Summer Reads for Unionists

Published: 04/01/2023
Category: Human Rights
Published: 04/01/2023
Category: Human Rights

How are you spending your hot union summer? There’s nothing like curling up with a book to recover from a boxing day retail shift or to relax before work kicks off again for the new year.  

We’ve compiled some sweet reads for you and the unionists (young and old) in your life.

Our Members Be Unlimited by Sam Wallman

Whether you are new to the idea of unions or a life-long member, Sam Wallman’s beautifully illustrated Our Members Be Unlimited is for you.  

Through bright and bold cartoons, Wallman weaves stories of unionism here and abroad, from an Amazon warehouse in Melbourne to gig work drivers organising in China.  

Our Members Be Unlimited delves into the roots of the union movement and shows solidarity for what it truly is: a collective act of love and care.

Book: Our Members Be Unlimited by Sam Wallman

The White Possessive by Aileen Moreton-Robinson

“We have to endure the white gaze…as we try to earn a living for our families.” 

Professor Moreton-Robinson strikes straight at the heart of how Australia as a settler state operates on “the possessive logic of patriarchal white sovereignty”.  

The book takes us from white surfer culture on the beach to the all-too-familiar racism in our workplaces. This one is essential reading to inform any anti-racist collective action.

Book: The White Possessive by Aileen Moreton-Robinson

Pencils on Strike by Jennifer Jones

Are your kids not old enough to read up on industrial action yet? Fair enough.  

Pencils on Strike is a fun, rhyming picture book about treating all workers stationery items with equal respect. We never cross a pencil line!

Book: Pencils on Strike by Jennifer Jones

Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen

Evelyn Araluen is truly a poet extraordinaire. You think you know this country? You will know it differently after Dropbear.   

“Straya is a man’s country / and you’re here to die lovely against the rock / to fold linenly into horizon / and sweat beautiful blonde on the beach”

Book: Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen

The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye

Shon Faye cuts through pearl-clutching media frenzy about bathrooms and sports to present the real effects of transphobia in the daily lives of trans people. 

Although written in a UK context, the parallels to transgender experiences in Australia are easy to see. The fight for transgender rights is far from over.

Book: The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye

Strikethrough by Silas Munro

For the art lovers: Strikethrough is a visual feast, exhibiting jaw-dropping designs of protest and dissent. 

Many social and political movements are often remembered as a one-word slogan – Vote! Resist! Strike! – but Strikethrough also looks at the decisions behind the designs and how even just choosing the right font can be key to delivering a message.

Two page spread from Strikethrough showing illustrations/posters of women led labour movements.

When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke

“Little one, when we say Black Lives Matter, we’re saying black people are wonderful-strong. That we deserve to be treated with basic respect, and that history’s done us wrong.” 

Not only does Maxine Beneba Clarke have a magical way with words, but her bright, textured illustrations bring this picture book to life.  

Beneba Clarke explains she created the book, “when thinking about how to explain the concept of Black Lives Matter to the young African diaspora kids in my extended family, living in over eight different countries across the world – including America, Australia, Germany, Barbados and England.”

Book: When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego

Professor Watego is clear from the start of the book: her audience is not white people. There will be no pandering here.  

Instead, Watego pushes back against the daily gaslighting so many Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people experience in this country.  

Her series of essays analyse these everyday encounters, presenting a first-hand account of surviving and resisting in this colony.

Book: Another Day in the Colony by Chelsea Watego

Sydney Spleen by Toby Fitch

Toby Fitch likens working as a casual academic to being a “mercenary” in his poetry collection Sydney Spleen.  

“how I’m not currently ‘employed’ by the University / though I was last semester a mercenary / a ‘casual’ ‘teaching-focused’ shock-absorber” 

Fitch takes a melancholic yet wry view as he traverses across issues such as climate change, (un)paid work, and raising kids.

Book: Sydney Spleen by Toby Fitch

And the stories don’t end there…

If you want to hear more workers’ yarns, The Bulletin is your next stop.  

From the Socceroos standing up for migrant workers’ rights to teachers giving their all, The Bulletin is where workers share their stories and how they’re acting for change.


Join us as we delve behind the headlines and see what really matters for workers.

Cover photo credit: Masjid Pogung Dalangan on Unsplash

Summer Reads for Unionists

Summer Reads for Unionists