SDA Membership brings peace of mind
By Michelle Mauger, SDA Union Organiser
Recently, Joan Cooper was the face of a recent Coles advertising campaign. Joan appeared on television, featured in newspaper advertisements and became quite the celebrity!
Joan has worked for Coles for 30 years and is one of the smiling faces when you walk into the Elanora store.
I’ve personally known Joan for close to six years since I commenced working for the union. I recently caught up with Joan and we had a chat about the advertising campaign and life in general. I thought it was worthwhile to share part of Joan’s retail journey with you.
Let’s hear from Joan
“I was 15 years old when I first started working as a telephonist at the GPO in Sydney. I was earning three pounds a week. Back then, conditions were vastly different. For example, there was no such thing as superannuation, although this was a government job.
“In 1987, I was 45 years old and married with two children. I took my son for a job interview at Super Kmart which, in those days, was a combined Coles and Kmart store. At his interview, I was also invited to submit an application which was subsequently successful. “When I started on my first day I also joined the SDA union.
“Other than private superannuation, where you paid money into a private entity yourself, there still wasn’t any type of employer paid superannuation. Eventually the SDA union fought for an employer-based super which was to provide for our retirement; it was hugely welcomed and big news. Having this employer-based superannuation meant that my husband and I could now plan and feel safer in our retirement. Since then, while my husband was alive we were able to use this super for holidays together and it has set me up in my retirement, where I am now able to live very comfortably.”
“I would also like to share with the young people starting work that it is extremely important to prepare for your future, although I understand you might not be thinking of retirement just yet, but setting yourself up early will mean a very comfortable future. Things like superannuation and a savings plan will be a huge benefit to you when you’re ready to retire.
“With the help of the SDA, you can do all this and more. The union is constantly fighting for things like increases in superannuation, pay rises, safe workplaces, keeping public holiday rates and heaps more. They also provide benefits like legal services and savings in things like cars and travelling.”
“I joined the union to provide a little bit of work security for myself and they haven’t disappointed. Whether 15 or 75 years old, you’ve got to have protection or something that can back you if it’s needed and the union helps you every time.”
Keep smiling Joan. You are a total inspiration!