The IEU has welcomed two passionate new staff members to its team. Yuvashri Harish (Yuva) and Arthur Dowdle (Artie) are young lawyers who will represent IEU members at Fair Work Commission hearings.
Yuva is fresh from university and doing her legal exams to be a solicitor while she works. Volunteering at Marrickville Legal Centre while studying at UTS, Yuva noticed how often people were affected by problems with work and the importance of getting the right advice to deal with employment issues.
She sees the union movement as a good platform in which to exercise her interest in social justice.
“I didn’t realise until I started at the IEU there was such a big network of union activities out there,” Yuva said.
Lodging her first unfair dismissal proceedings has been “intense” but Yuva said she had enjoyed meeting members face to face and negotiating on their behalf.
“A little discrepancy can end up costing the member a lot and we can address that sort of thing. Members can’t be expected to know the law, that’s where we step in.
“It’s great to have someone passionate about your cause behind you.”
Artie has experience as a Fair Work Commissioner’s associate and has worked at the advice line for the Fair Work Ombudsman, so is familiar with the work of unions.
During his time at the Commission he noticed that people represented by a union had better outcomes than those representing themselves.
“The IEU was popular with Commission staff as its cases were well prepared.
“Teaching as a profession has a long history of unionism behind it and I wanted to be a part of that.
“You can see the benefits of industrial action through all the agreements, such as the Catholic systemic one, which is pretty big.”
Artie is looking forward to modernising awards and getting involved in the Equal Remuneration Orders case for early childhood teachers when it reappears before the Commission in June.