New initiative: Union and community summer school

Issue 

An exciting new event will soon make its appearance on the calendar of the Australian workers movement. It's the first Union and Community Summer School, held in Melbourne over December 10-11.

Called “Winning Our Rights”, the school will bring together experienced labour activists from different generations and most left political traditions, to discuss the way forward for the union movement.

Union activists from Labor, Greens, Socialist Alliance, Communist Party of Australia, Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist), Search Foundation, Socialist Party and libertarian backgrounds will take part, alongside many non-aligned unionists.

The school aims to take practical steps to strengthen left and progressive action on issues there is agreement about, such as building a stronger campaign against the Australian Building and Construction Commission, supporting the new union/Indigenous social compact movement and creating union support for social enterprises like the Eureka’s Future solar hot water cooperative.

A goal is to pass on the experience and knowledge of older generations to younger union activists, who have responsibility for our movement’s future.

Participants will hear from such figures as Green Bans campaign leader Jack Mundey, former Victorian Builders Labourers Federation secretary Norm Wallace, former Victorian Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Craig Johnston and many others.

A public meeting themed "Reviving the union movement under the Gillard government" will open the school. Speakers include Greens MP Adam Bandt; Queensland Electrical Trades Union secretary Peter Simpson; Victorian ETU secretary Dean Mighell; Susan Price, NSW vice-president of the National Tertiary Education Union, and Joan Doyle, Victorian secretary of the Communications Division of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union.

Discussion on the second day will focus on unions’ role in the climate action movement and building the union fightback.

Workshop sessions will cover campaigns against anti-union laws and privatisation, lessons of the Green Bans movement, organising non-unionised workers and winning left leadership in the unions.
Presenters will include labour historians Humphrey McQueen and Verity Burgmann, and union leaders Chris Cain (Maritime Union of Australia) and Luke van der Muelen (Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union).

[For more information or to register, phone Dave on 0412 484 094 or email: ]