1. Unions go on strike too much.
Union members are people who go to work in order to make a living and pay their bills. It is these people, not some office in Perth, that make decisions of that nature and you can rest assured that strikes generally only occur after all other avenues have been pursued and failed.
2. The union executive will tell you to go on strike when you don't want to.
The union executive is made up of representatives from worksites elected by the workers and will only make recommendations on industrial affairs. The absolute control on those decisions rests with the members at the workplace.
3. The union doesn't care about you, it just wants your money.
This myth is propagated by people who think that "the union" is an office in the city somewhere. The union is the members - the members are the union. The office is only the administrative part of the union.
4. You don't need a union because the boss will look after you.
Most employers belong to unions although they are not called unions, they are usually associations or such like. Some of the most common employer associations in the meat industry include the WA Employers Chamber of Commerce, The Australian Meat Industry Council and Retail Law (ex Retail Traders Association).
These employer unions do for the employers much the same as what employee unions do for the workers. The boss uses their union for advice, legal assistance and representation, why shouldn't you?
5. Unions are only interested in power.
Unions are only interested in workers rights and conditions. Some people confuse a union utilising its resources to achieve outcomes for its members with being power hungry. Workers have rights and unions will protect those rights.
6. Unions should provide more services and benefits to remain relevant.
This myth is propagated by the Liberal Government to trick people into thinking that unions should be businesses that use 'hooks' or gimmicks to attract customers. The reason that they do this is to try and steer people away from the real functions of the union in an attempt to make you question your "value for money". The fact is that the union movement doesn't offer you free steak knives because that is not its role. Don't be fooled by this ploy. Just like the RAC, you may never use the union's extra services but the union is still working for you and representing your interests where it counts.
7. The union can't do anything for me if I have signed an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA).
As previously explained, the Union is always working for you and our benefits and services apply regardless of whether you work to an award, an enterprise agreement or an Australian Workplace Agreement.
The Union's position in relation to people working to AWA's is that all agreements have an expiry date and that during the life of the AWA, the Union will actively promote and organise members to work together to negotiate collective agreements to replace the AWA's. Remember, that collectively you have much more negotiating strength than as individuals, this is what the union is all about.
8. What if I am offered an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA).
If you are offered an AWA, call the union office and we will advise you of your rights at law.
If you appoint us as your Bargaining Agent, we can attend meetings and negotiate on your behalf. We can make submissions for you to the Office of the Employment Advocate or the Industrial Relations Commission if you are, or have been, disadvantaged by the agreement or are being put under duress to sign. We can advise you as to the content of the agreement and what you are entitled to under the applicable award.
Always remember that most employers are members of their own unions and are being advised professionally - why shouldn't you have the same advantages?