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Issue No. 332 10 November 2006  

Affairs of State
For those of us on the left of politics it’s been a week where there is more joy in thinking global rather than focussing on the local.


Interview: Common Ground
Nature Conservation Council director Cate Faehrmann on the fight against global warming and how unions and greens can learn from each other.

Industrial: A Low Act
The Low Paid. The Fair Pay Commission knows who pays them. We can do something about it as they will not.

Unions: The Number of the Least
Forget 666 - 457 is looming as the scariest number for Aussie workers and their families, Jim Marr writes.

Politics: The Smoking Gun
Hayek's henchman, Raplph Harris, goes to free market heaven, writes Evan Jones

Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
They are supposed to ensure the wealth of well-being of individuals. Whats wrong with that? asks Neale Towart

Environment: Low Voltage
Nuclear Power and Prime Ministerial pronouncements are seriously short of a few volts, wrties Neal Towart

History: The Art of Social Justice
Tom Martin was a terrific cartoonist and part of a great tradition in labour movement history and culture, swrties Neale Towart.

Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
It pays the bills – usually – but going to work should come with a warning, wrties Jackie Woods.

Culture: A Forgotten Poet
There is little information on the public record about the radical working class poet Ernest Antony, writes Rowan Cahill.


 Abrasive Giant Pinged on Sackings

 Offshoring Good for CV: Qantas

 Records of Convenience

 Construction Lives Going Cheap

 Suncorp in Dee Why Denial

 States Fall to Unions

 Bisshop Looking for Converts

 Guestworkers Off the Menu

 AAPT Hangs Up on Country Jobs

 Super Funds Fight Telstra Perks

 Taxing Times for Compo Cheat


The Soapbox
Robbo Goes Green
John Robertson's speech to the Walk Against Warming

The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a look at a former public institution and its contribution to NSW.

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States Fall to Unions

US union campaigners have shown Australians how to change government after a massive grass roots campaign delivered both houses to the Democrats in mid-term elections.

In what the AFL-CIO has dubbed the 'Victory for Working Families', an estimated 187,000 union volunteers mobilised voters in the final days of the campaign, delivering 74 per cent of all union votes to the Democrats.

In contrast, at the last federal election in Australian, the ALP received less than 50 per cent of votes from union members.

An increased minimum wage and a restoration of workers' union rights are now back on the political agenda after the successful campaign.

While the War in Iraq took centre stage, the minimum wage was one of the priority issues new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put at the top of her agenda as she became the first female majority leader in US history .

The key policy priorities identified by the AFL-CIO are:

* Raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

* Restoring workers' freedom to form unions: Pass the Employee Free Choice Act and reverse the National Labor Relations Board's recent ruling that allows employers to deny workers' union rights by classifying them as "supervisors."

* Overturning the ban prohibiting Medicare from negotiating with drug companies for more affordable prescription drugs.

* Stopping sending our best jobs overseas: Reward companies that create jobs at home instead of giving tax dollars to companies that export our jobs.

* and reversing the cuts in student loans made by the Republican Congress.

W"e're very proud and excited to see from the numbers this morning that union voters drove a wave that elected a pro-working families majority in the House and very likely in the Senate," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

"The leaders in control of Congress neglected the needs of working Americans while catering to corrupt special interests, and working people said 'no more'."

The AFL-CIO's program reached out to 13.4 million voters in 32 battleground states. It reached union members, members of union households, retirees and members of Working America, the AFL-CIO's community affiliate for workers who don't have a union

"We knew that our challenge at the AFL-CIO was to provide the organizing to transform the frustration and anger into political power," said Sweeney.

"We responded with the biggest, most energetic grassroots program in our history, and it worked."


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