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Issue No. 274 29 July 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

The Heart of the Matter
Senators Steve Fielding and Barnaby Joyce are right to quibble over the futures of Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Battle Stations
Opposition leader Kim Beazley says he's ready to fight for workers right. But come July 1, he'll have to be fighting by different rules.

Unions: The Workers, United
It was a group of rank and filers who took centre stage when workers rallied in Sydney's Town Hall, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: The Lost Weekend
The ALP had a hot date, they had arranged to meet on the Town Hall steps, and Phil Doyle was there.

Industrial: Truth or Dare
Seventeen ivory towered academics upset those who know what is best for us last week.

History: A Class Act
After reading a new book on class in Australia, Neale Towart is left wondering if it is possible to tie the term down.

Economics: The Numbers Game
Political economist Frank Stilwell offers a beginners guide to understanding budgets

International: Blonde Ambition
Sweden can be an inspiration to labour movements the world over, as it has had community unionism for over 100 years, creating a vibrant caring society, rather than a "productive" lean economy.

Training: The Trade Off
Next time you go looking for a skilled tradesman and can’t find one, blame an economist, writes John Sutton.

Review: Bore of the Worlds
An invincible enemy has people turning against one another as they fight for survival – its not just an eerie view of John Howard’s ideal workplace, writes Nathan Brown.

Poetry: The Beaters Medley
In solidarity with the workers of Australia, Sir Paul McCartney (with inspiration from his old friend John Lennon) has joined the Workers Online resident bard David Peetz to pen some hits about the government's proposed industrial relations revolution.

N E W S

 Carr Fingers Feds

 Boeing Scabs Take Flight

 Billion Dollar Blow Hards

 Door Closes on Foot Soldier

 Andrews Ropes In Footy

 Gooooood Morning Sydney!

 Posties Bite Back

 Choice Myth Busted Again

 Vale HT

 Dumb and DEWR

 Combet: Business Can't Be Trusted

 Telstra Burns Bush

 Detective on Death Site

 States of Disunity

 A Turbulent Decade

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson lifts the lid on ‘The Nine Myths of Modern Unionism’

The Locker Room
Wrist Action
Phil Doyle trawls the murky depths of tawdry sleaze, and discovers Rugby is behind it all.

Culture
To Hew The Coal That Lies Below
Phil Doyle reviews Australia's first coal mining novel, Black Diamonds and Dust.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite State MP, Ian West, reports from Macquarie Street that the Premier is all the way with a State Commission.

L E T T E R S
 Don’t take your Gunns to town
 Yankee Panky
 Poetry in motion
 Losing the faith
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Letters to the Editor

Losing the faith


Re: article regarding split in US unions. I feel totally in sympathy with the sentiments. I feel the current unions seem to be stuck somewhat in a big business mindset. Even though I realise this is a busy time I have called two officials at my union office (USU) and left messages four times each without getting an answer. I have called many other times when they are simply not available. I have signed up twice for the ACTU activist campaigns and have heard nothing. There seems to be nobody who is organising on the ground people who want to do something. I have asked to be put in touch with any other activist who wants to community campaign together in a hostile electorate and have been referred back to the activist website registration. I have seen people handing out pamphlets twice only and I work in the centre of the city. I asked for hundreds of stickers to stick up on the buses and although once I was sent about 30, the second time I was told that I would have to pay for them and referred back to my union who then sent me about 30 of their own. These stickers have now been removed by whoever. U marched (and got four of my workmates to march) in the march that seemed to fizzle out. I have recruited a third of my workmates but have hit a wall with some people who have had bad union experiences where the union was too slow or incompetent to help them in the past and I could not assure them that it was now any better. I suggested to my union (where I cannot get onto the person who is supposed to help) that she get an assistant. She has not and due to meetings, RDOs and more meetings she is rarely available. Other people there seem to be only able to do their jobs (whatever they are) and cannot help and say they have asked for a call centre! What kind of union is this? Why can't they answer their own phones, especially during this critical time? I have been a member for less than three months and already I am losing faith in the current union movement. I am passionate, committed, ready, willing and able but for what? Apparently i am not needed and my union fire and ire is dying through lack of oxygen. As Ross Gittins (Sydney Morning Herald) said maybe workers need to look elsewhere for solutions.

Pat Francis, NSW


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