The monthly e-Mag combining organising stories and ACTU news with member benefits updates. Read on or have it delivered fresh to your In Box every month…



  • Saving Unions Money – Generating Sponsorship Dollars
  • Union resolution sparks tax cuts vs services debate
  • If you can’t beat the machine, get a piece of it
  • Organiser Profile
  • ACTU Executive Endorses Superannuation Cadetship
  • APHEDA – Union Aid Abroad Burma Campaign
  • Need some help counting your beans?
  • Competition
  • Victorian revives workers’ theatre
  • Vic unions push for corporate accountability
  • US unionist guest stars at Adelaide’s cerebral fest
  • Unions working with unions
  • ACTU Congress on the horizon
  • Queensland public servants get a raise
  • Blue Ribbon meats still festering
  • Another Reasonable Hours Flow-on
  • Workers Rights on the Web
  • About Member Connect


Saving Unions Money – Generating Sponsorship Dollars

Did you know ACTU Member Connect has generated over $100,000 in sponsorship for 68 delegate conferences and other events since 2001?
Participating unions can choose sponsorship for:


  • Union branded t-shirts
  • Conference satchels, bags and showbags
  • Conference folders
  • Lunches, dinners and BBQs
  • Conference pens and writing pads
  • Prizes and giveaways


Professional stalls displaying member services such as home loans and computers are set up for delegates to browse during the conference breaks.
For more information contact Gina Preston, Union Liaison Manager on 1300 362 223,

Union resolution sparks tax cuts vs services debate

A Labor Government will return bracket creep to taxpayers through a combination of tax cuts and restored public services.
Addressing ACTU Executive, Opposition Leader Simon Crean reaffirmed Labor’s commitment to improve and maintain essential services. Unions passed a resolution encouraging members to reject further across-the-board tax cuts in favour of well-resourced health, education and child-care.
“This Liberal Government thinks it is virtuous in reducing public debt but it is only putting families deeper into private debt. Rather than give inconsequential tax cuts, Australians want better health and education,” said Mr Crean.
The ALP leader reiterated his pledges to increase bulk billing and stop up front payments for GP visits, increase the HECS threshold and abolish full fees for Australian university students.
Labor will also reclaim superannuation as its central platform, discourage big executive payouts by removing the capacity for companies to claim them as tax deductions and require employers to bargain in good faith with their workers.

If you can’t beat the machine, get a piece of it

In an economy in which the forces of globalisation mean that key decisions are made further away from employers and citizens, more than ever unions need to learn to use their power differently to leverage growth.
On her visit to Australia, AFL-CIO official, Amy Dean, told Australian unions of her colleagues’ response to a challenge issued by President, John Sweeney back in 1995. Unions were asked to overhaul their budgets in favour of organising from 5 per cent to thirty per cent and the Federation was asked to consider how it could better serve its members. The result was a six-point plan that enables unions to harness militancy to benefit members rather than be a victim to it.
1. Solidarity: Facing an enormously challenging and hostile environment where many employers won’t bargain in good faith it remains true that when workers don’t show solidarity and bargain collectively the only winners are the employers.
2. Support organising: Holding training sessions to impart to members the rationale behind their union resources sometimes being spent elsewhere on other workers demonstrates the importance of increasing union density and how it affects them.
3. Grass roots political action: Unions no longer simply funnel resources into a democrat campaign but have built their own political action efforts to mobilise their own members to talk to voters. Candidates are vetted to determine how closely their political goals align with union growth and are expected to campaign actively in favour of jobs.
4. Economic development: Trade union leaders rarely come to the table regarding the investment of public money. Investing in employment and the right to organise need to be core economic standards.
5. Labour community ties: The labour movement must integrate more into the community so natural link is made and mutual assistance can be relied upon for greater leverage. For the AFL-CIO the greatest link has been made with churches.
6. Leadership development: Investing in the capacity of union leaders to develop strategic plans to execute the union agenda is crucial. Achieving diversity within ranks is also imperative at a local level.

