Anna Stewart Memorial Project 2016

Every year, the QTU takes part in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project, an affirmative action strategy designed to help rank and file women become more active in the union movement. 

The project, which is organised by the Queensland Council of Unions, invites member unions to nominate women members to participate in a two-week work-shadowing program, one week with their own union and the second week with a host union.

Exchanges between blue and white collar unions are encouraged, with a view to raising an awareness of the many and varied issues that confront all workers, and particularly women, in all fields of work. 

The 2016 QTU participants were Alice Hanley and Bridget Walker. Here they recount their experiences.

Alice Hanley

QTU Women’s Organiser Penny Spalding arranged various meetings, in which we were able to ask questions and sit down with a wide variety of QTU staff.  I spent a couple of days with Organisers from different areas of Brisbane, and saw first hand the dedication and time they gave every QTU member.  I was privileged enough to attend some incredible meetings, including the AEU Federal Women’s Conference, Industrial Relations Commission and Lead and HAT teacher negotiations at Education House in Brisbane.

Throughout my time spent at the QTU, I was constantly in awe of the remarkable women in the QTU and their dedication to the profession.

During the last few days of the Anna Stewart Project, I was fortunate enough to visit United Voice, where I attended workplace meetings with organisers in areas including health and aged care.  At these various facilities, I was able to see the challenges faced by different professions and the importance of a high union membership in workplaces. 

I had a fabulous two weeks. Thank-you to the QTU and UV for providing such a fantastic experience. 

Bridget Walker

“Extraordinary” is how I would describe the honour of being able to travel from Rockhampton to participate in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project for 2016.

I was able to spend eight days working within the QTU before heading off to work with a sister union, in my case the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). The level of access to all staff and events was phenomenal, from attending the certification of our new agreement at the Industrial Relations Commission, to gaining an insight into what really being an Organiser is like, and even being a guest at a highly accomplished and lead teacher working party meeting at Education House.

My time with the CPSU highlighted the differences between a union that works closely with a state government and a union that not only has many different bodies under its jurisdiction, but also has to negotiate and work with the federal government. I was able to meet with members and delegates from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Human Services, and the importance of density in membership and the clout it delivers was clear.

Thank you to everyone I’ve met during the ASMP, for making me feel welcomed and proud to be part of the QTU.

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 121 No 8, 11 November 2016, p21