Regardless of which side of the issue you come down on, CUPE Ontario's unanimous decision to support a motion to boycott Israel should cause concern.
With religious, political or charitable organisations, members are typically aware of the outlook and aims and have joined freely and are free to leave should the reality of the association not match the member's personal vision. CUPE membership is compulsory for most people who work in the public sector. There is no freedom from this association if one's job falls under the framework of the government. Almost sounds unconstitutional -- freedom of association should also mean freedom from association -- but for those whose employment is unionized, such freedom doesn't exist.
Likewise, as citizens, we have no option but to use the services provided by public sector employees. They provide essential services, and if we disagree with the political agenda pushed forward and imposed by the union, there is no method by which we can express our displeasure or outrage.
CUPE Ontario's news page was devoid of any mention of this vote this morning (I have tried to access the page since, but my connection keeps timing out) but this is the full text of the resolution as reported by Judeoscope.
I downloaded the CUPE B.C. education campaign and I was shocked by the half-truths, lies and opinion-presented-as-fact, unabashedly set out in this pious booklet. CUPE Ontario plans to follow their lead and I think it's vile.
CUPE ONTARIO WILL:
1. With Palestine solidarity and human rights organizations, develop an education campaign about the apartheid nature of the Israeli state and the political and economic support of Canada for these practices.
2. Support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation 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 properties as stipulated in UN resolution194.
3. Call on CUPE National to commit to research into Canadian involvement in the occupation and call on the CLC to join us in lobbying against the apartheid-like practices of the Israeli state and call for the immediate dismantling of the wall.
• The Israeli Apartheid Wall has been condemned and determined illegal under international law. • Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organizations including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions issued a call in July 2005 for a global campaign of boycotts and divestment against Israel similar to those imposed against South African Apartheid; • CUPE BC has firmly and vocally condemned the occupation of Palestine and have initiated an education campaign about the apartheid-like practices of the Israeli state.
The Preface of this booklet says that 'Trade unions deal principally with wages and working conditions, but (they) also serve as human rights organizations'. CUPE sees itself as a social activist group -- but unlike PETA, Greenpeace and Amnesty International, CUPE forces public employees to join, imposes dues on those employees and does not allow members to resign the union unless they also give up their jobs.
The 896 CUPE members who voted on Saturday (the Jewish sabbath, by the way) who represent 200,000 public sector workers, arrived at their meeting with no mandate to vote on an issue that is complex, emotional and controversial -- and yet they did just that.
With this vote, CUPE has not only suggested that members boycott Israel -- they are forcing all of its 200,000 Ontario members to financially support an agenda with which they might vehemently disagree.
You might not be a CUPE member, but without the ability to boycott public services, you are indirectly financing their proposed propaganda campaign.