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Joseph Edward (Joe) Anderson (1915–1986)

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Joseph (Joe) Edward Anderson (1915-1986) house painter and union official

Born: 5 July 1915 at Annandale, Sydney, New South Wales, son of Joseph Anderson, painter, and Ida Margaret née Holdstock; Married: Irene Joyce Aspinall on 28 June 1952 at St Brigid’s Catholic Church, Marrickville, Sydney; Died: 6 October 1986 at North Sydney.

  • 1940, joined NSW Branch of Operative Painters and Decorators Union of Australia (OPDUA), before joining AIF and serving in Middle East. Post-war, elected to NSW Branch Management Committee, vice-president for two years;
  • July, 1955, elected secretary, amidst disruptions with Groupers.
  • 1958, elected Honorary Federal Secretary of OPDUA;
  • 1961-80, first full-time secretary, taking ‘a cold and rational view’ that union’s strength was declining such that maintaining a viable financial base and/or amalgamation with more powerful union was imperative. A moderate, mainstream ALP man, although banned from building sites by employers in 1957. 
  • president, Building Trades Group, NSW Labor Council, 1956-58. Served on ACTU Executive and represented ACTU at ILO conference, Geneva. Major achievement was part in 1975 Building Trades Construction Award, which became a pace setter for workers’ wages.

John Spierings, A Brush with History: history of the Operative Painters' and Decorators' Union (Melbourne, 1993); Painter and Decorator, Sept/Oct 1982

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'Anderson, Joseph Edward (Joe) (1915–1986)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

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