GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Don’t be a scab get the jab

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On the news that a violent gang of anti-vaxxer thugs attacked the CFMEU trade union office in Australia.

Construction to shut down in Victoria after violent protests at CFMEU office

‘It was orchestrated by rightwing extremists and that is something that we’ve seen – the targeting of other blue-collar unions over the last few months,’ ACTU president Michele O’Neil says

Behind the attack on the CFMEU office

it “didn’t get violent until a few hours in and it continued to escalate when anti-lockdown ‘celebs’ showed up”.

After trying, but failing, to talk to the protesters about their concerns, the CFMEU officers were forced to take cover as the mob threw crates and other objects.

Vaccination against Covid-19 is a health and safety in the workplace issue. To protect our fellow workmates, and vulnerable members of society, as union members and especially leaders we need to be pro-active.
We can’t leave it up to the bosses and government.
Trade Unionists need to take a lead around the vaccine roll-out.
We can’t leave it up to the bosses to mandate what we do.
That will just disempower and divide us.
We need to take our destiny back into our own hands.
As unionists we believe in democracy. To put an end to division, to sort this issue out, we need to put it to the members for a vote.
The same way we decide to go on strike. The majority decide by voting. If one individual decides that he isn’t bound by the majority decision and decides to work during a strike.
They are a scab.
We will not be dictated to by a violent minority of thugs.
Every union in New Zealand needs to put this issue to their members for a binding vote.

The Motion:

This union [insert union name] by a majority democratic vote of the members, decide that for the health and safety in the workplace of all working people that we all agree to abide by this collective decision, (barring legitimate health reasons),  that we will all be vaccinated as a condition of our union membership and support.

For

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Against.

Abstentions

Carried/Lost

To beat covid-19 the medical experts tell us we need to reach a vaccination rate of over 90% of the population
If we want to protect each other, If we want to stamp this contagion out. We have to be united, as a nation and as trade unionists.

Unions have always been at the forefront in the support of progressive social movements, this is one of those times.

If you have ever stood on a picket line shoulder to shoulder with your fellow workmates against an unfair employer.
If you have ever given a Koha to a worthy cause, or volunteered your time for free.
If you have ever donated blood, or helped out a stranger.
Get the Jab.
Don’t be a scab.

 

Pat O’Dea is a unionist and human rights activist.

37 COMMENTS

  1. My son is a construction worker in Melbourne and I am so glad the union is holding fast against the anti vaxxers. Many of those protestors were not from the rat a crowd brigade and have never done a hards days work in their lives.. The unions have made the work place much safer than in my day back in the 70’s and as I say it is good that they are carrying on doing this by encouraging vaccination.

    • Hear hear.
      But we’re NOT sitting ducks, it looks like there is about a 50%’ish natural/developed immunity from the Delta variant and most probably from all the future mutations; which invariably become less severe BUT more contagious, as they mutate.
      Your BEST defence is be healthy.
      Studies show, those with less than two/three comorbidities are almost immune.

  2. Wow Pat, you are the biggest scab around. Fell for the narrative, hook, line and sinker.
    I joined the union the give voice to the voiceless, not take it away.

    Only scabs enforce jabs.

    • Although I think vaccination should be encouraged, I agree mandatory vaccination is a dangerous road to go down.
      Stuffs Age article also goes in to more depth – these riots are not a simple right vs left , anti vaxers vs vaxers, by painting as such people are advocating against workers rights for pay and meal breaks either to appear virtuous or for their own ends.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/300412760/inside-the-melbourne-revolt-why-tradies-took-to-the-street-over-covid19-lockdown-vaccines

      • “…I agree [with the protesters] mandatory vaccination is a dangerous road to go down.” Keepcalmcarryon.

        Keepcalmcarryon, whoever you are I don’t have much respect for people who hide behind pseudonyms to attack the unions.

        I suggested unionists should enter a democratic vote to decide whether all members should agree to be vaccinated.

        Just the same way we decide whether we should all go on strike or not.

        Trade unions are just some of the most democratic institutions I know of.

