leon Morozovsky 88 298.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
By late Sunday afternoon, some 20 workers' committees within the Administerial and Clerical Workers Union (Histadrut Ha-Ma'of) had expressed support for Ma'of head Leon Morozovsky, his spokeswoman said.
Morozovsky announced Wednesday evening that he was splitting the clerical workers' union, under his leadership, from the Histadrut labor federation - prompting the Histadrut to say that, legally, only Morozovsky was leaving the Histadrut and that he had no right to take the Ma'of with him.
Members of the committees - including those representing the country's firefighters and municipal employees in Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, Herzliya, Ramle, Petah Tikva and Dimona - participated in rallies and a march in support of Morozovsky throughout the day, the spokeswoman said, adding that support was expected to grow during the evening.
It was unclear, however, whether the backing of the 25,000 members of the committees expressing their support so far would actually lead to a decision to join Morozovsky in a separate clerical union, outside of the Histadrut's umbrella.
The Histadrut said Sunday that "most" committees in the Ma'of and "hundreds of other committees handled by the Ma'of" had told the Histadrut that they would not join Morozovsky.
The Ma'of represents more than 220,000 workers in the banks, local authorities, municipalities, religious authorities, public corporations and retail chains. The Histadrut said Thursday that Morozovsky would need more than half of that number to sign a petition before he could establish an independent union.
Morozovsky submitted a petition to the National Labor Court Sunday morning requesting an order prohibiting the Histadrut from taking control of the funds belonging to the Ma'of union and requiring the Histadrut to allow the Ma'of to carry out a "democratic" referendum among its members on whether they want to follow Morozovsky or remain within the Histadrut, he said.
"[Histadrut Chairman Ofer] Eini is trying to prevent the workers from [exercising their] freedom of choice through thuggish behavior," said Morozovsky. He accused Eini of "brutally evicting" Ma'of union workers from their offices and preventing access to computers and hard copy records "in a manner that makes holding a referendum impossible and delegitimizes the Ma'of union, its leaders, institutions and members."
The court summoned both sides for an urgent session to be held late Monday, Morozovsky said.
The Histadrut also said that Eini's motion to dissolve the leadership and institutions of the Ma'of and to eject Morozovsky from the umbrella labor union - submitted to the Histadrut's elected assembly Thursday - was passed unanimously by the assembly's factions on Sunday.
"This was one of the few times in the past few years that a decision has been taken unanimously in the elected assembly," the Histadrut said.
The vote took place after the court rejected a petition from Morozovsky to prevent the vote from taking place, the Histadrut said.
A special committee within the Histadrut will run the Ma'of, Eini said, adding that "the members who had been served by the Ma'of union will continue to receive the best care in the professional association."
"[Morozovsky's] announcement of [his] departure has not caused and will not cause any change in the Histadrut system. The Ma'of union was and remains an organ of the Histadrut operating as an inseparable part thereof," Eini said. He accused Morozovsky of "plotting his coup" over the past three to four years and "acting from within to prevent the existence of the Histadrut."