November 2017 - WAC MAAN Newsletter
Gains for WAC MAAN signal its unique role as a union that unites Arabs and Jews on a progressive agenda
On Thursday, November 16, 2017, WAC-MAAN signed a collective agreement for the employees of the nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). The agreement regulates their job conditions and salaries, while creating a mechanism by which the workers will participate in decisions on policy, recruitment, and budgetary reductions. In addition there was a 3% raise in payment every year that would distributed in proportion that reflects an egalitarian approach of the employees through division of pay hikes in a way that gives less to older and better paid and more to new ones.
Additionally, on November 13, negotiations started toward a collective agreement on behalf of the 225 employees of the educational association Hand in Hand, which operates six bilingual schools (Arabic and Hebrew). Teachers and other workers there began organizing with WAC in May 2017, after queries regarding conditions and pay were left unanswered by management. It was a complex challenge to organise a workforce that is spread over six widespread locations, but the workers have shown impressive cooperation and initiative in their dealings with the WAC team. At the start of the process, the management put up various delaying obstacles, but after almost half the workforce had signed up (106 so far), management agreed to negotiate.
It is no coincidence that precisely these two organizations have joined us. WAC's uniqueness lies in a deep commitment to social justice, human rights, and peace. For the last quarter century, PHR has been a leading factor in the medical treatment of Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank, and it is devoted to the vision of Israeli-Palestinian partnership. For its part, the schools of Hand in Hand maintain bilingual classes (Hebrew and Arabic) from the earliest ages; it too is considered a leading force for understanding between the peoples. For employees in associations like these, it is only natural that they prefer WAC-MAAN as their representative organization.
In defence of Palestinian workers
WAC continues to organise among Palestinians who work in the Israeli Settlement Industrial Zones of the occupied West Bank (Area C). Links are being forged with several groups in the Zone of Mishor Adumim (between Jericho and Jerusalem).
Activity in East Jerusalem
WAC is also expanding its work in East Jerusalem, where it focuses on combating poverty, realizing the rights of the Palestinian residents, and empowering Palestinian women—whose advancement is essential for improving the economic situation.
Advancing Arab women employment opportunities
WAC is also proud to report the successful completion of a course by the first cohort of Arab women trained as personal-care workers. This unique project was carried out in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Health; it has the potential to provide job opportunities for hundreds and perhaps thousands of Arab women in a field of ever increasing demand for skilled workers.
The annual Bread & Roses exhibition
These days we are also working to advance the annual Bread and Roses art exhibit, in which hundreds of Jewish and Arab artists contribute, through the sale of their works, to our projects in the field of women's employment.
You may notice the new design of our November Newsletter. It was created as a contribution to WAC-MAAN by the graphic designer Tali Eisner. Also included are several articles about our activities, published in local media.
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Palestinian workers choose to organize - The Nation reporter Miriam Burger tells the story of workers in Mishor Adumim who refuse to accept exploitation and humilation of the occupation and join WAC MAAN to fight for their righs
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On Sunday, October 1, 2017, 29 Arab women organized by WAC celebrated the graduation ceremony of the first course for the training of Arab nursing workers in nursing homes for the elders. The Course took place at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center with the support of the Ministry of Health – see the report
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