Israel’s Recent Unionizing Drives

The Broader Social Context

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 Ben-Gurion University yonatanpreminger@yahoo.co.uk
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abstract

In light of the labor movement’s prominence in Israel’s history, the recent resurgence of unionizing activity after some 30 years of organized labor’s decline has caused much scholarly debate. However, scholars have paid insufficient attention to political ‘climate’, the wider social context, and the ‘battle of ideas’. This article therefore discusses the status of organized labor in media discourse, the rhetoric against the labor courts, liberalization in legal reasoning, and how organized labor is construed by the courts, as well as the conceptual differentiation between ‘workers’ and ‘the public’. It concludes that both organized labor and vestigial corporatist institutions are facing delegitimizing rhetoric and proposes that, for a fuller assessment of union revitalization, we should pay attention to labor struggles on three planes: the frontal struggle in the workplace, the institutional struggle to shore up the institutions crucial to collective labor relations, and the ideological struggle against the narrative of delegitimation.

Contributor Notes

jonathan preminger completed his PhD at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where he investigated the wave of labor organizing seen from 2007 onward. He is now a lecturer at Cardiff University Business School in the United Kingdom, where he researches labor, employment relations, and political economy. E-mail: yonatanpreminger@yahoo.co.uk

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