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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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Smokescreen Clouds Morris McMahon Win

CFMEU chief John Sutton is being scapegoated to deflect attention from the Federal Government’s loss of face at Morris McMahon, according to Teachers Federation secretary, Barry Johnson.

As Morris McMahon workers celebrate their victory, unions are questioning the timing of the release of damaging video evidence from the picket line.

Johnson took strong exception to a series of Sydney Morning Herald attacks on unionists' behaviour at the Morris McMahon picket line, not least because the paper wrote nothing while workers picketed for 17 weeks to resist attempts to force them onto AWAs (Australian Workplace Agreements).

In the second of an ongoing series of articles on Sydney unionists who supported the low-paid strikers, the paper fingered Johnson as having been present when Sutton spat at and rocked a company vehicle, during a picketline confrontation.

"I am sure it has not escaped anyone's attention that the article was published at the time when the dispute had been resolved in favour of the workers," Johnson said.

"It was no coincidence that it made no reference to the outcome of the dispute after some four months of struggle, nor to the defeat of the Howard Government's agenda to force workers into signing Australian Workplace Agreements when they were seeking a collective, union negotiated agreement."

"My union does not support violence but it does support me backing the rights of low-paid workers to negotiate a collective agreement."

Johnson said that after being "exposed", along with several other prominent trade unionists, he took heart from the headline - Who's Who of the Union Mob.

"Actually, I was quite chuffed," he said, "I thought, at last I've made it."

While Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott, whose office distributed picket line footage to media outlets, concentrated his fire on Sutton, other Cabinet Ministers used Herald articles to spread the attack around the movement.

Education Minister Brendan Nelson singled out Johnson and called on the Labor opposition to denounce the Teachers Federation for its presence on the picketline.

The Teachers Federation secretary finished with a jibe at Government-supported mercenaries who had been trained in the Middle East to scab on unionised workers.

"I will tell you why we were named in that newspaper," Johnson said, "because we never tried to hide our identities. We don't wear balaclavas and we don't have Alsatian dogs."


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