        Keepcalmcarryon, you might think that if you are a member of a union you can defy the majority vote and scab on your mates, because you don’t believe in strikes, or vaccines, or collective action, or democratically binding decisions.
        But if the CFMEU, organisers and delegates, through their internal democratic procedures, came to the decision that for health and safety in the workforce, all members needed to be vaccinated. I don’t care if you are vax or anti-vax, Left or Right, if you are a minority and you can’t get your way, and you physically attack the union then you are a scab.

        That these protesters attacked the union to oppose scientifically backed health and safety protocols makes their scabbing even worse.

        Trade unions have often been at the forefront of progressive social movements, mass vaccination campaigns is one of those.

        https://www.newscientist.com/article/2237475-covid-19-news-recorded-us-death-toll-reaches-that-of-1918-19-flu/

          • To pseudonymous, anti-union nobody. In return, I would say to you; that you read into my post, with your small post, a lot which wasn’t there.

            For instance, I never advocated for mandatory vaccination.

            That’s your interpretation.

            I advocated for democratically arrived at decision making by the rank and file, which I see as empowering. Where as the opposite, top down mandatory vaccination imposed on working people by the government and the employers is disempowering and a cause for divisions.

            You also said. And I didn’t get this wrong, that you agree, (with the scabs that attacked the CFMEU), that mandatory vaccination is a dangerous road to go down.

            I put the part. about the scabs that attacked the CFMEU in parenthese, because even though you didn’t explicitly state it, in the context in which you were writing, who else could you have been agreeing with. when you wrote your little post?
            Certainly not me. And certainly not the CFMEU.

            You say I am ignorant. It is actually you who are ignorant. You are completely ignorant of how union democracy works.
            Because union members all agree to abide by majority decisions is the secret to a union’s strength and success.

        • Mandatory jabs are for dictators who can fuck off. Kudos to the Melbourne protesters. And looks like God is on their side sending a little earthquake their way… Lol. Think they might be needing all the workers they can get so the mandate will be gone soon. And so will that fucken scumbag Dan andrews

    • Big talk Off White As you have just labeled all unions scabs.

      In my dayjob as an electrical contractor I had to work on a big upgrade at the Mangere sewer works, which is a unionised workplace. One of the mandatory health and safety conditions for working on this site, enforced by the unions, was that I had to be fully vaccinated. Before I could even go on site I had to spend a full month getting a number of vaccinations, from their designated vaccinator in Pakuranga. I first got a jab for cholera, then had to wait a week and then go for another jab for hepatitis, in all I had to have three visits to the vaccination clinic.

      Recently under this pandemic I had to do work at Auckland Hospital, same thing. ‘No jab, No job’

      I felt privileged getting my vaccination way ahead of the rest of the population.

      As I stood in the queue for my first jab in a big line of nurses, there for their second jab. One of the nurses, in an exaggerated stage whisper, joked to her colleagues “I feel exhausted, but it is not from a side affect of the vaccine, but from overwork”

      Her joke drew a dry knowing chuckle from the other nurses standing with her.

      I you can’t be stuffed getting a jab to protect your workmates, get one for the nurses who are workinng so hard during this pandemic, to keep us all safe.

      One other piece of advice; If you are going to call someone “The biggest scab around” don’t hide behind a pseudonym, it just makes you look like a snivelling coward.

      • What an arrogant bully.
        I haven’t ever been anti union, in fact I’ve argued on TDB many times we need unions for fair wages in this country -but if you are representative of what they stand for then I see why people want to shut you you down.
        I’m unsure how to debate rationally with someone (you) who sounds angry and frankly unhinged.
        How dare I try and expand the reasons why the protests happened.

        I never said you wanted mandatory vaccination,it was in the link I gave as a reason for the protests.

        It sounds like the internet isn’t for you with the whole not real name thing causing such offense, and the not reading what someone actually wrote.
        It’s quite important for most, for some privacy on the internet as far as using real names – there are all kinds of threatening weirdos out there -clearly some of them are union reps.

