Card Check: Antipodes

By July 23, 2007Labor Unions

Always having to doublecheck stories that come out of Australia, making sure they are in fact not about the United States. In so many issues — we just noted math and science education — the economic and social dynamics at play in Australia resemble those of the United States, and vice versa. Take union membership, for example.

The ACTU has admitted union membership in the private sector is in crisis.

In an email widely circulated within the ACTU and obtained by AAP, assistant secretary Chris Walton urges his colleagues to concentrate on increasing union membership.

“Private sector membership is at crisis levels of 15.2 per cent,” Mr Walton wrote.

“The ACTU must continue to drive the necessary changes and provide the necessary support to unions to achieve growth.

“There can be no greater priority.”

The ACTU is the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and the AAP is the Australian Associated Press.

A 15.2 percentage membership in the private sector isn’t so bad, really, at least compared to the U.S. level, which is 7.4 percent.

And labor’s solution in Australia to its plummeting private-sector numbers? Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey analyzed the situation pretty well, we bet.

“The only way the unions can build up membership is by changing federal government laws and start to push people back into union membership,” Mr Hockey said.

Does Australia have card check?

Hat tip: Jim Gray.

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