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Issue No. 226 25 June 2004  

US Forces
The concerted and increasingly personal campaign by the Howard Government to portray Mark Latham as anti-American is built on some dodgy premises.


Interview: The New Democrat
Canadian activist Judy Rebick explains how she's using lessons from Brazil to rebuild the labour movement.

Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Prime Minister John Howard is in California spruiking the "merits" of this month’s Bad Boss nomination …

Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
International capital demands guest labour – legal or illegal – as a way of beating down wages and conditions and, as Jim Marr discovers, the Australian Government seems happy to oblige.

Industrial: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on another workplace death (we-will-not-RIP NOHSC), heartburn for the Canberra consensus and all the action from around the states in our national wrap.

History: A Class Act
The problem of forgetting the primacy of class in favour of other ideas of community is highlighted in a new book, writes Neale Towart

International: Across the Ditch
NZ Nurses Union leader, Laila Harré, is in Sydney this week, comparing notes with the Australian Nurses Federation and seeking transTasman support for New Zealand’s highest profile industrial campaign.

Economics: Home Truths
Sydney University's Frank Stilwell argues that tax policy is driving the housing boom.

Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is one part Grim Reaper of the environmental movement and two parts fictitious fable dramatically window dressed with extreme special effects, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Silent Note
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers the current public service motto – "Don't tell the Minister!".


 Hadgkiss Sinks Boot into Safety

 Put a Job in Your Trolley

 Della Puts Cleaners Through Schools

 Freespirit Severs "Slavery" Link

 Luna Fringe Targets Fun

 Labour Warriors Fall

 Canberra Six in Dock

 Lobbyists Look for ALP Spine

 Tree Plan Faces Axe

 Sydney Water to Drip Feed Public

 Safety Nosedives At JetStar

 Irritable Desks on March

 Howard Backs Union Model

 Activists What’s On!


The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part I
The Australia Institute's Clive Hamilton questions the assumptions underlying a society that defines happiness in dollar terms.

The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part II
Clive Hamilton concludes his analysis, looking at how more and more Australians are pulling back from a marketplace that is no longer providing the goods.

The Locker Room
Sack ‘Em All!
Phil Doyle puts his job on the line, but doesn’t everyone these days?

The Westie Wing
The NSW Government has an agenda on the table but the test is finding innovative ways to finance it, writes Ian West

 Lest We Forget
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Put a Job in Your Trolley

Embattled Aussie icon Golden Circle is turning to rank and file union members in an advertising blitz designed to evade the rough end of the pineapple.

National Union of Workers member, Rob Diefenbach, features in full page weekend newspaper ads appealing for Australian workers to "buy some extra Golden Circle products" next time they go shopping.

The 13-year Golden Circle veteran is one of more than 1000 NUW members who support their families through jobs at the company's Queensland plant.

"Our members are genuine hard working people," says Mark Furner, Queensland NUW secretary.

Golden Circle announced losses of over $10 million in 2003 with unions learning of the company's position in the middle of enterprise agreement negotiations.

"For over 50 years Golden Circle has operated as a co-operative," says Furner. "Now they're starting to realise that they need to operate a more effective business."

Despite Golden Circle's position the union was able to conclude a successful 12 month agreement which comes up for renegotiation in the next three months and Golden Circle workers are hoping the company's financial position will have improved.

Furner said that the NUW would be keeping a "close eye" on developments and would ensure that the business remained viable. The union stressed that they would not allow conditions or safety standards to slip.

The company has pointed to SARS and the drought as affecting production and distribution but commentators say cheap imports and poor business decisions have had serious affects.

The NUW voted at the recent Queensland ALP state conference to oppose the Australian-US Free Trade Agreement, a deal that the union believes will be a negative for the Golden Circle workers.

The campaign initially appears to have had a positive impact according to Golden Circle management.

"Everyone at Golden Circle has been overwhelmed by the support that has been pouring in from around the country since our ads appeared at the weekend," says Steve Morrow, Chief Executive of Golden Circle. "It's also terrific that the union movement has got behind us.

Golden Circle has employed many thousands of Queenslanders at its processing plant over the years, including current state Premier, Peter Beattie.


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