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October 2004   
F E A T U R E S

Interview: The Last Bastian
AMWU state secretary Paul Bastian has been at the centre of the three year battle to bring James Hardie to account.

Unions: High and Dry
Jim Marr unpacks the recent High Court Electrolux decision to test whether the ruling matches the media hype.

Security: Liquid Borders
The Howard Government loves to trumpet its national security credentials but a close look at its record in shipping sinks the myth argues MUA’s Zoe Reynolds.

Industrial: No Bully For You
Phil Doyle reports on how bringing dignity and respect to the workplace is undermining bullies.

History: Radical Brisbane
Radical Brisbane extends the 'Radical City' series into the Red North. Two experienced activists, academics and writers turn South East Queensland history on its head.

International: No Vacancies
More than 1400 hotel union workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2, are on strike at four major hotels in San Francisco, California, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Life After Capitalism
A situation that all anarchists dream of? Michael Albert has been more than dreaming., writes Neale Towart

Technology: Cyber Winners
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks at a good news story of global online campaigning that has delivered a victory.

Poetry: Do It Yourself Poetry
Teaser: Wondering why the polls are all over the place? Ask our resident bard and psephologist.

Review: Hard Labo(u)r
The Voice of Southern Labor highlights the role music played in the 1930's US textile strikes, but more than that it provides a lucid insight into the roots of modern capitalism and some truly organic organising, writes Tara de Boehmler.

C O L U M N S

Politics
True Lies
Labor Council secretary John Robertson argues It’s Time – for an IR reality check.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Much work has been done in the past to ease the plight of clothing outworkers in New South Wales. It's time to step up the pressure, as sweatshops and clothing contract work are thriving stronger than ever, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Who Started the Class War?
Evan Jones looks across the Australian political landscape and asks who are the real class warriors?

The Locker Room
First Past The Post
Phil Doyle is coming up in class and is all the better for recent racing

Parliament
Westie Wing
Our favourite state MP returns for his monthly Macquarie Street wrap.

Postcard
Positive Action
Australian unionists are helping give hope to Filipino workers living with HIV/AIDS.

E D I T O R I A L

The Premiership Quarter
After spending the past month with a decidedly sinking feeling, there’s a whiff of hope and expectation that the Howard era could actually be coming to an end.

N E W S

 Kev Cooks the Books

 Black Hole In Libs Kids Plan

 Xerox Copies Waterfront Tactics

 Hardies Asbestos Woes "Snowballs"

 Air Fleet Grounded By Job Cuts

 Musos Lung For Better

 Customs Officers Declare

 Dumbing Down The Trades

 Pacific National Sidetracks Hunter Jobs

 Witch Hunt For Whistleblower

 Black Diamond Deaths Spark Mining Inquiry

 Pensioners Strip Over Pension Strip

 Activists What's On!

L E T T E R S
 Donkey Vote
 Problem Solved
 How To Run Society
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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International

No Vacancies


More than 1400 hotel union workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2, are on strike at four major hotels in San Francisco, California, writes Andrew Casey.

This is the start of what is expected to be a nationally co-ordinated three city hotel workers strike - in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC - involving more than 30,000 hotel workers.

The union members in San Francisco announced this action, to last for two weeks, in response to the hotel employers demands for health benefit reductions and increased workloads.

Huge differences

The UNITE HERE strikers say the talks have shown there are huge differences between the two sides over wages, pensions and the lenght of the next employment contract.

The four hotels where workers are on strike are the San Francisco Hilton, the Argent Hotel, the Crowne Plaza Union Square and the Mark Hopkins Inter-Continental.

8000 San Francisco hotel workers could be locked out

They are part of a group of 14 San Francisco hotels - employing about 8000 workers - who have banded together to negotiate with UNITE HERE members.

It's possible that the owners of the other 10 hotels will lock out their workers as the labour dispute continues. The lock out could happen as early as Friday.

US Hotels Strike - Full Coverage

Hotel industry now a global power

The hotel industry has become a global power - their interests are not limited to one suburb, one city or even just one nation.

Australian hotel workers know the big hotel companies which dominate in the USA - Marriot, Hilton, Starwood and Hyatt - are also dominant players here.

Hotel corporations have amassed enormous bargaining power across the globe - that's why the dispute in the USA will have ramifications in Australia.

Hotel union workers in LA and Washington also campaigning

Hotel union leaders in Los Angeles and the national capital, Washington, DC, are also campaigning for fair contracts in their own cities; they've pledged their full support for the workers on strike in San Francisco.

Union workers in Washington and Los Angeles, have also authorised strikes, and have called on the hotel companies to return to the bargaining table in order to negotiate a fair contract.

Long term struggle

UNITE HERE is prepared for a long term struggle to gain equality and genuine partnership with the global hotel giants.

The union members argue that some in the hotel industry are intent upon imposing cheap WalMart-like working conditions on their workforce.

Already in Los Angeles, the hotel companies unilaterally cut the company-paid health plan, forcing hundreds of families to live without any health care plan. In San Francisco, the companies are demanding workers pay more for their health care insurance.

Hotel companies trying to whittle away benefits

Hotel union members in the USA argue that by keeping hotel workers separated city by city, the companies believe they can more easily whittle away the benefits that unionised hotel workers achieved many years ago.

Hotel workers work hard and play by the rules. They deserve to keep their foothold in the American Dream.

UNITE HERE is determined to do what it takes, on its own timetable, to prevent the WalMartization of hotel workers.

UNITE HERE is also committed to forging a strong partnership with these global employers to build a secure future for the hotel industry and its employees.


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