James then became:
- Gravediggers job delegate
- Active in the 5 week Dunedin City Council Labourers Strike of 1978
- Delegate to Otago Trades Council Worked on a construction site in Brisbane, Qld
- Recruitment Officer, later organiser for Auckland and Gisborne Shop Employees Union Organiser 1984
- NDU, Hamilton 1986 – 91
- Educator, Trade Union education Authority (TUEA) 1991-2
- Organiser NZNO 1993-8
- Northern Regional Manager, NZNO 1998 – 2002
- National Secretary NZ Dairy Workers Union Te Runanga Wai U 2003 – 2012
- International Officer, International Union Food Workers (IUF), Geneva, Switzerland 2012- present.
Active in NZCTU since its inception in 1988. He was two times Govt appointment to Waikato Area Health Board 1989-91 and 2000-2002. And, James was active in NZLP while in NZ.
He likes music, reading, rugby league, cricket, golf, walking, left politics and being with family and friends.
His wife is Jane Lawless and together they have three adult sons, Sam, Ben and James and a 17 year old daughter, Kate.