Happy Passover and Good Friday!

Matzah.jpg

Dear friends,
As the first night of Passover and Good Friday fall on the same day this year, we wish our members and friends observing these holidays a sweet and meaningful Passover and a happy Easter.
Jewish tradition tells us that we should remember our treatment as resident foreigners (“strangers”) in ancient Egypt and thus treat others fairly and justly.
This is especially true, as we understand the text, in today’s society, whether in the United States, Europe, or the Middle East.
And so we support efforts in the U.S. to raise wages for the least-well-paid among us, often immigrant and migrant workers, and to raise the minimum wage, and to enact comprehensive immigration reform, to decrease income and wealth inequality, to end discrimination and to promote dignity, security and representation on the job and in the larger community.

Jewish Labor Committee Denounces Janus Court Case against Public Sector Workers

February 26, 2018: New York, NY - As attorneys argue a U.S Supreme Court case today that could decimate public sector unionism in the United States, the Jewish Labor Committee denounces the forces at work behind this lawsuit and supports the efforts of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to defend against it.

Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 was backed by conservative industrialists and think tanks, including Richard Uihlein, an Illinois shipping supply magnate, and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Under current law, public sector unions generally have the right to collect a fee, a “fair share,” from all workers they represent in collective bargaining. No worker is required to join the union. Moreover, both union members and fair share participants can opt out of paying political action or other costs not associated with contract issues.

Jonathan D. Rosenblum, executive director of the Jewish Labor Committee stated: “In most of the world, the ‘right to work’ means the right to obtain a sustaining job. Only in America has that term been hijacked to mean the right to defect from community by refusing to support with dues payments (or service fees) the elected workplace association-- that is, the union.”

Rosenblum added: “The Janus case is part of a long-standing campaign by conservatives to undermine quality state-based public sector jobs that historically have been especially important to women and minorities."

Continue reading "Jewish Labor Committee Denounces Janus Court Case against Public Sector Workers" »

“Let My People Stay”

January 17, 2018: Washington DC - Over 100 Jews who have travelled from all across the United States are in DC TODAY to join the brave immigrant activists fighting to pass a clean Dream Act and protect a generation of Dreamers from deportation. Inspired by the ancient cry of our ancestors seeking liberation, we will demand: “Let My People Stay.”

What:
The Jewish Labor Committee's New England Co-chair, Rabbi Barbara Penzner, with Bend the Arc Jewish Action, is leading the Jewish community in a bold, escalated civil disobedience action in Washington TODAY 1/17 at 10:30 EST in solidarity with the immigrant community.

WATCH LIVE ON FACEBOOK HERE: http://www.jewishaction.us/117live

Why:
To show Speaker Paul Ryan, Leader Mitch McConnell, and members of Congress that the Jewish community strongly supports protections for immigrants and opposes white supremacy.

NoHumanBeingIsIllegal.pjp
Graphic, by Erik Brandt, via Temple Hillel B'nai Torah's Immigrant and Refugee Solidarity Committee. For more information on the image, go here.
#LetMyPeopleStay #DACA #DreamActNow #CleanDreamActNow

Jewish Organizations Call on Senate to Advance Burma Sanctions to Address Crisis of the Rohingya People

Broad coalition of Jewish groups and leaders pen letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of Burma sanctions, refugee assistance and accountability around crimes against the Rohingya people

Rohingya people of Burma.jpg
Photograph courtesty American Jewish World Service

January 5, 2018: Today, a broad coalition of organizations from across the Jewish community — including leaders of major organizations and the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox movements — released a letter urging the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to advance the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2017 (S. 2060). Twenty-four national organizations, including American Jewish World Service, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish Labor Committee, signed this letter, alongside 48 local organizations and 246 rabbis and communal leaders. The letter urges Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Ben Cardin to champion this legislation, advance it through the Committee process, and ensure its passage in the full Senate.

