Leung, Jenny Kwai-Sim and James, Kieran and Mustata, Razvan V. and Bonaci, Carmen Giorgiana (2010) Trade union strategy in Sydney's construction union: a Roman Catholic perspective. International Journal of Social Economics, 37 (7). pp. 488-511. ISSN 0306-8293
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Official URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0306-8293.htm
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1108/03068291011055441
Rudd Government ministers have talked tough towards the more militant Australian trade unions since coming to office in November 2007. However, despite this, it is still fair to say that the removal of the Howard-Costello Government reduced neo-liberal hegemony by altering the invisible balance of power between capital and labour in the construction industry. Using a set of case studies, based on data obtained from fieldwork at the New South Wales, Australia branch of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), we document key elements of union strategy at the branch level in the year immediately after the removal of the Howard-Costello Government. A key aspect of branch level strategy was building site visits by a team of organisers, led by the divisional state secretary, designed to rebuild influence on site and reconnect with workers. Furthermore, the CFMEU’s hiring of foreign language speaking organisers and production of foreign language publications is a praiseworthy attempt to reach out to ethnic minority workers and bring them under the ‘mainstream’ union umbrella. We use a theory framework of Roman Catholic social teaching to frame our discussions.
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