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NLRB now entangled in anti-Israel BDS movement

October 22nd, 2015  |  David Stephanides

Region 6 of the National Labor Relations Board received a complaint October 13 alleging that the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) violated Section 8(b)(4)(i)(B) of the National Labor Relations Act, a provision prohibiting labor unions from encouraging workers to take part in boycotts during the course of their work duties, commonly known as “secondary boycotts.”

The union’s conduct forming the basis of the complaint stems from an August resolution endorsing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The resolution, which opponents would argue is based on a false representation of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, blames the conflict on the creation of the Jewish State and “… urges the union at all levels to become engaged in BDS …” The UE says it is the first U.S. national union to endorse the movement. UAW Local 2865, which represents graduate employees of the University of California, lent its endorsement in 2014.

Attorneys for the charging party, David Abrams and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat HaDin Israel – Law Center, explain that the BDS movement “makes no attempt to boycott countries or entities which hang homosexuals, torture political opposition, or deny voting rights to their citizenry… Instead the BDS movement remains focused on Israel exclusively,” with prominent supporters having “admitted that their goal is to put an end to the Jewish State.”

“Filing a charge against the UE over its secondary boycott policy is a new tactic to combat the anti-Semitic BDS movement and its supporters,” said Darshan-Leitner. “It is a violation of American labor law for the union to encourage its members to cease doing business with Israelis and Israeli companies. The UE needs to decide whether it wants to be a discriminatory hate group targeting Jewish companies or a respected union representing the best interests of its members. We are insisting the NLRB take immediate action against the UE. We intend to force the UE to abandon its unlawful policies.”