Labour Day: Have you made plans to join us?
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No number, day Month Year, page no.
You would be unsurprised to know that I often talk with Reps and members about why I joined the Union.
It’s funny because there are several versions of the truth. One recollection is of me as a student at QUT. There on the Kelvin Grove lawn, an unknown QTU officer invited me to join. But there’s another version that includes my mum, Dorothy, and it reminds me about why I march each and every year, no matter where I am in the state.
Dorothy was a nurse. She grew up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. She left this behind at age 21 and began her nursing career in Edinburgh, where of course she joined her Union: The Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE). Many years later, here in Brisbane, Dorothy joined the QNU and tells me that over the years in many a hospital she encouraged her workmates to join the union. She told them they would be foolish not to. What a recruiter!
Fast forward to my join story: Yes, I am one of those who became a member because it’s what I knew I had to do from watching my mum. Working people join their union. She taught me that.
I’ve always wondered though, what it was that brought me to activism. Where did that fire begin? Why did I naturally turn up to Labour Days and rallies? The other day, my mum showed me a photo of her in her first year of nursing (see right). “Can you see me, Gill?” she asked gleefully. I could! There on the right holding up her sign and taking action with her mates. Ahhh, I thought. Seems it runs in the blood.
That photograph made me think once again about Labour Day and what it means. Its history of union folk standing together. Its celebration of us. I thought about how my brother Steve always marches with me, along with my two little girls, both of whom haven’t missed a Labour Day. 2022 will be no different, we will once again march together. Will you join us?
In my conversations with members in schools lately I have been asking "Have you been to Labour Day? Would you come this year? How about you invite someone?" Yes, as ever, I am excited about that first weekend in May.
So, this year when you make plans for the Labour Day weekend, consider marching with us. Bring a friend, a brother, a sister, a child, a mum. Why? Because Labour Day is for all of us working people and it’s ours to celebrate with those that we love.
Labour Day: Our day.
By Gill Armit, Metropolitan Central OrganiserLabour Day events and celebration details