by Vic Williams The trade union movement in the USA is rebuilding, according to Brian Roberts. Brian was seconded by the International Trades Federation from the Maritime Union of Australia to assist with a team in unionising the maritime section of the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Five US maritime unions are working on the campaign. The election of progressives to the leadership of the AFL-CIO (the peak trade union body) has seen a determination to increase the number of unionised workers in the US from its current 13 per cent. They are making progress. It has been hard going in the Gulf of Mexico. International companies own the tenders for contracts and boat crews, some of which operate in Australian waters. One of these, Choest, is running an anti-union campaign, called the Concerned Citizens of the Community with the backing of the owners of all offshore vessels. They have employed a union buster for half a million dollars for six months' work and have notices up all over the Byou with the slogan, "Working Together to stay Union Free!". Newcomers to the industry can buy jobs on the vessels at employment agencies from up to $1,500. With wages at around $50 a day, they actually pay their own wages for a considerable time. While they have made some headway, the union team does not get help from the workers in the shore areas who are not unionised, but the maritime industry is strongly organised in other areas and the AFL-CIO is making gains in the New Orleans ship building industry. The union movement in the US has a high regard for the international solidarity of workers like Brian Roberts, who is to return there to continue his work.