Continue reading "Jewish Organizations Call on Senate to Advance Burma Sanctions to Address Crisis of the Rohingya People" »

Human Rights Awards Dinner November 2nd, 2017, in NYC

2017 HRA Dinner Invite Cover for web.jpg
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.

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

2015 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.


Jewish Labor Committee Condemns President Trump Rescission of DACA

Education not Deportation photo via  Jobs with Justice.jpg
Photo courtesy Jobs With Justice

September 7, 2017: New York , NY - The Jewish Labor Committee condemns President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

This program gave 800,000 young people — children and teens who had arrived in the U.S. ten or more years ago at age 15 or younger — a chance to legally study or work.

“It is inexplicable and unconscionable that we would again upend their lives and return these young people to limbo,” said JLC President Stuart Appelbaum. Appelbaum called on Congress to promptly pass legislation assuring continued legal status for these “Dreamers.”

“Our ancestors were the Biblical 'strangers in a strange land,’ ” said Appelbaum, who is also the President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “As we move from Labor Day to the High Holidays, we recall our own American immigrant stories. By closing doors, canceling promises, and building walls, we betray our moral and ethical obligations to these young people.”

DACA Protest Photo by Harrie van Veen.jpg
Protest against announced repeal of DACA, NYC, ‎Sept. ‎6‎, ‎2017 Photo by Harrie van Veen/Creative Commons

JLC Marches in Chicago on Labor Day 2017

JLC at Labor Day 2017 Demo in Chicago_4Web.jpg
JLC Executive Director Jonathan D. Rosenblum (black t-shirt, holding JLC placard), Chicago JLC Area Director Eli Fishman (in sunglasses), and Chicago JLC Chair Mike Perry (holding JLC placard)

September 4, 2017: Chicago, IL -- Jewish Labor Committee staff and lay-activists joined thousands of union members and other workers fighting for a fair wage and union rights on the job at today’s Fight For $15 Labor Day Rally in Chicago’s Loop. Chicago JLC participated in a Jewish Contingent, along with Chicago’s Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the Chicago Workmen’s Circle branch.

Activists at the rally included Moral Monday founder The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, The Reverend Jesse Jackson, former Governor Pat Quinn, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois president Greg Kelley.

Continue reading "JLC Marches in Chicago on Labor Day 2017" »

Happy Labor Day!

Labor_day_graphic.jpg
Graphic by Brittney Willis.

The Jewish Labor Committee wishes everyone a happy Labor Day Weekend. This holiday has many meanings in the United States - a long weekend, a barbeque with friends and family, or the last day to wear those white pants you got on sale.

For us, and many others across the country, Labor Day most of all means a day to celebrate workers and to restate the goals and accomplishments of the labor movement. We remember those who fought and sacrificed to secure many of the things that we take for granted, including an eight-hour workday, the right to unionize, even the two-day weekend.

Continue reading "Happy Labor Day!" »

"Philly is Charlottesville"

Thousands Gather for Philly is Charlottesville Protest August 16 2017.jpg
Photograph via Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee

August 16, 2017: Philadelphia, PA - Thousands of Philadelphians gathered at Congregation Rodeph Shalom to begin a their trek down Broad Street in protest of white supremacy and in solidarity with the victims of the previous week’s confrontation in Charlottesville, VA. The Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee participated with scores of other social justice and faith-based organizations.

Philly is Charlottesville August 16 2017.jpg

Protestors gather outside of Arch Street United Methodist Church after marching down Broad Street as part of the "Philly Is Charlottesville" rally. Photograph by Kriston Jae Bethell

Jewish Labor Committee Condemns Bigotry, Prejudice, Racism, and Anti-Semitism in Wake of Violence in Charlottesville

August 15, 2017: New York , NY - In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville this past weekend, Jewish Labor Committee President Stuart Appelbaum issued the following statement:

The Jewish Labor Committee joins with all people of good will in our outrage at the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, surrounding the so-called “Unite the Right” rally on August 12, 2017. There is no place in our society for bigotry, prejudice, racism, and anti-Semitism. This language and those people who espouse it must be condemned at every turn.

