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Unions & IR

AND IT WAS ALL YELLOW: Gutless union delegates refuse to speak the truth to CFMEU Construction power

gillardyellowDeputy Prime Minister Gillard showed true grit by staring down some unfriendly delegates at the ACTU Congress today in Brisbane.

Peer pressure and the thuggish charms of the nation’s most odious union, the CFMEU Construction Division, led many of the delegates to wear a yellow protest T-shirt to indicate their support for that union’s quest to scrap the corruption busting Australian Building and Corruption Commission.

Yellow was an appropriate choice of colour to reflect just how cowardly they were in being stood over by the CFMEU bullies and thugs into supporting a cause many privately would be highly sceptical about.

Their cowardice stood in stark contrast to Gillard’s courage.

This photograph taken by a VEXNEWS investigator shows that the CFMEU bullied pretty much every delegate into showing their solidarity with a union so corrupt, violent and lawless that it requires its own Commonwealth agency to regulate it.

Many of the delegates, whose unions spent tens of millions of dollars to elect a Labor government to repeal Workchoices,  booed the DPM they helped elect. A public expression of buyer’s remorse not seen since the member for Aston and Knox council “undue influence” Chris Pearce returned an ill-fitting frock to a Chapel Street boutique.

The government has committed to abolishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission in 2010, a proposal that might well be blocked in the Senate.

The CFMEU thinks that’s not fast enough, with some of its goons like Craig Johnston currently being prosecuted over a threat to kill at a construction site.

Johnston of course has been previously imprisoned for violent crimes in the past at workplaces. The CFMEU’s willingness to use his services speaks much about the kind of union they are and makes a compelling argument that while the construction industry has people like this running amok that the ABCC should be here to stay.

Discussion

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  1. “One law for all” it reads on the T-shirts. I was there and politely declined one, getting a death-stare from the fat troll handing them out. The CFMEU should take the words “one law for all” to heart and start obeying the laws we have. They are a wart on the nose of the union movement and with Sharan Burrow it’s not like we need any more.

    Posted by Delegate | June 3, 2009, 14:22
  2. “I am sure you were appalled to read of dangerous car chases across Melbourne city involving carloads of balaclava-wearing people, criminal damage to vehicles resulting in arrests, threats of physical violence and intimidation of individuals,” she said.

    “The last time I read of balaclavas in an industrial dispute they were being worn by security thugs at the Melbourne waterfront when the MUA fought its history making battle against Patricks and the Liberal Party.”

    Posted by Anonymous | June 3, 2009, 15:33
  3. the alp was born of workers struggle not by obeying a rich mans law. Many young alp members, especially those melb uni student union types, who have benefited from a middle class upbringing conveniently forget this. the privilege you now experience didn’t just happen. workers fought and died in this country for a better standard of living and are the reason you are now able to look down your nose at other working people.

    Posted by short memory | June 3, 2009, 15:50
  4. Fought and died did they short memory?

    Little melodramatic don’t you think?

    Posted by Al | June 3, 2009, 16:28
  5. Craig Johnston is a perfect demonstration of why cousins shouldn’t marry. The whole CFMEU should be de-registered and another union handed coverage of this important sector.
    Its time the rank and file stood up and sorted them out.
    Maybe Ms Gillard is made of the right stuff after all. Good on her!!

    Posted by Realist | June 3, 2009, 17:44
  6. i shouted the shirt comment. iburied 5 work mates in qld in the last 12 months.they mustnt have been members of your family…..

    Posted by guy | June 3, 2009, 17:55
  7. Geez Guy I’m glad I’m not your mate. keep up the great work.

    Posted by Realist | June 3, 2009, 18:36
  8. More like short thoughts.
    Yes unions and their leaders have been among the heroic figures in our history. So what, this kind of banal motherhood statement is exactly why the ACTU is feeling unloved.
    Union membership is declining because unions are less relevant for a variety of reasons. One is the myth that they are there for disadvantaged people. There are thousands of disadvantaged workers doing low paid jobs who never see a union official in their lives and most union stalwarts would ask them to join before they lifted a finger to help – how very noble.
    When Australian’s voted against Workchoices they voiced their disgust with the abolition of the No Disadvantage Test, AWAs and dopey employers who pressured workers to sign the bloody things.
    Does anyone seriously believe the average aussie voted for Labor so that the CFEMU could shut the economy down? So that union officials unable to recruit members are instead subsidised by employers?
    Why would anyone vote for increased union power when there are unbiased regulators like the ABCC to smack the bottoms of bosses who do the wrong thing?