Organiser Profile

Helga Svensen, Assistant Secretary, ASU MEU Private Sector Vic Branch
Helga was elected Assistant Secretary in May and recently led a home blitz campaign to organise Foxtel workers in the Tullamarine area. Foxtel has a call centre of 600 with 100 in administrative support. Issues for workers include OHS, rostering inflexibility, monitoring, difficulty getting annual leave, and targets being altered to increase the degree of difficulty in achieving favourable pay/performance reviews.
The home blitz resulted in over half of the contacts agreeing to sign a postcard calling for the establishment of a workplace consultative committee and over a third volunteering to participate in future activities.
1. What were the main objectives of the campaign?
We wanted to approach workers in the safety of their home environment where they were free from the distractions of work and being observed by the employer. It enabled us to assess the priority issues for workers as well as identify potential activists and secure their commitment for future activity.
2. How did you go about it?
We obtained staff lists and conducted house visits with a sample of workers prior to the blitz. Key activists were contacted and meetings took place in the workplace introducing workers to the union. The home blitz also provided an opportunity for the fifty organisers from unions including MEAA, AEU, NUW, HSUA, FSU, NSW LC and Finsec to network and share new organising opportunities.
3. What did you learn from the campaign?
We talk about Foxtel in a positive manner because while young people understand the benefits of collectivity they do not respond to criticism of their employer. For these people working at Foxtel is either temporary or it suits their lifestyle as workers get free Foxtel services.
4. What do you get outraged about?
Adults being treated like children in call centres. People not being respected when deserve it.
5. What does a newly elected Assistant Secretary do in her spare time when she is not conducting a home blitz campaign?
I teach modern jive at Le Bop one night a week. I love it because I meet new people, it’s a great release, it’s fun and you couldn’t get more removed from union activism!

ACTU Executive Endorses Superannuation Cadetship

The ACTU is backing a program to develop the next generation of leaders within the not-for-profit superannuation industry.
In consultation with the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF) and the AIG, the ACTU through Member Connect has developed a proposal to coordinate a superannuation cadetship.
The cadetship would be an Organising Works type program aiming to refine workplace marketing strategies that are key to low distribution costs in a choice environment and build a fast-track program to develop skilled, trained employees for the future. The program is expected to begin in February 2004.

APHEDA – Union Aid Abroad Burma Campaign

On 30 May 2003 the Burma ruling military junta attacked Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi and a motorcade of National League for Democracy (NLD) members. Since that time there has been closure of universities and NLD offices, and Aung San Suu Kyi has remained in detention.
The international community has called on the military regime to release her and to engage in dialogue with the NLD.
Union Aid Abroad is producing materials for unions to use to support
democracy and political change and to pressure the Australian government
and international community to act on this issue. The campaign to pressure trade and investment out of Burma also continues.
We have developed some new resources for this campaigning on our website.
For latest news and urgent actions see:
or contact Marj O’Callaghan

Need some help counting your beans?

We could all use some help counting our beans. How much money is enough to retire upon? What to do with a redundancy package? How do you save for a home, a new car or the trip of a lifetime? Almost everyone, and most certainly your members, wants to maximise their hard-earned money, and build their assets.
To provide your members with guidance and advice about their money can help them get the things they want, when they want them – maybe they should think about visiting a financial adviser.
The ACTU Endorsed Financial Advisers Directory 2003-2004 has a list of endorsed advisers throughout Australia. We’ve put them through the hoops so that you don’t need to and the first consultation is free and no obligation.
For your copy of the Directory call 1300 362 223.


As part of a general promotion of the ACTU Endorsed Financial Planners Network, Chris Turner of Winchcombe Carson in Melbourne has kindly donated a $100 wine voucher to the winning entry of this month’s competition.
To win simply tell us in 25 words or less the dream that a financial planner would help you achieve. Email by 15 August 2003 to win.

Competition Winner – Virtual Communities Internet Package

Congratulations to Allana Burnie of CPSU, Tasmania who is this month’s winner of a Virtual Communities 12 month prepaid Internet disc valued at $269.

Victorian revives workers’ theatre

Once upon a time unions used to be at the cutting edge of popular culture. Steve Gome, a delo for the missos at the MCG, is doing his bit to revive this fantastic tradition. Steve is directing a play – Mr Puntilla and his Matti by Bertolt Brecht – at the Victorian Trades Hall. Set in the Finnish countryside, the play tells of the misadventures of a drunken landowner, Mr Puntilla who owns a sawmill, a studebaker, a forest, has four fiancees and ninety cows. And a chauffeur who has to keep picking up the pieces. There are themes about principles, for sure, but there’s also plenty of laughs. Steve came up with a great idea to finance the piece. He went on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, won a motza, and promptly told Eddie McGuire that he was going to spend some of the dough putting on a play at Trades Hall. For a review of the play go to the VTHC website:
Mr Puntila & His Man Matti
7.30pm (Wed-Sat) 10-26 July
New Ballroom, Trades Hall
Cnr Lygon & Victoria Streets Carlton South
$24/$17, Union members at concession rates
Bookings (03) 9537 3844

Vic unions push for corporate accountability

VTHC remains committed to getting new laws to target corporate criminals. They’re sticking to a long held demand that criminal sanctions apply to workplace deaths and are asking the Bracks government to tighten up the OHS laws. They want $5 million sanctions and the same standards of accountability to apply to workplace deaths as do roads or in the community.

