Zooming to the future with online Delegate Forums

Delegate Monique Behan-Kitto

Thousands of E tū delegates across the country joined our Delegate Forums in April, for a jam-packed day of learning, discussion, and preparation for the future of our union activities.

Delegate Forums 2021 were held online using Zoom, with delegates joining from their own devices or in small groups. While nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, our delegates stepped up to the challenge and showed that COVID-19 would not stop us having successful Delegate Forums.

Gisborne-based home support worker Monique Behan-Kitto “absolutely loves” going to the Delegate Forums.

“It’s all about networking and building a union whānau. I’ve made some awesome mates through the Forums.”

Monique Behan-Kitto

“It’s great to meet other delegates from our sectors and beyond. It’s all about networking and building a union whānau. I’ve made some awesome mates through the Forums,” Monique says.

“As I am on the Industry Council as well, Delegate Forums make it so easy to report back – I can tell my fellow Industry Council members exactly what’s happening on the ground in Gizzy.”

Monique says that having the Delegate Forums on Zoom meant that more could participate.

“Some of the delegates were able to join from home when they usually wouldn’t be able to travel all the way to their Delegate Forum, so that was really cool. A lot of people were first time Zoom users, and while that was challenging for some, we now have more local delegates empowered with the tools of Zoom. That’s great!

“It’s definitely the way of the future, and now that union members are becoming more comfortable with Zoom, I’m looking forward to doing even more union activities online.”

The agenda included an overview of the E tū story in 2021, coverage of our recent wins and ongoing challenges, discussion and activities about strategic planning to build our power, and a session about how to get involved in the political process and hold our politicians to account.

Aircraft engineer Whittaker Hamilton’s favourite part of the Delegate Forum was discussing Fair Pay Agreements.

“The Fair Pay Agreement section was the most valuable part for me. There was a lot of good information about the idea and how it might affect our collective agreements going forward,” Whittaker says.

“It was very beneficial and was well suited for the online platform. I think it would be great to be able to do those sorts of shorter sessions online more frequently.”