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Issue No. 204 21 November 2003  

Holes in the Net
The Medicare debate may be clouded by the minutae of the health delivery system, but it really boils down to an old-fashioned ideological battle between user-pays and state responsibility.


Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
The Welfare Rights Centre's Michael Raper on 20 years of activism, the politics of punishment and how to make Australia egalitarian again.

Unions: Joel's Law
Building Workers have overcome powerful forces to push workplace safety back up the national agenda. But, Jim Marr writes, their "success" has come at an unacceptable cost.

National Focus: Spring Carnival
It must be spring: punting in Victoria, singing in South Australia, fighting in America. It’s all there in the national wrap from Noel Hester plus an Australian union movement rugby world cup class consciousness poll.

Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
They sacked the job delegate, reinstated him after an IRC hearing, and sacked him again two weeks later. But that was just the beginning.

Industrial: The Price of War
Mass industrial action is brewing in Israel as the policies of the right-wing Sharon Government come home to roost, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Who's Got What
Frank Stilwell pours over the latest BRW Rich List to build a picture of the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots.

History: Containing Discontent
Racism against minorities has always been a stock in trade of politicans, writes Phil Griffiths

Review: An Honourable Wally
Most Australians probably look at our politicians and feel they could do a better job but when redundant meatworker Wally Norman gets the chance to find out he realises getting elected is a major hurdle, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
A thousand blossoms bloomed during the US President's spring-time colonial visit last month.


 US Giant Attacks Aussies

 Exposed – OEA in Kids Scandal

 Left-Right Flattens Abigroup

 ANZ Cops Fine Over Robbers

 Classroom Stoush Gets Personal

 Seven Workers Pass "Intelligence" Test

 Stop Press: Coal Strike

 Nurses: MedicarePlus Points to America

 ‘Joel’s Law’ Gathers Momentum

 Skilled Picketers Confront Patrick’s

 Yahoo Censors Union Ad

 Labor’s Cotter Court ‘Faking’ It

 TAFE Puts Best Foot Forward

 Wharfies, Actors, Seafarers Unite

 Debus Gives Up On Lawyers Picnic

 Nelson Backdown Not Enough

 Online Pay Check



The Soapbox
Bush's Faith-Filled Life
The President's conversion, 'sense of divine calling' and struggle with sobriety are subjects of a forthcoming book, writes Bill Berkowitz

The Not So Smart Money
Phil Doyle is sick of big money ruining grass roots sport, and he’s taking his bat and going home.

The Westie Wing
The ongoing challenge for Labor members of parliament is to make what the Premier calls the ‘creative partnership’ between the Government and the union movement a reality, writes our favourite MP Ian West.

Behind the Junta
Saw Min Lwin, Secretary for Trade Union Rights/ Human Rights for the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), outlines the struggle for workers in his country.

 Jack Lives Here
 Saving Jobs
 Public Transport A Bit Rich
 The Smirker
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Yahoo Censors Union Ad

Censorship by global internet giant Yahoo! has ended a "Virtual Leafleting Campaign" by workers at Los Angeles airport.

The workers, members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, had taken out a banner ad on the leading Web portal. The advertising campaign sought to bring a message, via the Internet, from passenger service workers employed by Argenbright Security, a division of US firm AHL, who are attempting to form a union at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.

The distribution of the virtual leaflets began in mid-January, but by early February, they were informed that the advertisements were being dropped because they ran counter to Yahoo's policy in this area. Yahoo! Had already reviewed the banner ad content prior to commencement of the campaign.

"AHL has used illegal threats and intimidation to silence these workers and Yahoo!'s decision to pull the ad is an attempt to silence them once again," says Mike Garcia, SEIU Local 1877 President. "AHL customers who use Yahoo! have the right to know that AHL is a law-breaker."

"While Yahoo! claims to support Internet free-speech, their decision to cancel the ad demonstrates their willingness to use censorship to prevent the public from learning that AHL has been convicted of breaking federal labor laws."

Yahoo!'s decision to censor the ads runs contrary to positions that Yahoo! executives have taken in the past on free-speech issues.

According to Chief Yahoo! Jerry Yang, ``We (Yahoo!) try to be very inclusive of everybody's comments and everybody's opinions even if those opinions are not very favorable."

"To me, the most exciting thing about the Internet is a democratisation. Everyone has a voice. It's the ultimate function of a participatory democracy," says the company's general counsel, John Place.

The company's actions speak louder than their words.

The unionising campaign decided to use this inventive approach since Argenbright Security had sufficiently silenced their employees, using both legal and non- legal measures to keep them from forming a union.

The cancellation came just days after Administrative Law Judge James L. Rose ruled that Argenbright was guilty of committing dozens of violations of federal labour laws against these employees. The violations include 40 suspensions and final warnings stemming from a legal, protected strike by the employees in April, 1999. They also include the disciplining of another union activist and threats, both written and verbal, against the

Respect at LAX is one of the largest joint organizing campaigns in America, bringing together two of the fastest growing unions, the Service Employees International Union and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union

to organize low-wage workers at Los Angeles International Airport.

Visit the

> Los Angeles airport worker's unionisation campaign website


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