Our heart goes out to the victims of the neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists who marched shouting hateful slogans against African-Americans and Jews.

They must be condemned, and defeated, in the press, on the streets, in the classrooms, in the workplaces, and in the halls of government, from the highest levels in the White House to every town hall and union hall across the United States.

fight NAZISM and FASCISM 4 WEB.jpg
Poster by Mitchell Loeb, 1934. The Jewish Labor Committee, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, the Labor Chest to Combat Nazism and Fascism, and others made use of it in outreach campaigns.

JLC Supports Bloomingdale's Workers' at Rally for Fair Contract

April 18th, 2017: New York, NY - Jewish Labor Committee joined a crowd of hundreds of unionized Bloomingdale's workers, other union members from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as elected officials at a mid-day rally for a fair contract for the members of Local 3 United Storeworkers, RWDSU, who work at the iconic New York store in the heart of Manhattan. The focus of the rally was an upcoming May 1st deadline for contract negotiations: key issues include fair commissions for in-store and online sales, fair wages, benefits and work schedules and hours, continuation of their existing pension plan and affordable healthcare coverage, and workers' seniority rights.

BloomingDaleDemo4WebFromIMG_0566.jpg
JLC Associate Director Arieh Lebowitz hits the street in the Big Apple.

Continue reading "JLC Supports Bloomingdale's Workers' at Rally for Fair Contract" »

JLC Condemns United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia's Report

March 20th, 2017: New York , NY - The Jewish Labor Committee today issued the following statement:

The Jewish Labor Committee condemns the United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia's report that asserts that "Israel has established an apartheid regime." It is not surprising that the Commission, comprised entirely of 18 Arab states, most of which do not recognize Israel, would issue a report that appears to be the first time that apartheid has been used in document with the United Nations stamp to criticize Israel. Moreover, the authors included a former U.N. investigator, Richard Falk, who has regularly criticized Israel, and has, among other things, cast doubt on the “official version” of the 9/11 attacks as the work of Islamic terrorists. And the report was issued without it being cleared by relevant departments or the U.N. secretary general.

The analogy of Israeli policies and those of the former South African apartheid rule is factually wrong. While the internal movement of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is restricted by the Israeli government primarily for security reasons, the territories are governed by the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, respectively. Within the State of Israel, the laws are the same for Jewish and Arab citizens.

We are encouraged that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said he had no advance knowledge of the report and that it did not reflect his views. He asked Rima Khalaf, a U.N. Undersecretary-General and the Commission's Executive Secretary, to take the report down from the Commission's website. She decided instead to resign from her position, which had been set to expire at the end of the month.

The U.N. spokesman made it clear that "[t]he Secretary-General cannot accept an undersecretary general or any other senior U.N. official that reports to him would authorize the publication, under the U.N. name, under the U.N. logo, without consulting the competent departments and even himself."

We hope that this is an indication that there will be a more balanced and less discriminatory approach toward Israel at the United Nations going forward.

"How to Become a Labor Lawyer" - Rutgers Law School Program

BarbaraMehlsackWithStudentsMarch2017RutgersNewark4WEB.jpg
Barbara Mehlsack speaks with students at Rutgers Newark Photo by Rachael Cain

March 7 2017: Newark, NJ -- Over 35 law students engaged in conversation this afternoon at Rutgers Law School with two attorneys on the challenging work of labor law. The Jewish Labor Committee, the local branch of the Jewish Law Student Association and the school's Labor and Employment Law Society organized the event.
Barbara Mehlsack, a litigation lawyer, spoke about her thirty years in the field, the skills she had to learn to effectively represent her clients, and the changing nature of the labor movement. Sam Wenocur, who graduated in 2010 from Cardozo Law School, spoke of his experiences as a plaintiff attorney, and how they related to experiences and values he first found at Camp Galil, a summer camp of the Habonim Dror Labor Zionist Youth Movement.
The Jewish Labor Committee organized a similar program for law students at the same campus in February, 2016; the JLC has also organized such events with Jewish Law Student Associations at NYU School of Law, Fordham University School of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law (also in Newark), and Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia. [If you are interested in helping organize similar programs, just contact us at info@jewishlabor.org]

CALL TO ACTION: Urge your senators to reject Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Israel

TAKE ACTION: Call your senators and urge them to reject Friedman. Call (202) 224-3121 to be connected directly to your senators' office.

