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Issue No. 186 11 July 2003  

Beyond the Possible
For a union movement that is struggling to break through the constraints of time and place, the visit of US union leader Amy Dean this week has been a breath of fresh air.


Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
One the movement’s great characters, Public Service Association general secretary Maurie O’Sullivan, is calling it a day. He looks back on his career with Workers Online.

Industrial: Just Doing It
Sportswear giant, Nike, is the first company to sign off on an agreement that purports to protect Australian clothing workers, wherever they labour, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
For a 23-year-old woman who has never worked in the trade, recruiting young construction apprentices into the union has its challenges, reports Carly Knowles.

Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Mal Cochrane came to the smoke as part of an Aboriginal avalanche that redefined the face of Rugby League. Today, he serves his community through the trade union movement.

Bad Boss: In the Pooh
What do you give a boss who makes his workers labour in raw sewage? A nomination for the Tonys.

Unions: National Focus
In the national wrap Noel Hester finds a Victorian Misso delo who is redistributing lucre from Eddie McGuire into workers’ theatre, South Australian unions taking that Let’s Get Real stuff seriously, an American unionist fronts up at a distinguished ‘meeting of the brains’ in Adelaide and a look at the line up for ACTU Congress.

Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Dick Bryan wonders if we can be insured against pop economists promising financial nirvana as well as financial market instability.

Technology: Dean for President
Paul Smith looks at how the internet is helping one Democrat candidate to the front of the primary pack

International: Rangoon Rumble
Union Aid Abroad's Marj O'Callaghan looks at Australia's weak response to developments in Burma.

Education: Blackboard Jungle
Lifelong learning shouldn’t mean cutting jobs, but that's exactly what the Carr Government is proposing, argues Tony Brown

Review: From Weakness to Strength
Labor Council crime-fighter Chris Christodoulou catches up with his boyhood hero, the Incredible Hulk

Poetry: Downsized
Resident bard David Peetz pens the song the Industrial Relations Commission needed to hear


 Stop Thief: Shelf Company Owes Millions

 Axed Workers Take on Max

 Seven Bowls Bouncer at Umpire

 Smokescreen Clouds Morris McMahon Win

 Rail Boss Locked In

 Actors To Be Paid Their Dues

 Ruddock Urged to Block Immigration Scam

 Silicon Workers Seize Their Valley

 Wage Case Swings on Fare Go

 Fire, Pepper Spray all in a Day’s Work

 Taking It Up for Medicare

 Shelved Worker Fights Back

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Cleaning Up
Rabbi Laurie Coskey from San Diego adds her voice to the global campaign for just for cleaners in Westfield malls.

The Locker Room
The Name In The Game
In an age of the sportsperson as celebrity it seems that names are overtaking the games, writes Phil Doyle.

The Beach
Southern Thailand’s terrorist activities: facts or fiction asks HT Lee

 Union Posters
 Tom's Lessons
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Seven Bowls Bouncer at Umpire

Channel Nine loyalist Shane Warne could learn a trick or two from the spinners at Seven, where they want to brush the industrial umpire in favour of adjudicating on their own appeals.

That claim is one of a number of Channel Seven demands behind the breakdown of EBA negotiations with the MEAA and CPSU, representing more than 1000 workers.

Channel Seven wants employees' rights to put grievances before the IRC written out of the document. Instead, it argues, they should pay for an independent mediator and, if that fails, the final decision should rest with the company's own Human Resources Department.

Unions have had the network in front of the Commission on a number of issues in the last 18 months, including its application of holiday and redundancy entitlements.

It also bowled up a three percent pay offer, on basics rather than paid rates, which it can unilaterally revise down during the life of the agreement.

Channel Seven contracted an outside lawyer to work up a draft agreement and has refused to negotiate on anything falling outside its scope.

The last two-year agreement expired in July, 2002, and employees are still waiting for any improvement on wages or conditions.

Seven has wrapped its proposal into a non-union agreement and, last week, upped the stakes in its bid to prevent unions having meaningful contact with their members on the issue.

Seven took the MEAA before the Federal Court, alleging a telephone survey of its members attitudes to the proposal amounted to "unlawful coercion". The case was adjourned after the company told the judge it wanted to call an "expert witness" who could give evidence on the effect of such questioning on a "timid man".

MEAA assistant national secretary, Mark Ryan, called Seven's court action "an absolute try-on".

"I haven't found too many timid people in the world of commercial television," he said.

"We asked exactly the same question that is asked in Newspoll surveys. We had quite a good relationship with Seven up until last year. This bargaining round has marked a real change of approach by the company."

Voting on the non-union proposal closes on Monday and the result should be known on Wednesday.


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