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4-309 (Original)

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author,male,Constitution of Workers' Union,un addressee
Legal Document
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Government English
Legal English
Clark, 1975
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Daily, as the various and widespread sections of the human family are being insensibly drawn into closer touch with each other, it becomes clearer that men should become co-operators - mates - instead of antagonists. "No man liveth to himself." We are all mutually dependent one upon another. Under the existing order of things, however, each is forced into warfare with his fellow, and life is made a struggle in which the success of the winner means that those whom unjust conditions have forced into a fight are crushed back into hopeless misery. So long as man depends upon his fellow man for leave to toil, so long will the lives of the great mass be one continuous struggle, rendered more keen and uncertain by every scientific and mechanical appliance brought in to facilitate wealth-production. Nature's storehouse - holds ample supplies to gratify the needs of all; but so long as the few are allowed to hold possession the many must starve. The doors of the storehouse must be thrown open to all, and the toll-bar of monopoly broken down ere justice can be done. Production must be for use and not for profit before robbery of labor will cease, and the fear of poverty be for ever banished. With the disappearance of enforced poverty, crime will gradually cease. With machinery put to its proper use that of contributing to the happiness of mankind - the increased leisure will give opportunities for the cultivation of all those higher faculties latent in man, but now repressed by the pressure of a social system which makes the satisfaction of mere material wants an all-absorbing struggle.
It is evident that the changes so essential to the true progress and development of all that is best in humanity can only be effected by setting up its accomplishment as our aim, and working towards its realization. Experience has taught us that no great reform can be secured otherwise than by systematic organized effort. Alone we can agitate. Organized we can compel. It is by the organization of Unions that the conditions of life for all have been prevented from becoming worse than they are. To continue, however, upon the lines of old Trades Unionism alone will but stave off the crash that now stares our civilization in the face. To narrow the fight to a mere question of employers and workmen is but a waste of energy, and can never secure that social reconstruction which will leave one no longer dependent upon another, but under which all shall have equal opportunities. [744]
Realizing then that we must attack a system, and change it so that there will no longer be room for conflict between interests-no room for narrow selfishness to govern men's actions, the Australian Workers' Union Starts with new aims. Realizing that all workers, no matter what their occupation or sex may be, have a common interest, the A.W.U. aims at embracing all in its ranks. Whilst it of necessity uses that power which combination and that alone gives for protection of present material interest, the A.W.U. looks to education and such social and political reform as strike at the root of the injustice from which the masses now suffer. By loyalty to principle, unity of purpose, aim, and method, alone can we succeed. Rules are but a means to secure unity of action, nevertheless their observance and recognition is essential to success. We trust, therefore, that each member of the A.W.U. will strive to understand the high and noble aim this Union has in view, and become an active unit in the great army of reform. Active as an agitator and true to his comrades, as a Unionist always is, and success is certain.
1. The name of this Society shall be the "Australian Workers'. Union", and it shall Consist of as many branches and sections as may conform to the following Rules: - Objects
2. The objects of the Union shall be as follows: -
(a) to defend the rights of the workers by combining together for mutual aid and protection.
(b) to secure and maintain a fair rate of remuneration for shearing and other classes of labor.
(c) to secure the adoption and enforcement of just and equitable agreements between employers and employees.
(d) to protect members against exorbitant charges for rations, requisites, or accommodation.
(e) to provide legal assistance in defence of members' rights where deemed necessary.
(f) To improve the relations between employers and employees, and to settle disputes by means of conciliation and arbitration.
(g) To establish a fund for relief of members in case of accident. [745]
(h) to provide employment for members and other Unionists by establishing co-operative enterprises and works of various kinds.
(i) to secure such political reform as will give justice to the workers by assisting to return men to Parliament pledged to legislate in that direction.
(j) to establish and maintain Labor journals.
(k) to assist kindred organizations in upholding the rights and privileges of workers, and generally to assist in the emancipation of Labor.
(1) to provide funds for the accomplishment of these objects by contributions, levies, fines, donations, &c., from members and others.
4. The management of the affairs of the A.W.U. as a whole shall be vested in the Executive officers, who are the President, two Vice-Presidents, Treasurer, and General Secretary, who shall act in concert with one representative from each branch of the A.W.U., and shall form the Executive Council, any five of whom shall form a quorum. Such Council shall meet to transact the business of the Union when required. Each officer shall remain in office until the ensuing annual election, unless he misconducts himself or becomes unfinancial. In either of such cases he shall cease to be an officer of the Union, and the officer next in rank shall take his place. The lowest vacancy thus caused shall be filled at the next ensuing meeting of the Executive Council. No officer shall be compelled to fill any vacancy. The Executive officers shall have power to call a Council meeting at any time.
5. Each recognized local branch shall elect and pay its own council representative, but under no circumstances shall a local branch be allowed to send more than one representative to the council meeting. Each branch shall elect its representative to Executive Council when electing its officers and delegates.
6. Two members shall be elected from the Council, who, together with the President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer, shall form an Executive Committee, which shall act in all cases of emergency; but, before so acting, the committee shall make known to all members of the Executive Council, either by circular from the President, or if necessary by committee meeting, the particulars of such emergent cases as' may arise between the regular meeting of the council and the Annual Conference. The said committee, if called upon, to be paid out of the General Fund of the A.W.U. [746]
7. The highest deliberative authority of the Union is the Conference meeting, which shall be held annually in the month of February to deal with all proposals affecting the General Rules and general interests of the Union that may be laid before it. The Conference shall be constituted of representatives from the various local branches belonging to the A.W.U., who shall be duly elected and paid by their respective branches. The names and addresses of the representatives to be forwarded to the Secretary of the A.W.U. at least 14 days previous to the Conference taking place. Each local branch shall be allowed to send representatives on the following scale: - 1 to 1000 Members - One Representative.
Over 1000 Members - Two Representatives.
No branch to be allowed to send more than two representatives. The representation at Conference shall be according to the number financial on the branch books for the year in which Conference is held. The Conference shall be subject to removal to such places as the majority of representatives assembled at such Conference may deem suitable.
8. The President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, or any of them, shall not be allowed to represent any local branch as delegates to Conference, Council, or Committee Meetings so long as they hold office but at all such meetings shall be allowed a vote.
9. The Council and Committee meetings shall be held in the most central places, which shall be determined by the officers.
22. All important questions affecting the general interests of the Union shall be decided by a plebiscite of the whole of the members. The Executive Council to decide what are important questions. In regard to the method of taking plebiscites, the Rule dealing with the method of electing officers and delegates shall be taken as a guide. In every case the arrangements for the taking of the plebiscite shall be such as to secure as large a vote as circumstances will possibly admit.
23. All important questions affecting the interests of any particular branch shall be decided by plebiscite of the members of such branch - the Branch General Committee to decide what are important questions. The arrangements as to manner, etc., of taking such plebiscite shall be decided upon by the General Committee of the branch. The arrangements shall be such as to secure as large a vote as circumstances will permit.
24. No general strike of the members of the A.W.U. shall be entered upon until the whole question in dispute has been submitted to a plebiscite of the whole membership of the Union and a majority of those voting decide in favor of such strike - except in the case of EXTREME emergency. [747] In such case the Executive Council of the Union shall have power to deal with the matter; but no, serious action shall be taken unless two-thirds at least of the Council approve of same.
25. Each branch shall have control of affairs in its own district, subject to general rules and resolutions of Conference, and other branches shall not interfere in any way. Any Secretary, Agent or Shed Representative of a branch interfering with the collecting of Union monies in another branch without the consent of the Secretary of such branch shall be fined Five Pounds for each offence.