The USU’s Summer2021 edition of United has been sent to members. Check it out.

Graeme Kelly

Graeme Kelly OAM USU General Secretary: “The local council elections were just the beginning. We know we have a tough fight ahead with councils who will extend casual labour. We are ready.”

Have you ever tried to get a housing loan or even a car loan for that matter, when the only thing you can show the bank is employment that’s not secure?

Have you tried planning for the future – perhaps to start a family – when parental leave is up in the air due to insecure work?

These are dilemmas that face many of our members – particularly those under 40 – as the push for labour hire and contract work becomes more prevalent.
Local councils should be leaders and their focus must be the community who elected them.

Local councils can show the way. In our last edition we saw Canterbury Bankstown Council stepping up to bring their waste services in-house.
Since embarking on our campaign and talking directly to councils about the importance of secure local jobs and services we have seen some of them embrace our Council services by Council workers campaign.

At the local government elections we took that conversation even further. We engaged directly with the candidates and asked them to commit to local jobs and services.

Across NSW nearly 500 candidates signed our pledge ( and we look forward to working with those elected.

However at this election we also extended our conversation directly with the voters with our campaign truck firing up and crisscrossing electorates.

We extended our reach by engaging in social media to spread our message.

The local council elections were just the beginning. We know we have a tough fight ahead with councils and other employers who will extend casual labour. We are ready. We have our members talking directly to us about their experiences and together, along with committed councillors we are in a strong position.
I don’t need to tell you all that we are living in strange and unprecedented times and how we come out of the pandemic will say more about us than how we behaved during it. We need strong role models who exhibit grace and strength and I would like to touch on some of those members whose stories are included in this edition.

Kellie Gale who tells her story of her year long battle with breast cancer (pages 14-15). She wants her story to help others.

I also pay tribute to our Delegate of the Year Sinead (p 30) and Life members Sigrid, Scott, Russell and Barnardo Lynch who received the award posthumously. (p 31)

It is great to see our New Gen Awards going to two fantastic members Paul and Michael. (p 21)

Finally I pay tribute to every member of the USU as we rebuild our workplaces and communities in a post Covid-19 world – TOGETHER.

Graeme Kelly OAM
General Secretary
United Services Union