SOURCE: Central Conference of American Rabbis

Central Conference of American Rabbis

March 03, 2011 13:30 ET

Reform Rabbis Decry Efforts in Wisconsin and Other States to Undermine and Weaken the American Labor Movement

Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), World's Largest Group of Jewish Clergy, Continues to Support the Right of Workers to Unionize and Engage in Collective Bargaining

NEW YORK CITY, NY--(Marketwire - March 3, 2011) - The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the world's largest group of Jewish clergy, issued a statement urging the Wisconsin State Legislature to halt their efforts to eliminate public workers' right to engage in collective bargaining.

According to the statement, the CCAR, which represents nearly 2,000 Reform Rabbis world-wide, "has consistently affirmed the right of workers to unionize and engage in collective bargaining" and "oppose[s] the current retrogressive efforts in Wisconsin and in other states to undermine and weaken the American labor movement." The statement also says, "while [difficult economic] times call for increased austerity and sacrifice, such sacrifice must be shared by both management and labor, by executives and employees, by government workers and elected officials alike."

To arrange a conversation with Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President of the CCAR, or Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive of the CCAR, please contact Itay Engelman of Sommerfield Communications at 212-255-8386 or itay@sommerfield.com.

The full statement is from the CCAR is available online and below:

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing nearly 2000 Reform Rabbis world-wide, looks with alarm and deep concern at the efforts in the Wisconsin State Legislature to eliminate the right of public workers to engage in collective bargaining.

Judaism has long been an advocate for workers' rights, beginning with the book of Deuteronomy (24:14), which tells us "Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy". Since 1918, the CCAR has consistently affirmed the right of workers to unionize and engage in collective bargaining. Indeed, in a resolution of 1921, the CCAR stated, "Under the present organization of society, labor's only safeguard against a retrogression to former inhuman standards is the union."(1) In 1985, the American Reform Rabbinate reaffirmed "the importance of a strong, effective, and responsible labor movement to the health of American society," referring to trade unionism as "perforce one of the strongest supports and most secure foundations of our democracy."(2)

Echoing these words and speaking from the Biblical and Rabbinic mandates to safeguard the dignity and welfare of workers in both the private and public sectors, we oppose the current retrogressive efforts in Wisconsin and in other states to undermine and weaken the American labor movement.

Difficult economic times do not justify diminishing society's obligation to social and economic justice, they underscore it. While such times call for increased austerity and sacrifice, such sacrifice must be shared by both management and labor, by executives and employees, by government workers and elected officials alike. We rise to speak against balancing budgets on the backs of public workers who teach, serve and protect. We stand with those, especially our rabbinic colleagues in Wisconsin and other states, who have spoken out and demonstrated on behalf of the collecting bargain rights of those who dedicate themselves to public service.

Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus   Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President of the CCAR   Chief Executive of the CCAR

About The CCAR

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization for Reform Rabbis of North America, the CCAR projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities. Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of giving professional and personal support to Reform rabbis, providing them opportunities for study, professional development and spiritual growth beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the ongoing needs of its nearly 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community. For more information please visit the CCAR's website at http://ccarnet.org/.

(1) CCAR Yearbook (CCARY) 31 (1921), 44
(2) CCAR Yearbook, vol. 95 (1985), 239-24

Contact Information