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Issue No. 184 27 June 2003  

To the Victors The Spoils
Revelations that private American lawyers, rather than the ILO, will rewrite the labour laws of countries levelled by the American military vindicate the warnings of those concerned by US unilateralism.


History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard�s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It�s every power worker�s worst nightmare � and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU�s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there�s another side to the recent furore over Telstra�s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello�s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart�s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your �t�s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


 Rail Chaos Looms

 Electrolux Blows Fuse at Fundraiser

 ACM Loosens Handcuff on Democracy

 Sick Call on Mum�s Job

 Now For Industrial Shock and Awe

 Brian Miller � Working Class Hero

 Dynamite: Howard Handout for Rorters

 Family Case to Nurture Mothers

 Militants Lock Out Another 600

 Tipping the Turtle � Fijian Style

 Carr Goes Private

 Wages Blemish Sound Budget

 Westie Takes On Westfield �Hypocrisy�

 Eleventh Hour Reprieve for Women's Centre

 Activist Notebook


It�s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP�s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream�s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It�s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

 In Defence of Cuba
 The Story in General
 Thinking of America
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Electrolux Blows Fuse at Fundraiser

Corporate lawyers jumped on support for a community fund-raiser to accuse a senior union official of using threats and intimidation during their campaign to de-unionise Orange�s largest employer.

AWU president, Mick Madden, was stunned by the personal attack which, he said, showed neither Swedish multi-national, Electrolux, the AiG, nor its city law firm, Cutler and Harris, had any idea about rural Australians.

Cutler and Harris wrote to the AWU, urging that Madden be disciplined for using "veiled threats" and "intimidation" after he wrote to Electrolux's HR chief at Orange suggesting the pair don boxing gloves at an up-coming charity night to raise funds for local charities.

"I still think it was a good idea. People out west would have loved it and we could have raised some decent money for the community," Madden said. "Other than the fact that he is bigger and heavier than me, it was an offer he could accept or decline."

Madden revealed the lawyers' letter after 1000 employees at the fridge-freezer manufacturer voted, last week, to reject a radical campaign to eliminate unions from their enterprise bargaining negotiations.

But, with a majority of just five, Madden is certain the company will come back and try again, rather than making any effort to conclude a deal.

He pointed to a number of unusual elements in the Electrolux campaign to back his prediction.

- it hired corporate accountants, KPMG, rather than the neutral Industrial Relations Commission to conduct the ballot

- dozens of people who would not be covered by the document, including HR staff, were allowed to vote

- at the height of campaigning, more than a month ago, Electrolux had police remove union officials from the property

- they have not been permitted to return since, other than to talk to workers in a tiny room, under company surveillance, during lunch hours

- for the first few hours of the ballot workers were required to use pencils. Only after delegates identified management personnel with erasers in their pockets, were staff provided with pens to indicate their preferences.

- whilst the company surrounded the polling area with "Vote Yes" materials when a union member put a "Vote No" poster on the wall he was threatened with disciplinary action and the poster was removed.

Members of the AWU, AMWU, NUW and ETU at Orange are particularly angry about the Electrolux campaign because they rallied and lobbied state government to get the company into the town when it seemed the facility, originally owned by Email, would close.

Madden said company determination to press ahead with another ballot was demonstrated by its refusal to budge from "pattern claims" being forced on workers by the AiG.

With the exception of a few words in a stand-down clause, he said, it had moved on nothing during negotiations. Still, there was agreement on everything but an Electorlux demand for longer hours to be paid at less than the award rate.

"We have moved as far as we can to accommodate them but now they are pushing to extend the working day by an hour over summer and pay people less than the award prescribes. We can't sign off on that and they know it.

"They don't want an agreement at all, they just want to keep coming back and putting their proposal for a non-union agreement," Madden said.


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