With Organising Works Trainees 1997 (excerpt)
Introduction - Don Sutherland
Laurie Carmichael, renowned Australian metalworkers union leader, is running a seminar with Victorian union organiser trainees who are a part of the ACTU's Organising Works Programme. In this excerpt, he shows a little bit of his approach to learning and union education and his self taught capacity as a union educator.
Key concepts include "learning by doing", the significance of awards, awards as a record of class struggle, history and the immediate priorities.
This is 1997, 3 years or so after Laurie's retirement.
Organising Works was an ACTU young organizers education programme introduced in the early 1990s to support union efforts to reverse the decline in union density.
Along with other veterans, “retired” union leaders Tom McDonald (BWIU / CFMEU) and Tas Bull WWF / MUA), Laurie gave a short series of lectures on the themes of “strategy” and “leadership”.
He also conducted a seminar with the Victorian Organising Works Trainees, in 1997, some of which was video recorded.
This is an excerpt from that recording that focuses on Laurie’s method of union organizing including his “thrippence method” and active committees.
Laurie was a renowned organizer. His election to his first full-time role as the Secretary of the AEU’s Melbourne District would not have been possible without the application of this method developed during his time as Convenor of the AEU and Combined Shop Committees at the Williamstown Naval Dockyard. As Secretary, he extended this method through his dedicated and strong-minded team of organizers and, that led to the successful union campaigns that followed.
There are several “key ideas” in Carmichael’s presentation that are summed up at the start of the video as alerts for viewers who really do want to get into in-depth learning about organising.