YOU CAN USE THE FOLLOWING SCRIPT AS A GUIDE FOR YOUR CALL:

I am calling to urge you as a member of the U.S. Senate to stand against the appointment of David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Israel.

He represents the most extreme factions within Israel and their supporters in the U.S., rather than the wide spectrum of views on Israeli politics. Furthermore, his appointment would be to the detriment of a two state solution.

We need an ambassador to Israel who will prioritize a two-state solution and re-invigorate the peace process, not one who will further impede it through support for the expansion of settlements and outposts beyond the Green Line. As a supporter of a two-state negotiated solution, I am calling to say that David Friedman will not further the peace process — and I urge you to reject his appointment.

JLC Opposes the Nomination of David M. Friedman to be the U.S. Ambassador to the State of Israel

Continue reading "CALL TO ACTION: Urge your senators to reject Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Israel" »

Jewish Labor Committee Opposes Israel’s Settlement Expansion

Calls on Government, NGOs, to halt Expansion of Current and Establishment of New Settlements

February 2, 2017: New York, NY - The Jewish Labor Committee today issued the following statement:
The Jewish Labor Committee opposes the expansion of Jewish settlements within the West Bank and East Jerusalem, particularly the most recently-announced Israeli Government’s authorization of the construction of 2,500 new housing units in West Bank settlement. We also oppose the so-called settlements bill, now under consideration in the Knesset, which would retroactively legalize close to 4,000 settler homes that are on private Palestinian property in Area C of the West Bank.

The entire enterprise of enlarging existing and creating new settlements beyond the borders of the State of Israel is unwise, and harmful to the best interests of Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. Such actions make a peacefully negotiated end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict harder to achieve. It is with alarm that we note that it is increasingly clear that elements within and outside Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing coalition, including the Prime Minister himself, are emboldened by the emerging shape and policies of President Trump’s new administration to expand Israel’s presence and assert its dominance in these areas.

Continue reading "Jewish Labor Committee Opposes Israel’s Settlement Expansion" »

JLC Opposes President Trump's Executive Order on Refugees

January 27th, 2017: New York, NY - The Jewish Labor Committee today issued the following statement:

The Jewish Labor Committee is dismayed at President Trump’s executive order to “block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria and suspend the entry of any immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen while permanent rules are studied,” as reported recently by Reuters. These actions run counter to the best traditions of the United States, and counter to the pressing needs of not only American society but refugees seeking shelter from violence and oppression in other lands.

It is unacceptable that President Trump will bar people fleeing war and persecution While the proposal says it is aimed at refugees from certain countries where there is terrorism, it is likely to be interpreted as against Muslims. As Jews, we have been victims of religious and ethnic discrimination, and understand that these need to be combated, especially when they become government policy. These refugees need a sanctuary -- as we once needed a sanctuary -- and the United States cannot close the door on these victims of religious and ethnic violence and hatred.

The vast majority of today’s refugees are people in desperate need. Today, all refugees who are trying to get to the United States are screened very thoroughly by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies before being allowed entry to the United States.

President Trump’s proposed actions, combined with proposals to build a wall and seal off the U.S. border with Mexico, will likely have no impact on national security – and may serve to weaken our economy and society.

We understand that any government has a right – and duty – to rationally regulate trade, and our borders. But putting out a Not Welcome sign to Latin America and Muslim countries will not improve the lives of workers in the United States, and certainly not improve the lives of workers in other lands.

