First Why Unions Matter contest winner - Ezra Barrett! | National Union of Public and General Employees

First Why Unions Matter contest winner - Ezra Barrett!

"Your poem Why Unions Matter beautifully captures a slice of the good that unions do, from empowering teachers to stand up for themselves and their students to providing your parents a chance to help their friends and co-workers live more secure, content, and productive lives," said NUPGE National President James Clancy.

Ottawa (29 Oct. 2013) - A 13-year-old aspiring poet from Vancouver, B.C., has won the first $1,000 prize in the National Union of Public and General Employees's Why Unions Matter contest.

First winner chosen for NUPGE's Why Unions Matter contest

Ezra Barrett, who is in Grade 8, decided to write about the labour movement when his English teacher asked he and his classmates to write an "I Am From ..."  poem, an exercise based on the poetry of a U.S. teacher, poet, and literacy advocate named George Ella Lyon. Barrett, whose parents are both active in their unions, decided to write what he knew:

Why Unions Matter
(An 'I Am From ...' poem)

I am from those Wednesday night evenings when my dad comes home and announces he made a difference in someone's life by helping them get a raise or protect their pension plan.

I am from the time 2 years ago when the BCTF all stood up to the liberal government and said “we want fairness.”

From time to time my mom and dad say we are so lucky to be in a union and they say “we can’t wait until you get a job in a union" and I say “yeah, unions really help people out and I can’t wait until I’m in one."

I’m Ezra Barrett and this is why unions matter.

Clarity and simplicity key to winning entry

The contest sponsored by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has drawn dozens of fine entries since being announced in August, but the selection comittee was charmed by the simplicity and clarity of Barrett's writing.

"Your poem Why Unions Matter beautifully captures a slice of the good that unions do, from empowering teachers to stand up for themselves and their students to providing your parents a chance to help their friends and co-workers live more secure, content, and productive lives," said NUPGE President James Clancy in a congratulatory letter to Barrett. "I truly believe your poem will help unions continue helping all Canadians for generations to come."

Contest continues 

NUPGE's contest will remain until at least of the end of the year. $1,000 prizes will be awarded for the best entries - poems, songs, videos, short essays or photographs - received in October, November, and December. For complete contest details, please click here.

More information: 

NUPGE launches Why Unions Matter contest

Why Unions Matter contest rules

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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