You're Invited to Our 2019 Human Rights Awards Dinner!

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Reception 6 p.m. - Dinner 7 p.m.

Make your reservations now. Click HERE for an RSVP form.
Just fill in the form, print it out, and either send it back to us via fax — 212-477-1918 — or as an email attachment to dinner@jewishlabor.org.

You may make your reservation using a credit card: space is on the RSVP form, and you can also send us an email and write where to call you and when would be good.

Dinner Program greeting ads deadline: December 3, 2019 at Close of Business
Any questions, just call us at 212-477-0707.

JLC Joins 12 other U.S. Organizations in Call to Israeli Political Leadership to Oppose Support for Annexation

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - New York, NY: Earlier today, thirteen organizations – the coalition members of the Progressive Israel Network (PIN), as well as the Israel Policy Forum, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association – sent a letter to the heads of Israel’s political parties calling on them to refuse any kind of unilateral annexation of the West Bank or parts of it. The Jewish Labor Committee is a member of this coalition.

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Jewish Labor Committee, noted that: “Working men and women on both sides of the Green Line will not have their lives improved by annexation of land by the State of Israel - on the contrary, such moves will embitter many of those most directly affected, and make any fair, just, and mutually agreed-upon resolution all the more difficult. Bold steps towards peace and security, not short-term political maneuvering, must be the priority of all Israeli leaders and their supporters in that country and abroad.”

~~~

Letter to Israeli Political Leadership Opposing Annexation

As heads of American Jewish organizations who care deeply about the State of Israel and are committed to safeguarding its future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people, we implore you to consider the costs of any unilateral annexations in the West Bank, and ask that you refuse to support annexation as a policy guideline for any government that your party may join.

We recognize that political parties are currently immersed in the process of negotiating the makeup of, and determining the policy guidelines for, Israel’s next governing coalition. We are also aware that in recent months, leading parties have proposed annexing parts of the West Bank as a possible policy of Israel’s next government. Our own government, under President Donald Trump, has broken with prior administrations from both major parties in signaling that it may endorse such unilateral actions by Israel.

Mistaking such a “green light” from the president for any type of consensus on the part of either US political party would be a dangerous error for Israel. Annexation, and any actions that pave the way toward annexation, threaten not only Israel’s security and its hopes for peace, but pose a grave threat to its democratic character and international standing. Many of the leaders of Israel’s own military and intelligence communities have warned of their likely ramifications. They would push Israel further down a path to endless conflict and permanent occupation -- a path that runs counter to the shared democratic values and commitment to the pursuit of peace that have long formed the heart of the US-Israel relationship. Simply put, the approach of this president does not represent the long-term interests and likely future policy of the United States.

Continue reading "JLC Joins 12 other U.S. Organizations in Call to Israeli Political Leadership to Oppose Support for Annexation" »

JLC in Solidarity with Temple Association of University Professionals

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October 15, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA: The Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee rallied in solidarity with Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP) at its "ALL OUT: CONTRACT EXPIRATION RALLY" on the Temple University campus on October 15th, just hours before the labor contract for Temple University professionals, professors and adjuncts expired at midnight.
President of TAUP - and Philadelphia JLC Board member - Steve Newman addressed the crowd.

Best wishes for the New Year!

Wishing you a
Sweet and Good New Year
L'Shana Tova u'Mtukah
Gut Yuntif, Gut Yohr

2018 September Happy New Year.jpg

All of us at the Jewish Labor Committee
wish you, your family, relatives,
co-workers, friends and neighbors
a good and sweet year - a more peaceful,
more just, fairer and better year.


Against the Nomination of Eugene Scalia as U.S. Secretary of Labor

September 25, 2019 - New York, NY: The Jewish Labor Committee opposes the nomination of Eugene Scalia as U.S. Secretary of Labor to replace Alexander Acosta, who resigned last July.

