UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES -MEETING HELD THURSDAY, 4TH DECEMBER 2015
IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY 5:30PM

The Acting President, Com Rita Mallia occupied the Chair.

PRESENT:  M. Lennon [Secretary], M. Morey, E. Maiden [Assistant Secretaries

OPENING OF THE MEETING:
The Acting President, Com. R. Mallia opened the meeting and in doing so recognised the traditional owners of the land on which the meeting was held, The Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

MINUTES:

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

“That the minutes from the meeting of 26th November 2015 as circulated be received”.

Com. Brad Parker seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the minutes of the meeting of 26th November 2015 be adopted”.

 Com. B. Smith seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES: Apologies were received and accepted for: D. Wallace, M. Styli,
S. Turner.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the apologies be received and accepted”.                            

  Com P. Noack seconded.

 CARRIED

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE:

 

1.  From Transport Workers Union:  on behalf of TWU members, their families and our community invite affiliates to join them for a Safe Rates Briefing.

Some affiliates would be aware, in June the TWU conducted safety inspections in a range of companies in the Coles supply chain. The results were shocking with hundreds of fatigue breaches topping the list. TWU wrote to Coles and asked them to work with us to deal with this critical threat to all road users – they refused. In November, we took our concerns directly to their stores and reluctantly they agreed to meet with us. However we know that those meetings will only continue as long as our actions do.

This briefing will be a chance for transport workers to share how they are fighting back against the retailers attack on their lives and jobs and ask the community to support them.  The briefing will be held 10th December at 8am TWU House – 31 Cowper St Parramatta

If affiliates would like more information they are welcome to contact myself or Alison Rudman on 9912 0700.  Also attached is a flyer for affiliates to use as needed.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved the Executive Recommendation:-

 “The correspondence be received and Unions NSW commends the TWU for the Safe Rates Campaign and in particular the pressure being placed on Coles in terms of the appalling safety breaches in their supply chain.

Unions NSW endorses the Safe Rates Briefing on 10th December and encourages all affiliates to send representatives in solidary with this important campaign.”

 Com. G. Hayes seconded.

 

CARRIED

2.  Unions NSW Acting Secretary  - RESOLUTION

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon, noted he would be on leave from 7 December 2015 and as he would not be recontesting his position, an Acting Secretary should be appointed.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

“Executive notes the Secretary, Mark Lennon will be on leave from 7 December 2015 and endorses Assistant Secretary, Mark Morey to be the acting Secretary until elections are held at the Unions NSW Annual General at 5:30pm on Thursday, 18 February 2016.”

 Com E. Maiden seconded.

CARRIED

3.   Farewell Mark Lennon

Com. M. Morey reported that tonight we sadly farewell Mark Lennon after 28 years of service and 7 as Secretary.

A number of unionists addressed council to show their appreciation to Mark Lennon:  Russ Collison AWU, Bernie Smith SDA, Kate Lee APHEDA, Gerard Hayes HSU, Pat Ranald AFTINET, Emma Maiden Unions NSW, Sam Crosby McKell Institute, Mark Morey Unions NSW.

Correspondence from various unions, groups and organisations was delivered by Com. Mark Morey in gratitude to Mark Lennon for his outstanding contribution to the union movement. A photo slideshow was presented displaying 28 years of service by Mark with Unions NSW. 

The Secretary Com. Mark Lennon responded.

Thank you everyone for attending tonight.  It is hard to encapsulate 28 years into a short speech.  I have been fortunate to have been asked to serve that long.

I have met great people, served with great unionists and been involved with great wins.  There had been many highlights: Forestry campaigns in the 1990’s, James Hardie battle, Rights@Work, restoration of the Trades Hall building.  All of these had the same elements: Rights, Justice and fighting for the underdog.

One of the great strengths of Unions NSW is we are united.  I have so enjoyed meeting members from all walks of life that build the roads, staff the hospitals, serve the drinks, do the drawings and bury the dead.  We are the community.

Then there’s this forum - the Thursday night meeting.  It has been on its last legs for some time.  It is for others to predict its future but I think it still presents an opportunity as a regular spot for union discussion.

Thanks to all those regular attendees over the years who have laughed at my jokes.

There were funny moments as well. Jerry Lewis, the American movie actor and childhood idol of mine addressed a Council meeting speaking passionately and with such vigor about the need for unions in society.  At the close of his speech there was not as much as a handshake or a goodbye – no chance of a photo opportunity, he just left the building.

