APHEDA People: Meet Debbie Gunn (President of HACSU)
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA is about people – people working together to make things better for all. As the global justice organisation of the Australian union movement, each and every APHEDA supporter, member, partner, activist and participant here in Australia and all around the world contributes to the work it takes to tackle inequality and injustice. This month we speak to trade union leader, activist, internationalist and passionate APHEDA member, Debbie Gunn. Debbie talks to us about why being APHEDA means taking our union values, rights and solidarity and spreading the love across the globe. Meet Debbie!
What does it mean to be union to you?
Union means never being alone, there is always someone behind me getting my back, ensuring my rights are met. Solidarity and Equality for all. It is making sure all of my colleagues are afforded a safe work environment, human rights, and industrial rights. It is taking up the fight to Employers or Governments that either “don’t get it” or don’t care. Always striving for better.
What does it mean to be APHEDA to you?
Being APHEDA means taking all of our Union values, rights, solidarity and spreading the love across the globe. It is aiding our brothers and sisters across the world to improve their lives. It is not charity, it is true assistance to teach, support, strengthen, and encourage people to take up the fight for themselves and their fellow workers/communities.
Why do you think it’s important for APHEDA to grow its membership base, those contributing monthly to the work, to 20,000 by 2025?
The bigger the membership base the more we can do. The world is still an ugly place at times with oppressive regimes, gender bias/violence/suppression. The more support we can give to our global partners the louder their voices and progress with real people power can occur. What are you waiting for? You heard what Debbie said. Join today!
What part of APHEDA’s work are you most connected to/proud of? Why?
Honestly, all of it. I love seeing any updates of anything happening around the globe from the back blocks of Thailand, Cambodia, Timor Leste. Everything is a step in the right direction. I loved seeing our Sisters from around the world join us recently at the Anna Stewart Memorial Project International Sisterhood workshop. It was so inspiring to see them and hear them speak. It was a global feast from Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Fiji, Palestine. Truly inspiring.
What do you see as the work (areas, issues, etc.) that is most important for Union Aid Abroad to focus on into the future?
Anything we can do to break down the gender divide. Whether we look at education opportunities for Union Delegates or scholarships for poor communities, small business set up loans, building medical facilities, schools, better sanitation, establishing Unions where there are none, count me in.
When you have one-on-one conversations with people asking them to join Union Aid Abroad as a member how do you describe the work and ask people to join? Do they say yes?!
I usually just talk about some of the great initiatives APHEDA are working on. I try to relate it to the person I am talking to whether it is a personal or work connection or something I know they are interested in. It helps if someone can see how things relate to them. Pamphlets or 1 page docs are good too. A picture can tell so much more, it makes it more real. Even better if it has the membership application as part of the pamphlet!