||Issue No. 207||22 December 2003|
Backs to the Wall
Interview: Robbo’s Rules
Unions: Fightback 2003
Bad Boss: Madame Lash Whips Tony
Politics: United Front
Economics: Looking Back - Looking Forward
International: Net Benefits
History: The New Guard
Poetry: What is the PM singing this Christmas?
Review: Culture That Was
The Locker Room
Looking The Otherway At Christmas
G’day To Union Made Wines
One of the AFL-CIO's top officials, general counsel Jon Hiatt, hosted the eventon behalf of the Farmworker Justice Fund (FJF) with more than 75 people attending the wine-tasting.
Washington Post wine columnist, Michael Franz, was the main speaker for the event. He is a big spruiker of Australian wines.
This influential wine writer starts off his interactive wine column Grapevine in the Washington Post almost always with the words: "G'day mates".
And that's not 'cause he was born here (he is actually from Chicago) it is just 'cause, he says, he admires our unstuffy attitudes to wine.
Farmworker Justice Fund
The Farmworker Justice Fund (FJF) is an advocacy group backing union organising efforts to empower US migrant and seasonal farm workers.
"The FJF works to improve farm workers' wages, working conditions, occupational safety and health and access to justice through litigation, advocacy, education and training and coalition building," Bruce Goldstein, the Co-Executive Director of the Farmworker Justice Fund said.
"The wine tasting was intended as a fundraising event but also to promote wines where workers are treated decently and have a voice at work through a labor union.
"That's why this year we contacted Australia's LHMU to get a list of good Aussie wines which are made by union workers."
Of a long list of LHMU-made Australian wines, provided for the US event, the one chosen for the wine-tasting was a Jacobs Creek wine from South Australia.
Kicking off the event Bruce Goldstein drew attention to a struggle that the United Farm Workers are now having in collective bargaining with Gallo of Sonoma (in California).
Gallo wines were tasted by the group at its 2002 event but were not served in 2003 because of a growing ugly dispute with this major company.
Here's where you can help find out more about the campaign and how you can help the Gallo wine workers struggle.
Eight of the wines eventually chosen came from wineries in California and Washington State, where the vineyard workers are employed under union contracts between the company and the United Farm Workers of America.
A list of the unionised US wineries is available at the website of the United Farm Workers union .
And the ninth wine tasted was the Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz (2000) from South Australia which is produced by around 350 LHMU members working in the Barossa Valley .
"The prices ranged from about $US 10 to $US 33 per bottle. Although tastes differ, as to preferences for different kinds of wines, the wines were all of high quality; everyone in the tasting seemed to find at least three or four wines they would gladly purchase," Bruce Goldstein said.
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