FAQ – Union membership
Is being in a union safe?
Of course! Your right to join and participate in a union is protected under Australian law. It is illegal for your employer to discourage you from joining or treat you differently because you’re a union member. (This is just one of your workplace rights – as a union member you’ll learn all about your other rights!)
Will I have to go on strike?
The vast majority of bargaining and disputes are resolved without industrial action. The decision to strike is a big one, so the union takes a vote of all members in the workplace before strike action is considered.
What does it cost?
Investing in your job, your working conditions, and your industry is one of the best investments you can make. Union dues are tax deductible, and range from $6.09 per week for a part-time (under 30 hours) junior to $10.10 per week for a full time adult. We know that seems like a lot at first glance, but when you consider that, as a union member, you’re likely to receive a higher wage, better conditions, and be safer at work, you come out well ahead (particularly if you claim your dues back on tax!). We at the union office think it’s a bargain, so we’re all members too!
How does the union work?
The ASU is a not-for-profit, owned by members. The union executive are members of the union, elected by members every four years. See a helpful summary of what the union does here.
What do I get for being a member?
Besides protecting you and your colleagues at work (and contributing to the protection of all workers in your industry) and giving you a voice in daily working life, your union membership gets you discounts on an amazing range of items. Our most popular benefits include discounted movie tickets (pay around $10 for an adult ticket!) access to discounted rates at ME Bank and Australian Super, and a best-price-finding service called UnionShopper.
What can I expect as a member?
It’s worth pointing out that you’re not buying insurance or a home loan; union membership isn’t a service you pay for and forget about. As a union member you own the union, so you can be as active as you choose to be. Our motto is active, strong, united, because we know that the more active our members are, the stronger we are, and we’re stronger when we work together!
What if I need help?
If you ever feel you’ve been treated unfairly at work, the ASU should be your first phone call. It may be that we can simply explain the conditions of your agreement, or confirm your rights as an employee. We’ll give you the best advice for your situation, and we can even represent you in meetings with your boss. If we need to, we’ll take your case to the legal system, but most of the time we can settle things in negotiation.
What are my rights?
If you need advice about your rights as a clerical, administrative or office worker or services sector employee, your union, the ASU, can help. Members can contact the union for advice at any time, or check our wages and conditions page for general enquiries.