Even in childhood, people can understand Why Unions Matter | National Union of Public and General Employees

Even in childhood, people can understand Why Unions Matter

Writing poem brought back emotional memories for latest contest winner

Ottawa (06 Nov. 2015) — You don’t have to be working age to appreciate the importance of unions. The two most recent winners of NUPGE’s Why Unions Matter contest, for example, both drew on painful childhood memories to describe how unions matter to them.

Growing up in Flin Flon, Lana Hood remembers a distinct divide between those who belonged to unions and those who didn’t. She describes that divide with heartbreaking clarity in her poem "My Childhood View:"

Living in a mining town with strong unions
Living in a non-unionized family
Living in the part of town without plumbing
Living with inexpensive eye glasses and only emergency trips to the dentist …
Eye opening lesson for a child
Unions matter

Still living in Manitoba, the now 59-year-old Hood works for the federal government as a benefits clerk and is a proud member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Now "greatly benefits" from PSAC membership

She says she “greatly benefits” from being in the PSAC and that writing her poem “brought back a lot of emotional memories” from the days when her family didn’t have the protection and comfort of a union.

New Brunswick’s Melissa LeBlanc also had her eyes opened as a child.

“Then one day, things changed in our household,” writes the 22-year-old in her winning essay. “My father lost his job. I’ll never forget that year, I was only 6 years old, but old enough to understand that my parents were going through an ordeal that made them cry, angry and very hurt.”

LeBlanc recalls her mother taking the time to explain that because her father didn't belong to a union, he didn't have any recourse to being laid off. 

"We're making it through!"

The good news is that LeBlanc's family was able to overcome their challenges. LeBlanc's mother now works at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and is a member of NBU/NUPGE. LeBlanc herself is a sociology student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. "Money is tight, but we're making it through!" she says.

Congratulations to both Hood and LeBlanc. The Why Unions Matter contest is still accepting entries for more monthly prizes. Please email your entry to whyunionsmatter@nupge.ca(link sends e-mail).

More information: 

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