The competition was ferocious and victory sweet for this years winners of the ACTU Awards.

The judges have had such a hard time picking winners from the outstanding shortlists that weve even awarded a joint prize this year, explained ACTU President Sharan Burrow at the award presentations during the ACTUs 75th anniversary Executive dinner in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

The Queensland Nurses took out the prize in the coveted Best Workplace Campaign category for their Worth Looking After campaign. The campaign featured massive and sustained media coverage, the collection 60,000 signatures on public petitions, a day of action with 10,000 nurses walking off the job, a CD and video release that received airplay on TV and radio and 2,200 new members signed up.

The runners-up in the Best Workplace Campaign category were:

  • SA LHMU McGuigans Wines campaign.
  • Victorian CFMEU & AEU Breakfast in Schools campaign.
  • QIEU Superannuation campaign.

    The NSW Teachers Federation took out the hotly contested Best Communications Strategy award for its Vinson Inquiry into Public Education. In partnership with the Federation of Parents and Citizens Association, the Federation ran a half-million dollar Royal Commission style Inquiry that generated unprecedented public and media debate involving visits to 150 schools and more than 700 public submissions on public education policy in NSW.

    Runners-up for the Best Communications Strategy prize were:

  • LHMU for the Sydney Hilton Hotel campaign.
  • AWU for the Superannuation for Jockeys campaign.

    The Delegate of the Year award went to the LHMU ACTs Super Six Childcare Campaign Team, led by childcare worker Lynda Stubbs. This team mobilised childcare workers, parents and politicians throughout the ACT over 18 months in their fight to improve wages and build union numbers. The tightly organised campaign targeted the Commission, politicians, the community and their workers. A survey on a new classification structure, workforce mapping, activist identification and support, and a parents rally helped lead to an inquiry by the ACT Government into the shortage of childcare services.

    Runners up in the Delegate of the Year category were:

  • Graeme Prosser – CPSU delegate Teletech Call Centre, Moe.
  • Ross Kumeroa TWU convenor at BHP Iron Ore, Newman, WA.
  • Diane Allen, FSU delegate at Westpacs main call centre in NSW.
  • Garry Fairman FSU delegate at the NAB in Northampton, WA.

    The Jennie George Award for contributions to the advancement of women in unions was jointly awarded to the FSU WA branch and the AMWU Victorian Vehicle Division:

    The FSU WA branch has developed a strong culture of mentoring women at all levels. The branch has a female secretary, 3 out of 4 organisers are women along with both branch vice-presidents and 70% of the branch committee are female. The branch runs maternity leave seminars for new mothers to talk about their rights, as well as seminars for women working part-time, so they dont lose touch with the union.

    The AMWU Vic vehicle division has achieved Paid maternity leave for 80% of female members, equal access to the highest average shopfloor wages in manufacturing, a Division Womens Committee which meets bi-monthly and has been running for 13 years and the highest participation rate in the Anna Stewart memorial project. The division has introduced deputy shop stewards position to promote women members. Three out of eight State Council positions are held by women and the regional secretary Gayle Tierney has been in the job since 1993.

    Gail Drummond from the CPSU Communications Section won the Organiser of the Year Award. Gail has had a monumental battle on her hands to persuade call centre workers in the Moe Teletech Centre to over come their fears and join the union. At Teletech there is no right of entry and all the workers, from the depressed Latrobe Valley region, are on AWAs and the management is virulently anti-union. In March Gail, stood out on the Teletech driveway handing out pamphlets and talking to the workers. Security routinely moved her back onto the road. High security fences were erected to keep her off the site. Eventually she was allowed in to investigate a suspected breach and in a matter of days membership increased from 6 to 30. Since then, still without right of entry, the numbers have shot up to 70.

    Runners up for Organiser of the Year were Joanne Kowalczyk, NTEU University of Wollongong branch and Don Freudenstein.

    Finally, the Media Quote of the Year award went to Greg Combet from the following entries:

    One untold consequence of Australias economic success is that people are too tired for sex. Perhaps this is part of John Howards master social plan, the third term agenda were all looking for.

    Greg Combet, ACTU Secretary, at the National Press Club, Canberra

    “If were honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband – not withstanding all of his faults you find he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least hes employing someone while he is in fact a boss.”

    Tony Abbott, Workplace Relations Minister, to a Workforce Conference, Sydney

    If Royal Commission members are staying in a Sydney hotel tonight they would do well to look under their beds because the CFMEU has friends everywhere.

    LHMU NSW Secretary Annie Owens, quote of the week, WorkersOnLine

    Fox and Lew have shown their marshmallow balls and were going to toast them. .

    ACTU Industrial Officer Richard Watts in the wash-up of Tesnas bid for Ansett,

    I felt like Osama bid Laden at the White House.

    AMWU National Secretary Doug Cameron after talks with the Federal Government on industry development at Parliament House Canberra

    “This government really sings a lullaby of hate against refugees, the unemployed, republicans, single mothers, unions, indigenous people. At the end of each verse you have to ask yourself: who’s next.”

    Sharan Burrow, ACTU President, in February at a Refugee Rally in Canberra

    Its our party. The parents dont leave just because the kids are misbehaving.

    AWU National Secretary Bill Shorten on the union-ALP relationship