The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
Issue No. 163 29 November 2002  

Lessons from History
History has a seemingly infinite capacity to create and debunk myths, as the latest offering from the Journal of Labour and Social History shows.


Interview: Trade Secrets
Federal Labor’s trade spokesman Craig Emerson is on a mission to bring the shady world of trade talks into the open

Industrial: It’s About Overtime, Stupid
An overtime free-for-all is at the heart of Australia’s hours explosion and it's time to look at a cap on hours, reports Noel Hester from the ACTU’s Working Hours Summit.

Unions: Full Steam Ahead
After two weeks of rallies around the state, rural Rail Towns are making a stand for jobs and safety. Jim Marr reports.

Bad Boss: The BBQ Battle Axe
Manly restaurateur, David Diamond, is a shoo-in for this month’s Bad Boss nomination, leaving Workers Online looking for a good employer who can undo some of his damage.

Economics: Different Dimensions of Debt
Professor Frank Stilwell presented the big picture on debt policy at the Evatt Foundation’s Breakfast Seminar

History: Raking the Coals
Labour historians Rae Cooper and Greg Patmore explain why today’s organisers have much to learn from the lessons of the past.

History Special: Wherever the Necessity Exists
Rae Cooper tracks NSW union organising between 1900-1910 to argue that today’s activists should be looking closer to home for inspiration

History Special: Learning from the Past
Ray Markey looks at union membership growth in the 1880s & 1900s to argue that today’s unions must engage to grow.

History Special: A 'Cosy Relationship'
Barbara Webster looks at Rockhampton between 1916 – 1957 to debunk the ‘dependence’ theory of trade union growth.

Politics: Regime Change for Saddam
Labour lawyer Jim Nolan looks at the challenge for the Left in the current geopolitical stand-off in the Middle East.

International: World War
Europe has suddenly come aflame with industrial action, Andrew Casey reports.

Corporate: Industrious Thinking
Neale Towart looks at the influence of German immigration on Australian industry policy in the post-war period.

Review: Jack High
Mick Molloy’s new flick Crackerjack tells the tale of a traditional bowling club struggling to stay afloat in an industry dominated by pokies, pokies and more pokies, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Culture: Duffy’s Song
Former Labor Council official Mark Duffy’s Sydney super band Sundial clocks in a bit of a corker.

Satire: A Nation of Sooks
The Strewth Institute's Tony Moore looks at the spate of defo suits and wonders if Australia has gone soft.

Poetry: Mr Flexibility
One of the key challenges facing unions, as the ACTU celebrates its 75th anniversary, is confronting the problems of increasing working hours and work intensity under the guise of "flexibility". Our resident bard, David Peetz, takes up that theme this week.


 And On the Seventh Day – Satan Joins Union

 Security Masks Political Bans

 Members Offered Spotters' Fee

 Casuals Written Out of the Script

 New Mining Bully On the Block

 ACTU Examines The Cap Option On Hours

 No Sweetener for Diabetic Workers

 Pressure Goes on Apartheid Employers

 ASIC Turns Blind Eye on Dodgy Boss

 Family Test Case a Priority Campaign

 Echoes of Prestige Hit Home

 Brutal Bashing Sparks Prison Strike

 Minister Challenged by Cleaners

 ABC Journos Off The Air

 Union Says RSCPA "Kills"...

 Guards Demand Campus Security

 Uni Backs Down On Regional Review

 Peace Returns to US Docks

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Economic Migrants
A man - a worker - risks death by machine gun to escape what he is told is a 'workers' state'. He flees East Berlin through a tunnel, dug beneath a cemetery.

And the Winner Is …
It’s that time of the year when we honour the best. In the past week, both the IR Writers fraternity and ACTU have got in the act with more to come.

The Locker Room
More Post-Colonial Madness
Phil Doyle joins the fools and Englishmen out in the midday sun, and finds that it all comes at a price.

Call Waiting
The Howard Government backs off its plans to privatise the rest of Telstra under market pressure. But it’s nothing like the pressure that former HIH directors are under.

Month In Review
Way Down
As Elvis might have said, if he had had a longer-term perspective “ooh, what a month it was, it really was such a month …”

 Oh Bugger Me!
 State Based Organising
 Gino on the Gong
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



And On the Seventh Day – Satan Joins Union

Sanitarium workers are rejecting the company’s “devil made him do it” defence for sacking their union delegate.

Workers from the company’s Berkeley Vale and Tuggerah manufacturing plants rallied last Friday against the dismissal of John Draper who was sacked after leading a successful campaign to reject a non-union enterprise bargaining agreement.

Seventh Day Adventist-controlled Sanitarium upped the stakes dramatically, last week, when a manager distributed leaflets penned by church founder, Ellen G.White, which described unions as "Satanic".

"The wicked are being bound up in bundles, bound up in trusts, in unions, in confederacies. Let us have nothing to do with these organisations," White implored.

"The trades unions will be agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such as has not been seen since the world began."

The message was distributed after several months of campaigning in which the food company, which manufacturers heavily-advertised brands Weet Bix and So Good, refused to deal with the AMWU, enter a union-negotiated EBA or, according to the union, even correctly apply minimum award rates.

AMWU Food and Confection Division federal secretary, Jenny Dowell, tried to defuse religious elements of the conflict and concentrate on industrial issues.

"We don't want this to be about religion because we don't think it is," she said. "We respect their rights to their beliefs but insist that they respect the rights of these people to be represented."

The AMWU has lodged an unfair dismissal case on behalf of Draper, who worked for Sanitarium for eight years, and has also launched freedom of association proceedings in the Federal Court.

Sanitatrium is a multi-national, multi-million dollar business that benefits from passing itself off as a non-profit, religious organisation. It gets tax breaks not available to competitors and has a history of resisting unionisation.

Draper was pivotal, several years ago, in organising a back pay claim that resulted in the company being forced to shell out $3.2 million to workers around Australia.

Since then more than half the manufacturing workforce at Tuggerah and Berkeley Vale have joined the union. Draper now convenes a committee of elected delegates from the two plants who have turned their recent attention to winning an EBA and having the existing award correctly implemented.

During EBA discussions Sanitarium conceded that staff could have outside representation "subject to the crieteria of it not being from a current union organisation". Instead, it suggested, workers use one of its consultants as an "independent representative".

After workers rejected Sanitarium's EBA, Draper was sacked. The company claimed he had harassed a supervisor.

"This company contends that normal delegate duties are harassment," Dowell says. "The central problem is that they simply don't recognise trade unions and everything else stems from that."

Dowell called on Employment Advocate Jonathan Hamberger to take action against Sanitarium under the same freedom of association provisions he lines up against trade unions.

"We know how much money and resources Hamberger devotes to people who don't want to join trade unions," she said. "It would be nice to think he might be prepared to do something to defend the rights of people who want representation."


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 163 contents

email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online