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  Issue No 99 Official Organ of LaborNet 15 June 2001  




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Once Were Tuckpointers

Trawling through the files, Paul Howes stumbles upon some unions that represented workers long departed.


The Foundation Stone of Trades Hall being laid in 1888


Labor Council was formed in 1871 with six affiliates, in the 130 years since thousands unions have been affiliated with the Council most since amalgamated or disbanded. Of course some unions are still affiliated in their original form such as the AWU in 1894, the ETU in 1903, the MEU in 1910, the FBEU in 1911, and the Musicians Union in 1908 however the majority of Labor Council's affiliates either affiliated at a later date or have been through several amalgamations and name changes since their formation.

Of course it was not so long ago that debates took place on Council floor between comrades from the BLF and brothers from the FIA, it hasn't been so long since the BWIU and WWF graced the corridors of Trades Hall. Michael Costa can still remember being President of the AFLUE, Christodoulou looks back fondly to the days when he was Wollongong Sub-branch Secretary of the FMWU, Michael Crosby remembers the good old days with Actors Equity and even Della sometimes misses his time at ATOF.

However what about the forgotten unions, the bizarre and obtuse unions that once apon a time where active within the Thursday Night debates at Council. In light of Peter Lewis' editorial in the last edition of Workers Online, I thought it would be timely to have a look back at some of those unions and try and have a guess at who they covered.

Hat making must have been a boom industry in the early 1900s, Labor Council at one stage had the Felt Hatters Union, the Silk Hatters Union and the Straw Hat Makers Employees' Union of NSW all affiliated at the same time, obviously this was pre-Kelty so amalgamation didn't seem like a good idea.

The Tuckpointers' Trade Society of NSW has been causing a bit of a stir of late, affiliated to Labor Council between 1913 and 1915 they are still shareholders in the Trades Hall Association. No one has been able to work out what exactly a Tuckpointer is yet so their share allocation in Trades Hall has gone unclaimed. If any does know what a Tuckpointer is let us know, better yet if anyone is still a Tuckpointer let Trades Hall know might have rights to their share allocation!

With the growth in Artificial Intelligence Technology of late the Models & Mannequins Guild of NSW could be seeing a comeback. Affiliated to Labor Council up until 1981 I have no idea who they covered.

Straight out of a Dickens novel comes the Bone Mills & Fat Extractors Employees' Union of NSW, they were affiliated to Labor Council in 1908. The Billard Markers' Union of NSW was affiliated between 1912 and 1914, I understand they had a few conflicts with the United Felt Workers Union of Australiasia.

The Great Depression saw an increase of unions affiliating to Labor Council some of those were the Rabbit Trappers Union, the Unemployed Workers Union and a union that still exists in WA and Queensland the United Blind Workers Union.

The Women Workers Union of NSW was affiliated between 1911 and 1935, they sat on Council floor with the Australian Vaudeville Artists' Association, juts behind the City, Suburban & Country Accumulators Association of NSW.

The Monumental Workers Union of NSW had a short but glorious time at Council, affiliated between 1902 and 1914, you would think that they would have experience a boom after the Great War.

This week Trades Hall Association Secretary Lorna Morrison celebrates 30 years of full-time work with the Association. Over the years many unions have called Trades Hall home, Lorna remembers the Milk & Ice Carters Union, a name she always found cute, the union was a long time tenant up until their amalgamation with the TWU. The Secretary Albert Thompson was "like a bumble bee in a bottle, always very vocal on many issues" according to Lorna.

Lorna also remembers the days of the BLF, they were based in Trades Hall and had several changes of the locks after their elections. However Lorna disputes the media image of the BLF she has always thought the old BLF Officials to be "gentlemen, always very nice people not the thugs the media painted them to be".

Not all unions however had offices in Trades Hall however many did use the Auditorium for example the Painters & Dockers' office was in Balmain, but they did have their meetings in Trades Hall and occasionally their was "blood on the walls of the Auditorium after some very passionate debates" but Lorna didn't mind because "in those days meetings were really good, there was a lot of passion, and sometimes that led to fisticuffs, but they believed in want they were fighting for".


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 99 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: In Defence of the Umpire
Australian Industry Group chief Bob Herbert on why the Industrial Relations Commission is worth fighting for.
*  Unions: Diary of a Dude
One.Tel worker Warren Manners thought he had a dream job and no need for a union. That was until the money ran out.
*  Legal: Dot.Com Casualties
The high profile collapse of One.Tel had significant implications for its employees. But what about its contractors?
*  Industrial: The Shopfloor, United
Chris Christodoulou argues that without an active union membership, workplace democracy is just a pipe dream.
*  International: A Saharawi Woman's Plea
Sydney unionist Stephanie Brennan travelled to Africa to witness first-hand the struggle for independence in West Sahara.
*  History: Once Were Tuckpointers
Trawling through the files, Paul Howes stumbles upon some unions that represented workers long departed.
*  Politics: Out Of The Comfort Zone
In his new book, Brett Evans argues that while Labor is honing its reform agenda, it is still struggling to reform itself.
*  Satire: World Domination
The US has threatened not to pay the UN the money it doesn’t pay anyway.
*  Review: Wiped Out
Bread and Roses is a new movie about the struggle of invisible office cleaners to gain dignity and respect at work. Pity you won’t see it here.

»  Dudded Dudes Lead Union Fight Back
»  Redundancy Rules Promote Outsourcing
»  Workers Compo Bill Hovers
»  Della’s Pay for View Awards
»  Trades Hall Get Green Light
»  Public Works Under the Gun
»  Inner City School Closures
»  TAB Computers Push Bigger Bets
»  Shannon Plots Corporate Raid
»  Stop CSR Militants Wrecking Economy
»  NRMA Learns From the Big Boys
»  Diggers’ Records to be Outsourced?
»  Unions Back Religious Freedoms in Vietnam
»  Blair's Britain - An Insider Speaks
»  Workers Online 100th Issue Bash
»  Activists' Notebook

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  The May Day Wash-Out Explained
»  What's Wrong With Compo?

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