A partner in the Washington, DC, law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Eugene Scalia has a long career defending corporate interests against American workers:


  • He is most known for defending Walmart against a proposed Maryland State law that would have required the industry giant to pay a portion of its payroll toward health insurance for its employees or pay into the State’s Medicaid fund.

  • He led the opposition to OSHA ergonomic rules that would have protected an estimated one million workers, calling studies on MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorder) “junk science.”

  • Scalia is on the wrong side of the “wage theft” issue; he defended Wynn Las Vegas Casinos arguing that employers had the right to take employees’ tips and redistribute them to other workers, including supervisors.

  • He is anti-union: Scalia defended Boeing in a lawsuit brought by the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of its workers in Washington State who were threatened with the company leaving the state if the workers did not meet its demands.

  • When a trainer at Sea World was killed by an Orca whale, Scalia argued that the theme park was not required to follow Federal safety standards that might have prevented the tragic death.

  • He helped reverse stricter transparency regulations that the Obama Administration had required of financial advisors who recommend investments for retirees.

  • He lobbied against President Obama’s executive order requiring a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour for Federal contract workers.

  • When President George W. Bush, in 2001, tried to appoint Eugene Scalia as the Labor Department official responsible for developing and implementing regulation procedures, the Senate refused to hold hearings due to his extreme anti-worker history. He was eventually made the Department of Labor’s chief lawyer via a recess appointment by President Bush, allowing him to serve in that position for one year.

Workers in the United States need a Secretary of Labor who will defend their rights and interests, not one who, as his resume indicates, will advocate on behalf of corporate interests. We therefore call on the Senate to oppose his appointment.

Have Jews Become Detached From Labor’s Goals?

by Michael Hersch

A central theme of the story of the Jewish people is liberation from slavery — the experience of being held against one’s will, forced to work in dehumanizing conditions, with no compensation for labor.

And, in many ways, history repeated itself when waves of Jewish immigrants arrived in the United States in the late 1800s.

Many found work in garment factories and workshops in large urban areas such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and elsewhere. The conditions there were deplorable and led to tragedies such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which took the lives of 146 workers on March 11, 1911.

Most of the victims were young women, and many of them were Jewish immigrants. Although it was a relatively modern workplace, it was unsafe, and the workers trying to join the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union were not successful in an organizing drive two years earlier. Insufficient means of escape, a workplace higher than the tallest fire ladders of the day, a spark — and it went up in flames.

Recounting the details of this story, and the way in which this tragedy served as a catalyst for the organized labor movement in the U.S., and Jewish workers’ role in that movement, has practically become another Haggadah for progressive Jews.

And perhaps it is something that has been told so many times that we have become desensitized to it, much in the same way our peoples’ time in bondage in Egypt feels more like ”just a story,” rather than lived experience that we carry in our collective DNA. “Remember you were once slaves in Egypt” could be replaced with “Remember you were once poor immigrants working in dangerous sweatshops with no rights.”

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Philadelphia JLC activists rallied alongside TAUP - Temple Association of University Professionals, outside of a meeting of Temple University’s Board of Trustees on June 9, 2019.

Continue reading "Have Jews Become Detached From Labor’s Goals?" »

This Labor Day, Jews Must Recommit To Workers’ Rights

by Ari Fertig

August 29, 2019 - Boston, MA: The fight for working people — for labor and against income inequality — is picking up steam.

Workers’ voices are being heard. Organized labor unions in the transportation sector are standing up. Teachers unions are being revitalized. Non-traditional walkouts at places like Google or Wayfair are increasingly common. Both the right and the left have strong populist movements and feel the need to appeal to working class voters.

If you keep your eyes open, the trend is clear. Now is the time for a revitalized labor movement — and Jews have to be a part of it. If Jews are to be true to their values, history, and law, then we must support labor rights for all.

