United Voice members at Calvary Aged Care have come a long way.
In mid 2017, United Voice members commenced bargaining with Calvary.
However, after meeting only twice with United Voice bargaining representatives, Calvary decided to put a final offer out to a vote. This was despite a number of issues being totally unacceptable to United Voice representatives.
Calvary was proposing a 12 month Agreement which weakened consultation provisions and took away guaranteed hours and agreed start and finish times for part time workers.
Dawn Carstairs and John Kolopelnyk are United Voice Delegates at Calvary, and this was their first time as enterprise bargaining representatives.
John said, “I found the whole process really interesting – especially how seemingly small changes could become very significant.
“I feel that I learned a lot, and the experience has made me a better representative.”
Dawn said, “When Calvary decided to go to a vote so early, we felt frustrated that we would have to fight for the reasonable things we wanted.”
United Voice members stayed strong.
They campaigned to raise awareness about the impacts of the proposal in their workplace.
The results came back: with a 97% NO vote.
Calvary was forced to return to the bargaining table, and negotiate with United Voice representatives.
During further negotiations, members achieved far better conditions, including backdated wage increases, the reinstatement of guaranteed hours and agreed start and finish times for Part Time workers, an improved classification process and improved maternity leave.
Dawn said it was hard work to get there.
“But when we finally got the revised Agreement from Calvary, it was a such a relief.
“It was good to hear how happy members were with the outcome.
“I’ve been in the union since I started work, and they’ve always been there for me.
“It was brilliant to see how far the union will stand behind us in a bargaining setting, to help us get a better outcome.”
When the new Agreement was put to vote in June 2018, workers at Calvary returned a 98% YES vote.
At the time of print, the Agreement had been submitted to the Fair Work Commission for approval.