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Eini, winning Histadrut union elections, vows to protect workers from Treasury cutbacks

Defeated candidate Cabel claims leadership race was corrupt

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Ofer Eini casts his ballot on Tuesday (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)
Ofer Eini casts his ballot on Tuesday (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

Ofer Eini has retained his place as the head of the country’s largest labor union.

With almost 90 percent of votes counted Thursday morning, Eini had a commanding 66% share of the vote, ensuring his victory over Labor MK Eitan Cabel in the race to head the Histadrut labor federation.

But Cabel refused to cede the race and accused Eini of buying votes. He told Army Radio Thursday morning that the election hadn’t been conducted properly and said he intended to make sure the truth came out.

“Today marks the end of Eini’s era, and the start of my reign,” Cabel said defiantly.

Eini dismissed Cabel’s claims, pointing out that there were committees and overseers making sure the elections were conducted properly and democratically.

Eini has headed the union since 2006. The Histadrut, founded in 1920, was once one of the most powerful institutions in both Mandate-era Palestine and Israel. Although the influence of organized labor has waned in recent years, the Histadrut’s huge membership insures its ability to call paralyzing strikes when it deems necessary.

Eini said Thursday he would use his renewed mandate to battle the Finance Ministry for better terms for subcontracted workers and to fight expected spending cuts in the 2013 budget. He anticipated the summer’s budget law would contain “harsh impositions” for Israel’s impoverished sectors, and vowed to take “the appropriate steps” to protect the work force.

 

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