United we stand
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 3, 14 April 2022, page no. 20
Solidarity means different things to different people, but for me it means being “united”, standing together to advance our profession.
One of my earliest memories of solidarity is from my very first Labour Day March at 10 years of age, when I played in a brass band. I remember people of all ages coming together, chanting, holding signs, waving flags, and wearing their union shirts while marching down the street.
For several years after that, I continued to play in the brass band, never missing an opportunity to march. Little did I know at the time that one day I would be standing out at the front, proudly wearing my Union shirt, chanting along with my colleagues, leading the Queensland Teachers’ Union.
So here are my top 10 reasons why solidarity is important.
Collectivism as a Union
When we unite together under a common goal, we have:
- strength in numbers.
- the knowledge that we don’t stand alone.
Collectivism as an individual
Using tools gained from training, we know we have the support behind us to advocate as an individual.
- Being a QTU Representative in school or TAFE means advocacy at a local level to address local issues.
Union pride, Union proud
Having pride in Union achievements and belonging to a growing and active industrial community.
- Wearing your Union shirt.
- Marching with Union, family, and friends.
- Knowing that campaigning with your Union leads to wins for you, your students and your school community.
Putting in the hard yards
Attending meetings, training days and marches – knowing that achieving outcomes can equate to a hard-fought win.
- Change doesn’t happen overnight.
- Campaigning/advocating takes time.
- Never giving up!
The QTU is a democratic organisation in which there are many ways to have your voice heard and to participate.
- Raising concerns at branch meetings.
- Writing motions.
- Emailing and/or calling the QTU directly.
- Every little bit counts.
- You are the Union!
Bringing people together
The QTU is a community that has many different committees and opportunities for members to get involved.
- Member groups.
- Regional support through our 14 QTU Organisers.
- Labour Day activities.
- NEN beginning teacher network.
The QTU, improving the rights of its members and promoting public education since 1889.
- Advocating for the industrial rights and professional rights of teachers and school leaders.
- Promoting public education for all Queensland students.
- Improving the working conditions of teachers and school leaders.
- Teaching conditions = learning conditions.
The broader union movement
Working with other stakeholders to create beneficial change.
- Walking beside other unions like the AEU and peak bodies like the QCU and ACTU – standing in solidarity.
- Sending a strong, united message for working Australians.
Building on the achievements of the past to secure fair working conditions for future generations.
1997, my first year of teaching and my first taste of industrial action with the QTU’s “Leading Schools” campaign.
- Campaigns reinforce the importance of solidarity and standing together.
For the future
Understanding and learning from past campaigns - wins and losses.So that improvements can be made.
- Ensuring that state schools and TAFE continue to deliver world class education to our students.
- So that the QTU will continue to advocate for teachers and school leaders for many years to come.
As we adapt to the changing and uncertain times, whether it is curriculum, a potential change of governments, or enterprise bargaining – now, more than ever, we need to stand together, united in our advocacy to achieve the best outcomes for the future of public education.
By Leah Olsson, Vice-President