5 reasons to join your teacher’s union today.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Why should I join my union:

  1. Collective bargaining power
  2. Protection from unfair firings
  3. Higher pay and better working conditions
  4. Protection from unfair disciplinary action and discrimination.
  5. Creating a strong front to protect your colleagues.

A union is an organised group of workers who have banded together to advocate for better working conditions and wages. Unions typically represent workers in a specific industry, such as teachers or factory workers. Unions have a long, proud history in Australia. They have ensured that Australian wages are amongst the highest in the world, and our teacher’s unions are no different.

By negotiating with employers on behalf of their members, unions are able to secure better pay and benefits for their members. In addition, unions provide a way for workers to resolve disputes with their employers. For these reasons, unions play an important role in protecting the rights of workers.

If you are a teacher, you should join a teacher’s union. There is a range of different unions for each of the different education sectors around Australia. If you work in public schools, you can join the Australian Education Union (AEU). If you work in Catholic or Independent schools, you can join the IEU. There are many benefits to joining a union, and here are the top 5 reasons why you should do it:

1. Collective bargaining power

When teachers join together and form a union, they gain collective bargaining power. This means that the union can negotiate better contracts and benefits for its members.

A teacher is standing in front of a blackboard in the background. Rows of students in the foreground all have their hands up to answer a question.
Being a member of a union means that you’re adding to the strength that the union can have to fight for your rights.

The teacher’s unions are groups of teachers who have banded together to negotiate with the school district on issues related to their employment, such as salaries, benefits, and working conditions. By coming together and bargaining as a group, the teachers union is able to get a better deal for its members than they could if they were negotiating individually.

Unions are based on the idea of ‘they can’t fire us all!’. If enough people band together to form a union, they can have a lot more power and influence than if individuals were fighting for these rights by themselves.

2. Protection from unfair firings

One of the most common union benefits is protection against unfair firings. For example, if an employer decides to lay off a group of workers, the union contract will often require that the layoffs be done in reverse order of seniority. This ensures that the most experienced and productive workers are not the first to be let go.

Additionally, unions often require that employers have just cause before they can fire an employee. This means that an employer must have a good reason, such as poor performance or deviant behaviour before they can legally terminate someone’s employment. As a result, unions help to ensure that employees are treated fairly and not arbitrarily dismissed.

Teachers in public schools have a lot of job security if they are permanent employees. The AEU has worked hard to fight for permanent teachers and ensure that it is very difficult for our public education systems to fire their employees.

If you are unfairly fired from your job, your union can help protect you. Unions have legal resources available to them that can help fight wrongful termination cases.

3. Higher pay and better working conditions

Unionized teachers earn higher salaries on average than those who are not unionized. They also enjoy better working conditions

The AEU and IEU have been strong voices for teachers when it comes to pay and conditions. Through collective bargaining, the union has been able to secure significant increases in salaries and benefits for its members. One of the reasons why the Australian pay rates for teachers are among some of the highest in the world is that we have such strong unions.

In addition, the AEU has also fought for better working conditions, such as reduced class sizes and more resources for schools. By working together, teachers have been able to make real progress in improving their pay and conditions. And that’s good news for everyone who cares about quality education.

4. Protection from unfair disciplinary action and discrimination.

The union also provides its members with legal support and protection from unfair disciplinary action. In short, the union gives its members a voice and a way to collectively improve their working lives.

In regards to discrimination, the teachers union has long been an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, working to protect the rights of queer teachers and promote inclusion in schools. In recent years, the union has advocated for better protections for transgender teachers, including the right to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

A male teacher is sitting amongst rows of students at wooden desks. He is holding a rainbow flag as he explains it's importance to LGBTQ+ people.
LGBTQ+ teachers and students risk facing discrimination not only from the school, but also from parents and other students.

The union has also pushed for policies that would allow teachers to change their names and genders on official documents, as well as ensure that queer teachers have access to adequate healthcare. In addition, the teachers union has worked to create a more inclusive curriculum and make schools safer for LGBTQ+ students. By helping to create more inclusive environments in schools, the teachers union is working to ensure that all teachers can be proud of who they are.

5. Creating a strong front to protect your colleagues.

None of the reasons in this article may have convinced you yet. These reasons may not be directly relevant to you at this stage in your career. However, there are people that you work with for whom these protections and rights are very important. 

You may want to join your local teacher’s union not to specifically protect or advocate for yourself, but because you want to support your colleagues. You may be happy with the pay and conditions that you receive at your school, but you will have colleagues who are at risk of being discriminated against or who need more paid maternity leave, for example. 

Joining your union is a great way to support your colleagues and make sure that teachers across the country have a strong voice to advocate for their rights.

What do you think? Have you joined you union? What has your experience been? Join the conversation in the comments below!

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