Our recent Real Men Wear Pink launch was an outstanding success with myself dressed up in pink shorts and shirt and pink dressing gown walking down the catwalk with a lot of other secretaries dressed up to raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Thanks to all with whom I have served.  Thanks to the magnificent staff over the years.

I don’t know what my legacy will be – that is for others to judge.

I do know I tried to give it my best after 28 years and 7 as Secretary. Given I couldn’t promise I could serve a full 4 year term – I decided it was time to go.

I wish to acknowledge President Marilyn Issanchon who will not be here tonight. I know she would have liked to chair her last meeting.  Marilyn has been President for the past 7 years. She has carried out the role with integrity, commitment and grace.  Thank you for your support and thank you for your friendship

 

Marilyn has had her own personal challenges but in all that her strength presided.

We’ve been lucky to have Marilyn as our President. No doubt her strength and wisdom will be applied to the navigation of the current challenges.

So on behalf of all I wish to thank Marilyn for her commitment and dedication.  I’d hope the minutes reflect this and we have an opportunity at the Executive Christmas function to properly acknowledge this.

I will always be a unionist and continue to serve – I will not go to the dark side.

Comrades it’s been an honour.

Com. Lennon then recited a verse from that he felt was appropriate Henry Lawson ‘I’m too Old to Rat’.

 

The Acting President, Com. R. Mallia also acknowledged the contribution of the outgoing President Com. M. Issanchon.

Com. M. Issanchon spoke briefly to thank Mark and Rita for their kind words. She said that Mark was a very dedicated Secretary. He was always going to meetings and seldom missed anything. He spoke at various conferences and rallies. He also participated in various superannuation meetings and other groups. I was going to touch on the various campaigns like the Jobs Rights and Services and Local Community Groups but it’s probably been mentioned tonight. So I just want to say some things that are more important to me about Mark. The union movement in NSW has definitely benefited over the past 7 years and he leaves the movement in a much better and stronger position. The two of us have always given a united front and I have been proud to stand by him and support him wherever he goes. Not only have I enjoyed working alongside Mark, he has become a good friend and he is easy to talk to and will discuss any matter. It’s the end of an era tonight, as I have also decided to vacate my position as President of Unions NSW. Don’t forget, it is also a start of a new era, and the new secretary will definitely face a challenge to fill Mark’s big shoes. It has been a great pleasure to represent you all. The experiences I have had have been just awesome. I have made many friends along the way. Thank you all of you, for the respect you have all always shown me. That is something I appreciate. Mark you will definitely be missed.

Com. M. Morey moved:-

“That the report be received and noted.”

 Com. E. Maiden seconded.                           

 

 CARRIED        

 Correspondence from Unions

 Thank You Mark from SDA

The SDA writes to thank you for your leadership of the NSW Union movement over the last 7 years and your commitment to the working people of NSW over the last 28 years. Your leadership over the last 7 years has been tireless and outstanding in what has often been a difficult time for the movement.

You have handled the difficult issues with both great dignity and with great thoughtfulness as you have carefully steered the movement through this period. We all owe you a great debt of gratitude for that.

Whist you handled the difficulties so well we should also not lose sight of the wonderful achievements too. Each affiliate will have their own highlights, but from the SDA I would like to thank you Mark for three highlights:

  • the transition and negotiation from WorkChoices to the radically better Fair Work Act.
  • your consistent support for the defence of penalty rates from successive attacks on Award conditions.
  • your great support for the defence of work/life balance, including in 2010 having Easter Sunday declared a public holiday, the first new additional public holiday in NSW in 125 years.
  • you have been a great friend to the SDA and on behalf of the retail, fast food, pharmaceutical and warehouse workers in NSW we thank you Mark for all you have done.
  • It is probably time that you got some work/life balance too. So take the time, good luck and all of our best wishes.

In solidarity,

Bernie Smith, SDA Secretary 

Thank You Mark from NSW Nurses and Midwives Association

It is with mixed feelings that I write this letter as you call time on your leadership of Unions NSW.  You have steered the peak body steadily as we traversed some pretty tricky territory with a compassionate but steadfast approach.  You have always displayed the union values that are the mark of a leader and mentor.