    Posted by Anon Annonski | June 3, 2009, 18:49
  9. “There are thousands of disadvantaged workers doing low paid jobs who never see a union official in their lives and most union stalwarts would ask them to join before they lifted a finger to help – how very noble.”

    Moron, would you ask any other organsiation to help you for nothing? Would you go to an insurance company when you do not have a policy?

    Would you try and draw money from a bank where you don’t have an account.

    Unions are not charitable institutions. They rely on members to run. I am a union organiser and frankly I am sick to death of workers, who are not members, they call when they are in trouble, they get service and representation and then don’t join. So your comments are complete bullshit!! BTW it has been my experienc that it is young workers more likely to do this. Longterm union members get pretty angry (and rightfully so) when resources that they have paid for get used on people who just want free assistance.

    As for the ABCC being an unbiased regulator, what are you smoking? Look at some of the cases that have been dismissed when they get to the courts and their is a lot of them. They should never have been brought and were clearly politically motivated.

    The best thing the unions can do is divorce the ALP, the ALP is a millstone arounf the neck of the unions and has been for a longtime. Let’s see the ALP get re-elected without the assistance of the unions. Good ridd

    Posted by WTF? | June 3, 2009, 19:04
  10. Has anyone seen Doris the she-male?

    Posted by Dean 'Pantie & Bra Wearing' Mighell | June 3, 2009, 19:43
  11. With union leaders impersonating bad CEO’s some having recently being revealed earning higher salaries then Julia Gillard with a pass time of wasting money on intra-factional power struggles in courts,and election campaigns to ensure they always control the floor on the ALP front is it any wonder that workers have said “fuck that for a game of soldiers comrades”…that $12 a week membership can buy me a clear conscience that i’m not standing up in some congress sycophantingly bleating about “corporate greed””CEO’s robbing the workers” blah bla blah comrades and other such tired platitudes, they make terrific sideshow theatre for the army of union bureacrats .In the real world outside have workers woken up to unions growing irrelevance ?? Yes. Do we need regulation in industries where strong arm tactics can override fair and transparent negotiations??YES Do Unions need to become relevant to a membership rapidly diminishing because the organisers spend more time in pubs discussing bolshevism then on the coal face representing members …damn straight comrades, and Julia you’ve got more guts and backbone then the whole lot of them, keep it coming.It’s regulation that has kept this country in check , and no-one not even unions and their commissars are above the Australian law.

    Posted by no ticket to the ACTU sideshow | June 3, 2009, 19:43
  12. Sharan, what a performer

    Posted by saving my membership for a ticket to circus de soleil | June 3, 2009, 20:07
  13. The CFMEU wants the Australian Building and Construction Commission shut down like Colombian drug lords want the Drug Enforcement Agency shut down. Just wait another year, Craig. Your shakedowns and bashings can restart in 2010.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | June 3, 2009, 20:51
  14. ***iburied 5 work mates in qld in the last 12 months***

    …. they wouldn’t vote the way you wanted, ‘Guy’?

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | June 3, 2009, 20:52
  15. like i said byron. they were not your family. they were hard working family men providing in an unsafe and dangerous profesion. hard manuel labour. dusk till dawn. 6 days a week.

    Posted by guy | June 3, 2009, 22:04
  16. i did some research.. turns out that byron is a proffesional welfare sponge .and has been for aprox 13 years……

    Posted by guy | June 3, 2009, 22:14
  17. Well said WTF? June 3 19:04.

    What I see in the picture above is a peaceful protest. The wheels of democracy in motion.

    The ABCC is an abomination. An open festering wound on democracy. Then again so are some internal ALP machinations.

    Craig Johnson is a diversion. He is just one man, not a movement. We could discuss the antics of some employers in his industry, but we’ll leave that alone.

    Posted by Well? | June 3, 2009, 23:00
  18. ***they were hard working family men providing in an unsafe and dangerous profesion***

    Got it. Construction industry contractors, with CFMEU bovver boys coming on site demanding bribes? My heart goes out to them.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | June 3, 2009, 23:58
  19. ***byron is a proffesional welfare sponge .and has been for aprox 13 years***

    Guy, I never thought I’d be saying this to someone from the CFMEU, but you need more practise.