We call on our unions, as well as ethnic, religious and other community organizations, to make every effort to counter the proposals regarding refugees of the Trump Administration. We will, and call on others to, make our voices heard through every means appropriate to today’s difficult political climate.

At the same time, we call on our members and the larger community to support the refugee aid groups which are both in the frontline of assisting current refugees and their families, and working to stop the proposed refugee policies of our Government, and strengthen the United States as a country of refuge and sanctuary.

JLC Opposes the Nomination of Andy Puzder to be U.S. Secretary of Labor

December 22, 2016 New York , NY The Jewish Labor Committee today issued the following statement:

The Jewish Labor Committee opposes the nomination of CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder to be the United States Secretary of Labor, as proposed by President-elect Donald Trump. It is unprecedented to appoint a corporate chief executive officer to this position, especially one who in his public statements, in the sexist advertising promoted by his company, and in his numerous writings has made clear he opposes most of the laws he will be sworn to enforce. A man who makes $17,912 in a day and who argues against a raise for minimum wage workers is not an acceptable Secretary of Labor.

Mr. Puzder has been CEO of a company which has been cited repeatedly for violations of our nation’s employment and safety laws. That alone should automatically disqualify him from becoming Secretary of Labor. When the Department of Labor conducted investigations of the 20 largest fast food brands, more than half of the CKE-affiliated restaurants investigated were found to have at least one wage and hours violation. The company admits in filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it faces multiple class action lawsuits over violations of wage and hour laws. Since Mr. Puzder took over as CKE CEO in 2000, the company has been cited 98 times for safety violations, including 36 classified as “serious”, meaning risking death or grave physical harm to employees. Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, has argued that it is "hard to think of anyone less suited for the job" and we agree that a CEO whose company has such a record of rampant violations of the law is not a credible enforcer of labor and employment laws against other employers.

On policy, Mr. Puzder has been an outspoken opponent of government taking action to help raise wages of low-income workers, including opposing expanding coverage of overtime rules and raising the minimum wage. We are deeply concerned that Mr. Puzder has publicly promoted predictions of job loss in cities and states that have raised the minimum wage, but seems to refuse to adjust his views now that those predictions of job loss have proven false in cities and states with higher minimum wages such as New York and California . There is no place for such a rigid anti-worker ideologue in the position of Secretary of Labor.

We ask the United States Senate to reject this nomination when it is asked to deliberate on it early in 2017.

JLC Opposes the Nomination of David M. Friedman to be the United States Ambassador to the State of Israel

December 21, 2016, New York , NY The Jewish Labor Committee today issued the following statement:

The Jewish Labor Committee opposes the nomination of David M. Friedman to be the United States Ambassador to the State of Israel, as proposed by President-elect Donald Trump. His many statements and actions over the years make it clear that he will not help, but rather impede, any meaningful progress towards a fair and just negotiated resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The Jewish Labor Committee opposes Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank , whether the establishment of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements. We support the consensus desire of most Israelis and Palestinians (long confirmed by polling data) for a reasonably negotiated, fair and secure two-state solution for Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. It is essential that any U.S. ambassador to Israel be supportive of a two-state solution.
The nomination of David M. Friedman, President-elect Donald Trump’s bankruptcy attorney, to the sensitive post of United States Ambassador to the State of Israel is a serious mistake for several reasons. First and foremost, because Friedman is an active supporter of the West Bank settlement movement and has stated in very clear terms that he does not believe in a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinian people, we believe he is not an appropriate nominee for this crucial post.
Mr. Friedman has no experience in foreign policy or in diplomacy, and he doesn’t even seem to believe in diplomacy. This is best exemplified by his condemnation of the liberal pro-Israel organization J Street as “worse than Kapos” (Jews who were forced to collaborate with the Nazis in concentration camps) within the context of his refusal in advance to meet with J Street or other groups that believe in a two-state solution. This alone is a departure for American ambassadors to Israel , who traditionally are open to meeting with a wide spectrum of the American Jewish community.
We are deeply concerned that the incoming U.S. Administration apparently wants to go on record as endorsing the views of a supporter of the settlement enterprise who opposes a two-state solution This will communicate to Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab world and the entire international community that the US is no longer interested in using its good offices to promote a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And we cannot see how the status quo will move forward without at least the supportive involvement of the United States .
Friedman’s attitudes and positions are contrary to what have been the bi-partisan policies of the United States for decades. Rejecting a two-state solution would doom Israel ’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.
If the incoming United States Senate effectively repudiates a peaceful two-state solution by confirming Mr. Friedman’s unwise appointment, this would dangerously and unnecessarily inflame extremist passions against both the United States and Israel . We would not want to see the incoming administration get off to such a bad start, in one fell swoop endangering our national security and that of the State of Israel, and undermining efforts toward Mideast stability.
For all of these reasons, we oppose the nomination of David M. Friedman to be the United States Ambassador to the State of Israel, and ask the United States Senate to reject this nomination when it is asked to deliberate on it early in 2017.

