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Issue No. 195 12 September 2003  

Coalition of the Swilling
As the world stopped to mark the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks and its horrendous human toll, attempts at writing new rules for global trade were hitting their own immovable object


Interview: Crowded Lives
Labor frontbencher Lindsay Tanner talks us through his new book on the importance of relationships and why politics is letting the people down.

Activists: Life With Brian
Work by men like Brian Fitzpatrick is exposing new Australians to old truths. Jim Marr reports

Industrial: National Focus
A showdown looms in Cancun, Qantas gets bolshie, casual and lazy in its response to aviation challenges, and long festering disputes fester on in Victoria and Tasmania reports Noel Hester in this national wrap.

Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Trades Hall is preparing for a major facelift but first, Jim Marr reports, it must bid farewell to the colourful bunch who have populated its dusty corridors in recent years.

Economics: Beating the Bastards
Frank Stilwell looks at some of the proposals for building a fairer finance sector.

Media: Three Corners
So its come to this. Four Corners, one of the world's longest running television programs is now under pressure from an ABC Executive that is less cultural visionary than feral abacus.

History: The Brisbane Line
Percy Spender was Menzies' foreign minister, but, Neale Towart asks, was he also prepared to serve as Prime Minister in a Japanese controlled Australia?

Trade: The Dumping Problem
Oxfam-CAA helps set the scene for this month's World Trade Organisation in Cancun.

Review: Frankie's Way
In The Night We Called It A Day Frank Sinatra learns 'sorry' Down Under is a loaded word and refusal to say it when due will lose fans in important places, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Teachers Attack National Stitch-Up

 Safety Off The Rails

 Lion King Delivers for Kids

 Five Grand Extra for Unionists

 Telstra Gets Curry for Take Aways

 WTO Trips on Cancun Hurdle

 Workers Kicking Goals

 Dial NRMA for Stuff-Up

 This Is Your Operator Freaking

 Millionaire Takes Candy from Carers

 Working Women Get New Voice

 Community Burns Rubber Giant

 Grass Roots Campaign Beats Bush

 Unions-Council Strike ‘Clean Hands’ Partnership

 Call For Campaign To Save Bush Trains

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Staking Our Territory
ACTU secretary Greg Combet argued for a fairer Australia in his keynote address to last month's ACTU Congress.

The Locker Room
Seasonally Agisted
Spring is a season when a person’s thoughts turn to…horse racing. Phil Doyle reports on the fate of nags and folk heroes.

Beyond the Block
We are wild about the people who live in The Block but not too interested in those who are on the streets outside, writes Michael Rafferty.

The Westie Wing
Workers friend Ian West MLC, reports form the Bearpit about a project to raise awareness about trade unionism amongst young people.

The Awkward Squad
Paul Smith meets one of the new generation of British union leaders who is taking the ball up to the Blair spin team.

 Life Wasn’t Meant To Be Frankie
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Grass Roots Campaign Beats Bush

The AFL-CIO has hailed a win for working families after the U.S. Senate voted 54 to 45 to block President George W. Bush's the overtime pay takeaway.

The campaign was a grass roots success story after hundreds of thousands of phone calls, letters, faxes and e-mails from ordinary working people forced Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans to stand up to President Bush.

"America's working men and women have won a tremendous victory," says AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney

The Bush Administration was moving forward with rules that would gut overtime protection for millions of American workers.

Sweeney singled out for praise those Republican Senators who "broke ranks with their leaders and the White House to vote for protecting American workers and their families instead of boosting corporate profits".

Legislators recognised that overtime pay protection ensured that workers are not be forced to work excessive hours, and that they receive fair pay for any overtime they work.

"Bush's proposal would also rob our economy of yet another incentive for employers to create jobs, as it encourages employers to work existing employees longer hours rather than hiring new workers,' says Sweeney.

The Democrat senator Tom Harkin led opposition to Bush's plan,

Now the campaign to block President Bush's overtime pay cuts turns to the U.S. House of Representatives. Representatives will be asked to vote on a similar measure -- preventing the Bush administration from taking away workers' overtime pay protection.

The news comes amidst Bush's continued slide in the polls as he heads into re-election year. US Unions campaigned strongly over the US Labor Day weekend (September 6-8), being courted by the leading Democrat contenders for the Presidency. Many candidates supported the AFL-CIO position of fair trade in opposition to Free Trade deals that have seen a decline in global labour standards.

The election of a pro-labour Democrat to the White House would have serious ramifications for the Howard government's hopes for a US-Australia Free Trade deal.

Further Overtime Pay News from the AFL-CIO is available online at

The U.S. Senate Vote Tally by State from Sept. 10


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