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Ryan's Israel stance creates rift in CUPE

By Jessica Ireland, The Windsor Star, January 09, 2009

Source: The Windsor Star

The president of the CUPE chapter representing technical workers at the University of Windsor is condemning his provincial president's effort to ban Israeli academics from campuses as an "appalling injustice."

"It's just wrong," said Aldo DiCarlo, president of CUPE Local 1393. "He shouldn't have come out with that position without coming to the membership first."

Sid Ryan, Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, recently called for schools to ban Israeli academics from campuses across Ontario.


A ban would prevent those academics from teaching, speaking or researching at Ontario's universities and colleges.

DiCarlo spoke with members who want to seek Ryan's resignation if he doesn't apologize and withdraw the proposal.

He's also received e-mails from fellow members saying that Ryan's position is "absolutely unacceptable," and it doesn't accurately reflect the provincial membership's opinions.

The resolution will be brought to a vote on Feb. 19 at a conference in Windsor. DiCarlo said CUPE Local 1393 representatives will be there voicing their opposition.

If the resolution passes, the chapter will disaffiliate from CUPE Ontario and remain with CUPE National, he said.


"People shouldn't be lumping all CUPE members into this pile," said DiCarlo of comments from the Jewish community who said, "We should be treating all CUPE members the way they're treating us."

Proposals like Ryan's should not be the politics of a provincial president, said DiCarlo.

He said such politics are not in the interest of CUPE members.

"It's not our business," said DiCarlo. "We're not informed to take a stand."

Provincial CUPE presidents should be focused on the issues "as they relate to unions," he said.

For example, he said, "The politics of provincial presidents is to get funding for universities. That's productive politics."

DiCarlo said he hopes that despite this situation, CUPE's reputation won't suffer because of Ryan's position.

"We do a lot of good for a lot of people and hopefully that'll overshadow the views of a provincial president," he said.

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