||Issue No. 268||17 June 2005|
Courting Public Opinion
Interview: The Baby Drought
Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
Workplace: The Invisible Parents
History: Bruce’s Big Blunder
Politics: All God's Children
Economics: Spun Out
International: Shakey Trials
Legal: Civil Distrubance
Review: Crash Course In Racism
Poetry: You're Fired
The Locker Room
Once Upon A Time In America
The Truth Is Out There
Cash Cow On Private Tax Farm
Boeing, Boeing Gone
"It seems funny that John Howard can fight for freedom in Iraq but not in Williamstown," says workplace delegate Adam Szady. "For four years we’ve tried individual contracts and they don’t work. It just pits worker against worker."
The 42 workers at the RAAF base outside Newcastle have been stood down indefinitely after placing bans on filling in paperwork. The bans were placed over Boeing's refusal to negotiate a collective agreement.
The majority of the 62 maintenance workers want a collective agreement to replace individual contracts imposed by Boeing, a subsidiary of the US-based aerospace multinational Boeing Hawker de Havilland.
The Australian Workers Union members want to continue working to keep the F/A-18 jet fighter fleet fully maintained and ready for any emergency, but have been locked out by Boeing since June 1.
Boeing has collective agreements with other Australian and US workers and the Williamstown workers cannot see why they should be any different.
"Howard says that it's about freedom of choice," says Szady. "Well, we've chosen to have a collective agreement.
"We are paying tax to upkeep our military and defend our democratic rights, and we're giving that money to a US company who are cutting off our democratic choices.
Workplace delegates travelled to the state ALP conference over the long weekend where they were acknowledged with a rousing ovation by the nearly 600 delegates. Fundraising buckets passed around at the conference raised over $3,500 for the workers who are into their third week outside the gates.
The picket line at the base is receiving widespread support from the local community, as well as being visited by state and federal union and political leaders.
"We've had people honking their horns in support, dropping off food, ladies dropping of bacon and egg rolls and mikos dropping off milk," says Szady. "People realise that this is a fight that is going to affect a lot of Australians.
"We're not after more money, but after the better conditions of a collective agreement."
The local Australian Workers Union Office is coordinating donations for the locked out workers and their families. Donations can be sent to PO Box 226, Mayfield NSW 2304 or Freecall 1800 649 696 or (02) 4967 1155.
The workers are also asking people to email the CEO of Boeing, James A Bell, calling on him to get his company to negotiate a collective agreement with the workers. His email address is [email protected]
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