When the previous Labor government was in power and the NSWNMA was having difficulty convincing them of the need to implement mandatory nurse to patient ratios it was your relationship with the party that got us to places we needed to get to realise our ultimate outcome.  In this current industrial climate it was your tenacity that saw the reversal of some of the more draconian changes to the WH&S laws.

We want to personally thank you for your leadership, your passion for the union movement and for always emulating the union values we hold dear.  We are however, not at all sure we will cope without your particular sense of humour. 

Mark, we wish you all the very best of luck as you pursue your next endeavours after you have given yourself a well-earned break.

In solidarity,

Brett Holmes  General Secretary

Thank You from the CFMEU

On behalf of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (NSW Branch) Construction and General Division, on your advice that you are to stand down, we wish to thank you for your many years of dedication to the workers and unions of NSW over so many years at Labour Council of NSW and as the leader of the Union movement as the Secretary of Unions NSW.

The Officers, Staff and members of the CFMEU count you as a comrade and friend. You have been with us through all our challenges, particularly in the last two years. Your consideration and guidance has been appreciated and has assisted us to navigate what at times has been a difficult course.

You have also worked to engage with the Australian Labor Party in such a way that the issues of our members and all affiliates are made more of a priority in policy development. You have articulated on behalf of all affiliates and their members the importance of social justice, fairness and equity for working people and the disadvantaged. You have also championed the cause of asylum seekers and marriage equality and contributed to the shaping of the progressive union policy on these issues that defies traditional factional divides.

No doubt whatever path you tread next you will continue to be a strong advocate of the trade union movement and the importance for workers to be active members of their unions.

In Solidarity,

Rita Mallia , President CFMEU Construction & General

Thank You Mark from the AWU

I would like to take this opportunity to place on record our sincere thanks and appreciation for all the support you have shown not only to the AWU but also to the union movement as a whole.

The last seven years has not been easy and the union movement is going through an extremely tumultuous period as well as fighting off the agendas of both conservative State and Federal Governments. As the Secretary of Unions NSW you have always provided calm and measured leadership through this period and have kept the union movement united.

I would also like to touch on some of the stand out qualities you have demonstrated as a leader; your integrity, honesty, decency and above all your humility. You also have a great sense of humour and have the knack of using it at the right moment and making us realise what is really important in the scheme of things.  You have left a great legacy by building grass roots infrastructure through the local community union alliances. 

I have experienced firsthand how active and professional these groups are and the amazing work they do by campaigning around union agendas in their communities.

You are very well respected by our delegates and members and I know that you are held in the highest regard by political, community and religious leaders.

We wish you and your family all the very best for the future and I am confident you will be extremely successful in any future role you may consider.

It has been a great honour to know and work with you and we regret to have to say farewell to a sincere and decent leader of the NSW Union Movement.

Yours fraternally

Russ Collison, State Secretary

Thank you Mark from IEU

The Independent Education Union adds its sincere thanks and appreciation to Mark Lennon for his tireless efforts on behalf of workers in NSW over three decades. In his role as Unions NSW Secretary, Mark has distinguished himself as a unifying force within the Trade Union movement, a great leader and one of natures “gentlemen”.

Our members appreciate enormously those occasions when he has spoken at our meetings, rallies and functions and the support he and Unions NSW has shown to our various campaigns.

On a personal note, General Secretary, John Quessy acknowledges the assistance and advice Mark has provided to him as an unofficial mentor.

John Quessy

General Secretary 

 Thank You Mark from Ryde Community Union Alliance

On behalf of the Ryde Community Union Alliance, I would like to thank you for the wonderful support you have given first to Bennelong Your Rights at Work that then morphed into the Ryde Community Union Alliance.  

We were extremely excited to unseat the incumbent Prime Minister and it was thanks to the campaign that you mounted which was highly strategic and well planned.  It really spoke to the concerns of the general public. You always presented yourself in a highly professional manner and could speak to a range of audiences in an empathetic style. This will be missed.

We greatly appreciated that you fitted our many forums into your busy schedule. By persuasively speaking at these Forums, you demonstrated your wisdom and knowledge of the important part Unions NSW plays in achieving the rights of workers.

Your office staff, under your leadership, has been magnificent in supporting our endeavours and you could not have chosen a better person than Mary Yaager to be our mentor, inspirer and genuine hard working leader.

It is our loss that you are leaving the position of Secretary of Unions NSW and we would like to extend to you our very best wishes for your future.