    At lying.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | June 4, 2009, 0:00
  20. ***he is just one man, not a movement***

    Yeah, like Al Capone was just one man. Just one man indicative of a festering corruption, that needs to be stamped out.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | June 4, 2009, 0:02
  21. Thanks WTF for confirming Short Memory’s comments as completely naive waffle.
    The old refrain ‘and the union makes us strong’ could just as easily be applied to the credit union or any other membership organisation you care to join.
    Fair enough – but don’t go around mouthing self righteous platitudes about the vital role unions in keeping us all safe in our beds when it’ll actually cost us our yearly subs just like the local tennis club.
    Why should the community support some sort of pseudo-regulatory role for unions as advocated by the ACTU when in actual fact I’ll be waiting for my thuggish union bomber jacket and southern cross embossed stubby holder before I’ll get my workplace rights protected.
    As for young workers who don’t sign up and expect protection, what are you saying that people deserve to be exploited just because they haven’t joined a politcal organisation called a union, but I forgot who cares about freedom of association.
    What hypocritical b#sh#t – you want right of entry to workplaces but you won’t do jack until the workers pay-up.
    No wonder people ask who needs you when they get more protection from the govt funded regulators than unions.
    For the umpteenth time – the ABCC has powers lots of us are uncomfortable with because they are dealing with a toxic gang of thugs masquerading as union who we’re even more uncomfortable with. Is the union movement capable of reforming the CFMEU? Of course not. You’ve already condemned non-members to exploitation – your so relevant.
    Basically WTF you have NFI.

    Posted by Anon Annonski | June 4, 2009, 9:36
  22. People wore the T-shirt in support of a CFMEU member facing 6 months jail for refusing to answer ABCC questions. WHo else goes to jail in this country for not answering questions??

    As to Craig Johnston, it is an allegation of breaking a law that applies to all of us, we dont need seperate laws to deal with that.

    Perhaps if your “contact” had really been there, he/she may have reported that the AWU also spoke strongly in favour – an inconvenient truth?

    Posted by WTF 2 | June 4, 2009, 13:28
  23. Been in construction for many years now. Seen the bad side of both. The cfmeu propaganda is biased and false but never let the facts get in the way. Ask many building workers what they reckon of getting abused by their own union & ripped off while union bosses ‘given’ to them by the cfmeu & live in multi-million dollar units. Of course that’s what workers aspire to. Just don’t expect too much sympathy for the boys when they lose their jobs as some officlas are spining bs to responsible unions who believ the crap. By the way comrades, the ABCC has NO jursidiction on safety, thats the sole jurisdiction of the state government’s role! That’s Qld labor as well so have a go them my friend!

    Posted by cynic | June 4, 2009, 20:12
  24. Sorry cynic but that’s not accurate. ABCC has juridiction over all work stoppages, whether OHS motivated or not. They may (after a compulsory interrogation) take no action if the OHS risk was immediate rather than long term.

    “What is ‘excluded’ industrial action?

    ‘Excluded’ industrial action is action that is protected under the Workplace Relations Act 1996. Industrial action protected under state and territory laws is NOT excluded. It should be noted that there are strict limitations as to what is ‘excluded’ industrial action. Employers and employees should seek advice or they may expose themselves to financial penalties” (their emphasis)

    Posted by WTF 2 | June 5, 2009, 8:13
  25. Bring in the death penalty for those that oppose my business making squillions at the risk of killing workers !!!!

    Posted by I own an old Ansett Hanger | June 5, 2009, 14:07
  26. With due reference to the esteemed WTF, wouldn’t you first need to check that the workers at risk of imminent demise had paid their union subs for being employed by your squillion dollar enterprise?
    There would apparently be outrage from older members at the appalling freeloading of workers who expected to be saved without being paid-up.
    There would be also corresponding fear and loathing if a government funded regulator not aligned to bosses or workers happened along and did the job as a freebie.

    Posted by Anon Annonski | June 5, 2009, 15:32
  27. I was there. The CFMEU put up a very good case. Nobody was forced to wear a yellow t-shirt. A few fools yelled out at Gillard, not many.Her message and demeanour did her no credit. Joe Hockey would have been proud of her. Sharon (ego bigger than the hall) wore a t-shirt but covered it with her jacket ( i think she was at a job interview). Jeff Lawrence gave an excellent response, to Gillards cowardly aquiesence to the top end of town.

