2001 ASSLH conference: The introduction of the chain system: An ‘Heroic Defeat’ for the AMIEU (Vic)

Marjorie A Jerrard
Monash University


Much has been written from the labour process perspective about the chain system of slaughtering and its deskilling of the slaughtermen’s trade. This paper explores the technological change and work reorganisation necessitated by the chain system, from the trade union strategy perspective, using the rational choice framework of the “heroic defeat” developed by Golden. It argues that the response of the Victorian branch of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union to the move by the meat export industry employers is congruent with the union responses to job losses analysed by Golden. The chain system did threaten jobs as well as skills and as such posed a major threat to the organisation of the union, particularly in Victoria, as well as to individual meatworkers.

Much has been written from the labour process perspective about the chain system of slaughtering and its deskilling of the slaughtermen’s trade.1 This paper, however, explores the technological change, and work reorganisation necessitated by the chain system, from the trade union strategy perspective. It uses the rational choice framework of the “heroic defeat” developed by Golden2 in her studies of plant closures, job losses, and union responses. It argues that the response of the Victorian branch of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union (AMIEU (Vic)) to the move by the meat export industry employers is congruent with the union responses to job losses analysed by Golden. The chain system did, in fact, threaten jobs as well as skills and as such posed a major threat to the organisation of the union, particularly in Victoria, as well as to individual meatworkers. Even if victory in the form of employer rescission of the decision to introduce the chain system was denied the union, it still had a spectrum of strategic choices available, ranging from acquiescence through to intransigence3 and industrial action. The fact that the choices may be constrained and that the union’s action will necessarily be a reaction to the employers (or management) taking the initiative by making the announcement of change without consultation, does not deny that choices exist for the union to make.

The paper introduces the theoretical framework of rational choice against which the concept of “heroic defeat” is set, then moves onto a discussion of the chain system itself and its introduction to meatworks during the early 1930s, before broadly describing and analysing the AMIEU strategy to fight the changes and proving that the union deliberately chose to purse the strategy of an “heroic defeat”. The Victorian branch of the AMIEU is the focus of the analysis because this branch bore the brunt of the introduction because it slaughtered and processed mainly mutton and lamb and served as the industry test case.4 The Queensland branch devised a strategy, which it unsuccessfully placed on the agenda for consideration by the Victorian branch, and this is also briefly considered. The primary evidence is drawn from the archival records of the Victorian branch of the AMIEU and from the Federal Council of the union, which are held at the University of Melbourne, the Victorian branch’s journal, and from the Queensland branch’s records held by the union in its East Brisbane offices5 and the Queensland branch’s journal, held by the University of Queensland. This paper is an abridged version of a larger piece of research on the strategy of these two State branches of the AMIEU.

Rational choice theory and ‘Heroic Defeats’

Even though the meat export employers were not going to reverse their decision to introduce the chian system the AMIEU still had a range of possible strategic choices open to them. Using Golden’s typology,6 these choices included a range of combinations of behaviour on the part of the union and employers ranging from concession bargaining which would be achieved through the acquiescence of both parties; a union victory through a display of worker intransigence (militant industrial action) and employers’ acquiescence; a passive defeat for the union if it acquiesced to the employers’ decision; and lastly an “heroic defeat” for the union if both it and the employers chose intransigence. Golden has identified that it is the interactions that are important because in many cases the outcome for workers will not change7; that is, they will still be deskilled or lose their jobs. This means that it is the decision to strike that is important and not the outcome, because that is inevitable. The organisational consequences of an “heroic defeat” for a union may also be catastrophic because bitter divisions are engendered amongst workers engaged in an unviable struggle. Factions can develop within a union, and in extreme cases, breakaway unionism occurs. A union that has experienced an “heroic defeat” will normally take decades to recover. Therefore, “heroic defeats” appear to be irrational because the union’s leadership pursues a course of action detrimental to the trade union as a whole.