Suzanne Napthali, on behalf of Ryde Community Union Alliance

Thank You Mark from Blue Mountains Union Council

Many thanks for all the support you've given the Blue Mountains Union Council over the years. We're pretty sure BMUC is now 21 years old, and  I've lost count of the number of times you've come up the hill to support  us - either by speaking at Politics in the Pub, or appearing at  one off events - for instance protests outside Roza Sage's office (bye bye Roza). We've had help from many other head office union officials  in the last 21 years, but none have given as much support as yourself.

We wish you all the very best for the future, and if you're ever stuck for what to do on a wet winter's Saturday afternoon, come along to politics in the pub in the dining room of the Family Hotel  in Katoomba - you'll be very welcome.

Best Regards,

Nick Franklin, BMUC

Thank you Mark from Penrith Valley Community Union

 What a fabulous innings you have made to the Australian trade union movement! 

 Mark, we would like to say working with you and your team at Unions NSW has been such a pleasure. 

You're always prepared to roll up your sleeves and get involved in every aspect of community activity and volunteering work.

We at the PVCU have very much appreciated your leadership and give thanks for all you and Mary Yaager have done to help build the PVCU team. 

The success of the PVCU is due mainly to how you have supported us in every way by generously providing stores and resources and whatever else we have needed to assist our campaigns and launch events to achieve the highest professional standard. 

Mark, you are a hero to all volunteers because you know how to value people and bring out the best in each person to reach their full potential.  You are a champion for the cause of jobs, rights and services and will be missed by the multitudes.

We applaud you as you enter a new Season in life – the BEST is yet to come!

Good luck Mark and thank you.

The PVCU EXECUTIVE

Thank You Mark from Shire Community Union Alliance

Thank you Mark for supporting the establishment of a local union group in the Shire.

As union members who live and work in the Shire, it’s been great to have a network of likeminded people to campaign with on "bread and butter" issues.

The by-election in Miranda showed everyone what we were capable of achieving.

We wish you well and again thank you for your leadership and most of all, great sense of humour.

In Unity, the SCUA Team.

Regards,  Maryanne Stuart, Shire Community Union Alliance

Thank You Mark from Newcastle Trades Hall

The Newcastle Trades Hall Council staff, our affiliated Unions and our delegates would like to thank you for the contribution that you and the Unions NSW team have made to improve the lives of thousands of Hunter Workers and their families over the last two decades.

We appreciate the time and support shown to the issues and campaigns facing local workers.

We wish you a fantastic farewell tonight and hope that you remain a great friend to many Hunter Region unionists in whatever endeavours you so choose in the future.

I personally would like to thank you for your support and encouragement over the last 18 months.

We wish you well and we look forward to the continuation of stable, confident and strategic leadership that Unions NSW has demonstrated over the period of your tenure.

Again, thank you for your support Comrade.

In Unity,

Daniel Wallace Secretary, Newcastle Trades Hall Council

Thank You Mark from Greenacres Disability Services

Dear Mark,

I apologise for not being able to be at this, your last Unions NSW Council Meeting.

Unfortunately, your last Council meeting coincides with our Greenacres Graduation Ceremony where we acknowledge the hard work that many young people with disabilities have undergone to obtain skills and employment.  As the CEO of Greenacres, this is a night I need to be at.  

Mark, on behalf of Greenacres Disability Services let me thank you for the support you have given to us over the last few years with respect to our fundraising activities, not the least being our Annual Ball.

On a personal note let me place on record what a great Secretary you were to work under and how much I appreciated the support you gave me over my many years at Unions NSW.

It is an understatement to say that you are held in very high regard by all in the labour movement who have dealt with you.  You were never a show pony and you always had a great sense of humour even throughout what has been a difficult period for the trade union movement.  People have always responded positively to your honesty and your objective, wherever possible, to lead a united union movement.

Of course, I will see you at the Executive dinner, Mark.  As you know, I am renowned for wearing loud and colourful shirts on this most auspicious occasion.  Given your departure I will be hunting down a bright sky blue shirt to honour you.  Why blue?  Because you are NSW through and through and when people talk about Mark Lennon I am sure they will describe you as a leader who was a true blue Labor stalwart.

Mark, I wish you all the best in the future and I look forward to catching up soon.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Christodoulou, CEO 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.     Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
   
Council Meetings will resume Thursday 4th February 2016.

Farewell drinks and finger food was served in the Atrium for Mark Lennon.

 MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6:50 PM

      

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