Written by Izzy.
As a participant in the first United Voice Summer Program, I didn't know what to expect.
However, over the course of the Program, I learned from accomplished Union officials who have worked all over the world, I gained hands-on experience in Union organising and developed skills to inspire others to take action.
The other participants were a diverse group of social-justice orientated individuals. At first we all had very different experiences and opinions about the union movement, ranging from family ties to media-driven perceptions or no experience at all.
Through interactive workshops we each gained a rounded understanding of the union movement.
We heard from leaders such as Kelly Shay, WA Branch Assistant Secretary, who gave us a run down on United Voice as an organisation; Karma Lord, Director of Organising, who introduced us to the basics of Union Organising and the power of story telling. Chanda Parma-Bonta, Lead Organiser of Development and Training, taught us how to engage in meaningful conversations which are effective in moving people to action.
We also examined a powerful campaign, the Fight for 15, which Karma worked on in the US.
We gained hands on experience in field-organising by accompanying Organisers to workplaces, including Hospitals, Hospitality sites and Early Childhood Education and Care Centres; meeting members and discussing workplace issues.
Later we honed our campaigning skills, taking to the streets of Mt Lawley and having meaningful conversations with workers and members of the public about Weekend Rates and the campaign to Save Our Weekend.
These parts of the Program were definitely a highlight, and it was a privilege to participate in really putting ‘social justice’ into action.
The Union movement is truly a force for positive social change, and the Program allowed me to get to know inspiring people who really care, who fight for just work places, and believe in the dignity of work.
My experience at United Voice has enhanced my understanding of the union movement and instilled a deep interest in learning more about union activism and social justice.
I was challenged and inspired by the Program and would highly encourage anyone who is interested in social justice and activism to take part in this exciting experience!