However, “heroic defeats” are not necessarily the outcome of irrationality. Instead, they may be the result of a range of preferences exhibited by the union’s members, or a section of members, or by the union’s elected officials. These preferences will be based upon the rational goal of some form of maximisation. As an illustration, the AMIEU’s slaughtermen members wanted to retain their elite skilled position within the industry and ultimately their jobs. The union’s executive, in pursuing a strategy of acquiescence or of concessions, believed that it would be seen by external parties, as well as the slaughtermen, as passively surrendering to the employers. This would be contrary to the union’s reputation for militancy and not being a “device of the capitalists”. Consequently, without dipping into the rational choice theory and literature in greater detail,8 it can be argued that “heroic defeats” occur because of a series of preferences about which rational choices are made, albeit negative choices.

Golden posits the question “why, confronted with apparently identical threats, do trade unions respond so differently?”9 within the typology of strategies and outcomes discussed above. In the case of the introduction of the chain system to Victoria, the question perhaps better asked is “why did the AMIEU (Vic) behave exactly as did the New Zealand meat industry unions when confronted with the introduction of the chain system?” In other words, why pursue what was going to be an “heroic defeat” instead of learning from the past?

The chain system and the 1930s background

The chain system of slaughtering was effectively a disassembly line for animal carcasses.10 Although the exact date is unknown, it originated in the meat packing industry of Chicago early in the twentieth century, sometime before 1904 when Upton Sinclair11 was researching his industry expose.12 It was similar to the Ford automobile assembly line and consisted of a mechanised conveyor belt which carried sheep from one work station to another at approximately four metres per minute13 or every seven and a half seconds.14 The carcass dangled from the conveyor, attached by its hind feet and each meatworker specialised in one part of the process of killing and dressing the carcass, thereby eliminating the need for highly skilled slaughtermen butchers who had previously processed an entire animal at high speed. Sixteen carcasses could be processed a minute on a large chain of seventy-four men.15 Lester Allen, a former meatworker and “legger” at the Angliss Footscray works described the chain slaughtering process at that plant to Brown and Healy:

First, the sticking pen, consisting of “scruffers”, “stickers”, and “shacklers”. The animal’s throat was cut then the animal was shackled by one hind leg and suspended on a conveyor bleeding rail. Next was the first legging table where the unshackled leg was [skinned]. Before passing to the second legging table, the carcass was hung by the [skinned] leg on the first rigid hook of the main chain, thus freeing the second leg which in turn was [skinned], the legger then hanging this leg on the second rigid hook. The front legs were then raised and suspended by an attachment known as the spreader. This facilitated access to the head, neck and breast. The head was partly [skinned] and the tongue removed by the “tonguer and cheeker”. “Spear cutting” opened up the neck front and fore legs. “Brisket punchers” freed the breast and removed the neck bread. The spreader was removed at this [point] and allowed the “splitters down” to open up the entire skin and remove the trotters. “Flankers and thumbers up” freed the skin from the underbelly. These were followed by the “backers off” who cleared the tail area…and then punched and pulled the skin down to the neck. Here the “head scalpers” removed the skin and then the head. The “brisket cutter” done just that and was followed by “runner and paunch pullers” who removed the viscera. Finally the “pluckers” removed the liver, heart and lungs.16

The process described above aligns with the chain process described briefly by AMIEU (Vic) historian, Davies,17 with only some slight terminology differences, which meatworker Allen attributes to the argot of the Angliss meatworks. The system was effectively a “one man, one cut” operation18 whereby the job became simply to trim another cut of lamb or mutton.19 The three-year apprenticeships necessary to learn the technical skills of the solo slaughterman were no longer required and a six-week period of training was substituted for the new “one cut slaughts”.20 The introduction of the chain system and subsequent deskilling of the slaughtermen’s job allowed the employers to easily replace striking slaughtermen with scab labour from the long lines of rural unemployed.21 The employers believed that had they removed militant slaughtermen from the works while successfully increasing the output or tally through this mechanisation. In this they were mistaken, because it was not the slaughtermen’s skill which determined their industrial strength but the fact that they were central to the production process. Further, the employers did not rectify the union’s best recruiting tool and determinant of militancy—the poor and unsafe work conditions.22 Ultimately, deskilling did not decrease long-term militancy, although the financial fight of the AMIEU against the introduction of the system did financially incapacitate the Victorian branch for over a decade.23

