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A Strike by Israel Bond City Managers Remains Deadlocked

January 10, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A strike by 58 city managers working in offices throughout the United States for the Development Corporation for Israel, the Israel Bond Organization, remained deadlocked today with no new negotiations scheduled, according to statements by both sides.

Martin Cohen, president of Local 1881 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employes (AFSCME), said the city managers for the Israel Bond offices, who he said are responsible for Israel Bond sales in 60 geographic regions and divisions, went on strike January 3 after negotiations for a new contract broke down on issues of job security.

Cohen told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that a two-year contract, scheduled to expire at the end of 1981, had been extended for a year by Local 1881, with no effort by the union to seek the changes for which it struck last January 3. Cohen said Local 1881 members accepted a management request to extend the agreement to the end of 1982, without change, because of “difficult conditions” in Israel.


Cohen said “we have not sought additional economic gains for two years and do not seek them now. We only want what most other unions have had for a long times a contract provision that allows dismissal only for ‘just and sufficient cause’; provisions that would protect our members against unilateral salary reductions; a clause establishing past practices; and a policy that would make seniority the determining factor in any move by the corporation to retrench or reorganize.”

Asked why the local had not sought such security arrangements in prior contracts, Cohen said that during the extended contract period last year, the union lost on two arbitration hearings on dismissals and felt impelled to demand the job security provisions.

He said picketing had started immediately at the national headquarters office of Israel Bonds and the New York regional office, both in Manhattan. He said picketing would be on a rotating basis at the other struck offices.

Cohen said a meeting was held last Tuesday with a state mediator, which lasted “several hours” and produced “no progress.” He charged that management was “totally inflexible.”


The Israel Bond office issued a statement in response, in which it stressed that normal operations of the Bond offices had not been affected by the strike. Both sides agreed that, after four days of picketing, Local 1881 had cancelled the picketing so that other Israel Bond office workers, members of Local 107, would return to their jobs. Both 1881 and 107 are members of District Council 1707, the Community and Social Agency employes union of AFSCME.

The statement by the Israel Bond Organization declared that 58 city managers “out of a work force of 600” had struck, adding that management “has offered a package which includes job security.” The statement added that the dispute was being mediated by the New York State Mediation Board “and we are subject to a call from the mediator.” An Israel Bond spokesman agreed with Cohen that no new negotiations were scheduled.

The statement said that “in the last 27 years there have been only two discharge cases involving city managers. Both had been taken to arbitration and rulings were made after extensive hearings.”

The statement asserted that the city managers had a contract, as of December 31, 1982, “that provided that nationwide security is to be the major factor in any future possible retrenchment, with the Israel Bond Organization reserving the right to apply its judgement as to individual skills and ability” in any such retrenchments.

The Israel Bond Organization also declared that “the choice of city managers who are to be retrenched, if such retirement ever were to take place, is under the existing contract, subject to binding arbitration.” The statement insisted that “there have never been nor are there now any arbitrary transfers of individual managers.”

The statement stressed that “traditionally, almost no Israel Bond sales events are scheduled during the first few weeks of the year. There has therefore been no effect whatsoever on the Israel Bond campaign or on our sales activity.” A spokesman for the Israel Bond Organization told the JTA that all Israel Bond offices were operating normally throughout the country.

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