We act on behalf of our members to protect and improve wages and conditions of employment as well as providing many other services. The SDA in Queensland had its origins in 1889 when 16 drapers formed the ‘Early Closing Association’.
In the early 1900’s, the SDA was operating under the title of the ‘Shop Assistants Union’. Since then, it has grown to be the largest union in Australia. We cover a wide range of industries from retail and distribution, to pharmacy assistants, fast food workers, clerks, petrol station attendants, store people, warehouse employees, and of course, shop assistants.
The SDA has been active in Queensland since 1889 when a group of 16 draper assistants met in Brisbane to discuss the formation of an ‘Early Closing Association’.
In 1908, unions representing retail workers in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia joined together to become the Shop Assistants and Warehouse Employees Federation – today called the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).
Over time, unions in Tasmania, Newcastle and Western Australia became part of the national union.
As a result of the union’s hard work and dedication since the 1890’s, SDA members are among the highest paid retail, warehouse and fast food workers in the world today.
Throughout the years, the SDA has won important conditions such as the 40 hour week and then the 38 hour week, equal pay for women, four weeks annual leave and 17.5% leave loading, workers’ compensation benefits and one of the greatest achievements – occupational superannuation.
The SDA also led the campaign for paid maternity leave and workplace health and safety and is always at the forefront of protecting members from unscrupulous management.
The SDA will always support campaigns that promote sensible and progressive rights for hard-working Australian workers.
With such an emphasis on the rights of its members, it’s no wonder the SDA has grown to become Australia’s largest union covering every aspect of the retail industry.