May 30, 2007

run a mighell, comrade

change is slow and often painful; some evolve during the process, others cling to the nearest rock screaming a resistant "noooo!!!!" there are elements of the union movement in each category; dean mighell has again shown himself to be the poster boy for the latter.

mighell had his alp membership resignation requested today, following the publication of "thuggish", "unacceptable" and "obscene" comments made and taped at a conference last november at which mighell described as a "bullshit stunt" the accumulation of millions of dollars of members' entitlements from stupid employers. today dean had the following to say:

i guess the disappointing thing is if julia gillard or kevin rudd had have rung and said, 'look dean . . . the howard government's running this tape out. what are your thoughts on it? why did you say the things, what context do they sit in?' i'd have a fair bit more respect for their position. you shouldn't call a union official dumb for getting the best deal they can for their members.

dean, i think you miss the point entirely. no-one is calling you dumb, let alone dumb for trying to get the best agreement for your members - but as the song goes, it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it. and as for having "a fair bit more respect for [rudd and gillard's] position", what about your respect for the current position of the alp? the relationship between unions and the alp has always been coalition scaremongering fodder; why feed the machine? public comments about the stupidity of employers agreeing to conditions for workers and how you're personally rorting the system achieves nothing for anyone, apart from feeding your ego as, what, a man to be reckoned with? where's your media-skilling?

mighell accused the government of "leaking" his comments "as part of a political campaign against the unions". duh. who wouldn't? rg reiterates: why feed the machine? in an etu media statement today, mighell states, "make no mistake, the only reason my comments are in the news is because howard is in trouble. this is nothing but an attempt to stop people thinking about the harm workchoices has done to working people." wrong. the only reason your comments are in the news is because the bully-boy in you can't not be heard; you put them out there, comrade. and as for the stopping people thinking about the harm workchoices has done to working people - don't you see you arrogantly suggested that your members are better off because of your duping of employers? what exactly is the impact of workchoices for your members that you're referring to? get on message or shut the fuck up; rg hates people who say they're fighters and team players and then hog the ball and cry foul.

sigh. leopards and their spots? what do you think?

for the record, rg is a firm believer in the necessity for unions and has proudly been a member of several and a workplace representative for a couple.


Legal Eagle said...

I am a firm believer in the importance of unions as well. But not all are "good". There's some good ones, and some bad ones.

There are two things which frustrate me about unions:

1. Sometimes a union is more about politics than it is about looking after its workers. The top dogs in the union haven't worked in the industry they represent for years, and they wouldn't have a clue what it's like at the coal face. They're more interested in jockeying for a position in the Labor party pre-selections...

2. Bullying. Some unions seem to have a real "bully boy" macho culture. No dissent is tolerated. No questions should be asked of the union's conduct. I hate that kind of organisation. I don't care whether it's for workers or for kings.

Like that dude who got his members to trash a site because it was using non-unionised labour. He still thinks he was "right" to threaten and scare the innocent employees of the company, one of whom was heavily pregnant.

Mark said...

If ever the unions wanted to sacrifice someone to make Rudd look like he isn't with the unions (i.e. "unions overboard affair?") this is what it would look like :)

RG - parental politico said...

legal eagle,

you refer to craig johnston and the skilled engineering run-through. it's old school industrial relations and unionism. ultimately, when you resort to violence and threatening tactics you've already lost. time to think, not punch. despite johnston being jailed for his offences, he (and a significant faction) maintains he did nothing wrong.

in rg's experience, unions aren't about politics over the workers; i think some union officials get a whiff of political prospects and jump ship, but that's a personal thing, not necessarily a union thing.

that said, rg has had a great deal of experience with unionists at all levels, observing only one who appeared to be a walking political process. most of the time it is about the members - but lout-ish behaviour is what makes for good news, not some organiser plugging away desperately to retain workplace members.

RG - parental politico said...


an insightful and interesting proposition; rg has come to expect nothing less.

wayne swan has labelled dean mighell a black sheep - perhaps he's more a sacrificial lamb?