Teacher, Patterson Lakes Primary School
I joined the AEU back when I was a student; I think you’re crazy not to be in the union. Over the years I’ve turned to the union a number of times, for support and to put things on the record. When it comes to industrial action for better pay and conditions, there’s no way I could go to work and get paid for a day while my union colleagues are taking a stand and fighting for my rights!
As a union representative, I’ve helped people in a couple of cases. We had one young teacher who was entitled to ongoing employment, as she’d been there for more than 12 months. Each year she would be interviewed for ongoing, but she kept missing out, and we’d have one or two new teachers start. With the help of the union we negotiated with school leadership, and after a few months she was awarded ongoing employment.
I was also a union councillor for four years; I did a week of activist training at the AEU and was nominated. I enjoyed it. As a union councillor I felt like I was part of the decision-making process and it was great to get to know the leadership and to see what goes on – and to meet other teachers from all over the state.
As a union councillor I felt like I was part of the decision-making process.
I was also really impressed by how many different activities and causes our union leadership are involved in – reconciliation, human rights, everything. Being on Council opened doors for me too. I became the secretary for regional meetings and it was great to learn how councils run.
Words of advice for young women educators? You’ve got to join!
Even if you might not agree with decisions that the union makes or agreements they’ve signed, you can’t sit and preach from the sidelines. You’ve got to support the union. If you’re not, and something happens, you are on your own.