The AMIEU (Vic) strategy: The broad picture of the campaign against the chain

The chain system had been introduced to New Zealand in 1932-33, in an employer campaign led by the British-owned Borthwicks, a company with a high industry profile in Australia also. The British-owned Vesteys24 and American- owned Swifts were the other companies involved in the Australian industry at the time, after William Angliss sold the Footscray meatworks to the Vestey family’s Union International in 1934 just after having introduced the chain system.25  The introduction of the system into Victorian abattoirs by the employers was based upon the notable success of the New Zealand employers who had been faced with a slaughtermen’s strike and the ongoing effects of economic depression.26 In Australia, the Depression had caused employers across all industries to attempt to lower wages during 1930-31.27 In most cases, their efforts were successful, and in Victoria, cuts of up to fifteen percent were imposed by employers in conjunction with the State Labor Government28 and met with minimal trade union resistance. The exception was the export slaughtermen who opposed and took strike action against every attempt to cut their wages. Davies argued that “the solo slaughtermen who fought so valiantly to resist the chain were a proud body of men who were prepared to resist, almost to their exclusion from the industry, the destruction of their individual skills”.29 The export slaughtermen were engaged in a struggle to save occupational identity as solo butchers and skill levels which determined their control over the pace of work and associated wage differentials between themselves and the labourers in the industry. The slaughtermen butchers had been the elite craftsmen of the meat industry but were members of an industry union, which during the Depression was not primarily concerned with the protection of a craft practised by approximately one quarter to one third of its members but with broader objectives to benefit all members.30 The Victorian meat export trade directly employed about one thousand AMIEU members, consisting of slaughtermen, labourers, and other semi- or unskilled workers. Another one thousand members were directly or indirectly employed as the result of the export season. The principal export sheds were located in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Donald, and Portland.31

The slaughtermen were aided and encouraged in their campaign by the Militant Minority Movement, an organisation with communist affiliations and links with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)32. The Militant Minority kept the slaughtermen’s struggle to the fore via its journal, the Red Leader:

…meatworkers are not able to control the chain, it controls [them]. As soon as [they] finish [their] particular job, the next sheep is immediately on [them], because the chain never stops.33

The Militant Minority also continued to promote disunity within the AMIEU’s ranks, even after the dispute had ended, by publishing “misinformation” about how the union had handled the dispute. These criticisms and “charges of ‘cowardice’, ‘treachery’, ‘trickery’, ‘betrayal’ and ‘sell-out’, against all who did not follow its militant line of rank and file control of the dispute, and its policy of ‘one out, all out’”34 appeared regularly in the Red Leader35 and prolonged the bitterness and loss felt by the export slaughtermen and all those who had been involved in the dispute:

At the commencement of the agitation the M.M. emphasised and stressed the fact that to fight successfully against this attack upon wages and conditions, and the abolition of the Chain System of killing, it was necessary to extend the struggle to every State and to draw in every kindred union likely to be called upon to handle scab meat.

