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Issue No. 306 12 May 2006  

Good Times
Hands up who watched Kim Beazley’s budget in reply last night? None of you? Thought so.


Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Reverend Jim Wallis is leading a crusade to take the moral debate into the public arena.

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Government has begun a series of workshops to sell its WorkChoice vsision. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Lockout!
Jim Comerford’s eyewitness account of the 15-month Lockout of 10,000 New South Wales miners in1929-1930 records the inside story of Australia’s most bloody and bitter industrial conflict

Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Professor Ron McCallum argues the WorkChoices laws are built on a fundamental fiction.

Politics: Labor Pains
Labor has dealt itself out of the crucial workplace relations debate by failing to articulate a credible policy alternative to Howard’s new WorkChoices legislation, argues Mark Heearn and Grant Michelson

Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Evan Jones pays tribute to John Kenneth Galbraith, a big man who never stopped arguing that economics should serve the public good, not create public squalor.

Corporate: House of Horrors
Anthony Keenan takes a tour of Sydney’s notorious, Asbestos House, courtesy of Gideon Haig.

History: Clash Of Cultures
Neale Towart with a new take on Mayday through the words of a punk icon

International: Childs Play
An ILO report into Child Labour shows some progress is being made to curb this gobal scurge .

Culture: Folk You Mate!
Phil Doyle dodges Morris Dancers to find signs of Working Life at the National Folk Festival in Canberra over the Easter Weekend.

Review: Last Holeproof Hero
Finally, a superhero who has worked out how to wear his underpants. Nathan Brown ogles V for Vendetta


 Howard Hunts Heroes

 Workplace Cop Shrugs Shoulders

 Gerry Built Apartments Fall Behind

 NFF Axe Over Childcare

 Ballarat Suffers Maxi-Rort

 Hunter Collects on Jobs

 Company Doctors Terminal

 Killer Bosses Swoop on Croweaters

 US: Thousands Fired For Joining Unions

 Cozzies Skills Skid

 Howard’s Unpaid Photo Op

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Albo's Meltdown
Labor's environment spokesman Antony Albanese argues that Chrernobyl is one reason why the ALP should stand firm on nuclear.

The Locker Room
A Sort Of Homecoming
Phil Doyle plays to the whistle.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West reports from Macquarie Street on some strange collective acction.

 Immigration Department Strikes Again
 Budget Dividend
 The Real Truth About Independent Contractors
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US: Thousands Fired For Joining Unions

An American worker is sacked every 23 minutes for trying to form a union, says the US peak union body, AFL-CIO.

Bob Boyle, Brian Breining and Brian Smith are three of more than 20,000 workers fired every year because they want to join a union.

In Dover, Ohio, Breining and Smith were both active in trying to win a voice at work with the USW at Cultured Stone Co. They say the safety conditions at the 70-year-old manufactured stone warehouse were "tragic," with holes in the floor, windows falling out of their frames, huge leaks in the roof. There were huge wage gaps between workers doing the same job.

"The reason we wanted a union wasn't what most people typically think," says Breining. "It was to have a grievance procedure, for accountability to management, to have an up-to-date handbook, equal opportunity, so two identical situations wouldn't be handled in different ways depending on who you are.

"It didn't work because the company spread anti-union propaganda. They slandered us. And they gave everyone a 3 percent pay increase across the board.

"They ran a campaign to shoot us down. We put our organizing committee together. It wasn't long after that when I was fired. That wasn't the reason they gave, but that's what happened."

"Employers have a huge amount of latitude in our system. An employer can fire because they don't like the colour of your hair," says former National Labour Relations Board member and AFL-CIO legal counsel Sarah Fox.

Members of the AFL-CIO have signed up a bipartisan group of Employee Free Choice Act politicians to protect workers trying to form a union at work.

But the AFL-CIO is doubtful Republican lawmakers are likely to allow a vote on the legislation even if it does gain majority support.


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