Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

In 2008, when I first began thinking about undertaking a broad study of unions in Israel, I had been active with a small general union, the Workers Advice Center (WAC), for some seven years. I had witnessed various workers’ struggles from close up and seen how difficult it was to unionize in the current social and political...

Acronyms and Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xvi

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Introduction: An Inquiry into Labor in Israel in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 1-17

In 2013, I found myself sitting in a small office on an upper floor of the historic trade union building at 93 Arlozorov Street in Tel Aviv. The walls of this building, the physical hub of Israel’s once-powerful labor movement, heard many acrimonious debates and crucial decisions being made over the years, and the...

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1. Neoliberalism, Neocorporatism, and Worker Representation

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pp. 18-34

In this chapter I discuss the theoretical concerns that inform the book, which views labor struggles in the context of neoliberalization and emphasizes organized labor’s agency. I also explain the analytical perspective adopted and the logic behind the structure of the book, which is organized according to three broad...

Part 1. Renegotiating Union Democracy

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2. The Rise of Labor Activism

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pp. 37-52

From around 2010 onward, a groundswell of activism and a slew of high-profile labor disputes brought organized labor and unionizing into the headlines and raised public awareness of labor issues. For about three years, it seemed that in any given week, one bitter dispute or another was in the headlines, many of...

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3. The Corrupt Old Structures

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pp. 53-60

As discussed in the previous chapter, some of the recent organizing initiatives and a number of new organizations channeled their energies into existing representational structures, but many workers perceived the Histadrut to be complicit in policies that have undermined organized labor, and they found themselves...

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4. Taking the Struggle beyond the Workplace

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pp. 61-68

The feeling that the Histadrut or other old frameworks are not representing the workers sufficiently was common in many campaigns. While the Histadrut itself may be part of the establishment, the workers themselves are not, and in some cases it is precisely this establishment they oppose. The workers, then, feel they are...

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5. Renegotiating the Role of the Histadrut

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pp. 69-86

Paradoxically perhaps, the same campaigns that illustrate the opposition to the Histadrut also show its continued dominance, which is why many of those behind recent organizing drives have chosen to remain within the Histadrut framework. Its main power source is its good relations with employers and the...

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6. Concluding Remarks to Part 1

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pp. 87-92

The cases investigated in part 1 have left us with a rather confused picture: workers are consolidating their unions, yet breaking away into new unions and organizations; workers are fighting the Histadrut, yet clinging to it as the strongest dog in the pack; workers are struggling against the privatization of services, yet...

Part 2. Renegotiating the Labor–Capital Balance of Power

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7. The Frontal Struggle: Recognition in the Workplace

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pp. 95-104

In 2012 and 2013, the Israeli press was full of stories of “trapped profits.” Large companies, including the Intel Corporation, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and Check-Point Software Technologies, had benefited from the Encouragement of Capital Investment Law of 1959, amassing tens of billions of shekels in profits...

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8. The Ideological Struggle: The Delegitimization of Organized Labor

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pp. 105-117

Employers’ attempts to prevent an organizing initiative are relatively new to Israel because unionizing itself is new. (Though there was a wave of organizing following the National Health Insurance Law of 1995, employers’ adamant opposition is mostly characteristic of the most recent wave.) Before the weakening of the...

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9. The Institutional Struggle: Undermining the Labor Courts

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pp. 118-125

As discussed in the previous chapter, the big committees are under fire in the media as a leftover from the heyday of Israeli corporatism, benefiting from a slew of ostensibly anachronistic privileges and overly restrictive labor legislation that thwart the implementation of supposedly necessary reforms. The institutional...

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10. Concluding Remarks to Part 2

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pp. 126-132

The material presented in part 2 suggests that the challenge to labor’s privileged position in the neocorporatist labor relations regime is an important element in the shift in the balance of power away from organized labor and toward capital. Though this regime no longer exists as it did in the 1950s and 1960s, and...

Part 3. Renegotiating Labor’s Place in Society and Nation

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11. Labor Representation outside Union Structures

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pp. 135-146

The corporatist regime included the state as an active and essential partner in the tripartite structure, and organized labor had a place in the political sphere, influencing the forming of decisions and policies. In Israel’s case, the link between organized labor and the structures and institutions of the state was particularly...

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12. Pluralism and the Changing Nature of Politics

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pp. 147-153

The activities of organizations like the Workers Advice Center (WAC) and Kav Laoved must be understood in the context of a changing approach to labor regulation, the move toward what Mundlak (2007) calls a pluralist system. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) active in the field of labor and workers’ rights...

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13. Between National Community and Class Solidarity

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pp. 154-165

This chapter overviews the relationship between Israel, its Palestinian Arab citizens, and noncitizen Palestinians in the field of labor to show how the labor market—the workforce—was increasingly expanded. The material covered here will also emphasize the Histadrut’s role as a national institution, unwilling (at least until very...

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14. Porous Labor Market, Insular Political Community

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pp. 166-174

I have suggested that since 1948 Israel has increasingly struggled with the conflicting demands of economic incorporation and political exclusion of its Palestinian citizens and, in a different way, of Palestinians in the territories it occupied in 1967. In 2007, this process took a significant new form when the...

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15. Concluding Remarks to Part 3

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pp. 175-180

In part 3, I suggested that the decline of the union–party link and the rise of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) active in the sphere of labor are connected to the gradual undermining of one of corporatism’s central premises: the congruence of the labor market with citizenship. Since the establishment of the...

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Conclusion

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pp. 181-196

In this final chapter, I bring the threads of previous chapters together to take a broader view of organized labor in Israel today. In the tumult of labor campaigns, the diverse organizations emerging on the ground, and the efforts of government and capital to thwart organizing initiatives, those who are “rather friendly...

List of Interviewees

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pp. 197-198

Notes

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pp. 199-206

References

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pp. 207-228

Index

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pp. 229-236