    • I rarely resort to bad language but sometimes it fits the bill especially when you are angry so Snow White please F—K OFF and
      do some studies about how vaccine has changed the World . Polio and smallpox were both around when I was growing up . On my first trip to India I saw the bodies in a truck of those that had die overnight . These diseases are now gone from the World due entirely to vaccine.

      • ONLY hardened anti-vaxxers are anti all vaccines, that is not the case with a lot of us, who you can’t hear from because any writing that mentions certain words just do not appear, no matter how correct or relevant they are …..subtle, but still censorship.

        • Sorry Snow White it was Off White . I must admit I was surprised as your arguements are normally sound and reasoned . Enjoy the peace of mind the second jab will bring .

  3. Aussie has better and stronger unions than we do but many of those protesters look like labourers. I wonder how many were actually tradesmen. Builders make good money in Australia much more than here hence why so many Kiwis builders left NZ when John was our PM. Many went to Sydney to build the Olympic stadium/village and never came back.

  4. The footage I’ve seen from social media feeds is telling. The guys causing the violence are Alt-Right Fascists and Nazi’s. They seem to be the frontline in all of the anti-vaxxer protests too.
    In this bif they called themselves; “The organisers of the protest, “Victorian Workers Rally For Freedom”, … had promised the rally would continue until their demands were met.

    “Bring your friends and family in support. Wear work gear. Bring food and drinks,” they instructed attendees on Telegram.”

    Keyword(s). “Rally & Freedom”.

    Australia is turning into a ‘Zombie’ nation and NZ needs to keep our borders lockdown.

  5. Thank you everyone for your posts. I’m sure everyone may be considering existentialism / potential death, as am I. Personally, I’m afraid to get a two week death sentence. I’m afraid to go against my trusted kin’s advice to not get vaccinated (super Jesus freak and anti vax). I feel stuck. I’m not anti vax. I am undecided and my time is potentially running out. What to do? I will play it by the day, at this point. Fingers, toes, legs, arms and eyes are all crossed! 🙂

    • The sensible money says go and get vaxed- you will have a 40x lower risk of serious illness from covid.
      It won’t necessarily stop you catching it or passing it on but will lessen the chances.

      • cool advice kcco.. mandatory does seem to get in the way of common sense, although I do happen to agree with mandatory in some frontline area’s.

    • Get vaccinated, the risk from vaccination is significantly less than the risk of the virus (by orders of magnitude). Vaccination status is going to be very important & relevant to everyone in the coming months. Do it now, it is significantly safer than driving in New Zealand.

  6. A little story to tell here.
    I am on my company’s Health and Safety Committee.
    Yesterday, I wanted to add an item to the agenda for next week’s meeting.
    I told management that as we were considered essential workers (bus transport) we should discuss whether it should be policy that we are all vaccinated as a requirement for our jobs, particularly in view of the age of many of our workers (65+).
    Well the reaction I got startled me.
    It was a horrified “we can’t do that, our regional council wouldn’t give us permission, etc…”
    I thought it was a legitimate question which should be discussed but unfortunately our management are a bunch of wimps that are shit scared of bringing up anything that might look like we are being proactive.
    If I try to bring it up next week I know I will get shot down from all the others.
    As Kermit once said.
    “It ain’t easy being green”.

  7. Mandatory vaccination is a dangerous road to go down. Indeed it is.

    I am a bit tired of people being called anti vaxxers. Most of these people who are OPPOSED SPECIFICALLY TO THE COVID VACCINATIONS, have had every other vaccinations there are. I respect their individual decision to not be vaccinated. Give the time frame in which the vaccinations were developed I can understand why people say whoa hold the horses. These things usually take years and years with endless trials.

  8. The CFMEU was too slow to act. Instead of being proactive, in consulting their members and putting it to them to decide, left it up to the government and employers to enforce mandatory vaccinations. This disempowered their members, and is the motive for the division amongst union members. This division gave entry to the Far Right, to organise the violent attack on the CFMEU office.

    The lesson from Australian unions is this:

    If we don’t want to see a repeat here, union leaders need get out to their members, worksite by worksite, and get them to collectively debate all the issues and then vote whether to support mandatory vaccination in their workplace or not.

    There is no excuse for inaction.

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