It takes one to know one… meet our people – Rosita

Rosita Ellis

Branch Chair, Oxfordshire Health

Committee Chair, Regional Black Members Committee

How long have you been active in the union and what roles do you hold?

I have been a member of UNISON for around 15 years and have become more active in the last 10 years. I started as Black members officer in my branch, Branch Equality officer and am now Branch chair. I’m also the chair of the Regional Black members committee.

Why did you become active?

I joined UNISON because a friend told me about UNISON and then I witnessed a Black colleague being bullied by a white senior manager. This made me angry so from that day I thought I would become more active and wanted to defend colleagues. I wanted to have the knowledge and tools to do this so went on the Organising Stewards training course. The more I found out about the benefits of being in a union the more I wanted to become more involved. I also wanted to get more Black people involved and arm themselves to fight racism and discrimination.

What’s the best thing about being active in UNISON? 

The people I have met along the way! Being active is like being in a bigger family, everyone is very supportive and willing to give advice. I have recruited members in my branch and other branches, set up a Black members group in my branch, where we share issues and have debates on how to tackle racism in our workplaces. I have made a lot of friends who share common issues

What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming active?

Great! You won’t regret it. You will learn how to fight injustice in your workplace with the excellent training courses that UNISON have to offer. Along your journey, you will meet other like-minded people who will support you and give advice, and it’s great to feel a part of something good and to build your confidence. Being part of a union makes your stronger. We are stronger together than we are on our own. I really encourage you to get involved!

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