Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

February 20, 2009 17:14 ET

CUPE Conference Focused on Education Funding, Jobs and the Economy, Not Boycotting Israeli Academics

WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 20, 2009) - Catalyzing a stronger movement for post-secondary education funding, coordinated bargaining across campuses and a healthier economy are the goals of this weekend's conference organized by the Ontario University Workers' Coordinating Committee (OUWCC) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

"CUPE members from across Ontario are coming together this weekend to build a stronger movement to get more funding for post-secondary education, to better coordinate bargaining and to boost the economy," says Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario.

"There is no resolution at this conference that deals with boycotting individual Israeli academics," Ryan says. "But rest assured there will be a good discussion of the range of Palestinian solidarity actions that CUPE locals can take if they so freely choose. This is our democratic right, and no fringe groups will threaten or cajole us away from that."

CUPE Ontario clarified 5 weeks ago that the union would not be debating a boycott of individual Israeli academics. Ryan said there will, however, be a discussion of the growing campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli state. Dockworkers in San Francisco, Australia and South Africa have all recently refused to unload cargo from Israel. Irish trade unions have just announced their intention to support the campaign. Two weeks ago, 465 Canadian academics sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling for sanctions against Israel. Seventy academics from Quebec did the same.

Ryan noted that CUPE members voted democratically at their 2006 convention to support a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli state for its maltreatment of Palestinians. The campaign was not and is not directed against individual Jews. Ryan decries the deliberate misrepresentation of CUPE's intent in discussing Middle Eastern issues.

"CUPE members will be participating in this global discussion to determine what solidarity actions they will take as part of this growing movement," Ryan says. "But clearly some groups want to muddy the waters with an extreme hate campaign directed at critics like myself that is now bordering on outright slander, rather than deal honestly with the ongoing conflict in the Middle East."

Contact Information

  • CUPE Ontario
    Sid Ryan
    Cell: (416) 209-0066
    CUPE Communications
    David Robbins
    Cell: (613) 878-1431