US unionist guest stars at Adelaide’s cerebral fest

American unionist Amy Dean – a driver of the successful ‘Union Cities’ project in Silicon Valley – was the guest at well-attended seminar in Adelaide this week. Over 50 organisers from 9 different unions turned up. Amy highlighted the importance of unions working with the community and Labor Councils being central to building organising across unions. While in Adelaide Amy was also a participant at the Festival of Ideas – a cerebral gathering which has all sorts of intellectuals descend on the city.

Unions working with unions

At a recent UTLC Planning Day, South Australian affiliates affirmed that they would not only concentrate their efforts on building up membership power but they’d also help each other do it. UTLC Sec Janet Giles says unions, driven by some positive experiences – in particular the recent national organising conference and a successful blitz in aged care – are coming together. ‘We had five different unions work together on the Aged Care blitz. Young organisers from different unions just loved helping each other out.’

ACTU Congress on the horizon

The triennial workers parliament convenes in August this year (from the 18th to the 21st). Draft congress policies and background papers will be available on the ACTU website soon. Among the international crew coming along are Ken Georgetti from Canada, John Monks, formerly of the British TUC , now heading up the European Trades Union Congress, Linda Chavez-Thompson from the American AFL-CIO, Tom Woodruffe from the SEIU, Willi Madisha from South Africa’s COSATU, and Ross Wilson from New Zealand. Keynote speaker will be Guy Ryder from the ICFTU.

Queensland public servants get a raise

Queensland public sector unions have finalised their enterprise agreement with the state government picking up three wage increases of 3.8 per cent each over 39 months plus increased security of employment.

Blue Ribbon meats still festering

In Tassie the Meatworkers dispute at Blue Ribbon continues. It is now in its sixteenth week with the workers who wanted to pursue a collective agreement and did not sign up as ‘independent contractors’ locked out since 2 April 2003. The Tasmanian Industrial Commission has asked for final written submissions by 25 July, with a hearing on August 1 for final oral submissions. A decision on this shocker is not expected before mid to late August.

Another Reasonable Hours Flow-on

Unions Tasmania has succeeded in getting the State Industrial Commission to flow on the principle of the ACTU’s Reasonable Hours test case, with the model clause to be adopted in state awards upon application.

Workers Rights on the Web

The ACTU and the NSW Labor Council, in a joint online initiative, have launched a Your Rights At Work area on the ACTU and Labornet websites. These FAQs use the resources of the ACTU’s Call Centre and Wages and Employment Rights section to build on the Labor Council’s Ask Neale area on Labornet.
The FAQs are presented under the following categories: All About Unions, Casual, part-time and temporary employment, Apprentices and trainees, Pay, entitlements and conditions at work, Bullying, harassment and OHS, Redundancy, termination of employment and unfair dismissal, About awards and agreements, Rights, obligations and responsibilities, Discrimination and equal opportunities.

About Member Connect

One of the primary aims of Member Connect is to help unions retain members by negotiating discounted services that add value to union membership.
Member Connect provides a variety of support services, often cost free to unions, including:


  • Call Centre Services
  • Conference Sponsorship Coordination
  • Display Stalls
  • Brochures and Giveaways
  • Financial Planning Information Sessions


Our range of services for union members include:


  • The Workers Bank – Members Equity
  • The ACTU Endorsed Financial Advisers Network
  • ACTU Call Centre Hotline – 1300 362 223
  • Union Shopper
  • PCs and Internet Packages
  • Discounted Eyewear
  • Credit Cards
  • Cinema Tickets


For more information about any of the above, please contact:
Gina Preston, Union Liaison Manager (Vic, Tas, SA, NT & WA) on (03) 9664 7384 or
Suzanne Culph, Union Liaison Manager (NSW, ACT & Qld) on 0421 802 552 or