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Left to right: AFGE District 11 NVP Gerald Swanke; District 5 NVP Everette Kelley; NST Eugene Hudson Jr.; Women’s and Fair Practices NVP Augusta Thomas; National Pres. J. David Cox, Sr.; District 10 NVP Roy Flores; District 7 NVP Arnold Scott; and Dalia Rabin-Pelossof.

An executive conference room was dedicated today at the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, as part of the tribute to American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr., recipient of the 2012 Public Service Award from the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center. The Center is the official memorial to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who pursued public service through his country’s Labor Party. Rabin, winner of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize (along with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat), dedicated his life to the pursuit of peace, justice, and public service. Yitzhak Rabin was slain by an assassin in 1995, but his efforts to bring together people of disparate backgrounds to work for peace and social progress continue through the work of the Center.

The AFGE delegation met with Israeli labor leaders and members who work in various government agencies, including the Tel Hashomer hospital where many wounded soldiers are treated by medical personnel represented by AFGE’s Israeli counterpart, the International Union of Government Employees. The delegation also visited an Air Force base to meet with local union representatives to discuss their working conditions, union rights and agency missions. The unions pledged continued future contacts and to work in solidarity to improve the voice of workers in their respective countries.

At the dedication ceremony, Cox remarked:

“The message of the AFL-CIO is that ‘work connects us all.’ That fundamental truth is why the labor movement has been the vehicle for human progress all through history. People differ in terms of religion, belief, gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, language, and ability – but when we join together in a union, none of that matters. We become brothers and sisters in the struggle for dignity on the job and a better life for everybody.

“The struggle for peace is really the same as labor’s struggle,” continued Cox. “My hope and prayer is that this space will be a place where people from all backgrounds will come together and find common ground, working for labor solidarity, peace, and a better life for all peoples.”

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