Black History Month

Hi my name is Quincy, I am a Union Rep for Communication Workers Union {CWU}. I have been rep with my union for 6 years. It has been an amazing experience and truly rewarding to make a positive change to people lives.

In my six years journey with the union, I have worked my way through the ranks from branch to national. I have been blessed to have a very supportive union, that provided me with the support and help that I needed to progress as an officer.

Initially, I joined the union as I was interested in the charity work for CWUHA {Communication Workers Union Humanitarian Aid}. They were going to do a Coast to Coast Cycle to raise funds.

Following joining, I attended my first committee meeting within 2 weeks. This was my first taste of the active union and the work we do for members, for society and for other reps and officers.

I had become interested becoming an officer and learning what actions are required to help my fellow colleagues to deal with issues in the workplace. I applied for the vacant position of B.A.M.E. Officer in Branch and I was successfully elected.

The branch had never had a BAME Officer before so I immediately looked to make a change to introduce the role to the members. I started with surveying and mapping my members to find out their issues. This developed into a 12 month plan to address and campaign.

Following this approach, I decided to also stand for election as the Young Workers Officer for the Branch and was also successful.

I have since progress to become the CWU Regional Executive Lead and National Committee Chair for Young Workers and National Chair for TUC Young Workers. This opportunity has been amazing and I loved the ability to advance from representing in one workplace to representing the national membership.

One of the greatest benefits of being based in the North East is the link with Show Racism The Red Card, who are based in North Shields.  They have some fantastic resources and training events locally and I created the link between my CWU Branch and SRtRC by hosting their national Wear Red Day.  This is the UK’s largest celebration of anti-racism. I invited members to join us by wearing red, getting involved, having fun and promoting the fact that anti-racism is at the top of our agenda.

I then decided to promote other events such as Black History Month and Stephen Lawrence Day but instead of just putting up a poster, I hosted workplace events, posted on social media and sent information directly to our members.

We released key information over a period of time to educate members on BAME issues in the workplace and in society, but most importantly how to report any concerns.  It was essential to me that when I did this I also recognised that it needed to be family friendly so members could share with children, grandchildren, siblings and friends.  So not only were they learning, they had the resources to be able to pass on that knowledge.

I’m fortunate that not only for my own workplace but in the other workplaces I’ve been able to visit now with my roles, that so far I haven’t had any serious race related issues escalated to me.  I take pride in knowing that if there ever was, that my contact details are readily available for anyone to reach out and I always give assurances of confidentiality.  Many members do reach out on other issues, either for themselves of on behalf of their family and I take pride in helping them.

My experience and knowledge gained on my journey from committee worker to workplace rep and then onto BAME Officer gave me the confidence to apply for the positions above my branch.  I’ve always had great encouragement and support.

In future, I’m looking to be able to now ‘pay it forward’ and help others on their journey of development within the CWU.