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Respect Workers' Rights and Freedom of Speech at Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw!

On May 28, members of the ZSP picketed at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. The reason for this was related to the actions of its director, Pawel Spiewak, concerning employees at the Institute and his more recent actions against our comrade from the ZSP.

Two years ago some incidents occured at the Institute which could be described as retribution, discrimination and harrassment of unionists. At least that's how some workers saw it and a court decided in their favour. For example, a quite famous researcher and former KOR activist (Alina Cala) formed a trade union and was then moved to the archives to scan documents … which is a job for students. The same researcher had earlier received a dismissal notice with the reason given because of the union, but the director realized this is easily proven discrimination, so instead the notice was withdrawn and she was moved to this job which was well below her previous one. In total, six workers were banished to the archives – all of them were in the founding group of the union. A couple of them quit, a couple of them took Director Spiewak to court and won.

We could say a lot more about this case and the atmosphere created at work by Mr. Spiewak. But we will leave this for now, because Mr. Spiewak is watching us! Anything we say can be will be held against us! Two years after the fact, Spiewak has decided to sue the owner of our internet domain name because there was information about this anti-unionist harrassment on our webpages.

We are not the only ones who reported this situation, but I guess it really hurt Mr. Director to see that some people, including workers from the Institute, will not stay quiet about bosses who do such crappy things. People certainly had a different idea about who should be banished to the basement scanning dusty documents day in and day out. Unfortunately, despite the outcome of the court case, which showed how unfair the Director had acted, he is still in his position at the Institute.

And now he is after one of our own. Our comrade's „crime” is that on a webpage whose domain is registered to him, different people, including workers and ex-workers of the Institute themselves, dared to say that collectiving demoting unionists is unacceptable behaviour. In no uncertain terms. And this makes Mr. Spiewak, in our eyes, a very bad boss.

Since Spiewak insists on punishing someone for calling him out, we think it is only fair to reopen this issue. After all, he is still in charge of the Institute. He mobbed and discriminated unionists. And he continues to seek retribution against those who are not cowarded by his threats.

We hope things will change at the Institute because it is a very important place for the study of Jewish Culture and History in Poland, but has already become a place where some highly qualified researchers will not work because of the boss.