The leadership of the Australian Services Union can’t be enjoying this pasting they are getting from an insider who calls himself Peter Picketline and has now filed three missives with a fourth on the way.

Certainly the pressure has been on MEU Branch Secretary Daryl Cochrane, his enforcer Brian (Barney Rubble) Parkinson and the three wise monkeys Russell Deadwood (Sorry I meant Atwood), Wendy McManus and Michael (Honey my energy branch is shrinking) Rizzo. Things have been very tense in the Queensberry St, Carlton Sth bunker, as our union hard hitters come to terms with the fact that not everybody in there union loves them and that for the first time in many years they may have to fight for there jobs in 2003.

It’s laughable really, Deadwood, McManus and Rizzo have been holding “strategy sessions” to plan for next year’s elections. Well take some advice, don’t bother. Strategy isn’t what will save you. You just better pray that the MEU delivers all their votes to you to get you over the line because your record of achievement will not.

In fact the Services & Energy Branch Staff have reportedly attended these strategy sessions reluctantly. But with threats of jobs on the line if they did not, they had little choice. The question is what did they talk about in the closeted confines of La Notte on Lygon St. Maybe it’s their proud record (along with the MEU mind you) of not delivering proper maternity and paternity leave arrangements in Local Government. Maybe for the MEU (who have just commenced there Child care campaign) that childcare workers still have the lowest pay rates of any industry sector or in homecare, they allowed CCT to absolutely screw low paid women into the dirt.

Two years ago the landmark Greater Dandenong Home Care case with Silver Circle was won, but the realities are that the ASU should have acted many years earlier to fight this disaster. Instead Deadwood, McManus, Rizzo and Cochrane implemented stupid and disastrous Local Area Work Agreements that gutted conditions. And on top of that, our great union brains failed to realise that an award provision meant employers could offer employees contracts at the level of $28,000 per annum which allowed conditions to be gutted. Of course this has been now rectified under the Bracks Government, however it was too little too late.

Maybe they also spoke about how well their Social & Community Services Campaign is going where thousands of SACS Social Workers and the like still receive over $100 less per week under their award compared to workers doing the same work in hospitals under a different award. This hasn’t changed since the social welfare union merged with the ASU over a decade ago.

Deadwood, McManus and Rizzo have failed to campaign to ensure the Bracks Government delivers for this important sector, whereas non affiliated unions in Police, Education, the Public Sector etc have won generous Enterprise Agreement deals.

Or maybe Michael Rizzo, who is the confidante of Theo (brother of Andrew) Theophanous, can explain how since he assended to the energy branch leadership after Leigh Hocking left with his thirty pieces of silver, energy branch membership has shrunk from 3,800 to less than 1200. Yet Rizzo has been rewarded with an elected position in this new branch! Rizzo is the ultimate ALP Apparatchik, and has used the ASU for his own profile gains. The facts are that Labor Unity insiders view Rizzo with deep suspicion. Any man who has had more ALP factions than hot dinners, obviously doesn’t have much of a belief system. Rizzo’s boast to people that he was headed for the green (or was it red) leather seats of Parliament was met with much laughter behind his back and even in front of him.

The other interesting development is the revelation of who is behind the “Members for Democracy” Campaign against the ASU. In my first article, I identified ex ASU staffer Joe (fat boy right) Cerritelli as the ring leader of all the emails. Well it seems the long arm of the three wise monkeys has caught up with the fat boy. You see Cerritelli now works for the hard Right wing Catholic Shop Assistants union. He left the ASU in 2000 after he performened an amazing “switcharama” in the 1999 ASU Branch elections. Joe organised that a delegate withdraw his nomination at the last minute and put his own nomination in. This comedy farce saw Russell Deadwood have fluffy puppys and in his wisdom, Deadwood re faxed a new nomination into the electoral Commission with a forged signature. Needless to say, a visit by the Victoria Police to Deadwood happened pretty much the same day, and reports are that this particular member may press charges against Deadwood soon.

Anyway to cut the long story short, the fatboy was subjected to very mild pressure from the ASU Leadership, but couldn’t take it, so he cut a deal with Deadwood involving paying Joe thousands of dollars of members money in a handshake agreement to get him off the Branch Executive and resign from the ASU. Since then, the Catholic Shoppies, and Joe as its leading boy, have waged an email war in the ASU membership. Much of it has been quite interesting, of course who can forget the ASU Finance Officer embezzling thousands of union dollars into his/her bank account and even buying a spanking new 4 wheel drive, then driving it to work and showing it off. Thankfully the police were monitoring her bank accounts, because if they hadn’t, alot more money would have been lost. This person is now in jail but the three wise Monkeys have still to reveal to ASU members exactly how much was lost, and how a convicted felon could wind up employed without proper reference checks.

So the fatboy and his monkey Mr William Jacomb, a self employed IT consultant, have waged war amongst the leadership of the ASU. Unfortunately for the fatboy, he put a Post Office Box address in his own name that was used for Members for Democracy dirty work. Well what a genius he is, because the three wise monkeys tracked him down. As for Mr Jacomb, well he goes along doing what he does best, wasting everyone’s time with mindless litigation, streams of paper for charging every member that walks and losing every election he contests. (At current count there are a few at the RACV and one in the ASU)

However, what is more interesting is the “Catholic Connection” in the ASU. Its no secret that the fatboys actions were sanctioned by Shop Assistants Union Secretary Michael Donovan and National Secretary Joe De Bruyn. De Bruyn is the progressive unionist who recently said that the church is the most important thing in his life. There is nothing wrong with that, however the Shoppies use their ALP muscle to ensure their Catholic doctrine is followed in our Parliaments on any national issue such as Stem Cell Research. Donavan and De Bruyn with Cerritelli, saw the ASU as a natural extension of this doctrine. And with close links to ASU Executive President Michael (the Phantom) O’Sullivan, who hails from the same catholic right wing groups, information has been passed and plots undertaken. However it now seems that the fat boys lack of smarts has proved fatal.

That’s all for now, my article on the wonderful NSW MEU Right Wing machine will be with you soon.

Regards, Peter Picketline

Peter Fray

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