Union membership comes with many benefits – union members on average receive better pay and conditions than non-union members0A 2021 report by the Economic Policy Institute found that unions promote economic equality and help workers to win increases in pay, better benefits and safer working conditions. The report also found that unions are good for community health and wellbeing, and for democracy. for instance. But it’s important to remember that YOU are the union. You have a role to play.
What does this mean?
Fundamentally, ANMF cannot achieve for you and your colleagues without you. The more members we have, the more power you all have; and the more power you have, the more likely it is we will achieve better outcomes in relation to your pay and conditions.
Being an ANMF member is a commitment to your professional and personal wellbeing and to the wellbeing of your colleagues, and of your patients, residents and/or consumers.
Being an engaged or active ANMF member is an even more powerful commitment to your professional and personal wellbeing and that of your colleagues, patients, residents or consumers.
How you help ANMF to help you
You are ANMF’s eyes and ears in the workplace. If you need help, we will have your back to navigate the contractual and legal obligations and options you have but we cannot do that work without you. The same principle applies when it comes to negotiating a new EBA in order to improve your pay and conditions.
ANMF employs some staff experienced and educated in employment and OH&S legislation to help negotiate EBAs, resolve workplace disputes and represent you at your workplace. They work with a much bigger team of experienced nurses and midwives to ensure outcomes are appropriate and satisfactory to you.
For EBAs there are steps in this process that you can contribute to. One of these steps is speaking with your colleagues and Job Reps or HSRs to come up with ideas for workplace improvements. These ideas can then be submitted as motions for debate at delegates conferences. Motions that win the support of the majority of delegates become resolutions, and resolution help to guide the direction of the Branch – including what we ask for from employers to include in your EBA during negotiations.
Another step in the bargaining process that only you can do is voting. Voting to accept or reject a proposal to take action, or voting to accept or reject an employer’s offer. ANMF will facilitate voting to ensure it is conducted lawfully, but only members can vote. You have the final say.
Your power, your responsibility
This is your power. It is also your responsibility.
To ensure you achieve the best outcomes, it pays to keep up to date – not just with what is happening during a bargaining campaign but also with the broader social and political decisions that affect nursing and midwifery: our professions are highly regulated, and intimately affected by public policy. This is why real nursing and midwifery unions are political.
You can keep up to date and be engaged and active with the Branch in several ways:
- Familiarise yourself with your EBA. You can find it in the member portal under the ‘My Membership’ dropdown menu. Your EBA specifies all your terms and conditions of employment including your pay rates at work. Only by knowing what is and isn’t in it will you know what members at your workplace would like changed.
- During an EBA campaign, read the log of claims and talk about it with your colleagues. The 2024 public sector log of claims is available now.
- Outside of a bargaining campaign, discuss ideas for change with your colleagues, and submit these ideas to the Branch via your delegates. You can find a list of the delegates on your ward or in your workplace in the member portal under the ‘My Membership’ dropdown menu.
- Consider becoming a delegate yourself. Delegates (Job Reps and HSRs) are nurses, midwives and carers just like you. But they have specialised training and tools, provided by ANMF, to support their colleagues, and in the case of HSRs they also have legal protections to help you solve health and safety problems at work. Delegates are a key source of communication between ANMF and members.
- Attend meetings: another key source of communication between the Branch and members are meetings. If you have questions or concerns, ANMF member meetings are one of the best ways to get answers. Attending meetings is also vitally important if you want your voice to be heard during EBA campaigns.
- Read newsflashes, emails and other ANMF publications and social media: these are our direct line of contact with you on important matters in your workplace, and in your industry. If you are not receiving our monthly On the Record and eNews emails you are also not receiving essential EBA member updates. We either have the wrong email address or you have unsubscribed and will need to resubscribe.
- Be prepared to campaign for the EBA outcome you want. And encourage your colleagues to join the campaign, and to join ANMF.