For everyone VGSA campaign: the bigger the better is truer than ever

Erin Aulich, Secretary, AEU Victorian branch

One of the key things that keeps me inspired and energised during these uncertain days of rolling lockdowns is the undiminished passion of our members. 

Every day I see members going above and beyond, constantly reinventing the wheel to make sure that everyone in their care, and also in their extended circle, is fully supported. I also see how that care is extended to your colleagues. Our schools, TAFEs, disability services and early childhood centres are packed full of some of the most passionate people I have ever had the privilege to meet. It fills me with renewed strength and vigour in my own role.

However, I’m also keenly aware of the challenges our members are facing every day. Here, at the AEU, we know that you do all of the above, and more, out of the deepest sense of commitment to your role and to the profession you believe in. But we also know that this dedication can come at a huge personal cost. We understand all too well that crippling workloads prevent you from focusing on the reason why you got into this job in the first place: to help students and clients achieve their goals and be the best that they can be. This work shouldn’t be taking such a dramatic toll on our members. 

That is what drives me to keep fighting the good fight for better conditions for AEU members. And that fight is more important than ever, with the VGSA campaign in full swing and a federal election waiting in the wings. 

We lift each other up, and we are unquestionably stronger together. Our strength is in our numbers. We are a collegiate workforce built on solidarity and collaboration. This needs to extend to the way we work together for better industrial outcomes.

We rely on our most engaged members working side by side with us and we are always looking to support you to take a more active role in union business

Workload is the key issue for our members right now. We are hearing this loud and strong. Our politicians need to hear this too – and the bigger our membership base, the harder we are to ignore.

This year we have recruited around 2,500 new members so far. That brings AEU Victoria’s membership close to 50,000 strong. We need to reach and surpass this number to keep building our power to win real change.

If you have any colleagues who have not yet joined the AEU – but talk about wanting change on pay, workload and other conditions – then let them know that their best chance of achieving these improvements, for themselves and their colleagues, is to sign up and get involved with the union!

We rely on our most engaged members working side by side with us – your elected officials – and we are always looking to support you to take a more active role in union business. Please reach out if you want to get more involved. We have set up regional campaign hubs specifically to support our members to join with other local members and help lead the way on important causes.

You can get involved in the simplest of ways. Given the current popularity of comfort clothing, it’s a great time to check out our online shop – and give the union greater visibility. You can stock up on AEU t-shirts, our new hoodies and other merchandise there.

We are also keen to hear your recruitment ideas. Our sub-branch, workplace, regional and council meetings are all being held online as we navigate lockdown, so it’s easy to get involved and share your thoughts!

The AEU is a member-focused organisation. Every year, your union fees are targeted towards creating high-profile campaigns for better conditions; providing high-level support and advocacy; and representing members at tribunals, in collective and individual court cases, and through Workcover claims. We also invested in quality training, conferences and meetings across the state.

We are prouder than ever of our members. You have shown amazing professionalism and commitment to your work throughout this pandemic. We know the wider community agrees! So, let’s urge every non-member to join the union and stand with us, so that we can harness this collective power and community support to achieve the workload improvements our members need.

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