“I am glad that young women like me and other women are protected and represented by unions.”
Ottawa (27 Aug. 2015) — The two young women who are the most recent winners of the National Union of Public and General Employees' (NUPGE) Why Unions Matter contest are painfully aware that, in life, the cards are stacked against them.
For Madison Hill, an 18-year-old from the Six Nations Reserve in southern Ontario, systemic discrimination can come in a variety of flavours: age, gender, ethnicity. But as she points out in her prize-winning poem, Why Unions Matter to Me, unions help people stand together against all those systemic injustices.
'I choose Union'
“I choose Union,” writes Hill, who works at Selkirk Provincial Park and is a member of OPSEU/NUPGE. “Where / I have equal opportunity / I have a summer job to return to. / I am treated fairly / I am safe in the workplace.”
It’s a similar situation for Raegan Zdunick, who is about to start her first year in the Agriculture and Bioresources program at the University of Saskatchewan. Like all women, Raegan faces stubbornly systemic sexism at almost every turn: women continue to be paid less, receive fewer benefits, and get fewer promotions.
Unions help all women protect themselves
But like Hill, Zdunick understands that, thanks to unions, the situation is improving and will continue to improve until true equality is achieved. “As I enter into my university career and pursue a professional career,” she writes in her essay Unions and Women, “I am glad that young women like me and other women are protected and represented by unions.”
Congratulations to both Hill and Zdunick. The Why Unions Matter contest is still accepting entries for further monthly prizes. Please email your entry to Why Unions Matter.
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