A decision for several Illawarra unions to unite and fight as one could become a template for future industrial disputes across the country.
In January, with miners, steelworkers, seamen and those at the coal terminal all in difficult negotiations for a better deal, they decided to join forces and fight together.
While the seamen, out of work since BHP terminated contracts for two Australian-crewed ships, are still fighting the other groups have struck favourable deals.
South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris said the Port Kembla Coal Terminal deal was impressive, given it had come at a time when the workers' agreement was terminated and replaced with the award.
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"To come back from there and actually secure the things that the employer was saying they would never ever agree to is a massive win," Mr Rorris said.
The labour council secretary said the campaign was sparked by University of Wollongong academic and union representative Georgine Clarsen during negotiations for a new deal.
"They were having a community solidarity day outside the university and steelworkers and wharfies turned up," Mr Rorris said.
"I remember Georgine remarking, isn't that something? You don't see that every day'. Her remarks really got us thinking."
The result was a joint campaign that was tagged "uniontown", which Mr Rorris said workers credited with helping them get a better deal.
"Speaking with our affiliates and the workers on the ground, they have told me this - that they couldn't have done it without the solidarity of this community, without the solidarity of uniontown," Mr Rorris said.
The "uniontown" tactic may be used as an industrial template all over Australia.
"This has been well noticed, and not just among unions but also employers around the country," Mr Rorris said.
"Uniontown is not something that you geographically confine to the lllawarra. What it's saying to the rest of the country is there's no reason why every town can't be a uniontown.
"I know affiliates are reporting this to the state and national offices of their unions and saying that this could well be the future for Australian unionism."