Why Unions Matter Contest Winners

Here are the contest winners


Marina Baglivo of Edmonton for her poem, Some union thoughts

Edmonton's Sarah Chernik for her poem, Why unions matter to decent wages

Edmonton's Dominic Clouthier for his poem, Why Unions Matter 

Twillingate's Gabrielle Broderick for her personal story, Why Unions Matter

Portage La Prairie's Catherine Gibbs for her colouring book, Solidarity Forever (coming soon)


Vancouver's Gurleen Cheema for her essay, She may not be able to speak, but she has a voice

Saskatchewan's Stephanie Kay for creating a union-focused children's activity book

Ontario's Hosna Sahak for her poem, A Pround Canadian of Islamic Faith

Saskatchewan's Katherine Kay for her original song and photo collage

Nova Scotia's Courtney Belyea for her writing, Unions Matter because I love my father

British Columbia's Kathleen MacKillop for her short memoir, Why Unions Matter to Canada

Ottawa's Iman Mahmoud for her short video, Unions Matter to Indigenous Canadians

Ontario's Emily Genyn for her short essay, Unions Matter to the Environment.

Nova Scotia's Natasha and Thom Zwicker for their short video, Canadian Unions Protect My Safety.

Prince Edward Island's Julia Richardson for her essay Passing on the Torch  about the strength mothers and daughters can find in unions.

Toronto's Adele Zhang for her spoken-word poem, Life as Minority Woman.

Sara Tatelman and Anya Baker, two friends since university, for their short but powerful song The Union Folk.

Victoria high school student Natalie Blecha for her short essay Racism in Canada and the Importance of Unions.


Nadeem Hajee, a retirement home cook in Kitchener, for his a comic strip that shows why Unions Matter to three very different people.

Charles Partridge, a social worker in BC, for his short essay on the variety of reasons Why Unions Matter.

Nova Scotia's Jenifer Hutt for her short exercise in logic, Do Unions Matter?

Lana Hood, a federal government employee in Beausejour, MB, for her autobiographical poem, My Childhood View.

Melissa LeBlanc, a 22-year-old sociology student at the University of New Brunswick, for her reminiscence Why Unions Matter.

Madison Hill, an Environmental Studies student from the Six Nations Reserve in southern Ontario, for her poem, Why Unions Matter to Me.

Raegan Zdunick, an Agriculture and Bioresources student at the University of Saskatchewan, for her essay, Unions and Women.

Nicholas LeBlanc, a University of New Brunswick student, for his schematic A Young Person Graphically Organizes Three Ways Unions Matter.

Niagara Falls LCBO worker (and OPSEU Local 286 member) Jessica Turgeon for her poem Why Unions Matter

Alexandria Kay, a 17-year-old high school student from Regina, for her poem Unions Do Matter … Looking Thru A Child’s Eyes.

Campbellton, NL's, Samantha Budgell for her essay Why Unions Matterwhich touches on the range of the ways in which unions empower people to do better for themselves and their communities.

Toronto's Vicky Yu for her poem The Working Man, which tells the story of one person who is able to enjoy a stable life because he belongs to a union. 


Sandra Mountain, a facilitator for kids with disabilities at Douglas College in Burnaby, B.C., by submitting a poem about how important her membership in the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is to her as a single mother. Check out her winning entry.

Alberta Registered Dietitian Melissa Baker for her short essay, Unions = Job Security = Food Security, about her experience struggling through the Welfare Food Challenge in which she lived for a week with just $26 for groceries.

Ottawa labour activist Corinne Baumgarten for Union Style, her fun yet fierce take take on the massive music hit Gangnam Style. Check out her winning entry

Ontario singer Ben Cottrill by submitting a video of a positive protest song called United that he wrote and performed. Check out his winning entry!

Journalist Matt Creed by submitting a poem called The Union about the often unrecognized "super-powers" that unions give us. Check out his winning entry!

HR graduate Jay Jeworksi by submitting an old photograph and some childhood memories of walking the line with his parents, who were active in CUPW. Check out his winning entry! 

Grade 10 student Aimee Shannon won her $1,000 prize by submitting a spoken-word poem and uploading it to YouTube. Check out her winning entry! 

Cathy MacKinnon from PEI was choosen for the Why Unions Matter contest after submitting a poem describing how she came to understand and appreciate the value that unions can play in our lives. You can find Cathy's poem here.


Frank O'Neill submitted a moving letter about life on the picket line after years of loyal work for a multi-national corporation. "Frank's writing shows what these workers have been up against - a multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporation looking for concessions from 45 members in order to institute a global bargaining strategy" said James Clancy, NUPGE National President. You can find Frank's full submission here

The first winner of the Why Unions Matter contest was nine-year-old Ezra Barrett won us over. "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. Read Ezra's full poem.

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