CECILLE AND HELEN SHARE THEIR STORIES
At the SDA, our SDA Organisers, Industrial Officers, Information Officers and other staff help out members at work every day and make a real difference in their lives. Below are some of their stories. Have a story of your own, of how being an SDA member has improved your life? Send it through to email@example.com to share the good news.
Cecille arrived in Australia from the Phillipines some 38 years ago. Since then, Cecille has juggled her family responsibilities with working in a variety of jobs in the paid workforce.
In Cecille’s own words, she answered the following question: why did you join the SDA? Cecille replied, “Ever since I was first employed, I have always joined the union for my industry. Without a union, you have no one working for you; you’re left in the dark. The SDA has brilliant people working for us”.
Cecille has worked at Kmart for 10 years as a door greeter and has really enjoyed working with people.
Because Cecille is an SDA member, she is automatically covered by the SDA’s Accident Insurance Policy which covers members outside the times they are covered by workers’ compensation.
In Oct 2017, Cecille had an unfortunate accident with an unfriendly lawnmower. After starting the lawnmower, she injured three fingers. Unfortunately, her surgeon had to partially amputate a finger to the first joint. She is still in constant pain everyday from her right hand to her shoulder. Furthermore, Cecille cannot close her hand properly and has trouble with writing and basic tasks.
Cecille takes responsibility for learning more about her rights and also keeps up to date by reading the SDA publications. She knew about the SDA’s Accident Insurance Policy and contacted the union. She spoke to Denise and Glenda in the SDA office and subsequently made a claim on the Policy.
Within a very short period of time, Cecille’s claim was accepted by the insurance company and she received over $15,000 in Accident Insurance payments. The money Cecille received has helped her in the nearly 18 months she has been off work. To aid her recovery, Cecille has had specialty therapist appointments which are not covered by Medicare. These appointments cost over $100 for a 30 minute consultation.
Cecille further commented that “everyone should join the SDA Union because the SDA will look after us. They are doing their job and working hard to look after members. I can’t imagine going through this without the help of Denise at the SDA. Every time I called her, she always returned my call and did what I needed ASAP. I like how the union is always there for me. My SDA Organiser has also helped me in the past by giving me advice on what to do about getting abused by customers”.
Cecille is a fighter and we wish her well in her on-going rehabilitation.
P.S. Denise and Glenda are also pursuing REST for a Total Permanent Disability claim.
Until recently, Helen had been a casual employee at Woolworths. Helen joined the SDA not long after she commenced work with Woolworths.
She started work at her store in July 2015. Before long, she realised that part-time work would suit her far better than casual employment.
To Helen, the main advantages of part-time work are the financial security and the defined rosters which help provide stability in her life. Coupled with the improvements in gaining permanent work in the recently endorsed 2018 Woolworths Retail Enterprise Agreement, Helen discussed moving to permanent work with her store management.
In Helen’s words, “the discussions with management concerning a move to part-time work were taking a long time. The new EBA which was negotiated by the Union with Woolies had real improvements which gave me hope. I asked Nikolai, my SDA Organiser, for help and before too long I was offered part-time employment by my store management. I am so grateful to Nik and the SDA. The Union fought for this improvement and many others in the new EBA. I started my part-time position in April. I’ve been on this big emotional roller coaster ride but it has been all worth it. I now have security on my side, roster certainty and I believe I have a greater chance of advancement in my job. I am also proud of myself. I now have peace of mind. I was determined and I succeeded”.