NUPGE’s Unions Matter contest continues, but with a new twist | National Union of Public and General Employees

NUPGE’s Unions Matter contest continues, but with a new twist

In honour of Black History Month and Family Day, we’re asking for entries that say why unions matter to African Canadians or why unions matter to your family.

Ottawa (18 Jan. 2016) — Since the Unions Matter contest was launched in late 2013, we’ve received hundreds of entries and awarded more than $20,000 in prizes. The winning entries have ranged from elementary school students to seasoned professionals. We’ve awarded prizes for poems (both written and spoken word), songs, music videos, personal reminiscences, and even a schematic.

The most recent winning entry, by a Kitchener retirement home cook named Nadeem Hajee, is something new altogether. It’s a short comic strip that shows why unions matter to three very different people: a first responder concerned about safety, an enthusiastic journalist who wants to be able to freely express her opinion, and a retiree who wants to maintain a comfortable living.

Wanted to be unique

“After looking at all the other submissions, I wanted to submit an entry that was unique and had not yet been done. All the other entries were really good so I made a list of things I could do,” says Nadeem, who is a proud member of Unifor Local 1106. “I was thinking of doing some sort of Power Point presentation or some kind of flowchart."

“But as I was writing down information that I wanted to present it just made more sense to present it through a comic strip.  A comic strip is visually more appealing to the reader and fun to make."

We were so taken by Nadeem’s idea of exploring the different ways in which unions matter to different people that we’ve decided to rework the contest a little bit.

Contest is adopting monthly themes

For the next number of months, we’ll be asking for entries focussed on timely themes. Since February is Black History Month, and also the month in which four provinces celebrate Family Day, we’re asking for entries on one of these two themes:

  • Why unions matter to African Canadians or
  • Why unions matter to your family

Entries just have to touch on one of those two themes. And depending on the quality of the entries, the judges might award prizes for each theme, or just one prize for the best entry in either theme.

We’re looking forward to your responses! And here’s one tiny bit of advice: so far, the majority of the entries have been poems. We’ll continue to accept and consider poetry, but if you want your entry to stand out, think about crafting something other than a poem. 

Please email your entry to (link sends e-mail).

More information: 

Why Unions Matter contest details

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

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