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Latest News - May 2012

May 31, 2012
US union to copy TWU's civil disobedience
Source: 9 News

America's largest transport union says it will emulate the civil disobedience tactics of its Australian counterpart to win better pay for truckies in the US.

Australia's Transport Workers' Union (TWU) has carried out a series of recent high-profile militant campaigns on behalf of Australian workers, including strikes, road-blocks and marches.
The Teamsters union, which is about to start negotiating with Melbourne-based Toll Group over contracts for its Los Angeles drivers, says it will draw inspiration from the TWU for its future campaigns.
"I want our organisers and our members to know that it's okay to block bridges, it's okay to take a convoy out onto the highway, it's okay to disrupt stuff," Teamsters director of organisation Jeff Farmer said.
"Whether we're talking about industrial action or civil disobedience, in our country I think we need more of it."
Mr Farmer, in Sydney to address the TWU's national council, said the Aussie union's safe rates campaign, which secured better pay and conditions for truckies, was an example for the Teamsters.
But on a more conciliatory note, Mr. Farmer said he was ready to begin mending the Teamsters' tense relationship with Toll Group.
The Melbourne-based multinational sacked 26 of its LA truckies in October after they arrived for work wearing t-shirts bearing the Teamsters logos.
The dismissals sparked rowdy protests outside the Australian consulate in LA and employee unrest over pay and conditions.
But Mr Farmer said a drivers' vote in April, which led to full unionisation, should provide a turning point in the relationship.
"I'm hoping that for both our union and Toll it can be a new day," he said.
He said Teamsters representatives will start negotiating Toll drivers' contracts in LA next week.



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