To be true to ourselves, we have to remember where we came from. We must remember our Jewish history. In the mid-19th century, when many Jews started to arrive in the United States, most were workers. From the very beginning of the labor movement in America, Jews have played a pivotal role, be they in the garment industry, or in professions like cigar makers, bakers, printers, painters, or actors, or in labor leadership such as Samuel Gompers, a Jewish founder of the American Federation of Labor. The Forward was originally founded as a Yiddish-language daily socialist newspaper, and newspapers like these were critical to building the class consciousness of the Jewish people. The roots of the American-Jewish experience is tied to the fight for a better life—the fight for labor rights.

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New England JLC activists and over 100 fast food, airport and other low-wage workers, and a wide range of community partners, joined in a march to the Massachusetts State House on April 4, 2017, to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and to support the ultimately successful campaign for higher wages, specifically the Fight for $15 bill in the legislature would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and for racial and economic equality.

Continue reading "This Labor Day, Jews Must Recommit To Workers’ Rights" »

56 Years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

by Stuart Appelbaum

On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 Americans gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., for a political rally known as the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom."

Under the leadership of A. Philip Randolph and with the civil rights leader Bayard Rustin as its principal organizer, this march, organized by a broad coalition of civil rights, labor, and religious groups, was one of the largest political demonstrations for human rights in the history of United States. It was designed to put the political, economic, and social discrimination suffered by African Americans squarely on the national agenda. The massive turnout, the dignity and discipline of its nonviolent plea for justice, and the grandeur of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech made it a key moment in the long struggle for civil rights. Part of its legacy was passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Of the many Jewish organizations that participated in the March, none brought more people to the event that day than the Jewish Labor Committee.

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Image from The American Prospect

Continue reading "56 Years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" »

1936: Anti-Nazi World Labor Athletic Carnival Held in New York City

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(Jewish Labor Committee collection, Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives / Tamiment Library, New York University)

August 16, 2019 - New York, NY: We mark the anniversary of the World Labor Athletic Carnival, held on August 15th and 16th at New York’s Randall’s Island, to protest the holding of the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. The two-day event, organized by the Jewish Labor Committee with the active support and cooperation of a number of unions and labor bodies, brought over 400 athletes from across the United States to compete in what became known as the “Counter-Olympics.” Honorary co-chairs of the event included New York Governor Herbert Lehman, NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, American Federation of Labor President William Green and Judge Jeremiah Mahoney, former President of the Amateur Athletics Union of the United States and a leader of the “Move the Olympics” movement, who resigned from the American Olympic Committee to protest holding of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Chairing the Labor Committee of the Carnival was Isidore Nagler, Vice President of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.

Continue reading "1936: Anti-Nazi World Labor Athletic Carnival Held in New York City" »

Israeli Barring U.S. Representatives Omar and Tlaib is a Mistake

JLC Calls on Prime Minister Netanyahu to Reverse Israeli Government's Decision

August 15, 2019: New York, NY -- The Jewish Labor Committee regards the recent decision of the Israeli Government to bar U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib a mistake, and calls on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reverse this decision.

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Jewish Labor Committee, said that “while we do not share many of the views of these two members of Congress regarding Israel, members of the Congress of the United States should not be forbidden from entering Israel. Doing so,” he added, “only reflects badly on Israeli democracy when it accepts or rejects visitors based on their political views. This will also harm U.S. – Israel relations, and make support for Israel in the United States increasingly partisan, while it is in Israel’s interest for this to be very much a non-partisan issue.”

"We are convinced that not allowing them to visit the State of Israel undermines its reputation as an open and tolerant society.”

JLC Stands with the Temple Association of University Professionals

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July 9, 2019: Philadelphia, PA - The Jewish Labor Committee rallied alongside TAUP - Temple Association of University Professionals, outside of a meeting of Temple University’s Board of Trustees. The Philadelphia JLC stands in solidarity with TAUP against:

* Decreasing numbers of tenured and tenure-track faculty;
* The removal of the grievability and arbitrability of discrimination from the contract;
* Merit-only raises;
* The administration setting the percentage rate for merit awards outside of the contract;
* Increases to healthcare premiums;
* Unprofessional working conditions for adjunct faculty;
* Unprofessional treatment of librarians;
* Unclear standards for merit;
* The administration’s lack of response to childcare and tuition remission proposals.

