Is it your shout?
By Mili and Steve,
SDA DC Organisers
Most Australians of drinking age have gone to their local pub or club and been involved in a ‘shout’. Many do this on a regular basis. Assume, for example, there are four people in your ‘shout’ and they have a weekly round of drinks. On the fifth week, Jack was not able to come to the pub and his three mates were pleased. They had all noticed that Jack was very happy to ‘go missing’ when it was his turn to ‘shout’.
The three mates devised their strategy. On the following week, Jack was told in no uncertain terms that he was going to shout the first and second rounds. Jack got the message loud and clear. On the next week, Jack ensured he did not go ‘missing’.
This anecdote has many parallels in our roles as SDA Organisers. We often hear a new employee say, “Should I join the SDA? I’ll never use it, I’ll be right”. These same employees work in a variety of DC’s across South-East Queensland. These employees typically feel as though they are immune to the hectic environment which is prevalent in the DC world. They feel as though nothing will ever happen to them and are happy to take the benefits and not pay for them. They feel that someone else will keep shouting the drinks.
In a workplace environment where union members and non-members work side-by-side, it is the union members who are paying for the many ‘industrial’ benefits which all employees receive.
It is fair the SDA only helps financial members of the union. For example, the SDA provides a FREE workers’ compensation service including FREE legal representation to all members. Non-members have no support and have to fight their own very costly legal battles.
When non-members ring the SDA for help and advice, we are not in a position to help them because just like Jack, they went ‘missing’ when it was their turn to ‘shout’.
FOOTNOTE: On a bright note, Jack saw the error of his ways and importantly, his mates gave him an opportunity to mend those ways. Likewise, we all have an opportunity to encourage those non-members in our workplaces to join the SDA.
In our 32 plus years that we worked in the Coles and Woolworths DC’s, we were always conscious that we were working in two DC’s where the SDA had been the traditional union. The rates of pay and conditions at both companies are up there with the very best in Queensland and Australia. This is no fluke. It is only because of the resolve and hard work of SDA members, SDA Delegates and SDA Officials that we have rates of pay and conditions which are envied by other unions in Queensland.