Sunday, 2 September 2007

Unions under the doona

There’s been lots of Media recently about the threat of union dominance if Labour is elected. Call me na├»ve, but I can’t see the problem. Union officials work as advocates for their members. Having done some advocacy myself in a 40 year career with disabled kids and their families, I’ve learnt that advocacy always gets people offside – particularly if they’re in the business of exploiting anyone a bit less wealthy or powerful. Look at what Hitler did to the trade unions – they’re always the first targeted by anyone inclined towards totalitarianism. Given that the feds have a majority in both houses, and the power of multi-national corporations is on the rise, maybe a bit of balance wouldn’t go astray.
In my experience the stereotype of the union bully is a bit out of date. Until retirement a few years ago I ran an establishment that employed thirty people, all unionized. I actually looked forward to the regular visits of the three union organizers (three different unions involved) as there were generally as helpful to me – the employer – as they were to their members.
My local ALP candidate is actually a solicitor. I wonder how he snuck through?
My dad used to talk about “reds under the bed”. Now it’s “unions under the doona”. Not much has changed in Australian political culture in fifty years – first get your people scared – then get them controlled.

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