Green Bans, Red Union: Environmental Activism and the New South Wales Builders Labourers' Federation

By Meredith Burgmann; Verity Burgmann | Go to book overview

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

When federal BLF Intervention against its New South Wales branch abruptly ended the 'green bans period' of the NSWBLF in 1975, Meredith ended up with much of the union's archival mate rial in her sitting room, for the NSWBLF officials had had to vacate their Trades Hall office within 24 hours. She had been embroiled politically and socially with the union for five years and had cried along with the 2000 others at the final Town Hall meeting, which she tape-recorded. As an academic in the Politics Department at Macquarie University, Professor Don Aitkin persuaded her she was in a unique position to write a doctoral thesis on an exciting and important subject. Not only did she have in her possession most of the union's archives, she had lived through the experience as one of their many frenetically active supporters. Thus much of this book is drawn from Meredith's PhD thesis (completed in 1981), 'A new concept of unionism: the New South Wales Builders Labourers' Federation 1970-1974'. This thesis should be consulted by any person interested in a more detailed organisational and industrial history of the union, for this book greatly condenses the thesis in order to provide a considerable amount of new material on the wider political activities of the union, especially the green bans.

Meredith began looking for the rest of the NSWBLF archives, some of which she found in extraordinary places. The Executive Minutes from 1963 to 1971, for example, were in the cellar of the Sussex Hotel with beer dribbling over them. Working with BLF documents was not easy, for the NSWBLF was distinguished by its imprecise attitude towards its organisational and administrative paper

-xi-

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Green Bans, Red Union: Environmental Activism and the New South Wales Builders Labourers' Federation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xi
  • Part 1 - People Before Profits 1
  • The World's First Green Bans 3
  • 3 - The Greening of the Union 36
  • Part 2 - A New Concept of Unionism 59
  • 4 - Organisational Principles and Practices 61
  • 5 - Industrial Relations Strategies 77
  • 6 - Civilising the Industry 103
  • 7 - Pioneering Social Movement Unionism 121
  • 8 - Feminism and Machismo: Women as Builders Labourers 146
  • Part 3 - Preventing the Plunder 167
  • Defending the Open Spaces 169
  • 10 - Preserving the Built Environment 194
  • 11 - Saving the National Estate 228
  • 12 - Breaking the Bans, Breaking the Union 248
  • 13 - Green Bans Forever? 276
  • Endnotes 300
  • Sources 324
  • Index 339
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