Are you passionate about public education? Do you care about the conditions under which you and your colleagues work and your students learn?
In your opinion, should public educators be respected and compensated fairly for their work? Are you committed to equality and fairness, and to making our education system - and our wider community - the best it can be?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are an ideal candidate for a role representing your sub-branch! It's true that being a sub-branch rep will take up some of your time. Some roles take up more time than others. But this is time spent with like-minded, dedicated individuals, committed to our profession. It's your chance to be a real force for good in your workplace. Together, we really do make a difference.
And if you're worried you don't know how to be a sub-branch rep, we're always here to help!
Here's what's involved in each role:
The president is the captain of the sub-branch; they steer the ship and keep things on course. They have responsibility for arranging sub-branch events and meetings and engaging members in the activities of the union. The president is also the key liaison with the AEU office through their organiser.
SUB-BRANCH DEPUTY PRESIDENT
The deputy president carries out the responsibilities of the president in their absence. The deputy president should also help the president support colleagues who encounter any issues in your workplace.
Are your organisational skills legendary in your workplace? Is your personal library alphabetised, and your stationery stash colour-coded? You're perfect for sub-branch secretary! The secretary will schedule sub-branch meetings, circulate any papers and talk to sub-branch members to ensure the meetings are capturing the interests of the sub-branch.
The secretary also has the very important role of liaising with the AEU ACT office to ensure that the list of members in your sub-branch is up to date.
Our Branch Council is our ultimate decision-making body. It’s made up of representatives from every sub-branch around the ACT, and it meets eight times a year. If you're ready to take a big bite out of the sub-branch pie, this is the role for you.
Councillors are ambassadors of their sub-branch at Council, representing the interests and concerns of your sub-branch and reporting back to the sub-branch about Council discussions and decisions. Your sub-branch will have a different number of Councillor positions depending on its size.
If you like the idea of being a Councillor but you're not quite sure you can commit to the eight meetings, you might consider nominating as an Alternate Councillor, to fill in when needed.
NEW EDUCATOR CONTACT OFFICER
Being a new educator is an exciting and often daunting time. The role of the New Educator Contact Officer is to ensure new educators know about (and receive) their entitlements and rights, including reduced face-to-face hours and New Educator Support Days. New Educator Contact Officers should also talk to new colleagues about joining our union and spread the word about the great opportunities to get involved and get support, like the New Educator Conference held in term 1, and the New Educator Network that meets throughout the year.
If you think you can be a supportive influence to your newest colleagues, this could be the role for you!
WOMEN'S CONTACT OFFICER
If you're passionate about promoting women's rights and issues that face our women members, you could be an amazing Women's Contact Officer in your sub-branch.
The holder of this role also encourages the involvement of women in leading our union.
Women's Contact Officers are supported through our Women's Network meetings, which are held throughout the year, and our AEU office Women's Officer, Malisa Lengyel.
WORKLOAD COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVE
This position is the sub-branch's representative on the Workload Committee. They bring the sub-branch's suggestions to Committee and report back to the sub-branch on any discussions or decisions.
HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE (HSR)
If you're naturally vigilant about the condition of your workplace and want to ensure you and your colleagues are working in the safest environment possible, you could be your workplace's new HSR!
Essentially, the job is to monitor your workplace to ensure it is a safe environment - physically and mentally - and to pursue any issues that arise. HSRs are entitled to training to be able to perform their role effectively. Note that, although it's customary for the AEU to conduct elections for the HSR, the HSR does not have to be an AEU member.
If any of these roles spark your interest, why not have a chat to last year's rep from your sub-branch to find out more? You can also get in touch with the AEU ACT office if you have any questions. Make 2019 the year you find your place in your union! Put your hand up for a role in your sub-branch, come along to our Industrial Retreat in Term 1, and make a real difference in your workplace.