|Issue No 50||14 April 2000|
Spinning at the Casino
By Mikael Kjaerbye
In the lead-up to this weekend's historic strike, active LHMU members at Sydney's Star City Casino have been making their own news.
They are producing a four-page newsletter which is written, illustrated and designed completely by casino workers. Its punchy style has proven a hit with both members and non-members at the casino.
The delegates have now published three editions of Star News which has quickly become a talking point at the casino.
Each edition is printed in around 2,500 copies. It's distributed by the delegates at the casino. The stories are also posted on LHMU's website.
Gaming delegate Mary Ann Apolinario said the newsletter is all about workers communitcating directly with other workers.
"We inform workers about the Union's activities. It is another way to increase communication and education for members," Mary Ann said. "This is especially important for the many young people who has recently started work at the casino."
The articles are written by delegates during their regular Union training course. A small editorial group of five delegates then designs the black and white newsletter using a basic Word template on the Union office's computers.
The delegates learnt about news writing and lay-out at a Union course run by LHMU's national media officer Mikael Kjaerbye.
The latest edition of the Star News newsletter - published this week - focuses on the ongoing enterprise agreement talks between the Union and Star City.
One story called 'Too high to see, too rich to care' details how the casino boss earned $1.24 million last year. This amount is then compared with the 'paltry' pay deal offered to workers by the Casino management.
Another story called 'Let's Strike a bargain' encourages Star City workers to take industrial action in support of a better pay offer.
Other articles in past newsletters have detailed management backflips and union action in areas such as overtime, sexual harassment, pay rises and part-timers' rights.
The regular coloumn "Act on your rights" explains basic worker rights such as the right to strike, grievance procedures and overtime rates.
Casino worker Dolores Amarille, who is on the editorial committee, said: "People from cleaners up to managers are asking about the newsletter."
"Management seems to be concerned about the Star News. Some supervisors have even started throwing the publication in the bin when it's distributed."
"I think management feels threatened because delegates are now communicating directly with other workers about workplace issues. We are also exposing unfair management practices in our newsletter," Dolores said.
Gaming delegate Shane Hall of the editorial group said "Everyone at Star City is talking about the publication the week it comes out."
Management copies newsletter
The Star City management has even copied the Star News format. Recently, they produced their own Enterprise Agreement newsletter which looked remarkably similar to Star News.
"They say that imitation is a form of flattery," Shane said. "So it just goes to show that we are hitting the mark with our newsletter."
LHMU's NSW Branch plans to expand the newsletter idea to other industry groups. A course next month will teach home care delegates how to produce their own publications.
Interview: The Gospel According To ...
Green Bans legend Jack Mundey looks back on his days in the BLF and the lessons that can be drawn from that experience today,
Unions: Spinning at the Casino
In the lead-up to this weekend's historic strike, active LHMU members at Sydney’s Star City Casino have been making their own news.
East Timor: Rebuilding From the Nightmare
NSW Attorney General Jeff Shaw travelled to Dili to get a first-hand perspective on the reconstruction work required.
History: Internal Democracy and the BLF
How the rank and file team that took over the BLF in the early sixties attempted to devolve power to the grassroots.
International: Towards Liberation
Zimbabwe trade unions are at the centre of the democratic struggle going on within the African Nation
Republic: The Referendum We Had To Have
Paul Norton finds some hope in last year's resounding defeat of the republic proposition.
Work/Time/Life: @work in the e-century
Marian Baird takes stock of how far we’ve come, or not come, in terms of our working life.
Review: Rocking the Foundations
Pat Fiske's wonderful documentary on the BLF should be compulsory viewing for anyone in the union movement talking about shifting to an Organising Model.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005