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Anglo freelancers form union

October 19, 2007. Haaretz: Daphna Berman
A group of mostly Anglo freelancers in a range of fields met with national union leaders last week as part of their efforts to form a trade union. The meeting at Histradut headquarters, which included talks in English by union leaders, will be followed up by briefings for those whose Hebrew skills are not up to deciphering Israel's labor laws.

The 20 or so members of the core group seeks to negotiate maternity, unemployment and other benefits, as well as electronic rights and competitive life insurance plans for freelancers who work for an extended period at a company. The eventual plan is to recruit about 1,000 freelancers. Additional sessions are planned for Jerusalem later this month.

"Freelancers have it tough all over the world," Laura Goldman, a freelancer from Tel Aviv who approached the Histadrut to form the new group, said.

"For Anglos in Israel, the language is an additional element that makes it tougher. Now, Anglos will have someone to fight for them in Hebrew."

The union will be a separate division within the print workers' union, which is headed by David Galanos.

It will be open to graphic artists, computer consultants, marketing and technical writers, translators, journalists and academic editors.

"There are laws on the books, but it you don't know them, you don't ask for them," Goldman said. "A lot of people, especially new immigrants, don't have the confidence to fight for what's fair."
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