If ever a member has rolled up his sleeves and taken on the vital job of being a Federation Representative with both hands, it is Kirrawee High School’s Scott Cox.
He sees the role of Fed Rep, one which he has held for two-and-a-half years, as “incredibly important”.
“You are often the only conduit between Council decisions, the association and your branch and have to capture and disseminate complex issues to your members and the wider community,” said Mr Cox, who is also secretary and Council member for Sutherland Teachers Association.
“You have to know about policy, process and professional standards. Members look to you to lead and encourage and represent their needs in the workplace and beyond. When I was elected Fed Rep, I knew I wanted to do the position justice and enrich the presence the union has had at my workplace.”
He joined Federation while at university more than 12 years ago, and feels empowered by the good the union does and the role he can play in that good.
“I think all members should take a greater interest in their working conditions and the quality of public education in this state and beyond,” he said.
“I think by modelling strong values of respect and camaraderie throughout your activism, less participative members can see the value of a collective voice.
“I would also challenge members to seek a representative that supports them and what they want in a Fed Rep, point out these qualities in colleagues and suggest they run when the opportunity presents itself.”
Class sizes, timetable changes, professional support, and staff allocations are always pretty high on meeting agendas. “I am planning a parent forum in the coming months to update the community on the progress of the schools funding campaign and the long path we still have to travel,” he said.
The school’s Federation Committee has been a constant at Kirrawee High and recently added positions for the branch executive roles of Woman’s Contact, chairperson and secretary to support the Fed Rep.
“I wanted to ensure a strong union presence and continual support for each member,” he said. “I was also able to increase the general committee number to nine members and encourage them to participate at an association level.
“They were pivotal in helping organise and manage a majority of our members being present for the Gonski truck at the school and continue to spread a positive voice for activism throughout the school and community.”
There’s also no reason for teachers at Kirrawee to be out of touch with union issues. Mr Cox and staff created a Federation wall in their common room under the banner “We are Federation”, which holds important information on membership, campaigns and associated displays.
“I have also engaged Members through weekly emails of ‘fun facts” related to NSWTF and more in-depth analysis of critical union and school-based procedures,” he said.
“I have created a multitude of fun postcards in an attempt to re-engage past members and non-members.
“I want to show my colleagues what I already devoutly believe, that the NSWTF does overwhelming good for teachers in this state and we should support it (and its wide membership) always.”
And the achievement he is most proud of? “My continued nomination and re-election, I must be doing something right!”