Tim Gooden

When does a worker, even a casual or part-time worker, join a union? When it’s clear that membership brings better pay, working conditions and job security. Why, then, is union membership among workers at an all-time low? Because in so many industries union membership doesn’t seem to bring these benefits.

Right at the beginning of his draft report on climate change, Professor Ross Garnaut points out that global warming can’t be beaten unless an international “prisoner’s dilemma” gets resolved.

The following article is abridged from a speech to the February 24 Victorian state conference of the Socialist Alliance by Geelong Trades Hall Council secretary and alliance member Tim Gooden.

Around 200 union leaders from around Australia attended a trade union leadership forum organised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in Canberra from January 30 to February 1. Many had a lot on their minds. First and foremost, many wondered how the Rudd Labor government’s new industrial relations systems would shape up and what the union movement will have to do to make sure it benefits workers? Unfortunately most walked away after three days asking themselves the same questions they arrived with.

On September 8, Tim Gooden spoke to Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney branch secretary Warren Smith for the Geelong Trades Hall’s Union Air community radio program. The interview took place at the protest that day against the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and US President George Bush.

A workshop involving trade unionists from around Australia is being held in Geelong on October 28 from 1pm. Socialist Alliance initiated the workshop because union activists are telling us that there are many issues in the campaign against Work Choices that aren’t getting discussed.

Trade union activists from around Australia will gather in Geelong, Victoria, on October 28 to discuss ways forward in the campaign against the Howard government’s many assaults on workers and union rights.

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