Eini Reelected Histadrut Chair

Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini was reelected by a large majority yesterday, granting him another four years at the labor federation's helm.

He easily defeated Leon Benlulu, who headed a list representing some - but not all - of the Likud. The final results will be published today.

Talia Livni was also reelected as head of Na'amat, the Histadrut women's organization.

Although ballot boxes were placed in workplaces this year in an effort to increase voter participation, turnout was, in fact, lower than it was in the Histadrut's last election.

Critics had charged that balloting in the workplace would enable the chairmen of corporate workers' committees to pressure workers to vote. However, the Jerusalem District Court rejected a petition by Benlulu against this decision.

Eini's candidacy was publicly supported by most factions within the Histadrut, causing his associates to say that the elections were an unnecessary and unconscionable waste of tens of millions of shekels, at a time when the organization's deficit exceeds NIS 1 billion.

Eini said his immediate goal will be negotiating a new public-sector wage agreement that includes a raise. The last agreement was signed in 2001.