We Support Wayfair Workers Walkout

JLC Supports demands that Wayfair donate profits made by selling goods to operators of facilities running detention centers at the southern US border

June 26, 2019: New York, NY -- The Jewish Labor Committee supports the Wayfair workers who walked out of the company’s headquarters in Boston’s Copley Square today to protest the company’s decision to sell furniture to the operators of facilities for migrant children detained by the U.S. government at the southern border. Members of the New England JLC, led by Regional Director Ari Fertig, joined the walkout in solidarity with the Wayfair workers.

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The Wayfair employees, outraged about the conditions facing children at the migrant detention centers, had presented a letter signed by 547 employees, to the Wayfair management. The letter called on the U.S. government to end “the detention and mistreatment of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in our country.” Further, the employees’ letter stated, “we also want to make sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting, and profiting from this practice.”

Continue reading "We Support Wayfair Workers Walkout" »

JLC joins with nine other progressive pro-Israel groups in urging House of Representatives leaders to pass resolution opposing West Bank annexation

June 19, 2019 - Ten progressive, pro-Israel organizations today called on House leadership to vote on and pass House Resolution 326, which reaffirms support for the two-state solution and opposes any US actions that would encourage or endorse unilateral Israeli annexations in the West Bank.

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Continue reading "JLC joins with nine other progressive pro-Israel groups in urging House of Representatives leaders to pass resolution opposing West Bank annexation " »

Kahanists: A Danger to Israelis and Israeli Democracy

The Jewish Labor Committee joins a range of Jewish communal organizations in condemning the unprincipled opportunism of Israel's Prime Minister in working to secure the participation of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party as part of the maneuverings leading up to the upcoming Israeli elections. Otzma Yehudit adheres to the racist policies of the late Meir Kahane. We specifically support the statement issued last week by eight kindred organizations -- Partners for Progressive Israel, Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, J Street, the National Council of Jewish Women, the New Israel Fund, Reconstructing Judaism, and T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights -- and we join in their call on the American Jewish community to affirm that "Kahanists Have No Place In The Knesset."

Encouraged by additional statements from a range of groups within the United States as well as in Israel, we invite our members and friends to join us in this, and join with tens of thousands of Israelis who are working to keep Kahanists out of public life - by signing the online petition here: https://secure.nif.org/onlineactions/L2Bxc4DgMEGB0FwO7wLKDg2?ms=via_JLC

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February 22, 2019

This week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, keen to shore up his electoral position, orchestrated the unification of the extreme right-wing party Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”) with the National Union so that it could enter the Knesset in a consolidated right-wing bloc. This is dangerous and deeply concerning. Otzma Yehudit is the latest iteration of a political party based on teachings of racist demagogue Meir Kahane.

For decades, the consensus in Israel was that these racist extremist organizations should have no place in the Knesset. We are outraged that right-wing political parties and their leadership have reversed course and opened the door for Kahanists to enter into the Israeli political mainstream.

Our organizations do not advocate for or against any candidate or party in any election. We stand together for the principles enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Kahanism, empowered in government, represents a clear and present danger to those values.

Kahane’s party, Kach, was banned from the Knesset in 1988, was outlawed as a terrorist organization in Israel in 1994, and still appears on the US State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Modern day Kahanists are working to divide Israeli society by stoking racial fears. They seek to strip all non-Jewish Israelis of basic rights; many encourage violence toward Arabs and LGBTQ Israelis. These Jewish supremacist organizations often use incitement to violence to promote their racist agenda. That’s why the US State Department, the EU and the Canadian government all list Kahanist organizations as terrorist groups.

Today's Kahanists have been convicted numerous times for support for terror organizations and incitement to racism. Michael Ben-Ari, a leader of Otzma Yehudit and candidate for Knesset, was denied a visa to enter the US due to the State Department's "prerogative to ban terrorists from entering the country."

