School secretary Patricia Toohey has happily fulfilled the role of IEU Rep for more than 10 years.
“I was really surprised when I first started going to chapter meetings to find out I was the only Rep who was from support staff,” Tricia said.
“I have never had a problem representing teachers or support staff at meetings. You get loads of support from your organiser.”
Tricia works as secretary and finance officer, at St Mary’s Primary School Batlow, three days a week and at McCauley Catholic Central School as a primary administrator two days a week. She is the Rep at St Marys.
“I just believe the average Joe needs a union behind them,” Tricia said.
“I tell new staff that if it wasn’t for the union, men would be earning more than women, and there wouldn’t be maternity pay or parental leave and that if we don’t keep up the numbers and strength, we’ll lose some of those things.”
Tricia encourages fellow support staff to put their hands up to be an IEU Rep.
“I guess because teachers make up the majority of the school, support staff assume that a teacher should be the Rep.
“But there’s no reason why they can’t do it and having a different perspective at chapter meetings would be great.