The actions of the Victorian slaughtermen had divided the Victorian branch so that by 1932, the Federal branch of the AMIEU, which had been seeking since 1927 to impose a uniform national tally of eighty sheep and lambs on the Victorian branch,36 attempted to more strongly exert its influence over the Victorian branch and began a campaign of direct intervention in the affairs of the branch. The proposed twenty percent drop in production that would result from the decreased tally was the convergence for the employers to operationalise their plans for the introduction of the chain system for the beginning of the 1933 slaughtering season. The disunity within the AMIEU’s ranks enabled the employers to trial the new system in August 193337 and to move towards its full introduction by the second week of October. The employers—Borthwicks, Angliss at Footscray, Sims Cooper’s, the Ballarat and Bendigo Freezing Works, and the Donald and Echuca Works—had recruited voluntary labour from rural regions and the urban unemployed.

The union’s internal disunity also prevented the organisation of a coherent campaign to counter the effects of the chain system, if not the chain system itself. In July 1933, the AMIEU (Vic) had passed a resolution to fight the introduction of the chain system. At a meeting of the export section of the AMIEU (Vic) on 24 August 1933, it was decided by 113 votes to 107 votes to rescind the previous resolution and to appoint a committee to negotiate with the employers for new terms and conditions for the system.38 The AMIEU (Vic) branch officials and the Federal Executive were not in favour of the repeated, ongoing, and now unofficial industrial action taken by the slaughtermen employed in the export trade who, although the highly skilled of the trade, were undeniably only a minority of the union’s membership.

When the Federal Council of the union had met in August 1933 to discuss the chain system, Pierce Carney, a Queensland delegate, drew a distinction between the chain system as a technological advance which improved some aspects of the work and its use by employers to undermine the working conditions and the union’s industrial strength.39Carney, after having considered the situation faced by the meat unions in New Zealand, argued that the employers were not going to remove the machinery, a view that is supported by the evidence gathered by Brown and Healy in their interviews with former Angliss Footscray meatworkers.40 Carney argued that the new system even improved some aspects of the work, for example, the stooping and bending that commonly led to back injuries for the solo slaughtermen was eliminated.41 His view was that the union should use organised resistance to modify the technology to suit its members’ own needs. In this way, the union would be protecting wages and conditions for the majority of members, would be retaining control over the pace of the work and the daily tally, and would be protecting members’ jobs against scab labour at a time when unemployment was a major economic and social problem. Queenslander Carney may well have devised his strategy as the result of an “heroic defeat” experienced by the Queensland branch in 1919 as the result of the Northern District of the union taking its own militant stance against being drawn into the State conciliation and arbitration system and almost destroying itself in the process.42 The strategy suggested by Pierce Carney would have avoided the “heroic defeat” experienced by the union and provided meatworkers with a form of victory, allowing the Victorian branch to retain its position unbroken as one of the leading AMIEU branches. Instead, the Federal-State rift combined with the factions within the Victorian rank and file prevented the branch from successfully developing and implementing the campaign of systematic and coherent industrial action. Further, the “breakaway” export slaughtermen continued with their campaign of strike action, picket lines, and disruption of plant activities. Consequently, the Victorian executive, while recognising the merit of Carney’s suggested strategic approach, were not in a position to adopt and enforce it as the official union strategy. When they did attempt to pursue this strategy, it was as a last resort after strike action had failed and “the union leadership made a pragmatic judgement about the futility of opposing technological change and concentrated on salvaging what they could of previous industrial conditions”.43

The Victorian export slaughtermen persisted with their industrial campaign of strike action with other members supporting them either with direct strike action and picketing or by refusing to handle any carcass or product resulting from the use of scab labour.44 Attempts by the Victorian branch to widen the dispute and to involve other kindred unions, such as the Waterside Workers, failed because of the economic climate of the time. Neither did Trades Hall call out other unions in support of the AMIEU (Vic), instead merely condemning the actions of the graziers and export companies for “deliberating introducing the chain system in an effort to smash the economic power of the workers”.45

Consequently, it is difficult to see how the fight against the chain was “one of the major struggles of the Australian Trade Union Movement”,46 albeit “the biggest and the bitterest dispute in the ranks of the AMIEU [(Vic)]”. The retrospective view of immediate former State Secretary, Wally Curran, presented to labour process researcher, Willis,47 may be the more realistic view because it places the dispute in perspective against the union’s overall history. However, Curran’s view may also be regarded as undervaluing the dispute from the angle of an “heroic defeat”:

One got the impression that it was a long drawn out, bitter struggle, when in fact it wasn’t. Indeed it was a minor scuffle in relation to our history of the union in time.

