Unions exist to advocate your rights as an employee.
Unions have achieved basic rights, such as leave, if you are sick, a carer, new parent, or to raise a child or have a baby.
They won the eight hour working day, the right to four weeks annual leave, rostered days off, if you work in some industries, superannuation and lunch and tea breaks here in Australia.
Every time you get a pay rise, or improvement in your conditions of work it is most likely, a trade union negotiated this, on behalf of the employees they represent.
Unions fought for equal pay for equal work on behalf of women.
To find out which union covers you if you are unsure, call your local trades and labour council.
I am a proud member of the Australian Education Union. I have been a branch representative at two schools, a state councillor and a delegate to federal conference, Trades Hall Council and the Australian Congress of Trade Unions.
I have served on committees of the Department of Education as a representative of the AEU, to improve the rights and equal superannuation for women teachers and increase the employment and retention of indigenous teachers and improve career paths for promotion positions.
At the international level I have worked through the AEU, to improve the state of the world, opening up dialogues with teachers in the soviet union at the time of "glasnost" in the lead up to the ending of the cold war and the demise of oppressive regimes as they transformed to modern democracies.
I was able to continue to maintain pressure towards ending apartheid racist policies and the oppression of black people in South Africa and helped East Timor achieve independance.
I have developed and supported structural and curricula changes that benefit the students I taught and agitate for improved funding and renewal and maintainence of school buildings.
I have influenced policies at trade union and government level in relation to women, limitations on gun ownership, the environment and international relations because unions network widely and work together to influence legislation on a broad range of social and environmental issues,
You too can enjoy such influence, by working actively with and for the trade union that covers your area of work!