APHEDA People - Dan SpencerUnion Aid Abroad-APHEDA is about people – people working together to make things better for all. As the global justice organisation of the Australian union movement, each and every APHEDA supporter, member, partner, activist and participant here in Australia and all around the world contributes to the work it takes to tackle inequality and injustice.

Meet Dan Spencer

Dan is a long-term APHEDA member who has recently taken on the position of senior campaigner at the ASU. Dan supports ASU members in their struggles across industries, focusing on just transition and action on climate change.

 Tell us about your work?

Before becoming a campaign organiser at the Australian Services Union SA+NT Branch I worked as a community organiser with the Port Augusta community who was facing the closure of the town’s coal-burning power station. Together the community with the support of energy unions and other allies was able to secure a new large solar thermal tower with storage to be built in the town. This created new jobs beyond coal. While the transition wasn’t perfect, the community and union campaign was critical in securing a new future for the town. Read more about this inspiring community and union campaign

Why is being union important to you?

Being union means standing together at work and in the community to win a fair and just society for everyone, at home and abroad.

Why is climate change a union issue?

Climate change is a union issue because it compounds every issue that we care about and it impacts Indigenous people, people of colour, women, poor and working people the most. Whether it is workers in the energy industry who need a just transition as old fossil fuel industries close down or workers in social services who support the most vulnerable during a heat wave. Each and every one of us have a stake in action on climate change.

What does it mean to be APHEDA to you?

Being APHEDA means acting in solidarity with unions in poor countries as workers take action to improve their lives in the workplace and the community by taking action on issues like dangerous global warming.

Why do you think it’s important for APHEDA to grow its membership base, those contributing monthly to the work, to 20,000 by 2025?

It’s important as Australian unionists that we use our resources to back unions in the global south. Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is the way we do that and the more of us who join up to APHEDA the more work they can do. Not a member? Join today! 

What part of APHEDA’s work are you most connected to/proud of? Why?

I feel most connected to the work Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is doing to support unions in the global south to respond to climate change and energy issues. It was working on climate change that brought me to the union movement and to Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA.

What do you see as the work that is most important for Union Aid Abroad to focus on into the future?

Continuing to build capacity amongst unions to deal with the impacts of global warming which is impacting communities in our region right now. Global warming will compound the impacts of all the issues that Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA currently works on which is what makes it so important.

When you have one-on-one conversations with people asking them to join Union Aid Abroad as a member how do you describe the work and ask people to join? Do they say yes?!

Building the global union movement is the most effective way to raise living standards globally and fight back against the rich who want to keep poor people in the global south poor. The climate crisis is a global challenge and building the power of the trade union movement is key to fighting back.

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is strongly supported by our union office, but on a personal level, I could (and will!) be doing a lot more to spread the word!

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