Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 82 Official Organ of LaborNet 20 December 2000  

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Features
*  Interview: Being Michael Costa
Labor Council’s secretary on the 2KY sell-off, the Olympics and his plans for the future.
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*  Unions: Millennial Milestones
In a year of highs, some trade union stories stuck in the collective consciousness. Here's ten of the best.
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*  International: Eric Lee's Year in Review
The editor of Labourstart looks back on the global issues that mobilized labour in the past 12 months.
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*  Organising: Dispatches from the Field
Despite the 'Botsmanesque' critiques which have been levelled at Organising, it would be hard to deny that the year 2000 has seen more and more unions in NSW latch onto the approach - at least in principle anyway.
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*  Economics: Who Gets Gold??
At the end of this Olympic year, Sydney Uni's Frank Stilwell charts the winners and losers in the new sport of redistribution of income.
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*  Politics: Election 2000: The Winner is Gridlock
In the last in his series on the US Federal Election Campaign, Michael Gadiel, our roving reporter, gladly signs off.
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*  Satire: Chaser Launches Book
In the great tradition of repackaging old material to cash in on Christmas, the team from The Chaser & Silly 2000 has produced its first book.
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*  Review: Cultural Wasteland
The spotlight was on Australian culture in 2000. But was it a missed opportunity, asks Peter Zangari.
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Organiser of the Year Bob Morgan

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News


Story of the Year: A Unionised Olympics


Mad Monk's Secret Union Past
New workplace relations minister Tony Abbott led strike action against Kerry Packer's Australian Consolidated Press while working as a journalist.
[ Full Story » ]

New Life for Trades Hall
The NSW Labor Council has announced a major restructure of its assets, selling its radio station 2KY to the TAB for $25.3 million and announcing a $10 million upgrade of the historic Trades Hall.
[ Full Story » ]

Top Cop is Our Organiser of the Year
A rank and file police officer seconded to his union to help activate traditionally passive members has been named the Organiser of the Year for 2000.
[ Full Story » ]

All We Want for Christmas
As they break for Christmas, NSW workers have hung out their stocking and sent their wish list of outstanding industrial issues currently before the Carr Government.
[ Full Story » ]

Summer for Social Justice
Young activists will come together this summer to work for social justice and the rights of working people in a program arranged by the ACTU Organising Centre.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Return to Mosh Pit
The Big Day Out music festival which attracts 50,000 young Sydneysiders to see over 60 local and international bands is on again on Australia Day 2001 at Homebush Bay and Unions NSW will be there.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Head West
The Labor Council is planning to go to the bush early in 2001 to assist rural unions to develop a campaign strategy for rural and regional NSW.
[ Full Story » ]

Big Bastard Censors Dissidents
While BHP workers take a stand against the company's deunionisation effort, the company has responded by sweeping concerns under the carpet.
[ Full Story » ]

South Coast Labor President Steps Down
Popular Wollongong trade union identity Mike Dwyer has stepped down as President of the South Coast Labour Council after more than 20 years of activism.
[ Full Story » ]

As a Died in the Wool Westie Steps Up
Meanwhile, Ian West, popular former Assistant Secretary of the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, has become the face of blue collar workers in the NSW Upper House.
[ Full Story » ]

Dying Workers' Asbestos Plea
Asbestos support groups, doctors, lawyers and asbestos removal industry workers paid their respects to the thousands of Australians who have suffered and died as a result of exposure to asbestos.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers at Centre of Turn Of the Century
Unions will play a major part in the Centenary Of Federation celebrations and parade on New Years Day and will be honoured for their contribution to the nation’s first 10o years.
[ Full Story » ]

Truth about S11 Starting to Come Out
Melbourne historian Dr Bernard Barrett has written a report entitled "Beating up", analysing the role of the police and the news media at the World Economic Forum protests in Melbourne in September 2000.
[ Full Story » ]


Letters to the Editor
  • The Greatest Team Ever?

  • ABC Online Did Strike

  • Why Nader Vote was not Wasted

  • John Scrooge's Christmas Gift

  • Editorial

    Stuck Between Two Eras

    Depending on your level of pedantry 2000 was either the first year of the new millennium or the last year of the old.

    Looking back over past 12 months, it strikes me that the trade union movement often found it just as difficult to define its place in time and space. Was it presiding over the end of one era or the beginning of the next?

    Throughout the year the movement struggled to find a way to reconcile the interests of the traditional blue-collar membership base with those of the emerging mobile labour force who have, as yet, failed to take to trade unionism.

    While a new leadership team at the ACTU pushed a new organizing approach, the most spirited debate raged around the divisive and often emotive argument of fair trade versus free trade.

    The reason this debate has such resonance is that it can mean whatever one wants it to. While to some it is a call for global core labour standards, to others it is a movement against the globalisation of capital in its entirety. The lines between fair trade and economic Hansonism were often blurred, with the thinly disguised subtexts that foreigners are taking our jobs.

    Regardless of the actual merits of the debate, it raised the fundamental issue for unions: how can we invent a movement that is attractive to young, mobile workers, while continuing to stand up for our traditional constituency. Indeed is it possible?

    In this the union movement is not alone - the ALP is also facing a quandary that will hamper its election chances until it is resolved: is it the party of progress or tradition?

    The reality for both wings of the movement is that while in the current climate it may be easier to argue against change, it is a dishonest breed of populism that an intelligent electorate will ultimately see through.

    The challenge for 2001 is to create an intellectual bridge that can link progress with tradition by understanding and harnessing change in the interests of working people rather than pretending to be able to resist it.

    Thanks to all those who have participated in Workers Online's second year - we'll be back to rattle the cage next February

    Peter Lewis
    Editor


    Columns

    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Predictions 2001 – Tall Tales and True The Workers Online 2000 Sporting Awards Paul Howes' Year on the Web Tool of the Year: There’s Only One Choice!

     


    
    

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