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Issue No. 186 11 July 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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

N E W S

 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

C O L U M N S

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.

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

L E T T E R S
 Union Posters
 Tom's Lessons
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Silicon Workers Seize Their Valley


Workers in San Jose have forced their local council to link public funding decisions to the creation of union jobs, health care and affordable housing.

In a breakthrough that sets the scene for NSW unions' push on state government purchasing policy, the South Bay Labour Council is redefining the way public spending decisions are made.

Amy Dean, in Australia to promote her Council's Union Cities program, highlighted the political achievements as key to a new and broader union agenda aimed at linking workers with the broader community.

"In San Jose, which is the sort of capital city of Silicon Valley we've been able to win a seven seat majority. Now that we have a strong majority on the city council," Dean says.

"We're moving forward a public policy initiative that is very innovative. It calls for a series of social standards to be met anytime local government makes public investments."

Under the initiative any time government uses its public resources on a development there are criteria that call for the jobs that get created to be union jobs with healthcare attached to them. If its a mixed use land project that must be affordable housing components to the job.

"We aren't just looking to get good people elected to say OK we've got labour friends here; but we really are using that portable base to advance our social agenda," Dean says.

Dean addressed a range of forums in Sydney, including a meeting of affiliated unions and a forum of community groups.

NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson says the experience of workers in the Silicon Valley will provide valuable lessons in the lead up to the ALP State Conference, where unions will push the government to ensure all firms with government contracts allow their workforce to organize.


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