Chris Latham

As Hollywood enters its award season, the 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) continue their strike that has shut down the majority of the US film and television industry since November 5. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has also begun to renegotiate its contract.
On February 15, PM John Howard’s government announced that it had agreed to the construction of a new US spy-satellite ground station at the Kojarena intelligence base 30 kilometres east of Geraldton. The new facility will transmit data to and from two US geostationary spy satellites focused on the Middle East and Asia.
Among the proposals included in the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ industrial relations legislation policy, adopted at its October conference, were provisions for unions to be able to hold elections to win recognition in workplaces where the boss refuses to bargain with them. These ballots are aimed at addressing the lack of a mechanism whereby unions can make an employer negotiate a collective agreement for workers. Such ballots have been a feature of the US industrial relations system for over 70 years.

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