As Americans, we have seen the devastating effects of elected officials embracing white nationalist groups. In America, deadly right-wing extremism poses a clear and present danger to our democratic society. In Israel, it is Kahanists -- and the political mainstream that embraces them -- that pose the most direct threat to Israel’s democratic fiber.

We call on our colleagues in the American Jewish community and Jewish organizations to stand for democracy and equality and join us in affirming that Kahanists have no place in the Knesset.

National Jewish Umbrella Agency Calls for Increasing the Minimum Wage to $15 / Hour

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February 11, 2019: Washington, DC -- The Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) has secured the explicit endorsement for the Federal Minimum Wage to be raised to $15/hour from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, at the JCPA's annual conference recently held in Washington, DC. The Jewish Labor Committee is a founding member organization of the JCPA.

The resolution - text below - updated a 2014 resolution that supported an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10/hour.

The Jewish Labor Committee prepared the updated resolution, and submitted it with the co-sponsorship of a number of national and local Jewish agencies, including the National Council of Jewish Women, the Rabbinical Assembly (the international association of Conservative rabbis), the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and the Union for Reform Judaism, plus four local bodies: the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley (Los Gatos CA), and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. All are affiliated with the JCPA.

The four-day annual conference, which ran from Feb. 9th through Feb. 12th, drew some 250 professionals and volunteers from across the United States; sessions reflected the range of policy issues being dealt with at the national and local level. JCPA, the national hub of the Jewish community relations network, represents 125 local Jewish community relations councils (JCRCs) and 17 national Jewish agencies, including organizations representing all four major denominations of religious Judaism.

Continue reading "National Jewish Umbrella Agency Calls for Increasing the Minimum Wage to $15 / Hour" »

STOP THE SHUTDOWN: Tell the Senate to re-open and fund the government.

January 10, 2019: New York, NY -- the letter below was just sent to all U.S. Senators.

Dear Senator,

We are deeply concerned that approximately 800,000 Federal Government employees are working without pay or temporarily furloughed because of the current government shutdown. A crisis not of their own making, this jeopardizes the livelihoods of their families and undermines the economic well-being of their communities, which rely on their steady paychecks -- as well as members of the broader public who depend upon their services.

We call on Senator Mitch McConnell to bring the Consolidated Appropriations Bill of 2019 to a vote without delay, and on all members of the Senate to rise above partisan concerns to support and vote in favor of this bill, ending this unconscionable interruption in the nation's business.

Stuart Appelbaum
President, Jewish Labor Committee

Ashley Adams
Co-chair, New England Jewish Labor Committee, Boston, MA

Margarita Aguilar
Secretary, Metro Labor Communications Council*, New York, NY

Marya Axner
Somerville, MA

Harlan Baker
Campus Representative, University of Southern Maine, Part Time
Faculty Association / AFT Local 4693*, Portland, ME

Rabbi Renee Bauer
Madison, WI

Rabbi Marjorie Berman
Clarks Summit, PA

Steve Eisenbach-Budner
Tivnu: Building Justice*, Portland, OR

Cantor Devorah Felder-Levy
Los Gatos, California

Rita Freedman
Silver Spring, MD

Joel Freedman
Silver Spring, MD

Rabbi Miriyam Glazer
Professor Emeritus of Literature, Communication and Media,
American Jewish University*, Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Peter S. Knobel
Rabbi Emeritus, Beth Emet the Free Synagogue*, Evanston, Il

Avram Lyon
Morristown, NJ

Gail Malmgreen
New York Labor History Association*

Ivor R. Moskowitz
Delmar, NY

Gerald Newsome
Local 195 IFPTE*, Milltown, NJ

Carol Rosenblatt
Coalition of Labor Union Women*, Washington, DC

Donald Siegel
Boston, MA

Rabbi Brian Walt
West Tisbury, MA

Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub
Brooklyn, NY

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz
Uri L'Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice*


* For identification purposes only

Jewish Labor Committee's 47th Human Rights Awards Dinner

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l-r: Robert D. Aronson, incoming Board Chair of HIAS, the refugee and immigrant aid organization; Henry A. Garrido, AFSCME District Council 37 Executive Director; and Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union. (Miller Photography)

November 29, 2018: New York, NY -- The Jewish Labor Committee held its 47th Human Rights Awards Dinner in New York City tonight. Three honorees were recognized: HIAS, the refugee and immigrant aid organization, AFSCME District Council 37 Executive Director Henry A. Garrido, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the JLC and of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), chaired the event. He welcomed those in attendance by noting a sense of solidarity in the room. “At a time when the world seems to have gone wrong in so many ways,” Appelbaum said, “it is good to come together with people who share a different vision – and are convinced that it doesn’t have to be this way.” Appelbaum went on to explain the legacy of the JLC, formed in response to anti-Semitism in 1930s Europe, and its relevance today.

