Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 29 Official Organ of LaborNet 03 September 1999  




*  Activists: Virtually Here - Eric Lee
From the Kibbutz to cyberspace, Andrew Casey profiles the work of an Internet class warrior.
*  Interview: Net Benefits
Sean Kidney has been combining business savvy with social justice for more than a decade. He gives us his take on unions and the Net.
*  International: Dateline Dili
As the United Nations attempts to begin counting the votes from East Timor�s independence referendum, the capital Dili is rapidly spiralling out of control.
*  Unions: Secret Herbs and Spices
Read KFC worker Claire Hamilton's speech to last week's Second Wave Rally.
*  Politics: Loosening Labor�s Links?
Is Labor under Kim Beazley fundamentally changing its social appeal and turning itself into the Australian equivalent of Bill Clinton�s Democrats?
*  Labour Review: What's New at the Information Centre
Our regular update on papers and articles for union officials and students.
*  History: Immigration, Racism and the Labour Movement
An upcoming conference asks some hard questions about the politics of immigration.
*  Satire: Crime Figures Down: NSW Elections Postponed
The release of statistics showing decreasing crime rates has threatened to delay the next NSW election.
*  Review: Trains of Treasure
A new CD of poems and songs pays tribute to our rich locomotive history.

Man with a Matrix - Sean Kidney

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Cafe Conspiracies - A Menu with Bite

Workers� Savings to Bankroll Vizard Plan
Industry superannuation funds have been asked to provide seed money for Vizard e-commerce project, meaning members� retirements savings will bankroll the plan.
[ Full Story » ]

Dress Nazis: Undies, Jewellery in Uniform Code
A Sydney credit union has issued a dress code which specifies the type of underwear and jewellery that workers can wear.
[ Full Story » ]

Clothing Farce: Only the Smalls are Home Grown
Athletes and officials wanting to wear Australian-made clothing at the 2000 Olympics would be left in nothing but T-shirts and socks, as SOCOG steps up its �cat and mouse� game on offshore production.
[ Full Story » ]

Overseas Trip for Organiser of the Year
The Labor Council has announced its inaugural Organiser of the Year award and will sponsor an overseas working holiday for the outstanding unionist who puts the talk of organising into practise.
[ Full Story » ]

State Transit Lodges Claim on Bus Drivers
In a bizarre new industrial tactic, State Transit has lodged a claim on bus drivers to slash their current conditions after the workers refused to bid for a pay rise.
[ Full Story » ]

Compo Stats Don�t Justify Slash and Burn
Unions have endorsed key aspects of a savings plan for the state�s workers compensation scheme, amidst news that scheme performance is improving.
[ Full Story » ]

Second Wave on Misos Menu
Ever wanted to dine at Reith�s Cafe? You can take your choice of an AWA burger, a shredded award salad or a deep frozen pay rise.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Rally To Protect Disabled Homes
Workers in group homes for disabled people will rally outside Parliament this week to argue against plans to privatise 75 per cent of the facilities over the next three years.
[ Full Story » ]

Carr Ministers� New Years Eve Betrayal
Carr Government Ministers quoted in media reports opposing a public holiday for New Years Eve have been asked to clarify their position to NSW workers.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra Execs Doing Quite Well, Thank You
While Telstra continue to slash staff, their executives are doing nicely, with big base salaries supplemented by share options ensuring at least some in the organisation are benefiting from partial privatisation.
[ Full Story » ]

Award Breach. Did Nike Just Do It?
Sports manufacturer Nike faces a Federal court hearing this Monday for alleged breaches of the Outworker Clause of Clothing Trades Award.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Back League Class Struggle
The Labor Council has swung its support behind a community campaign to keep traditional Sydney Rugby League clubs in the NRL competition.
[ Full Story » ]

STOP PRESS: Images of Burma
Photo exhibition to mark the international day of solidarity with Burma, featuring original photos of Aung San Suu Kyi the week of her release from house arrest and from refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border.
[ Full Story » ]

Musos, Authors in Joint Fundraiser
The Musicians Union and the Australian Society of Authors are holding a joint fundraiser on Sunday September 19 at The Basement.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Is Bevis a Butthead?

  • More Vizard Feedback

  • The Republican Soapbox

  • Pensioners' Plea

  • Editorial

    Broadening the Vision

    This week's speaking tour by labour movement Internet pioneer Eric Lee offers an opportunity for a circuit breaker in the debate over the union movement's Internet strategy.

    With the ACTU in one corner backing an entrepreneurial deal to deliver access to computers and the NSW Labor Council arguing that control of content is more important - the visit is indeed timely.

    With Lee due to deliver a public lecture in Sydney on Wednesday night and a TUTA workshop in Melbourne of Friday it is to be hoped that unionists from throughout the movement take the chance to listen to one of the true trailblazers of wired activism.

    Workers Online doesn't know what Lee would think of the Vizard deal, but we suspect he will challenge its proponents to look beyond the computer hardware to recognise the value of the Internet as an organising tool.

    As Sean Kidney points out this week, access is a largely irrelevant argument, given that more than 95 per cent of people are expected to be linked within the decade. And with the Nine-MSN model of licensed content deliver proving to be a failure, there are real doubts about the conceptual model underlying the ACTU plan.

    For Workers Online readers, consider this. Would the Vizard portal run this publication? Would an entrepreneur who has invested significant money into the web, be prepared to allow a dissenting and independent voice to be broadcast on his site? Or would we be shut out of the ACTU's home base in cyberspace?

    We are not experts on e-commerce models - if we were we'd probably be pitching the ACTU as well! But the more Workers Online learns, the more we realise that there is so much more to learn. If only the ACTU executive had the same Socratic wisdom!

    Let's keep the debate going. Let's keep asking our officials the hard questions and pressuring them to dig deeper into this most fundamental of issues. Let's listen to the experts and put pressure on our decision-makers to engage with the broader debates as well.

    And don't forget - Eric Lee, Trades Hall - 6pm Wednesday!

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    David Ceasar on Softening Up Tactics Terry O'Brien's Winter Heartache The View from the Street Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don�t



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