Congratulations to USU member Dave McDonald from Inner West Council on 50 years union membership.

Dave joined in 1970 as a concreter at Marrickville Municipal Council. His reason for joining was that his family, friends and work colleagues were all strong supporters of independent workers union.

Read our interview below with Dave to find out more about his experience with the union over the years, what’s changed and advice to people entering the workplace now. 

Dave, how has the union supported you throughout the years?

“I have been personally assisted by the union in many matters arising in the workplace over the past 50 years such as OH & S, unfair decisions, entitlements. I was a union delegate for more than 6 years back in 1980’s in waste services supporting staff.

I was able to gain confidence to stand up and challenge decisions made by management. Now I am in a middle management position I am able to see both sides and strive to achieve a good outcome for all.”

From when you started up until now, how do you think the workplace has changed?

“When I started there were open back trucks, with man standing on top of garbage with loaders throwing bins up to be emptied. Bins were then bins were thrown back down to loader on ground.

No PPE equipment, most of the time worked in shorts, singlet and sand shoes, in wet weather it was speedos and sand shoes!

All rubbish was collected in one truck, garbage, green waste, recycling, clean up items like chairs, mattresses and this was all tipped into landfill.

Now we have trucks for recycling, general rubbish, clean up, white goods, organics and green waste with a special tip for each. PPE consists of hat, gloves, high vis long sleeve shirt, pants, rain jackets, glasses, running shoes (with steel cap boots for drivers when at the tip) and that is all year round rain hail or shine.”

Is there any advice you would give to people entering the workplace now?

“I always encourage new starters to join the USU, an organiser or delegate is available to assist you with any workplace issues that may arise. Such as advice on entitlements, OH&S concerns, support and guidance with fellow workers or supervisors etc. A Union organiser or delegate will “always be by your side”.