"We wanted to share all the good work unions have done for our communities, and society in general." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (28 May 2018) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) launched its Union Challenge as part of its All Together Now! in early May as an interactive educational tool about the history and value of labour unions. It was a contest, open to the public, to show how unions have impacted the lives of all of us, not just of union members. The feedback that was received from hundreds of participants told us how many people believe that unions matter, and are still important today. So, we know people took the quiz and got more out of it than just a chance to 1 of 3 prizes of $5,000.
People love learning about why unions still matter
"We wanted to share all the good work unions have done for our communities, and for society in general," said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) that sponsors the ATN campaign. "Many people, especially the younger generation, have grown up with these benefits but don't know exactly how they've come to be in place."
"The contest reminded people of the positive impact unions have had on all of our lives, not just on those of union members," said Brown.
"So we want to thank everyone who took the time to go through our quiz," said Brown. "And to congratulate the 3 winners of the draw!"
And the winners are....
Each winner had to answer a skill-testing question correctly, and verify their identity before being issued the prize.
Melissa lives and works in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a teacher, she understands how unions can help precarious workers.
She has been teaching elementary students for the last 3 years but the jobs are temporary and each year she has been in a different school.
Growing up in a union family, Melissa recognizes how unions still matter.
"Having health benefits and job security are important things that come from the work of unions," she said.
Asked what she might do with her winnings, Melissa said she is thinking about a trip, and putting money toward a down payment on a house.
David Janik-Jones found out about the Union Challenge through his wife. She had noticed it online and told him it was "right up his alley."
As a graphic designer, living in Waterloo, David has not belonged to a union but says he sees the need for unions every day. "We're all touched by unions, and we're all affected with the decline of unions," said Janik-Jones.
He grew up around unions; his dad was a member of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), and a neighbour was a Machinist.
Janik-Jones wasn't intrigued so much by the quiz itself but the organization behind it. It was clear to him that NUPGE was trying to get a good message out. "It's still important to fight for collective bargaining rights, and we need to be concerned when those rights are stripped away."
Janik-Jones said he did appreciate having many of his core beliefs reaffirmed by going through the quiz. "It was great validation," said Janik-Jones.
"I thought the message of the challenge was on target. So many people don't look at the bigger picture, but this is the kind of information that needs to get out there."
When asked about plans for the winnings, Janik-Jones commented that sometimes practical things come ahead of fun. But he admitted he was very happy to be in the position to put the money to good use.
Deborah Capano works as a booking clerk in medical imaging, and is a union member (of SEIU). She has worked in health care for over 35 years. Deborah noticed the Union Challenge advertised on a contest site she checks every now and again. When she saw that the challenge had a union theme, she was more than eager to take part!
"I was surprised to see this kind of contest out there," said Capano. "It's really not typical, so I was intrigued."
She took the challenge like the way she takes other contests — hoping for a win, but not expecting one. So, when she was contacted, Capano couldn't believe it!
Deborah said that despite knowing about unions, she hadn't realized how much unions had a hand in making things happen. "Taking the quiz made me look at unions differently. They have a role in the bigger picture."
"I've seen the effect of union representation in the workplace, speaking up for the rights of workers," Capano said. "I know if I have an issue, I can talk to the union, and it'll be addressed."
As for her winnings, Deborah has many options that sound very appealing. "This has happened at the right time!"
Congratulations again to our winners!
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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