    Posted by Arther conan doyle | June 5, 2009, 18:23
  28. the cmfeu leadership are crooks

    Posted by Anonymous | June 5, 2009, 21:58
  29. Anon Annonski, you must be a deeply hurt person. Imagine your heightened disdain if a union sought to act on behalf of a non-member! You would be screaming freedom of association from the rooftops. You cant have it both ways. While it may not be perfect, unions are essentially democratic. Members vote for their leadership. Ballots can (and often are) challenged in Court, as can be (and often is) the intervention of paid union officials in a ballot. If you are not part of the union, don’t bother complaining, if you are, do something about it.

    Posted by WTF2 | June 7, 2009, 10:38
  30. Deeply moved as I am by your concern, its woefully misplaced.
    My disdain is for unionists and their supporters who constantly and self-righteously claim the high moral ground epitomised by the ‘fought and die’ manning the barricade rhetoric used above.
    I don’t have a problem with unions not being charities or only representing members – just don’t claim to be the saints.
    To paraphrase bruvver Ferguson in reference to the CFMEU at the Westgate Bridge – while in disputes there have been excesses on both sides there are things decent people don’t so.
    I don’t recall calling into question the democractic nature of union ballots although even the most ardent unionist would admit there have more than a few instances of the old ‘row eight hands up’.
    I don’t have a problem with unions per se just the CFEMU but I’d still say unions in general have an problem with relevance.
    If Australian workers felt at risk of exploitation they might join a union – which they by and large do not. The irony of the ACTU’s Your Rights At Work Campaign was that many, many of the workers they hailed as victims of WorkChoices were never union members – union activists had to go and find them which one suspects many were out of practice doing.
    If unions did what they say they do, what they claim entitles them to secular sainthood then all the debate at the ACTU Congress would be academic because unions would be relevant and thriving instead of desparately casting about for a way to guarantee their survival.

    Posted by Anon Annonski | June 9, 2009, 13:19
  31. Anon Annonski, its very pleasing to hear you speak from the heart rather than stirring. My reference to democracy was, as I said, a reference to your opportunity to “put your money where your mouth is”. While many may shudder at CFMEU antics, they are reflective of their membership, who include (for example) bikies from Geelong and other places. The Westgate Bridge dispute, and I attended the Yarraville fundraiser, was more about who “owned” the workers on the bridge. AWU, CFMEU or John Holland (who are no saints). Andrew (and you it seems)is a right wing union fan. I on the other hand, couldn’t give a rat’s arse about left or right wing, or ALP factions, just do you what your members expect you to do. Be a leader in the interests of your members,not a political wannabe.

    Posted by WTF2 | June 9, 2009, 21:00
  32. There is a difference between highlighting self righteous cant and lack of sincerity.
    Leadership and democracy are about more than doing what voters expect you to do.
    People actually elect you to lead which by necessity is sometimes counter to direct democracy. The ‘interests’ of people who elect you is the key. Leadership and acting in the bests interests of people is often about not doing what a majority of members/voters might at first blush want you to do.
    The test of leadership is whether you can bring members with you.
    By any reasonable definition the senior office holders of the CFMEU fail this criteria.
    The Fair Work Bill has unfortunately created a situation where a gang of thugs like the CFMEU can embark on a crude bid for domination by claiming that particular worksites come under their broad aegis rather than having to actually have members on the site. Which is why moderate unions like the AWU find themselves under seige.
    Without being unnecessarily inflamatory, history is replete with examples of nasty organisations that were reflective of their membership’s views which made everyone shudder. Its a pretty poor claim to fame.

    Posted by Anon Annonski | June 11, 2009, 10:21
  33. Is Byron from wahroonga any relation to the missing doug bryon who has been on the HSU payroll but missing from work for six months? Stop paying him fegan.

    Posted by looking for doug | June 11, 2009, 11:48
  34. I think the ACTU is gutless.
    I also think individual unions are gutless.
    I think workers themselves are gutless.
    The answer ???
    Maybe some good leaders to get workers to crawl out from under their safe, cosy associations with their bosses.
    Yet those that crawl to bosses and change sides, what stuff are they made of ?
    What is the future of a movement that “looks after” workers ?
    Wouldn’t it be be better for workers to get an education, wake up and make their own decisions ?
    Why rely on payed idiots supposedly organised to protect workers rights when all they do is sell them out, time and time again.
    The union movement ?
    What a joke and a failure for decent working people in Australia !

    Posted by CEPUke | April 3, 2010, 23:00

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