'Relationship between unions and Indigenous Canadians is mutually beneficial'

Unions Matter contest winner understands that just as unions can help indigenous members, indigenous members can help their unions.

Ottawa (16 June 2016) — In the wake of the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, this year's National Aboriginal Day on June 21 has special signficance: it's time, finally, to acknowledge the damages done in the past, but also to celebrate the incredible potential the future holds for all people on this land.

Iman Mahmoud's Why Unions Matter contest submission hones in on the notion that equality and respect is good for all.

"The relationship between unions and Indigenous Canadians is mutually beneficial," says Mahmoud, a high school student in Ottawa, in the short video, Unions Matter to Indigenous Canadians. "Unions gain new members who will contribute to their organization, while Indigenous Canadians gain a new and powerful ally."

Unions raise awareness, money, and attention

As Mahmoud notes in the video, unions have a long and successful history of supporting and encouraging working people to speak out and overcome against injustice. Indigenous people have long suffered extreme and systemic injustice, and Mahmoud rightly notes that unions have a responsibility to take part in the reconciliation.

"Unions have the power to talk about issues that are important to all Indigenous Canadians. They raise awareness, money, and are able to obtain the attention of those at the top. Issues such as sub-standard housing on reserves, un-drinkable water and missing and murdered aboriginal women," says Mahmoud in the video.

"In short, unions matter to Indigenous Canadians and Indigenous Canadians matter to unions."

New theme for next month

Next month, we'll be celebrating Canada Day. So throughout June, we're asking for Why Unions Matter contest submissions that say why unions matter to our country.

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 whyunionsmatter@nupge.ca (link sends email).

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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