Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia

Date unknown

Donated by Donated by Colin Hesse

Museum of Australian Democracy collection

The Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union (FMWU) of Australia was formed in 1915. Sometimes called ‘The Missos’, it initially brought together three state unions: the Passenger and Goods Lift Attendants’ Union of NSW (established in 1909), the Watchmen, Caretakers and Cleaners’ Union of NSW (1910), and the Watchmen, Caretakers and Male Office Cleaners’ Union of Victoria (1913).

Over its long history the FMWU amalgamated with more than 50 diverse unions, including those representing billiard markers, jewellers, undertakers’ assistants, hairdressers and wigmakers, watchmakers, dental technicians, photographic employees, paintmakers, butchers, saddlers and leather workers, ambulance employees, laundry workers, sugar refinery workers, flour millers, gas plant workers, sailmakers, tentmakers, bakers and bread carters, cooks and caterers, and workers in the Northern Territory and Christmas Island. Its final amalgamation, with the Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees’ Union of Australia in 1992, created the Australian Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union.

The donor of this badge, Colin Hesse, writes:

My grandparents were working-class communists, and both were union delegates in their time, Mavis with the Printing and Kindred Industries Union and Jim with the Australian Railways Union. Both were blue-collar workers and believed that strong unions were a key means of improving their pay, conditions and quality of life.