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Issue No. 188 25 July 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Solidarity Gets Sexy
Here’s an image of modern trade unionism: articulate soap stars gives evidence to Senate inquiry into free trade; young IT workers pressure the government to get Big Brother out of the workplace and strapping young footballers join the union to take on the might of Murdoch’s NRL.

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

 Gloves Off Over Workers’ Rights

 Win for Victims of Rio Tinto "Blood Sport"

 League Players Join Union Team

 The Stack Goes On

 Trolley Rort Gathers Pace

 Allende Comes to Fairfield

 Vale Ernie Razborsek

 Kodak Chops Workers from Picture

 Stool Lady’s Stand Vindicated

 Nurses Seek Work-Based Elder Care

 Aussie Stars Buck Trade Off

 High Tech Pokies Threaten Jobs

 Activist 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
 The New Globalism
 Does This Make Me a Raving Trot?
 More on Bullies
 And More …
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Editorial

Solidarity Gets Sexy


Here’s an image of modern trade unionism: articulate soap stars gives evidence to Senate inquiry into free trade; young IT workers pressure the government to get Big Brother out of the workplace and strapping young footballers join the union to take on the might of Murdoch’s NRL.

No blue singlet, no fighting words, no bully boy tactics; just committed and intelligent young Australians doing what they need to do to make their working life better.

This is the good news that Workers Online sends out this week, workers from all facets of modern life recognising that the only way they'll achieve their goals is by working together.

In recent weeks the actors have been a revelation. Industrial action from some of the most committed and articulate rank and filers going around, generating what must be the most widespread and positive coverage of industrial action in recent memory.

A week later, Alliance members like Claudia Karvan took the free trade message into the nation's lounge room, driving home the message that without local content rules the cultural lives of us will be secret indeed.

Meanwhile, as Reggie left the House triumphant wired workers were launching a campaign to end routine spying on their emails and net usage by bosses who confuse the information economy with a production line.

Their prize tactic is to switch the Net nanny onto 'union' whenever a dispute is in the air; but it reflects a broader view of master and servant that plays no role in bringing out the best in workers. It is a sham that state Labor governments must step in to clean up.

And bursting down the blind side comes the Rubgy League Players' Association, joining the NSW Labor Council pack at a time when the lustre has worn of the sweetheart deals of the Super League wars.

The well-paid superstars are standing beside the up and comers and journey men to demand a decent deal for athletes, bringing in basic conditions and, importantly, training opportunities to an industry more used to looking at its workers as pieces of meat.

Workers all, joining together and, in doing so, helping to redefine what a trade union is. And not a dinosaur amongst them.

Peter Lewis

Editor


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