Former State Secretary, George Seelaf, also offered his comments on the struggle to Willis48 and these do recognise that it was an “heroic defeat” as fought by the export slaughtermen:

But they could see after a short period that the struggle couldn’t be won and it was that the chain system was coming in and the best thing to do was to turn around and use it to advantage, to grab hold of it and control it.

This was the approach of Carney offered prior to the dispute, but by the time the Victorian branch was in a position to recognise the inevitability of its defeat, the union’s position was too weak to enable it to change its strategy. However, other States learned from the Victorian defeat, adopted Carney’s strategy, avoided prolonged and unsuccessful strike action, and retained control of the system from its introduction. It could be argued that the Victorian branch should have carefully considered the strategy and ultimate fate of the New Zealand meat industry unions as they also suffered “heroic defeats”, and should never have pursued the same strategy resulting in the same negative outcome. The learning process continued beyond the 1930s and when the Canpack system of slaughtering beef was introduced during the 1950s, Carney’s chain strategy was adopted as the basic blueprint from which the union operated to retain control over work processes and throughput or tallies.

The AMIEU (Vic) was faced with a situation that in many ways reflected that of the New Zealand industry; that is, slaughtermen engaging in industrial action prior to the introduction of the chain system, foreign-owned companies providing a unified front and seeking to rectify their subsequent losses via new technology, and an economic depression. The influence of the Militant Minority on the export slaughtermen cannot be underestimated because here was an organisation promoting the strategy that to the skilled elite of the industry appeared the only way to attempt to maintain their position and associated benefits. The difficulties between the Federal body of the union and the Victorian branch were also bound up with those of the slaughtermen who determined the daily tally of sheep and lambs processed and were faced with a twenty percent reduction in wages if the tally was to be reduced by twenty percent, from one hundred to eighty. The export slaughtermen, whose throughput either directly or indirectly provided employment for approximately two-thirds of the union’s membership, were in a powerful position in terms of influencing the union’s State executive and also rank and file members with whom they worked. The proposed strategy developed by Pierce Carney, if adopted in Victoria, would result in a defeat for the export slaughtermen, as did the introduction of the chain system. Consequently, these men were able to exert their influence on the State branch, as they had been doing since 1927 when the Federal executive first proposed to reduce the Victorian daily tally, and to take industrial action which, should it prove successful, would maximise the return for slaughtermen. Should it not prove successful, their return would still be jobs on the chain or, ideally, jobs in those domestic plants where economies of scale prevented investment in the chain system and where their skills were still required and remunerated accordingly.49 The leadership displayed by the Victorian branch in the five years prior to and during the introduction of the chain system must also be questioned in that an elite section of the rank and file were effectively allowed to determine overall union strategy without control measures being initiated at executive level. This is summarised by the comments of former State secretaries Seelaf and Curran to Willis:

 I think the leadership at the time didn’t know what to do and how to go about it. In those days, rank and file decisions were very, very important…. In those days there was very little what you would call real leadership given by union officials, they were tailors rather than leaders and I think they were very confused, they didn’t know what to do or how to bloody well do it.50

I think the union leadership was clearly shown to be non-political, non-understanding of what it was all about and allowed a very divisive position to come into the industry without attempting to resolve it…They allowed, in my view, a super-militant attitude to prevail on the work which was quickly taken up and got out of hand and some of this was by slaughtermen who had a very bad attitude to labourers who [they] regarded as second class citizens.51

Conclusions: ‘Heroic Defeats’ and lessons from the past

As Willis concludes in his article52, trade unions need to avoid the dangers of failing to learn from the lessons of the past. This has been demonstrated by the Victorian branch’s failure to learn from the New Zealand meat union’s experience in 1932. The importance of learning from the past is then demonstrated by the other State branches which adopted Pierce Carney’s strategy of accepting or acquiescing to the chain system but tailoring industrial campaigns and bargaining to ensure that meatworkers retained (some) control over the system. According to Golden’s typology, this outcome was one of concession bargaining combined with elements of intransigence, giving the union some degree of victory.

