||Issue No. 250||21 December 2004|
Beyond The Law
Interview: The King of Comedy
Unions: Ten Simple Rules
Politics: Rampant Indivdualism
International: Global Struggle
Economics: Cashing in the Year
History: Grass Roots
Review: Cultural Realities
The Locker Room
The Price Of Tea In China
Cry For Me, Argentina
Ho Bloody Ho
Right Is Wrong
Business As Usual
All In The Family
Swing Left Wishful Thinking
Origin Prop a Union Hit
Butterfield's efforts in the engine-room of the fledgling Rugby League Players Association were recognised, this month, when fellow workers named him the state's organiser of the year.
After years of wrangling with the NRL and the footy establishment, Butterfield's organisation, has signed off on the code's first collective agreement for players.
Butterfield, with over 300 games for Penrith and Newcastle under his belt, has led the RLPA over three dramatic years which culminated in a player boycott of the NRL's 2003 Dally M awards.
In the process, he has been demonised by newspapers with a vested interest in the NRL.
The Rugby League Player's Association president was amongst three finalists recognised at the Unions NSW annual dinner for outstanding contributions to workers rights.
Greg Matthews from the FBEU, and the PSA's Sharon Vassar provided tough competition for award judges.
In the last four years, Matthews has increased membership of the union in his area by 80 percent, from 1600 to 2500.
The FBEU now has a presence in every one of the 300 part time regional fire stations in the state.
Vassar was another rank and file activist who came to work at the union after organising successes in the Department of Education and Training.
This year Vassar led a membership campaign that outed "horrific" levels of bullying in the public service.
Her efforts were instrumental in the Unions NSW campaign to have employers and government departments sign up to the "Dignity and Respect in the Workplace" Charter.
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said Butterfield did unionism the same way he played football - hard, up front and no nonsense - but with skills opponents sometimes underestimated.
"For those of us in the union movement, none of his playing day exploits can match his achievement in building a union where those before him failed," said Robertson.
"He did so, with a disparate membership and an extremely hostile employer."
"Just last week the Rugby League Players Association celebrated a comprehensive victory in securing their collective agreement."
During his acceptance speech Butterfield thanked Unions NSW's Chris Christodoulou and John Robertson for two years of invaluable assistance.
He said the agreement would never have been finalised without active support from the wider union movement.
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