Bailey, Unite and Labour

I don’t have a problem with the ponytail waitress Amanda Bailey telling her story. John Key had acted poorly over a period of time, and Bailey’s annoyance and frustration seems to have been ignored. Normally a waitress in this situation would have few options for redress, but Key put himself in a vulnerable position and Bailey used that to make a valid point.

So I think it’s fine for her to have spoken up.

But the way the story has been played out raises some questions.

Bailey chose to put her story out via Martyn Bradbury and The Daily Blog. That guaranteed that her story would be seen by some as political and highly partisan. A more neutral medium would have avoided much of the political accusations, but Bailey went hard left.

Now Bailey is working through her options with the Unite Union. Was she a member of Unite? Or have the decided to represent her as a non-member?

Radio New Zealand interviewed the Unite Union organiser who is representing Bailey:

The Unite Union has announced it will represent Amanda Bailey and support whatever action she decides to take. Union organiser Shanna Reeder is with us.

What does Amanda Bailey want to do?

Reeder : Ah well that’s a really good question. Um everybody’s been asking that question today. Um unfortunately we’re unable to give you a clear answer on that because we haven’t decided at this stage.

You haven’t decided or she hasn’t?

Reeder : Um well obviously we’re advising Amanda on what the best course of action will be, and Amanda hasn’t decided at this stage.

What are you advising her to do?

Reeder : Um well there’s actually I means there’s there’s a whole bunch of different um options that she could take. A lot of experts have been out in the media um recommending you know what she could do at this point, um so basically we’re just trying to help her through all of those options, um and help her find…

Are you pushing for a particular result yourself here?

Reeder : No no it’s completely up to Amanda.

What has she told you about ah issues we’ve just heard about what Graeme McCready just said about her feeling humiliated, ah being um comments being made to her by other customers, what’s she talking about the reaction she’s received from the public here?

Reeder : Ah she hasn’t commented on that to me so I’m unable to comment on that to you.

And you are not saying, are you saying to her she should support for example the action taken by Graeme McCready?

Reeder : That’s not something that we have discussed, I’m just unable to comment on it I’m sorry.

When do you think she’ll know what her course of action should be?

Reeder : Um I think she’s getting there, I think probably by the end of the week she’ll have a bit of an outline of what she wants to do.

Shanna Olsen-Reeder is listed as Unite’s ‘Hotels and Call Centres’ organiser in Auckland. While they have several fast food restaurant’ organisers they don’t have any designated as cafe or general restaurant organisers.

NZ Herald reported on progress on Saturday:

On Wednesday Mr McCready filed paperwork at the Auckland District Court on a proposed assault charge against Mr Key.

Mr McCready alleges a Crimes Act charge of male assaults female, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

To reach a trial Mr McCready would have to present sufficient evidence of the proposed charge and has asked for an oral evidence hearing with 11 witnesses, including Bronagh Key, to do so.

Bailey has wisely chosen to avoid dealing with McCready.

Today, he said Ms Bailey, through the Unite Union, had refused to speak with him and did not want anything to do with his private prosecution.

However, Ms Bailey was considering her own legal action and would be represented by the Unite Union if she choose to proceed.

The union did not say who any complaint or legal action would target.

Being a union I would presume Unite would be looking at employment matters with Bailey. But maybe not. This comment at The Standard describes Unite as political activists, not just worker representatives.

Unite union has been well represented at virtually every protest from TPPA, selling State assets, Oil drilling protests, opposing charter schools, defending Glen Innes State housing, etc., supporting Gaza/Palestine. In fact Unite’s Joe Carolan often speaks to the crowd at these protest rallies and is commonly on a megaphone during the marches. The Unite people have been very visible on social justice issues on all issues of social justice.

Carolan and Mike Treen (Unite’s National Director Day to Day Operations) are well known socialist activists.

Does “all issues of social justice” mean they could get involved in legal matters outside the employment arena that could potentially take down the current Government?

If they do this would ensure it remains a highly charged political issue. The Unite Union have had close links with the MANA Party/Movement.

And also with Andrew Little and the Labour Party. Matt McCarten has been heavily involved with Unite, leading the union from 2005 to 2014, and since then he has been and still is heavily involved with Labour as Little’s chief of staff.

Little and Labour have wisely kept a distance from the Bailey versus Key issue. But if Unite help Bailey take legal action outside of employment matters then dots will no doubt be connected.

Bailey will no doubt think through her options carefully. She justifiably felt aggrieved by Key’s behaviour. She will have seen the political reaction after publicising her grievance through a left wing political activist. She has been burned by some  apparently appalling behaviour by Rachel Glucina and NZ Herald.

If Unite are advising her well they will have pointed out not just what courses of action that are open to her but also the potential political implications of any action. Unite have a reputation of not just being a union representing workers on employment matters.

Unite may be able to keep Bailey’s issues separate from partisan politics, but that won’t be easy given how it has already been discussed in social media.

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8 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd May 2015

    What exactly was this “appalling behaviour” by Glucina?

    Reply
    • Reaction from media other than NZ Herald suggested many were appalled by what Glucina is said to have done. Her only defender apart from NZH was Cameron Slater.

      For example Brent Edwards from Radio NZ made a case that “@nzherald have confirmed a breach of journalistic standards in #ponytailgate” and tweeted “It’s a sad day for journalism Tim when you have to defend this”.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/271962/'strong-stuff'-the-media's-role-in-ponytailgate

      It’s quite unusual to see journalist versus MSM in public like this.

      David Farrar commented on it:

      One the face of it, there are serious ethical issues here. If I was unkind, I would say Dirty Media, not Dirty Politics.

      http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2015/04/an_issue_for_the_press_council.html

      I said ‘apparently appalling” and Glucina’s behaviour seems to have been widely seen as that.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  3rd May 2015

        How about answering my question then? I’m not interested in who was appalled – especially not if they are commercial competitors to the Herald. I’m interested in what was actually done and what level of proof of any allegations exists.

        Reply
        • Amanda Bailey’s account of it is here:
          http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/23/update-the-prime-minister-and-the-waitress-part-2-dirty-politics/

          See the Radio NZ link above, they detail the changing Herald version in their statement – as each one got slammed they put out a new version, four times during the day.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  3rd May 2015

            The RNZ piece is pure b.s. She was knowingly preparing a photo and news release. Then amazed to find it in the Herald. Give me a break. What utter crap.

            As far as Bailey’s account goes, she was pissed off because she regards Glucina as a political enemy – i.e. not a raving Lefty. Not because anything reported was incorrect or not what she intended to release.

            All this proves is that she is an idiot.

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  3rd May 2015

            As for the Herald edits as far as I can see there is absolutely nothing significant content wise in the changes, merely altering the style.

            Reply
  2. Mike C

     /  3rd May 2015

    Is it normal for a Union to be involved between a Worker and a Customer ???

    I thought that Unions only acted on behalf of Workers when they had a problem with their Employer.

    Shouldn’t the Unite Union be taking the Employers to Court for not stepping in a several months ago to nip the pony-tail pulling horse-play in the bud, before it became a bit of a routine habit ???

    Reply
  3. kittycatkin

     /  3rd May 2015

    Shouldn’t someone tell Amanda Bailey to go back to being a waitress; she’s had her 15 minutes ?

    I cannot believe that she didn’t know that she was being interviewed when she spoke to Rachel Glucina-who’s that stupid or naive ?

    Good point, Mike C. I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s a bit bizarre. My guess is that Miss Bailey was only offended when someone suggested that there was mileage in it.

    Reply

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