Making A Difference At Home And Work

postcard_photo.jpgOur union was founded to fight for a better deal for members at work, but today United Voice does much more than that.

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We aim to improve members’ lives both at work and outside of work. For example we are looking at helping members in low-income households to use less energy, which means lower power bills.

It’s not just about saving money reducing energy use also helps fight dangerous climate change. We know that many of our members are in rental accommodation. When you don’t own your house or unit, it’s difficult and expensive to install solar power or other energy saving technology.

That’s why United Voice has teamed up with the Nature Conservation Council for a project under the Federal Government’s Low Income Energy Efficient Program (LIEEP). The program works with low-income households to monitor energy use in the home. Renters are given free advice about how to cut power use. Conversations with landlords discuss the need for more energy efficient water systems and appliances.

The LIEEP program shows how our union can work with other community organisations to make a real difference to the everyday lives of members and their families.

The key to strong campaigns is to build alliances with others groups that share common concerns. This is exactly the idea behind the Sydney Alliance, a broad-based outfit linking unions, churches, ethnic groups and others in the community. United Voice members have been closely involved with Sydney Alliance, especially in Western Sydney.

We support the Sydney Alliance campaign for better, safer and more frequent public transport. The campaign makes a lot of sense for our members and their families who need transport to work, to school and everywhere else.

Another hot transport related issue is the ongoing debate over a second Sydney airport. The NSW Government doesn’t want a second airport at all, unless it’s in Canberra, while the Feds want to build one at Wilton, 80 kilometres southwest of the CBD. One option that has been on the table for more than 30 years is Badgerys Creek in Sydney’s west. Like all the potential airport sites, Badgerys Creek has attracted strong opposition from some local residents. However there is little doubt a second airport will be built, and with it will come many jobs and a big economic boost for the region that hosts it.

That’s why United Voice is consulting our members across Western Sydney about the Badgerys Creek debate. We want to have a voice on this issue and we want to ensure we get the best result for our members. Of course the union’s core business will remain supporting our members at work.

A major focus of our industrial work right now is our school cleaners, with the current four-year contracts due to expire in 2015. We are determined to maintain the current working hours for our cleaners, and we will campaign to win support among school communities for this.

Mark Boyd


United Voice NSW

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