Michael Weise

Interviewed by
Danielle Miller and Maree Stanley
May 21 2013
Michael Weise
Time Summary Keywords

Michael Weise talks about his childhood and early education, which took place primarily in the Darling Downs, Queensland. He discusses his early work experience prior to becoming a union member.

Miscellaneous Workers Union, Toowoomba, work experience

Michael Weise explains how he came to be a member of the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) in 1989 when he joined the coal industry in Queensland. He outlines his career path with the CFMEU.

CFMEU, coal, compulsory unionism, enterprise bargaining, mining, union positions

Michael Weise describes how he became passionate about the the union movement through learning about the CFMEU and getting involved in the union process.

CFMEU, compulsory unionism, union positions

Michael Weise explains the amalgamations which ultimately lead to the CFMEU, as well as the three divisions which make up the CFMEU. He also discusses the federal nature of the union, and describes his role as a national Organising Coordinator.

CFMEU, union amalgamation

Michael Weise discusses the role community unionism (providing services and benefits to both union and non-union members of mining communities) plays in the CFMEU. He also speaks about the impact fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers are having on mining communities and community unionism.

CFMEU, community unionism, FIFO, mining

Michael Weise talks about what he sees as some of the reasons for the de-unionisation of the Pilbara (Western Australia) iron ore mining region during the 1990s.

declining union membership, FIFO, mining, Pilbara, unions

Michael Weise discusses the nature of unionism in the Pilbara. He explains the plans currently underway to reinvigorate union membership, and the alliance between the CFMEU and the Australian Workers Union (AWU) that has been established to achieve this.

AWU, CFMEU, declining union membership, FIFO, Pilbara, union membership, unions

Michael Weise explains the success of the coal mining industry in maintaining CFMEU membership. He highlights the importance of having good local delegate structures.

Central Queensland, CFMEU, coal, Hunter Valley, iron ore, mineral industry, Rio Tinto, union delegate, union membership

Michael Weise explains the process by which the CFMEU and the AWU made an alliance in order to re-unionise the Pilbara.

AWU, CFMEU, Karratha, Paul Howes, Pilbara, Port Headland, Tony Maher, union membership

Michael Weise discusses the formation of the Pilbara Mineworkers Union in the early 2000s and the lessons learnt from this union. He describes some of the other unions that have had coverage in the Pilbara.

ACTU, AMWU, AWU, CFMEU, ETU, Pilbara, Rio Tinto

Michael Weise explains the importance of mining unions having an international presence, particularly in terms of their responsibilites to workers in parts of the world that have less protective legislation than workers in Australia. He describes the challenges and strategies that are undertaken at an international level by the mining unions.

CFMEU, Indonesia, Rio Tinto, unions

Michael Weise talks about the involvement of union delegates in government initiatives in the Pilbara. He explains how the process currently works, and what needs to be done to improve the relationship between the two organisations.

CFMEU, mining, Pilbara, union delegate

Michael Weise discusses the CFMEU's Let's Spread it Around campaign, with particular reference to the issue of housing afforability in mining communities.

CFMEU, community unionism, FIFO, housing, mining

Michael Weise addresses the problems facing mining towns and communities, particularly in terms of quality of life and the impact of FIFO workers.

CFMEU, community unionism, FIFO, Indigenous issues, mining

Michael Weise discusses the role of unions in addressing social issues such as violence in mining towns. He emphasises the commitment the CFMEU has to its social conscience.

CFMEU, community unionism, Kerry Carrington, mining, union campaigns

Michael Weise explains the advantages of the CFMEU affiliating with peak bodies, such as the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), and the government on a local and federal level. He highlights the importance of delegates in optimising the success of these affiliations.

ACTU, CFMEU, peak bodies, union affiliation

Michael Weise reflects on his development and growth as a unionist, the people who mentored him at the beginning of his career, and his sense of achievement in educating and helping other workers.

union positions, unions

Interview ends