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Meet new CPSU Organiser Ruby Thomas-Thompson

RECENTLY the CPSU welcomed Ruby Thomas-Thompson to the team. Although she’s new to the CPSU, Ruby has plenty of knowledge about unions.

Ruby’s first union job was with the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF).

“I was studying Community Services at TAFE and living out of home, when I went for a job advertised with the ANF for a trainee administration officer. I applied for the position and  got it; even after admitting that I really didn’t know anything about unions.

“I was with the ANF for about 18 months, and by the time I’d finished there I’d been to that many rallies, marches and all these other fantastic events. I’d been a marketing manager, admin officer and on reception – so I’d had quite a broad range of experience in various roles.

After I’d been there for a while, I became quite close to a woman who was an Industrial Officer, through the stories she’d tell me I learned quite a bit. With that particular union you had to be a nurse to become an Organiser. I realised after the 18 months with the ANF that I wanted to do more than work in the office.”

After the ANF, Ruby worked at the Australian Services Union (ASU) for about four years.  “I started in reception, then went to Admin and then worked in an office manager type role, before starting some Organising.

“Being on reception at a union really helps you understand how important they are. Some people would talk to me for hours about things like losing a house because they’d lost their job. That really made me passionate about unions and what they can do for people.”

Ruby brings this wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role as trainee Organiser at the CPSU.

As well as working with Members, Ruby is also completing a 12-month Organising Works program, which will no doubt only add to her skills as an Organiser.

“I’ve learnt a lot so far at training, how to empower people in the workplace, educate people in the importance and history of unionism and a lot more. Coming to the CPSU’s been great, I am excited to be able to simply concentrate on organising, building union strength and fairness at work. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have completed my studies and I can continue working as an Organiser.”

“I’ve also just completed my OH&S Certificate 4, which was about all the new health and safety laws. One of the biggest things with OH&S for the public sector is making people aware that bullying and harassment is an OH&S issue. It’s something that’s not very well advertised at the moment. So that’s something I’ll be trying to do in my role, raise awareness of OH&S. I find that OH&S is such a big part of work, but we really don’t think about it enough.”

Ruby started with the CPSU during a busy time, in the middle of the Stand Up for Fairer Workplaces campaign in a week full of Member meetings.

Ruby’s already started visiting worksites, meeting Members and Delegates. She’s the Organiser for CPSU Members in the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources and the Tasmanian Fire Service.

Work and study have kept Ruby pretty busy over the last year. “Outside work I do contemporary dancing. It’s something that I find really fun and it’s something that you can do that doesn’t involve thinking a whole lot.”  Ruby also likes to write in her spare time and reading is another pastime, with Rachel Treasure being one of her favourite authors.

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