He then introduced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who presented the first award of the evening to Mary Kay Henry, President of SEIU.

Continue reading "Jewish Labor Committee's 47th Human Rights Awards Dinner" »

On the Carnage in Pittsburgh

Jewish Labor Committee Sends Condolences to Tree of Life Congregation
Condemns Domestic Terrorist Act in Pittsburgh and the Climate that Breeds It

October 27, 2018: New York, NY -- The Jewish Labor Committee sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed by the domestic terrorist who attacked the Tree of Life Congregation during Shabbat services earlier today, and to the entire congregation and the larger community.

This violent terrorist act in Pittsburgh was not the first, although it was the largest such attack against the American Jewish community. Deflecting people's fears, frustrations and anxieties toward Jews, refugees or any minority in society is not new.

We are mindful that this terrorist act was motivated not only by hatred of Jews, but also by hatred of refugees and other migrants, and of those organizations, congregations, and communities aiding them. And this bigotry did not arise from nowhere. Anti-refugee sentiment, expressed in hate-filled rhetoric by the most senior members of the government, has been echoed and amplified in social media and given legitimacy by the mainstream press. The coded messages of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia are given free rein not only in extreme alt-right shadows, but increasingly in the conservative mainstream.

The rapid rise of anti-Semitic acts in the United States, including this most recent case of domestic terrorism by a hate-filled home-grown extremist, must be condemned and rejected not only by those directly affected, but by all Americans. We call on all men and women of good will to join us in rejecting anti-Semitism, and all manifestations of racial, ethnic, religious and political bigotry. Not only in Pittsburgh, but across the United States, we need to stand together and confront such hatred, and the violence it breeds.

You're Invited!

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Reception 6 p.m. - Dinner 7 p.m.

Make your reservations now. Click HERE for an RSVP form.
Just fill in the form, print it out, and either send it back to us via fax — 212-477-1918 — or as an email attachment to dinner@jewishlabor.org.

You may make your reservation using a credit card: space is on the RSVP form, and you can also send us an email and write where to call you and when would be good.

Program ads and RSVP Deadline: November 12, 2018
Any questions, just call us at 212-477-0707.

Best wishes for the New Year!

Wishing you a
Sweet and Good New Year
L'Shana Tova u'Mtukah
Gut Yuntif, Gut Yohr

2018 September Happy New Year.jpg

All of us at the Jewish Labor Committee
wish you, your family, relatives,
co-workers, friends and neighbors
a good and sweet year - a more peaceful,
more just, fairer and better year.


