25 Year Members
Every year in May our union takes the opportunity to recognise a significant part of our membership: those who have been members for 25 years.
In reaching this significant milestone, these members have made an immeasurable contribution to the prosperity of our union and continue to ensure our union is a strong voice for employees in our sector.
Members recognised with 25 years of membership receive a commemorative badge and certificate honouring their commitment and loyalty. Members are also honoured in Chapter morning teas to celebrate their contribution to our union.
Paul Baker, History and the Humanities Curriculum Development Leader at St Teresa's Catholic College on the Sunshine Coast has worked in the profession in a number of sectors over the past 30 years.
In 2016, Paul chalks up 25 years of continued membership with our union. "Raised in a politically aware household, unionism is natural to me," Paul said.
"As teacher of history, the value and importance of unionism is obvious to me. I’ve never not been in a union. Teaching is both professional AND Industrial; they cannot be separated.
"All educators need to internalise the fact that unorganised labour will be exploited unless there is unity under the banner of unionism; it is a truism that history has taught us," Paul said.
Julie Timms is Director at Nanango & District Kindergarten and has worked in the education sector since 1978. This year, she marks 25 years of membership with our union.
Julie said reaching the 25 year mark has been a highlight among her experiences of union membership. "To be able to stay with the same union for this long is due to the consistency of my workplace and how our union has been able to improve working conditions for our sector," she said.
Founding the 25 year member recognition
Previous years' celebrations
Working as a teacher for 36 years, Xavier Catholic College teacher Peter De Waard has seen many changes in delivering education to students.
“The curriculum has changed considerably, especially in terms of its focus from rote learning to more higher-level thinking. Amongst all of the changes, however, there is still one constant. The students are still the focus.”
Peter said when deciding to join as a union member he thought it was a valuable thing to do.
“Since then, I have seen many conditions added to others hard-fought for in the past. I have also seen teachers who have been dealt with harshly by the employers able to stand up and defend their positions with a strong union behind them every step of the way. To me, this is the most important reason for being a union member.”
Mac Horne from All Souls St Gabriels School in Charters Towers said during his years as a school counsellor the demand for the services offered in schools had grown steadily and QIEU members with 25 years membership have been recognised for their long standing membership of our union in Chapter celebrations. In accepting the recognition, members reflect on the changes in education over those 25 plus years had become more complex.
“The job has become more challenging. With counsellors being employed at most or all schools these days, a higher proportion of students seek their services. For those teachers with an affinity for this kind of work, the rewards would have increased, but so would the pressure.”
Mac said he had found it comforting to be a union member and the support given during these times had been excellent.
“I am happy to know that there are services available, through the staff representative, to give you a sense of security and also the means to add to the quality of your services on offer."
Teacher Martin Rose of Assisi Catholic College said he had seen a lot of changes in education and our union during his 25 years of union membership. Martin said that some of the changes in the profession of the last quarter century had been positive, such as the gains that union members had made in wages and conditions—although there was still a long way to go. Some negative changes in the profession, such as the ongoing time and resourcing pressures placed on teachers, were still needed to be overcome, he said.
“I joined our union not because I could see benefits but probably more so because I thought it was a prudent thing to do.”
St Kevin’s Parish Primary School teacher Tony Doneley has worked for 31 years in Catholic schools and has seen many changes to the profession over this time.
“I’ve never worked harder in my life (because) of the changing expectations and approaches to education,” Tony said.
He agrees our union has changed over the years too. “Years ago you just knew you had to be a member. Our union now works with you a lot more and is a lot more visible. The idea of having someone there behind you and to support you is why I joined.”
Ipswich Flexible Learning Centre teacher and 25 year member David Harrison has seen many changes to education in the almost 30 years he has taught in schools. David said when he began teaching the delivery of a set curriculum was important, with no consideration of what students were interested in or what they wanted to learn. Today there is more dialogue with students with programs designed to meet their interests so that they want to participate in learning.
“We’ve moved away from the ‘Grandma Curriculum’ of just the Maths, Science areas and more into technology - and what’s actually interesting and engaging to young people,” he said.
David said he has always understood the benefit of being a member of our union and the collective in action.
“I can never see a reason why not to join... it seemed so logical to support a group of people who are going to support me.”
Our Lady of the Rosary School Principal Andrew Oberther has also seen many changes to the profession over the years, including work intensification and increased community expectations on teachers and schools.
Cannon Hill Kindergarten Co-Director, Rhonda Murphy said it has always been comforting to know that our union is there to lend its support if necessary.
“It’s nice to be recognised as a long-time member and it’s crucial to have union support, particularly in recent times with legislative change impacting our sector,” she said.
Mary MacKillop College Head of Science Dennis O’Connor agrees that work intensification has increased. “Work intensification has gone ballistic. Record keeping has increased. Technology has changed, too.”
Mary MacKillop College colleague and Head of Maths, Judy Keen, has seen many changes to our union over the years she has been a member.
“There were limited resources in our union back then. The range of services has changed and the presence of union representatives in schools. Union is (still) critical to everyone’s working lives,” she said.
St Patrick’s College, Mackay teacher Gary Giumelli recalls the reason he originally decided to join QIEU was for the protection, security and feeling of being part of a collective.
This collective strength was evidenced over a decade ago after Gary was dismissed from a school for his management of a student. Following a sustained and highly focussed ‘Justice for Gary’ campaign by his colleagues the unfair dismissal case was settled out of court and he was reinstated. Gary has in turn paid favour to his union colleagues when they have needed help.
“I am very proud to have defended staff that have suffered because of workplace bullying. Our union has been a constant (for me), offering great support in all areas.”
Joanne Bowman from Our Lady of Lourdes School admits she has always been glad to be a member of our union. As the staff representative at the school for 10 years, Joanne says she:
“believes in the protection of our union and also the collegiality of being together as a group of like-minded people.”
Principal of Assumption College, Warwick Peter Moloney said he originally joined “as a safety net in case something went wrong and I need the QIEU for support. It has never happened, but it has been a comfort to know that the support is there.”
St Pius X School’s June Romer joined in 1981 and five years later became Chapter rep; she’s been in that role ever since. June says she’s passionate about union and has seen many changes to union over the years.
“The last 10 or 15 years our union has been more involved (in schools). Our union is not just there for you when you have a problem; they are always there.”