This is the union that Bill Shorten was so proud to be associated with yesterday.
I thought you might be interested in a news story from 2008 - the story is based on a leaked MUA strategy document. (I wish more journalists would just publish the document, rather than write a story that selectively quotes it!)
Maritime Union prepares to flex muscles
- by: By Glenn Milne
- From: The Sunday Telegraph
- March 23, 2008 12:00AM
You can read Glenn's story online here.
The MUA strategy paper apparently includes insights like this
The union wants a return to "pattern bargaining", a technique to negotiate increased wages and conditions. However, opponents of pattern bargaining say it would also increase inflation and interest rates.
The effect of such a campaign would be to impose the boom wages and conditions in Western Australia to the rest of Australia, regardless of productivity.
The document also reveals plans to pressure employers into watering down tests that "penalise" workers with a recreational cannabis habit.
MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin met Mr Rudd in Canberra where, according to the document, the Prime Minister agreed to give the union access to personal security information collected by the Government on so-called "scabs" crewing non-union ships.
In another sign of increased militancy under the Labor Government, the union is also demanding that its heavy machinery drivers be exempted from strict, on-the-job drug testing.
On the question of what the document calls "scabs and parasites" crewing non-union ships, the MUA says it has received co-operation from Mr Rudd and a range of senior ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Robert McClelland to access the personal security information of such crews.
"The National Secretary has contacted the ACTU who are working the matter through with the Minister for Industrial Relations, Julia Gillard.
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/business/union-says-its-time-to-flex-muscle/story-e6frfm1i-1111115861485#ixzz2M3obZYdZ
And this is a brief extract from the Power Index article on the redoubtable Paddy Crumlin at whose conference Bill Shorten spoke yesterday.
Matthew Knott Thursday, 10 May 2012
The globe-trotting MUA boss punches above his weight
National Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia
Born in: Sydney
It's worth reading the power index piece in its entirety online here.
"He has led the MUA with strength, determination and panaché," says AWU boss Paul Howes, who counts Crumlin as a friend and mentor. "Through his own style, intellect and foresight he has ensured that the MUA belts well above its weight."
Chris Cain, secretary of the MUA's WA branch, says: "Under his leadership, we've become one of the most powerful, strategic, feared unions in the country. He can go into any room, any forum and turn it around to his way of thinking -- whether its employers, governments or his members."
Last September (2011), following years of concerted lobbying by Crumlin, transport minister Anthony Albanese announced major reforms to revitalise the Australian shipping industry through tax breaks and training incentives. Crikey's Bernard Keane slammed the policy as a "taxpayer rort" that will lift the MUA's membership, but deliver negligible benefits for ordinary Australians.
Crumlin's also led the MUA through a bitter 20-month dispute with stevedoring company Asciano that saw over 60 work stoppages and cost the company an estimated $15 million. In April, the parties signed an agreement that will deliver pay rises of 22.5% over five years in exchange for productivity increases.
"I'm not losing my bargaining edge," Crumlin says. The Fair Work Act's rules of engagement, he notes, have also helped the MUA assert its influence – a statement sure to draw howls from Peter Reith/AFR types.