederation of Trade Unions (2010).

He helped launch the successful campaign for Stevie Wonder to withdraw from a Los Angeles fundraiser for the Israeli military (2012), and was active in both UAW 2865’s adoption of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)and Block the Boat’s campaign to prevent Israeli Zim Line ships from docking at U.S. ports(2014).  His writing on Palestine includes “Labor Zionism and the Histadrut” (2010) and “The Jewish Labor Committee and Apartheid Israel” (2010).

Click on the link below to view peition from Jews for Palestinian Right of Return:

Hosted  by David Lloyd 


SWANA (South and West Asia and North Africa) Collective, KPFK.

A national union backs BDS (Socialist Worker)

Socialist Worker, September 3, 2015


A national union backs BDS



Joel Reinstein reports on a historic vote in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign–and the rising tide of labor solidarity with Palestine.

AT ITS 74th national convention, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE) became the first national union in the U.S. to endorse the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

In addition to endorsement of BDS, the resolution passed by the UE on August 20 called for cutting off U.S. aid to Israel and for the U.S. to back recognition of the right of return for the 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the region and the world. It noted Israel’s “long history of violating the human rights of the Palestinians, starting with the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48,” as well as the crucial role that organized labor played in the 1980s movement against apartheid South Africa.

Autumn Martinez and Elizabeth Jesdale of UE Local 255 were among those speaking for the resolution, having met Palestinian trade unionists at the World Social Forum in Tunisia. “It’s absolutely disgusting what’s going on,” said Martinez. “Free Palestine!”

Representing 35,000 workers across the U.S., UE’s endorsement of BDS is a major development in the rising arc of labor solidarity with Palestine. Coming soon after an announcement by multinational corporation Veolia, which lost billions of dollars in contracts after being targeted by BDS activists, that it would cease doing business with Israel, the UE resolution is yet more proof of the BDS movement’s growing strength.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

UE’S RESOLUTION comes nine months after UAW Local 2865, the graduate student union representing 13,000 workers in the University of California (UC) system, became the first U.S. union to endorse BDS.

As an academic union, Local 2865 passed its resolution with the support of the BDS movement’s student wing, which is particularly strong in California, where seven of the state’s nine undergraduate student governments at UC schools have also passed BDS resolutions. BDS has also won the support of United Students Against Sweatshops, the nation’s largest student-labor solidarity organization.

But labor solidarity with BDS, despite the wishful thinking of Zionists, isn’t limited to campuses. In October 2014, BDS activists in the Bay Area scored a resounding victory in blocking the unloading of, and ultimately turning away, a ship from the Israel-owned Zim shipping line.

This victory would have been impossible without the assistance of dockworkers from International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10. While the union was unable to officially endorse the action due to labor law restrictions, members supported it by respecting activists’ pickets and providing them with crucial information about the ship’s schedule.

Labor support for BDS isn’t simply a matter of “doing the right thing.” Palestinian liberation is a working-class issue. All major Palestinian trade unions, including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions representing some 290,000 workers, were among the organizations who put out the original BDS call in 2005.

Palestinian workers’ ability to organize in the Occupied Territories is severely curtailed by Israel’s military occupation, and many Palestinian workers must go through the daily ordeal of crossing Israeli checkpoints to reach their places of work, in addition to having to contend with the general violence and repression of the occupation. Palestinian citizens of Israel “face discrimination in work opportunities, pay and conditions” and are “excluded from the labor force by the use of the military-service criterion as a condition for acceptance of employment,” according to a 2011 report by Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

Additionally, in targeting corporations that do business with Israel, the BDS movement’s demands are consistent with putting human needs before profit–its enemies are the same as those of workers. This was illustrated during the 2013 Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers’ strike, when BART brought in Tom Hock, vice president of BDS target company Veolia, as a negotiator to help break the strike.

Palestine’s connections to labor are further highlighted in the controversial firing last summer of Palestinian-American professor Steven Salaita by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Under pressure from wealthy anti-Palestinian donors, the university fired the newly hired Salaita after he sent a series of tweets expressing outrage at Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza.