In terms of the strike being an “heroic defeat” within Golden’s typology, it clearly was the result of the slaughtermen’s preferences and the executive fearing a loss of face in terms of the union’s reputation for industrial militancy. The role played by the external group, the Militant Minority, in influencing the slaughtermen and indirectly the decisions of the executive demonstrates this. It is true that there appeared to be a lack of overall leadership exhibited by the Victorian officials during the strike and the period leading up to it. The result of the defeat was indeed the divisiveness identified by Golden.53 The comments of former Victorian State secretary, George Seelaf, demonstrate this divisiveness which occurs within union ranks after such a defeat. Overall, the Victorian branch was able to recover within a decade and to resume its place as a leading State branch just after the outbreak of the Second World War. The legacy of the “heroic defeat” was not as long lasting as those identified by Golden54 and was overcome by leadership and strategic direction, and the unifying challenges posed by the external factor of war.

1 For example, “The man on the dis-assembly line: New Zealand freezing works”, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, vol. 13, no. 1, 19; JHK Inkson, JHK Inkson & D Simpson, “The assembly-line and alienation: a participant-observer 77, pp. 2-11; study in the meat industry”, New Zealand Psychologist, no. 44, 1975, pp. 44-55; JHK Inkson & P Cammock, “Labour process analysis and the chain system in the New Zealand meat works”, New Zealand Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 9, 1984, pp. 149-160; JHK Inkson & P Cammock, “The meat-freezing industry in New Zealand”, in E Willis (ed), Technology and the Labour Process: Australasian Case Studies, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1988, pp. 68-80; E Willis, “Trade union reaction to technological change: The introduction of the chain system of slaughtering in the meat export industry”, Prometheus, vol. 3, no. 1, 1985, pp. 51-70.
2 MA Golden, A Rational Choice Analysis of Union Militancy with Application to the Case of British Coal and Fiat , Western Societies Program Occasional Paper No. 26, Centre for International Studies, Cornell University, 1990; MA Golden, Heroic Defeats: The Politics of Job Loss, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997.
3 Golden, A Rational Choice Analysis, p. 4.
4 S Brown & C Healy, “The Imperial Freezing Works, 1905-1985”, in C Healy (ed.) The Lifeblood of Footscray: Working Lives at the Angliss  Meatworks, Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West, Footscray, Vic., 1986?, p. 6.
5 My thanks to the Queensland branch’s officials for access to their records and for their assistance in my ongoing research on the union.
6 Golden, A Rational Choice Analysis, p. 4.
7 Golden, A Rational Choice Analysis, p. 5.
8 See Golden, A Rational Choice Analysis, for a review and exploration of this literature, which is precluded here by word limit.
9 Golden, A Rational Choice Analysis, p. 1.
10 Inkson & Cammock, “The meat-freezing industry in New Zealand”, p. 70.
11 U Sinclair The Jungle, Harper Bros., New York, 1905.
12 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 56.
13 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 55.
14 Inkson & Cammock, “The meat-freezing industry in New Zealand”, p. 70.
15 L Allen to Brown & Healy in The Lifeblood of Footscray, p. 39.
16 L Allen to Brown & Healy in The Lifeblood of Footscray, pp. 38-39.
17 AE Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, AMIEU (Vic), Carlton, 1974, p. 102.
18 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 55.
19 Inkson & Cammock, “The meat-freezing industry in New Zealand”, p. 69.
20 Brown & Healy, “The Imperial Freezing Works”, p. 6.
21 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 57.
22 Brown & Healy, “The Imperial Freezing Works”, p. 6.
23 Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 106; Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 59.
 24 P. d’Abbs, The Vestey Story, AMIEU (Vic), Carlton, Vic., 1970; Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 104; Brown & Healy, “The Imperial Freezing Works”, p. 6.
