Labor Party workers turn the lights out on Barak

The Labor Party's workers' union took a symbolic step on Sunday to protest Labor chairman Ehud Barak's decision to break the workers' collective bargaining agreement. The workers turned the lights off during a toast Barak hosted at the party's Tel Aviv headquarters. The symbolic move was barely noticed, because the event was held in the early evening, long before it got dark. But the workers promised that their sanctions would intensify and that Barak, who grabbed a microphone during a Labor central committee meeting two years ago, will soon find the electricity turned off from his microphone when he speaks at a Labor event. "We can't celebrate Rosh Hashanah after getting such a gift for the holiday," said the workers' strategist, Dani Cohen. The workers' fight against Barak has received backing from Labor MKs Amir Peretz, Ami Ayalon, Yoram Marciano, and even from Shelly Yacimovich, who endorsed Barak in the final week of the Labor leadership race. "This is the first crisis [of Barak's tenure]," Ayalon wrote in a letter to Labor's 113,000 members. "We don't live in glass houses. We founded the Labor movement and we have to act accordingly." Barak and Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel made reference to the workers in their speeches at the event. Cabel warned the union not to perform acts of zealotry. Barak reiterated what he said last week about the need to prepare for a general election. "Elections might be held in 5758 or the beginning of 5759, so we have to be ready and work together to win," Barak said.