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Issue No. 206 05 December 2003  

A New Mark for Labor
Few of us who care about the future of the labour movement would not admit to a surge of hope and sense of excitement following the election of Mark Latham to the federal parliamentary leadership.


Interview: Muscling Up
Labor’s Craig Emerson discusses how the changes to his party’s leadership will impact on the industrial relations agenda.

Unions: Thinking Pink
What’s the difference between a Nursing Home and an Aged Care Facility? More than semantics, according to nurses worried Australia is woefully unprepared for the crash at the end of the baby-boom cycle, writes Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Global Bully
If nothing else, US-based call centre giant TeleTech is consistent. After being nosed out of last year’s Bad Boss gong it is back, bigger and badder than ever in its search for Tony honours.

Unions: National Focus
In this national round up by Noel Hester, Hugh McKay tells us how the young are sticking together in a bewildered society, the gongs get handed out at the ACTU awards and there is a chance to win as a worthy wordsmith.

Economics: Friend or Flunkey?
On New Years Day as you look at the wine stains and tread on a soggy puddle on the carpet, will you look for the phone and call a cleaner? Gabrielle Meagher gives a few ethical dilemmas to confront before you make that call.

History: Young Blood
Youth is no barrier to political leadership, as the 37-year-old John Watson proved 100 years ago, writes Neale Towart.

Industrial: Living For Work?
Mark Hearn reports from a recent conference addressing the dilemma of work, citizenship and community.

International: Fighting Together
The international trade union movement is launching a Global Unions HIV/AIDS campaign to combat the spread of the virus.

Poetry: Medicare Plus Blues
Is the Government's new health plan a plus for Medicare? Asks resident bard David Peetz

Review: Human Racing
Seabiscuit is a great horse movie but more than that it serves as a powerful metaphor for the importance of living for the future while maintaining passion and compassion in the present, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Peeking Dicks in Pickle

 Lights Out on Cheap Labour

 Blackout Hangs Over Sydney

 Contractors Hang Up on Telstra

 Uni Workers Too Smart For Minister

 Employer Bullies Vie For ‘Tony’

 South Coast Deal to Build Movement

 TeleTech Safety Rep Vows to Fight On

 Corporates Urged to Come Clean

 MP Too Busy For Teachers

 Bosses Block Good Shops Code

 Engineers Ground Safety System

 Workers Win At Safety Meet

 Merger Threats

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Dear John
In his 500th piece of activist journalism, long-term Workers Online contributor Rowan Cahill sends a personal message to our prime Minister.

The Locker Room
Retired Hurt
Every innings comes to an end, some too soon, and others not soon enough, writes Phil Doyle.

Wedge Watch
Labor's Craig Emerson puts the spotlight on the Howard Government's politics of division.

The Westie Wing
Workers Friend Ian West MLC is back with his monthly round-up from Macquarie Street.

 Feds Ignore Building Deaths
 Bob Gould On Kicking The Liberals Out
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Employer Bullies Vie For ‘Tony’

Tony Abbott may have left industrial relations to operate on the health system, but his memory lives on with the announcement of finalists for the second annual ‘Tony Award’ for Australia’s worst boss.

The winner will be announced at the Labor Council’s executive dinner on Friday December 12 and will join last year’s winner Australia Post on a perpetual trophy depicting the former Minister for Workplace Relations in his traditional cassock.

Labor Council of NSW Secretary John Robertson said all nominees had exhibited the sort of disdain for workers and their right to organise that Tony Abbott had championed during his time as Minister.

"We believe it is appropriate that we recognise acts of bastardy and put on record our appreciation for the organising opportunities these employers have provided the union movement," Mr Robertson said.

"The common theme in all the nominations is a mean-spirited attitude to workers, who are regarded as units of labour rather than human beings."

The shortlist for this year's Tony Award for Australia's worst boss is:

- Morris McMahon owner Judith Beswick - for locking her workforce out of the premises for 17 weeks.

- Sydney City Council - for training up a team of garbo strike-breakers to force down wages and conditions of its full-time workforce.

- Building firm PTV - for forcing workers to labour in raw sewage

- Global call centre operator TeleTech - for frogmarching a safety representative off the rpemises for raising OHS concerns.

- Byron Bay's Sunnybrand Chickens - for denying employees holidays, long service, sick leave, and super in a bid to beat its workers comp obligations.

- Metro Shelf owners Paul, Craig and Jason Caughlan - who couldn't pay their employees $9 million, but walked away with luxury cars and boats.


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