The Histadrut labor federation is thinking of banning its officials from serving on corporate boards of directors, following the embarrassing disclosure that some of them do that very thing. The concern is of potential conflicts of interest, in that their job at the umbrella union is to protect workers' rights, while their job at the companies is to act for the company's greater good.
A week ago Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini commissioned the federation's legal counsel, Alon Levin, to compile an opinion on whether these officials should be ordered to resign their positions on corporate boards.
The constitution of the Histadrut bans its own employees from private practice. But it does not address the issue of serving on the boards of companies.
A spokesman for the organization said that Levin would be asked to define when board membership is legitimate for a Histadrut officer, and when it is not. If his general conclusion is that it isn't legitimate, the Histadrut's constitution will need to be amended.
Among the Histadrut officers who could be in a conflict of interest is Avi Yehezkel, a former Knesset member and chairman of the Histadrut's branch offices. He sits on the board of Hadera Paper.
Naamat chairwoman Talia Livni sits on the board of Lumenis. Treasurer Yisrael Efrat owns shares in Pilat Technologies, which in turn owns companies that place workers, run aptitude tests for prospective employees and handle outsourcing. Yigal Dan heads the Histadrut-owned Ovdim corporation and sits on the board of the real estate company Aspen.
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