25 Brown & Healy, “The Imperial Freezing Works”, p. 6.
26 Inkson & Cammock, “The meat-freezing industry in New Zealand”, p. 70.
27 LJ Louis, Trade Unions and the Depression: A Study of Victoria 1930-1932, Australian National University, Canberra.
28 Brown & Healy, “The Imperial Freezing Works”, p. 5.
29 Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 106.
30 I Turner, Industrial Labour and Politics: The Labour Movement in Eastern Australia 1900-1921, Australian National University, Canberra, 1965; J Child, Unionism and the Labor Movement, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1971, R Martin, Trade Unions in Australia, 2nd ed., Penguin, Harmondsworth; M Rimmer, “Long-run structural change in Australian trade unionism”, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 23, no. 3, 1981, pp. 323-343.
31 Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 104.
32 The IWW was a syndicalist organisation that had its origins in Chicago in 1905 and emphasised strike action and force as the means of overthrowing the capitalist system. The IWW had a strong influence on the Queensland branch of the AMIEU, including influencing the structure of that branch which was based on the One Big Union concept and open and participatory democracy enabling rank and file members to have influence within the union.
33 Red Leader, 4 October, 1933; quoted by Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 58.
34 Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 107.
35 For example, Red Leader, 10 November 1933.
36 AMIEU Federal Council Special Meeting Minutes, September 1932; Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 97; Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 57; Brown & Healy, “The Imperial Freezing Works”, p. 6.
37 Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 101.
38 AMIEU (Vic) Minutes, August 1933.
39 AMIEU Federal Council, Minutes and Report, August 1933; Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 65.
40 For example, the Bernard Leunig and Lester Allen interviews in Brown & Healy, The Lifeblood of Footscray, pp. 22-25 and pp. 38-39 respectively.
41 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 65.
42 See T Cutler (1973) “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” in J Iremonger, J Merritt, G Osborne (eds) Strikes: Studies in Twentieth Century Australian Social History, Sydney, Angus & Robertson in association with the Australian Society for Labour History, 81-102 and D. Hunt (1983) “The Townsville Meatworkers’ Strike, 1919” in DJ Murphy (ed) The Big Strikes—Queensland 1889 for accounts of the Queensland “heroic defeat” which resulted from a split within the rank and file of that state over whether or not to accept an arbitrated State award in 1918.
43 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 59; quoting from T Cutler, The History of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union: A Study of the Internal Dynamics of a Labour Organisation, unpublished PhD thesis, University of New South Wales, Wollongong, 1976, p. 256.
44 See the Bernard Leunig and Lester Allen interviews in Brown & Healy, The Lifeblood of Footscray, pp. 22-25 and pp. 38-39 respectively.
45 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 58; quoting from The Age, 13 October, 1933.
46 Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 106.
47 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 66.
48 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 66.
49 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 60 identified a number of sheds still operating with the solo butchering system. For example, the Melbourne City Abattoirs was still operating on a “solo” slaughterman basis when it closed in 1982. The freezing works at Shepparton was using “solo” slaughtermen in 1936. See Davies, The Meatworkers Unite, p. 116 for the Shepparton reference and details.
50 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 66, interview with George Seelaf.
51 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 66, interview with Wally Curran.
52 Willis, “Trade union reaction”, p. 67.
53 Golden, A Rational Choice Analysis, p. 6, p. 14.
54 Golden, A Rational Choice Analysis and Heroic Defeats.