NTEU wins Highly Commended union award for Save VCA campaign
The NTEU was last night recognised for its central role in coordinating and resourcing the highly successful Save VCA campaign with a Highly Commended Award from the ACTU.
The Save VCA campaign was a community campaign involving staff, students, and the arts community around the VCA, principally organised by the NTEU Victorian Division. The NTEU provided strategic direction, advice and financial resources, as well as assisting the various groups to come together under a single common platform. The Save VCA campaign sought to maintain the practical, discipline based focus of the VCA in the face of significant changes to its curriculum following a merger with the University of Melbourne. The NTEU ensured the many student, staff and community activists agreed on campaign goals, a single direction, and managed the media, communications and campaigning.
The campaign has garnered significant community awareness and support, including a Facebook page with over 13,000 fans, a rally in 2009 with over 5,000 VCA staff and students, and the NTEU organised student activists to gather the third largest petition in Victoria’s history (over 13,000 signatures). Substantial media coverage was achieved, including regular articles in The Age, including several front-page stories.
The campaign has seen widespread support from celebrities and senior political figures, including Julia Zemiro, Geoffrey Rush, Race Matthews, Jeff Kennett, and then-Opposition leader Ted Ballieu.
The campaign achieved a significant $6m recurrent funding pledge from Ballieu and more than $2m in funding from the Federal Government.
The ACTU National Union Awards are an annual event sponsored by the ACTU and ME Bank to reward the unsung heroes of the union movement.
Among this year’s winners was delegate of the year Eugene Clark, a member of the Finance Sector Union at Suncorp Bank. Best Workplace campaign went to the CFMEU Construction & General NSW Branch for saving the jobs of more than 70 construction workers on the Top Ryde City Shopping Centre project when their labour hire company struck difficulties (and subsequently went into liquidation).