Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 85 Official Organ of LaborNet 23 February 2001  

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Letters to the Editor

Service Fees a Cop Out


OK. I'm forced into it, given the gung-ho Workers Online support for non-unionist levies. I think we need to be fairly careful about the trade union bureaucracy's push for fees from non-unionists.

I'll admit to being concerned about these fees. Your headline - "Union Members Tell Scabs: Sing for Your Supper" only re-inforces my concern.

First, where are these all these union members telling non-unionists to sing for their supper? Not in my workplace. Secondly, I had always understood a scab was someone who crossed a picket line to undermine a strike or other industrial action. People who are not members of a union are not scabs per se.

Your headline implies that non-unionists are incapable of being persuaded to join a union. Crap. If the union movement mounted a concerted campaign to increase

wages and conditions then non-members would join.

Thirdly, to say to non-unionists 'sing for your supper' means that passive non-unionist workers should be penalised for their class stupidity.

If a union were strong enough to impose a closed workshop I would support it.. But fees are a substitute for organising and imposing union consciousness on the workplace.

And that's the rub. The trade union leadership, from their capitulation to the Accord to their surrender to Howard, fails to challenge the rule of capital - or even to defend

wages, jobs and conditions through industrial action. The consequence of this lie of class collaboration - what's good for the bosses is good for workers - has been a loss of membership.

The real trade union response should be a general industrial reply to increase wages and better conditions and defend jobs. Of course, given the pro-capitalist politics of almost all of the trade union "leaders" it won't happen. Instead of attacking the bosses, and thus attracting workers to join, our "leaders" will attack fellow workers. Just like the pro-capitalist trade union leadership has done since 1983.

John Passant


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*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 85 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Tony Abbott – Workers' Friend?
The new Workplace Relations minister relives his own union background and explains why he’s really just another worker at heart. Honestly.
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*  Politics: The Politics of Petrol
Australia might be burning, but is it a fire that can be brought under control?
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*  Organising: The Battle of Campsie
SDA delegate Maria Kavaratzis recounts how the Campsie Big W has been transformed into a union shop.
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*  History: Scabbing Through the Ages
Neale Towart looks back at how popular culture has treated those workers who have not considered themselves part of the collective.
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*  International: Diary of a Showdown
The Korean Metal Workers Federation recounts a week which culminated in violent attacks on workers outside the Daewoo factory.
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*  Economics: Debt Dumping Campaign Enters New Phase
The millennial deadline might have passed, but Jubilee 2000 is not giving up the fight for debt cancellation for the world’s fifty-two poorest countries.
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*  Health: The Real Drug Wars
As Africa attempts to deal with the HIV crisis, access to the medicines that can relieve victims’ suffering is emerging as a major humanitarian issue.
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*  Satire: Liberals Claim Triumph in Queensland
John Howard has claimed the Liberal Party’s decimation in Western Australia and Queensland as a triumphant vindication of his party’s embracing of the national competition policy.
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*  Review: Beyond a White Australia
As we ponder the One Nation renaissance, a new book challenges the current debates around xenophobia and the perceived threat of danger from Asia.
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News
»  Labor To Move on Outsourcing Scams
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»  Opera Workers Join Freeloader Chorus
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»  Independent Eyes for Asbestos Deal
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»  Employment Records Must Be Protected
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»  Workers to Float Down Oxford Street
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»  Competitive Tendering Hits Welfare Sector
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»  Violence Hits Indonesian Dispute
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»  Locked Out, ‘Cause The Boss Won’t Talk
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»  New Laws To Protect Carers
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»  Acoustic Shock Cases Tip of the Iceberg
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»  Teachers Fed Gives Free Membership to Students
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»  Miners Union Calls for ‘Community Dividend’
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»  Hanson's Nursing Plan Bad for Health
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»  Refugee Plight Focus of NESB Network
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»  Unions Pause On New Safety Laws
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»  Heavy Handed Tactics Leave Speedo Workers Exposed
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»  Activists Notebook
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»  Vale: Charlie Fitzgibbon (1922-2001)
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  No Shrinking Violet
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»  Service Fees a Cop Out
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»  Not Quite Right on Discrimination
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»  Explaining it to Pauline
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»  The Canada Bay Debacle
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