Philadelphia: Panel Discussion on "Immigration, Xenophobia and Labor"

ImXeLaPhilaDec19th20164web

December 19, 2016: Philadelphia, PA - Jewish Labor Committee hosted a panel discussion this evening on "Immigration, Xenophobia and Labor." Seventy people, many of them new to the JLC, showed up to hear PA State Senator Daylin Leach, UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV, the Executive Director of HIAS PA, Cathryn Miller-Wilson, and the Executive Director of the Northeast Region of the ADL, Nancy Baron Baer.
"While moderate and progressive organizations are clamoring to figure out how to collaborate in order to face the coming administration, JLC is paving the way by bringing together high ranking members of the PA State government, the and the local Jewish and labor communities," related Philadelphia JLC Regional Director Michael Hersch. "Though we’re all concerned about what the future holds, what’s remarkable is our collective commitment to work and fight together to preserve those democratic and inclusive values we all hold dear."

JLC at NYC Rally and March for Immigrant Rights

Dec 18 2016 Immigrants Demo in NYC.jpg
JLC Associate Director Arieh Lebowitz at rally next to Make The Road New York representatives.

December 18, 2016: New York, NY - The Jewish Labor Committee joined with hundreds of other people at an #ImmigrantNY rally at Manhattan's Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza in support of immigrants and immigrants' rights. Organized by the New York Immigration Coalition, over 80 local and national community, ethnic, religious and political organizations participated; many continued on to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

Philadelphia JLC at Fight for $15 Demo in Center City

FF15inPhiladeplhiaNov29th20164web.jpg

November 30, 2016: Philadelphia, PA - Last night, Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee Director Michael Hersch (right in photo above), long-time local PJLC Board member Bill Epstein (left), formerly of UFCW Local 1776 joined with Laura Wentz (center), President of the Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women and several local CLUW members to support the local Fight for $15 campaign. The event in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide happening in 340 cities. Marking the fourth anniversary of what is being called the “Fight for $15” movement, fast food workers, home care workers, educators, airport workers and others rallied for a raised minimum wage to a living wage of at least $15, the right to join a union respected, and better working conditions. “Fight for 15” has expanded to include not only fast food workers, but also employees at various workplaces across North America, encompassing airport workers, maintenance staffs, and home health care workers.

Open Letter to President-elect Donald Trump from Jewish American Organizations

November 18, 2016

Today, the Jewish Labor Committee joined with other American Jewish organizations in a joint letter to President-elect Donald Trump. Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear President-elect Trump,

We write on behalf of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Jewish Americans deeply committed to the values that underpin our people’s faith, our country’s democracy and our relationship with the people and state of Israel. We wish to raise several serious concerns based on issues and events from the recent campaign.

