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Labor Federation Says PLO Represents Palestinian People

December 1, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A resolution endorsing the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people was adopted overwhelmingly by delegate; at the Ontario Federation of Labor convention last week. The Federation represents some 800,000 trade unionists in the province.

The vote on the resolution followed a lengthy and emotional debate during which delegates also called for the recognition of Israel’s right to exist within secure borders and for the right of the Palestinian people to have an independent homeland. Clifford Pilkey, president of the Federation, said after the voting had taken place, that the resolution should not be interpreted as an unqualified support of the PLO. He said the intent of the resolution was that recognition of the PLO can only follow the PLO’s recognition of Israel.

Two unions represented at the convention, the United Electrical Workers and the Postal Workers, had submitted resolutions calling for an independent Palestinian state, but ultimately the wording was altered to read an independent homeland.

One of the few delegates opposing the resolution on the PLO was Joe Power, president of the Defense Workers Union. He said it was not up to the Federation to decide the status of the PLO. Sam Fox of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union said the resolution failed to place events in the context of history, since the PLO was not ready to recognize Israel.

The invited guest at the convention was Abdullah Abdullah, the PLO representative in Canada. He was asked to attend by the officers of the Steelworkers Union.

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