||Year End 2006|
Interview: The Terminator
Industrial: Vive La Resistance
Unions: Breaking News
History: Seven Deadly Sins
Economics: Back to the Future
Politics: Organising and Organisations
International: Web Retrospective
Review: Shock Therapy
All the Best
So Where to Now?
On our side of politics there is a regular lament that we know what we are against but not what we are for. We campaign against cuts to Medicare, or against fees in Universities. We have created a vision for a new industrial relations system - but we are still searching for an alternative economic vision.
Over the past ten years, some on our side have reached for a quick fix instead. Tony Blair and Mark Latham grasped for 'New Labour'. It failed. So what is next?
At Unions NSW we know that the only way to create a strong society is to engage in specific campaigns with growing, powerful organisations that connect to an overarching set of values. Unions must be at the centre of this movement. The values and vision must put working families first and not weakly pander to a compromised middle ground. We must lead an agenda.
To help it achieve this goal Unions NSW is about to expand an organisation it set up in 2003 called Working NSW.
Working NSW was formed in recognition that Australian unions and progressive organisations needed a stronger policy vision to renew union power. It was launched by Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labour to Bill Clinton, who is an advocate of investment in skills, social infrastructure, health and education.
Between December 2003 and December 2006, with the support of Unions NSW, Neale Towart coordinated several policy conferences for Working NSW. The largest of which was 'When Things Fall Apart' held in July 2005 which discussed the implications of Work Choices on work-life and the community.
In 2007 Working NSW will take on a more aggressive role as a research-driven campaigning centre dedicated to boosting economic development and living standards to support working families in NSW and nationally.
Working NSW will not simply provide researched opinion - it is not a 'think tank'. Its mission is to connect union research to organisations that have the power to implement that research. To this end we will help set up coalitions and campaigns and improve the skills and capacity of unions, community organisations and organisers in the process.
Working NSW will have three distinct functions:
Building a progressive agenda
Working NSW will seek to develop and campaign for policies that put forward a progressive agenda for working people. Its research priorities connect to this broader goal.
In collaboration with Unions NSW and its affiliates, it will initiate research projects between unions and partner Universities, academics and researchers, in NSW and beyond. Projects include a focus on the vision and values of union affiliates and their members, as well as the organising strategies that can be developed around them.
Working NSW will also builds bridges between academics, unions and other progressive organisations. It will be a clearing house for existing research on the world of work and industrial relations.
To communicate its findings, from 2007, Working NSW will conduct a series of public talks on policies, which will be directed at unions, community organisations and the media. These talks will become the launching pad of its key campaigns.
Working NSW will develop partnerships with unions and likeminded community organisations to advance its agenda, working to enhance their campaign abilities. To this end it will support training, education and will pilot new organising projects in partnership with existing training and education providers like the ACTU Education and Campaign Centre.
Working NSW believes that these three functions are interdependent and critical to campaign success.
The research develops solutions to problems, and assists in the understanding of those who have power and how to move them on issues.
Campaigning builds power to achieve change, and improves campaign capacity and the strength of affiliate organisations, organisers and members.
A progressive agenda ensures that individual campaigns are feeding into a broader program of change that can shift power away from big business and prioritise the needs of working families.
Working NSW is just one new piece in a growing infrastructure for progressive politics in Australia. The aggressive agenda of the Howard Government, and its attacks on almost every facet of the lives of working families has created a strong base for coalitions of common interests between unions, community organisations, religious organisations, the environment movement and students. New organisations such as GetUp.org.au have been developed to interconnect individuals committed to specific campaigns to a broader movement.
Working NSW will add to this infrastructure by working with unions and progressive organisations to research, articulate and campaign for a society and economy that works for us all - and not just the profits of big business.
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