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Issue No. 246 12 November 2004  

How It Comes To This
There are times when a worker has no real option than to take a stand, no matter the cost. This is the situation confronting NSW’s 15,000 rail workers right now.


Interview: The Reich Stuff
Robert Reich has led the debate on the future of work – both as an academic and politician. Now he’s on his way to Australia to help NSW unions push the envelope.

Economics: Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Environment: Beyond The Wedge
Whether the great forestry divide can ever be overcome or whether it is best sidestepped for the sake of unity and sustainability in other areas is up for debate, writes Tara de Boehmler.

International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews show us How To Kill A Country

Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Nick Lewocki from the RTBU lifts the lid on the shonky science behind RailCorp testing

Politics: Labo(u)r Day
John Robertson lets fly at this years Labor Day dinner

Human Rights: Arabian Lights
Tim Brunero reports on how a Sydney sparky took on the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

History: Labour's Titan
Percy Brookfield was a big man who was at the heart of the trade union struggles that made Broken Hill a quintessential union town writes Neale Towart.

Review: Foxy Fiasco
To find out who is outfoxing who, read Tara de Boehmler's biased review of a subjective documentary about corrupt journalism.

Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
Brothers and sisters! Praise the Lord! Brother George has saved the White House from an invasion by infidels, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Workers Seize Cat

 Castle Hill Uprising

 Carr Flips on Rail

 Producers Call "Cut"

 Fly Me To … Anywhere

 Saint Buzz: Hymn the Man

 Patricks Attacks Westies

 Cold Comfort for Scientists

 Mothball Bowls Port Hedland

 Boss Rejects AWA

 Asbestos Audit Refused

 Bear Mauls Children

 "Leave or Leave," Telstra

 Activists What's On!


The Locker Room
In Naming Rights Only
Phil Doyle has Gone to Gowings

The Soapbox
Homeland Insecurity
Rowan Cahill tells us how the Howard Government’s appointment of Major-General Duncan Lewis to head up the national security division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has received little critical comment, until now.

The Westie Wing
New proposed legislation in NSW provides a vital window of opportunity for unions to ensure they achieve convictions for workplace deaths, writes Ian West.

 What about the real crooks?
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Saint Buzz: Hymn the Man

Priests and pastors are flocking to sign up with the Canadian Autoworkers Union.

Responding to a request from a group of the Canadian United Church ministers and their families, CAW president Buzz Hargrove, said "although the workplace is different the concerns raised by the ministers are similar to those of other workplaces including health and safety, privacy, harassment and compensation".

Hargrove, who was in Sydney this year as a guest of the AMWU, went on to stress that the "drive isn't an attack on the United Church, which is a very progressive organisation. Overall, by correcting a lot of the problems raised, unionisation will create a better work environment".

The CAW initiative is probably the first clergy organising drive in North America.

According to one of the first ministers to become a member, clergy in Canada face slander, stalking, harassment, public humiliation, withheld payments and reneging on employment contracts.

The Rev David Galston said "there was a pressing need to speak up and name the problem of clergy abuse and bring the issue forward in a serious manner. Joining the union is a way of raising issues openly and fairly and could be a catalyst for change in the church".

Unionisation is being hotly disputed.

The official church position is that," it would not stand in the way of ministers exploring that kind of action". The church has more than 4000 ministers and thousands more other church-based staff.

Others are not convinced. One participant in the Church's online discussion believes the clergy has never had it so good.

In the UK pastors and priests as well as other church-based workers have been organised for more than a decade.The Clergy and Church Workers Union is a member of the community sector of AMICUS,one of Britains largest unions.

It reports a growing membership from different denominational backgrounds and other faith communities.

The whole issue of contracts and fundamental workers rights for church based workers has become such an issue that the Government has set up a Clergy Working Group with the active participation of the union.

The issues driving unionising efforts on both sides of the Atlantic are the same. In Canada it is suggested that nearly one in five clergy is on stress leave at any time.

Only two churches in Australia - UCA and the Catholic- have a detailed statement on their particular role as church employers,and both include strong statements on encouraging workers to become members of unions.

Neither makes a case for the unionisation of their ministers or priests.


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