More than a breach of academic freedom, the political firing demonstrated how universities are increasingly behaving as corporations in which workers–especially workers of color–don’t have a say. As a result, the American Association of University Professors censured the university, and more than 5,000 professors across the country signed a pledge to boycott the school until Salaita’s termination is rescinded.

This was a labor battle with Palestine at its center–and anti-Palestinians on the side of management. And in the legal battle that has followed, Salaita has won the preliminary rounds, and the university chancellor who oversaw his firing has been fired.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AS ONE of only a few U.S. unions that stood up to the anti-communist purge of radicals in 1949, UE remains committed to progressive politics and democracy within the union. This is reflected in caps on elected union officials’ salaries and UE’s emphasis on “strong workplace organization and militant shop floor action over legal maneuvering.” As its website states, “The members run this union.”

UE doesn’t restrict itself to “bread-and-butter” issues directly involving wages and workplace conditions. In addition to the resolution supporting BDS, its convention saw passage of a resolution opposing war and militarism that called for a reduction in the U.S. military budget, an end to U.S. military intervention abroad, and support for the Japanese labor federation Zenroren in its fight for demilitarization in Japan.

Another resolution addressed racism and the police, with the union’s press release stating that “questioning a police officer, or just putting your hands in your pocket at the wrong time, can get you killed if you’re black or Latino.” There were also resolutions against the assault on public education, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and destruction of the environment.

These resolutions represent a continuation of UE’s history in taking up issues that extend beyond the workplace. As the union website recounts:

In the 1950s, UE mounted public campaigns to force major electrical manufacturing corporations to agree to nondiscrimination clauses. UE was among the first to organize undocumented workers and speak out on behalf of immigrants. As an early critic of the Vietnam War, the union campaigned for redirecting the federal budget toward job-creating, socially useful production.

As the first national union to officially respect the picket lines of the BDS movement, UE has shown the way forward for U.S. labor. Issues affecting workers’ lives extend well beyond the workplace, and as bosses are coordinating on an international scale more than ever before, so must labor. As with the international boycott against South Africa, labor’s power will form a crucial component of the Palestinian BDS movement–and UE has taken an historic step towards making this happen.

Gaza attack pushed US electrical workers’ union to back Israel boycott (Electronic Intifada)

Electronic Intifada, Sept. 1, 2015

Gaza attack pushed US electrical workers’ union to back Israel boycott

UE BDS Resolution
Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 people was the breaking point that pushed UE to support boycott. Mohamad AsadAPA images

The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America – known as UE – has voted to back the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel.

This makes it only the second national union in the United States, and the largest so far, to take such a step.

Palestinian trade unionists and activists are warmly welcoming the move.

UE represents more than 30,000 workers across the country in a range of private and public sector occupations.

“Breaking point”

“We reached a breaking point when Israel launched the war on Gaza in 2014, killing over 2,000 people including 500 children,” Carl Rosen, president of UE’s Western Region and a member of the national executive board, said in an emailed statement from the union, explaining why the resolution came at this year’s UE national convention in Baltimore in mid-August.

Rosen added that backing BDS “is a necessary step for labor to take in order to bring about a peaceful end to the conflicts there.”

UE notes that the resolution “points to Israel’s long history of violating the human rights of the Palestinians, starting with the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48 that turned most of Palestine into the State of Israel.”

The resolution calls on the US to end all military aid to Israel and for pressure on Israel “to end the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the siege of Gaza and negotiate a peace agreement on the basis of equality, democracy and human rights for the Palestinian and Israeli people, including Palestinian self-determination and the right of return for refugees.”

It “endorses the BDS movement and urges the union at all levels to become engaged in BDS and the movement for peace, justice and equality between the Palestinians and Israelis.”

Among the delegates who spoke in support of the resolution was Autumn Martinez of Local 255 in Vermont.

Martinez said she had met Palestinian trade unionists at the World Social Forum in Tunisia earlier this year and learned from them of conditions in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. “It’s absolutely disgusting what is going on. Free Palestine!” she said, according to the blog Portside.

Founded in 1936, UE is not affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the major US labor federation that worked closely with the US Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War to subvert left-wing movements and governments around the world.

Palestinian-Black solidarity

Angaza Laughinghouse, vice president of North Carolina Public Service Workers Union UE Local 150, told The Electronic Intifada that he saw parallels in his state’s total prohibition of collective bargaining for public workers and some of the conditions faced by Palestinians.