For centuries, Jews have lived as minorities in the lands of other people. As Americans, we recognize how blessed we are to live in a land that respects religious liberty and works to guarantee freedom and opportunity for all. As Jews, we have been proud to help lead our nation’s steady march to fulfill its founding promise that all people are created equal—a promise that echoes the biblical assertion that all human beings are equal creations in the divine image. We have played, and continue to play, a vital role in the process of perfecting our still-imperfect laws that guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all.

Based on our community’s experience, we begin by strongly condemning the many instances of anti-Semitism – both subtle and overt – that appeared around your Presidential campaign. We have been deeply concerned by words and actions during the campaign that attacked and offended Americans on the basis of their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation. Expressions of xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, misogyny and other forms of prejudice, in and around your campaign, threatened to undermine our nation’s core values and to erode our people’s shared sense of what it means to be an American.

As President, we expect that you will make it absolutely clear that you emphatically reject anti-Semitism in all forms, and that you are committed to ensuring the religious freedom that is at the heart of America’s identity. Further, we call on you to forcefully and consistently reiterate our nation’s commitment to respect the rights of all citizens and to fight discrimination in all of its ugly and un-American forms. All American citizens have the right to expect no less from our nation’s highest elected leader.

Like you, American Jews are the descendants of immigrants. We believe that immigration and successful integration of newcomers into the fabric of American society has been key to our country’s strength and prosperity. Because many of our families arrived in this country as refugees fleeing persecution—and because so many died when the borders closed, we are committed to defending our country’s identity as a land of refuge.

As such, we will not support efforts to limit or foreclose access to this great country on the basis of a person’s religious faith or country of origin. We also oppose efforts to punish those who have made and continue to make great contributions to our society, but who are here without the required documentation, often because of the near impossibility of securing a legal visa.

Finally, as Jewish Americans, we are committed to our country maintaining a strong relationship with the State of Israel – one that must be grounded in our shared values and shared interests. We, and an overwhelming majority of Jewish Americans, support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an active role for the United States in achieving this vision. We expect the State of Israel to embody democratic principles, as enshrined by its Declaration of Independence and an active role for the United States in efforts to defend those principles.

We cannot support an abandonment of America’s fundamental policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – which have been recognized as vital to American national interest and supported by Presidents of both parties for 50 years. We therefore have been alarmed by changes in the Republican Platform, as well as statements by your key advisors on Israel, which eliminate the goals of the two-state solution and creation of a Palestinian state living at peace with Israel.

As you prepare to take office, we call on you to commit to be a President for all Americans – including those who did not support you.

We call on you to be a President who protects all Americans, including and especially those in more vulnerable communities who, based on the tenor of the campaign we’ve just experienced and the upsurge in hate crimes, are increasingly afraid for themselves, their families and their children.

We call on you to protect the great traditions of our country that have been a beacon to “the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

And we call on you to staff your administration with individuals who exhibit excellence and empathy, and a commitment to protecting the security, honor and dignity of all American regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation. Your recent decision to appoint Stephen Bannon to the post of Senior Counselor and Strategist in the White House runs counter to these principles and should be rescinded for the sake of the American people and the honor of the government of the United States.

As you begin your term we are certain that you will find willing partners in the Jewish community to join with your administration if it follows a path that upholds and defends the principles of fairness, justice and freedom on which this country was built.

But, we will not stand idly by if you choose to take actions that violate human rights, or that reverse the progress we have made at home and abroad. You will find us as powerful opponents of any effort to undermine these gains.

Continue reading "Open Letter to President-elect Donald Trump from Jewish American Organizations" »

Human Rights Awards Dinner November 14, 2016 in NYC

HRA Email.jpeg

Make your reservations to participate in this event: click here for an RSVP form outlining your choices for attendance and program sponsorship packages.
Just fill in the form, print it out, and either send it back to us via fax to 212-477-1918, as an email attachment to dinner@jewishlabor.org, or by mail to
Jewish Labor Committee – 140 West 31st Street, 3rd Floor – New York, NY 10001

Any questions, just call us at 212-477-0707 or email at dinner@jewishlabor.org.

Recently added to the Website