In rhyming couplets and a clever schematic, the latest Why Unions Matter winners remind us that by standing together, we keep the worst of capitalism at bay.
Ottawa (08 July 2015) — Greed and power can get the worst of anyone. The two most recent winners of the $1,000 Why Unions Matter contest look at the ways in which unions help keep greed and power in check.
"It preys on those with the least to show"
Jessica Turgeon, a Niagara Falls liquor store worker and OPSEU Local 286 member, decided a poem with a nursery-rhyme feel was the best way to sing labour's praises.
Her Why Unions Matter gets right to the point: "Monsters exist you know / It preys on those with the least to show .... Its eyes are green and its wallet fat / Absorbing wealth like a blood sucking bat." Of course, every story needs a hero, and that's where people working together in a union come in. "An altruist, a hero, a union / Yes, that’s it! A blue-collar fusion."
'Voice, equality, security'
Meanwhile, New Brunswick university student Nicholas LeBlanc reminds us that not every hero has to be blue collar. In his schematic A Young Person Graphically Organizes Three Ways Unions Matter, he tells the tale of Robert Drummond, a 19th-century mine manager in Nova Scotia who couldn't stand by and watch as his workers had their wages cut. "He lost his job," LeBlanc writes, "but earned a career giving unions a voice."
LeBlanc further demonstrates why unions matter by highlighting the Canadian Union of Postal Workers' 1981 maternity leave strike, and his own fictional account of a father being suddenly fired. In those three examples, he reminds us that unions give "voice, equality, and security."
Contest still open: enter now
To anyone else with an interesting or artistic way to describe why unions matter, the contest is still on, and we’re continuing to award $1,000 prizes to best entries each month.
Send them along to Why Unions Matter contest.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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