|Issue No 25||06 August 1999|
Unions Embrace Open Shop
Australia's first ever high street union shopfront is open for business, with The Union Shop marking another step in the Labor Council's shift to an organising culture.
NSW Industrial Relations Minister Jeff Shaw opened the shop, which will house legal and workers compensation advice, free internet access for union members, merchandise including a range of books from Pluto Press and a recruiting centre for the Olympic Games.
Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says it's a symbolic move from the tenth floor of Sussex Street to ground level and will provide a public face for the union movement.
Costa says the Shop will become a nerve centre in organising campaigns as well as a point where members can get information about their rights.
Organiser of the Year
To mark the opening the Labor Council has announced it will sponsor a $2000 Organiser of the Year competition.
The award will be given to the best story about workplace organising submitted to Workers Online over the next 12 months.
Union officials, organisers, delegates and rank and file members from anywhere in Australia will be eligible for the prize, which will go towards air travel expenses to work with a trade union overseas.
To enter, submit your article on workplace organising via email to: [email protected].
Compo and Industrial Advice
Labour Law firms have backed the Shop and will mount a major advertising campaign to encourage workers to use it as a reference point for industrial and compensation advice.
The move follows the explosion of compo cowboys who have been undercutting reputable firms with promises of massive payouts to injured workers.
Labor Council safety watchdog Mary Yaager says the Union Shop should become synonymous with competent and experienced legal representation for workers.
"If you are unlucky enough to get injured at work, the last thing you need is the legal runaround," she says. "This service should ensure all workers get decent advice when they need it."
Olympic Placement Service
The Shop will also become the home of Unions 2000, a major initiative by the Labor Council to help place union members and their families in work for the Olympics.
Labor Council's Chris Christodolou says Unions 2000 will work with labour hire firms to find workers to fill the estimated 50,000 short term jobs for the Games period.
For a small fee, workers would secure representation through Unions 2000 which would operate with the support of unions that cover the relevant industries.
The project will target workers whose businesses close down for the Games, family members of existing union members and young unemployed people.
Rejecting tourism industry claims that more than 8,000 workers will need to be imported for the Games, Christodolou says the industry has a responsible to train Australians to ensure they benefit from the event.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005