Laughinghouse, whose local was one of several that sponsored the resolution, also said support for BDS was rooted in a tradition of Black solidarity with Palestinians and other peoples fighting for liberation.

“Some of our members are Palestinian,” Laughinghouse said. “Many are immigrants from other nations. Many are African Americans and Latinos. We can identify with this question of the right to self-determination, the right to sovereignty.”

“We as Black people also know the long history of colonial settlements, whether it is apartheid South Africa or Palestine,” Laughinghouse added.

He said he learned about the Palestinian struggle when he worked alongside Palestinians on New York construction sites decades ago.

“Many African Americans began to identify with Palestinians because we were struggling against racist, apartheid Jim Crow segregation,” Laughinghouse recalled. “We saw commonality as the US has historically supported the settler state of Israel, just like many Americans in the 1950s and 1960s supported Jim Crow and segregation.”

Today, Laughinghouse sees this solidarity continuing.

“Palestinians should be a part of Black Lives Matter, because Palestinian lives matter,” he said, referring to the protests across the United States against police killings of African Americans.

“We attended the rallies against the recent Israeli bombings in Gaza and we welcome Palestinians in our rallies,” he added.

Laughinghouse is among more than 1,000 people who signed the recent Black for Palestine solidarity statement.


“UE’s endorsement of BDS shows that, despite the extreme intimidation, bullying and/or cooptation practiced by Israel and its powerful lobbying groups in the US against critics, let alone advocates of a boycott, BDS is spreading the fastest in the US,” Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement, wrote to The Electronic Intifada.

“It is inspiring to see growing support from US trade unions, including the Industrial Workers of the World, which endorsed BDS in 2010, and UAW 2865, the California-wide union of teaching assistants that earlier this year adopted divestment from the Israeli occupation with a two-thirds majority vote,” Barghouti added.

The Palestinian Postal Workers Union has written to UE in response to the resolution.

“We would like to express our deepest appreciation for the courageous resolution … in support of our right as Palestinians to live in peace and dignity as equals on our lands,” the Palestinian union said, according to UE’s statement. “We sincerely hope that other national unions in the US and many other countries will follow in your footsteps.”


United Electrical Workers Becomes First US Union to Support BDS (Telesur)

1 September 2015

United Electrical Workers Becomes First US Union to Support BDS


A spectator waves a Palestinian flag during the first leg of the Palestine Cup final soccer match between Gaza Strip’s Shejaia and Hebron’s Al-Ahly at al-Yarmouk stadium in Gaza City August 6, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 September 2015

The UE adopted a resolution calling for a termination of U.S. aid to Israel.

The United Electrical Workers union (UE) has become the first national U.S. union to formally endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to push Israel to end its occupation of Palestine.

At its national convention in Baltimore Aug. 16-20, the UE adopted a resolution to not only support the movement that began in 2005, but also to call for a termination of U.S. aid to Israel and for U.S. support for a peace settlement on the basis of self-determination and the right to return.

“We reached a breaking point when Israel launched the war on Gaza in 2014, killing over 2,000 people including 500 children. Because Israel has been unwilling to engage in real negotiations to bring about a just resolution to the occupation, this is a necessary step for labor to take in order to bring about a peaceful end to the conflicts there” said Carl Rosen, president of the UE’s Western Region and a member of the national executive board.

The UE, which represents 30,000 workers across the U.S. in both the private and public sectors, joins COSATU of South Africa, Unite the Union in Britain, and many other labor unions in supporting BDS.

The Palestinian Postal Workers Union thanked UE for its solidarity, and expressed its hope that other unions will follow suit.

“We would like to express our deepest appreciation for the courageous resolution on ‘Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine and Israel’… in support of our right as Palestinians to live in peace and dignity as equals on our lands,” said the Palestinian union’s response.

The Palestinian union added, “We sincerely hope that other national unions in the U.S. and many other countries will follow in your footsteps. Your active solidarity warms our hearts and gives us hope that one day the working class all over will mobilize as one to help us end this brutal colonial occupation, and bring down the blockade, walls and checkpoints.”

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