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Hundreds of Arab workers at WAC's May Day celebration in Haifa



Hundreds of construction and agricultural workers from Arab locales took part in a May Day event organized by the Workers Advice Center (WAC – MA'AN, an independent Trade Union Center based in Nazareth).


Men and women arrived from Nazareth, Kufr Manda, Um El Fahem, Kufr Qara, and East Jerusalem. The slogan this year was "All Workers Together with WAC" (ma’an means "together" in Arabic).


Asma Agbarieh, WAC's spokesperson, reminded the audience that the event was a step in the long march of the workers of the world for a share in the riches of the world.


Assaf Adiv, WAC's National Coordinator, reported on WAC's progress in the last year, specifying its new activity among agricultural workers. This activity has made it possible for WAC to start organizing women. For three years, Adiv said, construction workers had been the focus. Now as WAC expands to other areas, organizing workers of temporary agencies, youth and women, it has become an address for all workers.


The next speakers were Abd El Mune'm Khatib, who leads a team of construction workers from Nazareth; Nivin Hamdan from Kufr Qara, a young woman who was the first to take the advantage of the agricultural jobs secured by WAC; Rash Manasra from Nazareth and Ihab Jabarin from Um El Fahem, both representing WAC’s youth group.


Yaacov Ben Efrat, General Secretary of the Organization for Democratic Action (ODA), reported on the attempt by the Israeli authorities to dismantle WAC on the grounds that it supported the ODA. The workers, he said, had stood up to this attempt. He recalled the first of May in 1975, when the Vietnamese liberation struggle was won. After that the workers of the world suffered many defeats. But those who know how to overcome defeat, those who are committed to the cause of the working class, will be there ready to revive the movement when the moment is ripe.


The organizers then called to the stage those workers who had made a special contribution. Among them was Nur Tiara from Kufr Qara, who was unable to continue his work in construction and who now led the new group of agricultural workers. Another was Khaled Karakeh from East Jerusalem, a WAC
activist, unemployed, who takes responsibility to help and instruct many of the unemployed in East Jerusalem.


Another was Sabah Masri from Kufr Qara, one of the first women workers to join WAC. As an agricultural worker at Kibbutz Bahan, she was nominated by her team to represent it. She called on all workers to join WAC, which bears the banner of organized labor.

 

May 2005

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