I’m Dani Cotton, a casual academic in the arts faculty. I’ve been heavily involved with our union since I started working here, standing up on wage theft, conversion rights, and casual issues in general, and during enterprise bargaining.
Nationally, our union has gone through a very difficult period. A decade of Liberal government cuts, disregard of tertiary education through the pandemic, and the Job-Ready-Graduates package has decimated our sector. Managements have responded to this with tens of thousands of job cuts across the country, ending the pandemic with a net national surplus.
The new Labor government presents a relief, but also a new challenge. We must hold them to their promises on improvements to casual employment, and openly campaign to make sure funding to tertiary education is prioritised.
Our situation demands a fighting national response from our union. We should be building towards united action, whether industrially with coordinated strike action, politically with coordinated rallies for funding, or socially such as rallying together for First Nations, climate or LGBTQIA+ issues, which are huge concerns for many of our members.
I’m seeking your support for the positions of National Councillor (Academic) and National Councillor because I believe our national leadership must do better to advance the effective, united, and militant union strategy that our situation demands.
1. We must be prepared to say no to ineffective strategies, such as the jobs protection framework (JPF), a union-management “accord” which sought to impose a pay cut on ourselves in return for vague promises on stopping job losses.
2. We should be fanning the flames of organising by distributing members lists, not hiding them from delegates, and encouraging a real pay rise of inflation plus 2.5%, not imposing a cap on what branches are allowed to fight for.
3. We must be prepared to stand with transgender people, and against those who wish to exclude them from public life in any way.
In each of these areas, the National Council has made important strategic and tactical errors, which should be reversed.
I’ve been proud to work at the local level towards the militant and united vision of the union I hold, including helping to coordinate NSW protests about casualisation, urging our union to mobilise for the climate strike and LGBTQIA+ rights rallies. And I’ve proudly helped our union develop a national campaign on gender affirmation leave.
The upcoming strikes offer an opportunity for us to coordinate with other branches and other striking workers. We need to campaign for the October budget to fund education and care sectors, and to take away restrictions on the right to strike that hold workers back. And we should prepare to act to support the demands and September day of action from Yuendumu regarding First Nations justice, and the upcoming climate strike. Please support this campaign for National Council, as these political and national issues are key to our union’s success.
I’m running as a member of Rank And File Action. We want to see our national leadership reflect the kind of organising and activity we’ve seen at USYD. This means supporting a real pay rise, deepened industrial democracy, and support for social issues.
Vote  Dani Cotton for National Councillor (Academic Staff)
Vote  Dylan Griffiths for National Councillor (General Staff)
Vote  to  for National Council:
 Riki Scanlan,
 Dylan Griffiths,
 Wendy Xin,
 Matte Rochford, and
 Luke Alexander
For a full how-to-vote and to find out how you can get more involved, go to https://rafausyd.wordpress.com