"Unions give us more. Something less tangible but more enduring. They give us an idea: the idea that our lives matter." — James Clancy, NUPGE National President.
Ottawa (09 April 2014) — Why do unions matter? Some of the reasons are obvious: higher wages, safer workplaces, and protection from wrongful dismissal. But to stop there is to miss the larger point, like saying bees only matter because they make honey, or that basements only matter because they give you a place to store your stuff.
“Unions give us more. Something less tangible but more enduring,” says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). “They give us an idea: the idea that our lives matter.”
The best, briefest, and most beautiful expressions of why unions matter
To help celebrate and spread this idea, the National Union has started publishing a regular review of the some of the best, briefest, and most beautiful expressions of why unions matter. Called Unions Matter: A Reader, the first edition is now available for download and sharing, and features quips and quotes from an array of people including Pope Francis, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, Homer Simpson, and Dr. Seuss.
The periodical is global in scope but Canadian to the core. Like this quotation that you’ll find in the first edition from hockey great Ken Dryden’s classic book The Game: “The owners treated their players, on the ice, as courageous, competitive, smart, and proud. Off the ice, they treated them as uneducated, ill-bred, Canadian farm-boys with broken-down faces, lucky to have a job at all, whatever they got paid,” Dryden wrote.
“What the National Hockey League Players Association needed was someone who understood the personal and collective strength of the players, who knew that if he worked with them, pushed them, coached them, gave them confidence, they would show how courageous, competitive, smart, and proud they were off the ice as well. Then the NHLPA would be a force.”
We welcome your suggestions
The National Union welcomes suggestions for inclusion in future editions—just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will throw them into the mix. The submissions can come from anywhere—music, movies, books, the art world, politics, the courts—so long as they help us remind the world that unions matter.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE