July 02, 2003


John Sutton, national secretary of the construction division of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, never stops fighting ... for the workers, of course:

Violent behaviour appears to be all in a day's work for Mr Sutton, one of Australia's top union officials. A surveillance video captures Mr Sutton vandalising managers' cars at a union picket outside a Sydney factory.

The video, obtained by the Herald, shows Mr Sutton kicking a senior manager's car numerous times as the driver tries to enter the gates of a can-making factory at Arncliffe on May 19.

Mr Sutton also repeatedly spits on the car, hits it, hurls abuse close to the passenger's window, and then violently rocks the vehicle with a hand on its roof-rack.

Each time he kicks the car, Mr Sutton looks around to check he is not detected by police at the scene. Next to him, a man wearing a cap interferes with the car's left door. When the company's general manager drives to the gates in a second car, Mr Sutton approaches from behind with a cup in hand. Watched by smiling protesters, he pours clear fluid over the left side of the vehicle and grins widely as he moves past.

Good to see that a man wearing a cap is still a fixture at union events. It must be a rule. And the best part of the story:

Mr Sutton took part in the melee at the Morris McMahon company even though his union was not involved in the dispute.

UPDATE. Lileks on unions:

Top union management would be the only subculture that could become hipper by getting into Dungeons and Dragons. At least it would give them a new set of descriptive terms for their foes. I’d love to pick up the union paper and read “Management takes cue from Mordor, hires scab-Orks” - it would suggest they have a sense of humor.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 2, 2003 03:07 AM

As a "top union official",who could obviously pass the Mark Latham taxi driver-bashing entrance assessment, Mr Sutton must be due for a seat on Simon Crean's front bench.

Posted by: Rob at July 2, 2003 at 09:24 AM

It was good to see the Union issue on Secret Life of Us this week. Masked thugs smashed up an office for daring to hire non-union workers. Character Gab, who works at another union, is appalled and refuses to donate to the solidarity legal defence fund for the thugs - unions sticking together. She reasons that she fights to stop violence against workers, not to defend it. She is fired. Good to see that young people are having union thuggery correctly illustrated in prime time TV. Well done ch 10!

Posted by: Evil Dan Meijer at July 2, 2003 at 09:56 AM

See, Dan, that's why we need the ABC -- to correct the commercial media's bias against violence as a means of problem solving.

Posted by: tim at July 2, 2003 at 12:11 PM

Yes it was refreshing to see the union episode on Channel 10's SLU. It begins to counteract the previous two and a half series of sniping at liberal voters by portraying them as racist warmongering environment destroyers. They are meant to be writing realistically about the twenty - something generation. Perhaps they finally read some figures on just what a very large propertion of their audience actually feels about asylum seekers, Iraq etc.

Posted by: James Hamilton at July 2, 2003 at 12:29 PM

Just one more example in a long history of union thuggery.What in the hell are police forces paid for...ah, the communards in Spring St. have the answer, to fine and badger generally law abiding citizens while union thugs and mobster wreak havoc and mayhem. Community policing - yup, that sums it up.

Posted by: d at July 2, 2003 at 03:41 PM

I wonder how Sutton treats his wife. Is Union culture of condoned and approved violence taken home?

Posted by: pat at July 3, 2003 at 10:27 AM

Yeah and he probably hangs round toilets beating up fags as well.

Posted by: Jom at July 3, 2003 at 12:18 PM