National American Jewish Organizations Call on President to Admit 75,000 Refugees in 2019

August 16, 2018: New York, NY -- Today, the Jewish Labor Committee joined with 36 national Jewish organizations to send a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to allow at least 75,000 refugees to be admitted to the United States in 2019. The letter reconfirms the American Jewish community’s shared commitment to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

The letter reads in part, “Our country has long been a leader in providing protection and assistance to those fleeing persecution and violence. In fact, the American Jewish community owes its existence to the times in our nation’s history when the U.S. welcomed refugees from all national and religious backgrounds. It is because of our history as refugees, our biblical commandment to “welcome the stranger,” and our longstanding involvement as a community in resettling and welcoming refugees, that we call on you now to give today’s refugees a chance to rebuild their lives in safety and freedom in the United States.”

Continue reading "National American Jewish Organizations Call on President to Admit 75,000 Refugees in 2019" »

Israeli Identity Politics vs. a Democratic Israel

Monday, July 23, 2018: New York , NY -- The Jewish Labor Committee deplores the divisive measures recently adopted by Israel ’s parliament. The Knesset has narrowly passed a new Basic Law (akin to a constitutional amendment) proclaiming that Israel is the “nation-state of the Jewish people,” where the “right to exercise national self-determination is unique” to Jews. Arab and Jewish members of the Knesset loudly denounced this law, some calling it “racist.” While we disagree with this assessment, we share their condemnation of this new law, and call on other friends of the State and people of Israel to do the same. At a time when democracy, respect for diversity, and solidarity are under threat around the world, and there is no visible movement towards a mutually acceptable negotiated two-state resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the passage of such a law seems doubly ill-conceived and ill-timed.

Continue reading "Israeli Identity Politics vs. a Democratic Israel" »

JLC, ADL and Penn State University Start Anti-Bias Educational Program in Philadelphia

June 18, 2018: Philadelphia, PA -- The Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee, in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, and the Labor School at Penn State University, held its first anti-bias training in many years at the offices of Workers United/AFL-CIO in Philadelphia. The participants in this four-hour pilot program came from several unions, including SAG-AFTRA, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), AFSCME Council 47, and others, as well as a number of community groups.

Philadelphia JLC, the ADL, the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, and Penn State University's Labor School joined together last year to create this anti-bias educational program, led by professional facilitators from the ADL, organized primarily for union members, to help understand and challenge bias, and promote tolerance and respect for diversity in the labor movement, and in our communities.

This new initiative of the Philadelphia JLC hearkens back to the JLC-organized Labor Committees to Combat Intolerance in some two dozen communities across North American from the late 1940s through the mid-1960s.

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Continue reading "JLC, ADL and Penn State University Start Anti-Bias Educational Program in Philadelphia" »

JLC Deplores Supreme Court's Janus v AFSCME Council 31 Decision

June 27, 2018: New York, NY -- The Jewish Labor Committee deplores today’s decision in Janus v AFSCME Council 31. The Court overturned a 41-year unanimous decision (Abood v. Detroit Board of Education) that held that union “fair share” fees are constitutional. Today, the court ruled that anything that a union representing public employee does to improve working conditions – any effort to improve safety in the workplace, to restrict excessive overtime, to ensure fair wages or otherwise improve workers’ lives on the job – is political and that "fair share" payments to cover these union services are a violation of fee payers’ free speech.

Unions are required by law to represent and negotiate on behalf of all public employees – members and nonmembers alike. So everyone who benefits should contribute to the cost of representational activities like contract negotiations and grievance representation. Before this case, no one was forced to be a union member or pay any fees that fund political activities. Fair share fees enabled employees who didn’t want to contribute in any way towards the union’s political and lobbying activities to pay a lower amount that excluded any dues money spent on such activities.

Non-members will now be able to “free ride” on the dues paid by their coworkers and deprive unions of the resources needed to fight for worker rights in the workplace.

This, of course, is the goal of the network of anti-union and wealthy special interests that was behind this case: to weaken the labor movement. Unions stand up for working people. The goal of the virulently anti-union organizations that pushed this case was in their words to “defund and defang” unions in order to undermine their power.

The court clearly relied more on politics than jurisprudence in deciding this case. We urge all public employees to become union members and stand with their coworkers in the fight for social and economic justice.

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