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Issue No. 268 17 June 2005  

Courting Public Opinion
This weekend marks a significant step forward in the evolution of union campaigning, with the launch of $8 million in advertising to hit the Howard Government where it hurts – in the lounge rooms of middle Australia.


Interview: The Baby Drought
Social ethicist Leslie Cannold has delved into why women - and men - are having fewer children. And it all comes back to the workplace.

Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
David Peetz uncovers the truth behind the latest statistics on earnings under Australian Workplace Agreements.

Workplace: The Invisible Parents
Current government policies about work and family do not reflect the realities of either family life or the modern workplace. writes Don Edgar.

History: Bruce’s Big Blunder
The Big Fella, Jack Lang, gives an eyewitness account of the last time Conservatives tried to dismantle Australia’s industrial relations system.

Politics: All God's Children
The battle for morality is not confined to Australian polittics. Michael Walzer writes on the American perspective

Economics: Spun Out
The business groups are feeling cocky. The feds have announced their IR changes, business says they don't go far enough. What a surprise, writes Neale Towart

International: Shakey Trials
Lyndy McIntyre argues the New Zealnd IR experiment provides warnings - and hope - for the Australian union movement.

Legal: Civil Distrubance
Tom Roberts argues that there is more at stake than an attack on building workers in the looming legsilation.

Review: Crash Course In Racism
Paul Haggis flick Crash suggests that when cars collide the extent of people's prejudices are revealed sans the usual veil of political correctness, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: You're Fired
New laws will leave bosses holding the whip and workers with a Raw Hide, writes resident bard David Peetz


 Insults Hertz

 Andrews Bends Over for Big End

 Boeing, Boeing Gone

 Cobb & Co Punt Parkes

 Corporates Arm Firing Squad

 Quad Gets the Brush

 Practical Joke Costs Police

 Unions Target Soap and Grunt

 US Backs Terrorists

 Royalty Held Hostage in WA

 Bad News Rising On AWAs

 Workers Exercise Choice

 Howard Scores Own Goal

 RailCorp Shocker

 Activists Whats On!


The Locker Room
Ashes to Dust
In which Phil Doyle travels to distant lands in search of a meat pie, and prepares for the joys of sleep deprivation

The Westie Wing
Ian West lists the Top Ten reasons why workers in NSW can gain some solace from having the Labor Party sitting on the Treasury benches…

The Soapbox
Dear John
In response to this year’s Federal Budget, Bishop Kevin Manning wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard

 Wandering In The Wilderness
 Once Upon A Time In America
 The Truth Is Out There
 History Repeats
 Cash Cow On Private Tax Farm
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Boeing, Boeing Gone

Workers who maintain the RAAF’s FA18 Jet fighters used in Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq are being denied the right to choose a collective agreement.

"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.

"It's ridiculous."

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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