Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Militant union leader dies, 58

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State President of the Victorian CFMEU (construction divison) and BLF stalwart, John Cummins (Cummo), died yesterday with his family by his side. John was a good friend of the Socialist Party and will be sadly missed. His loss leaves a gapping hole in the leadership of the Australian trade union movement. The Socialist Party will publish its own obituary soon but in the mean time below we publish an article from todays Melbourne Herald Sun. Even this rabid anti union paper felt the need to comment on Cummo’s death.

From The Herald Sun Newspaper August 30, 2006
By Kate Rose and Grant McArthur

Union champion dies, 58

CONTROVERSIAL union leader John Cummins has died, aged 58.

The Victorian president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Mr Cummins rose through union ranks under jailed former Builders Labourers Federation boss Norm Gallagher.

Electrical Trades Union state secretary Dean Mighell last night praised Mr Cummins.

“He’s a huge loss to the construction industry,” Mr Mighell said.

“He taught a whole generation of officers and shop stewards what it meant to be a unionist.

“I don’t think the trade union movement had many better strategic thinkers.”

CFMEU organiser Shaun Reardon said the union would continue the legacy of his best friend.

“He wasn’t just my best friend, he was everyone’s best friend, and every one of his friends will want to continue the fight because that’s what he would want,” Mr Reardon said. “What he has left with everyone is the strength to continue.”

Mr Cummins was one of the officials absorbed into the CFMEU when the BLF closed in 1983 after two five-year deregistrations.

He became a BLF official under Gallagher in 1976, and worked on the West Gate Bridge before Gallagher made him a full-time union organiser in 1978.

Mr Cummins was jailed twice for contempt for visiting building sites despite court orders not to.

Last year he collapsed with a brain tumour but recovered.

Mr Cummins died peacefully last night with his family by his side.


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