Why Unions Matter - Winners

Contest Winners

2018

2017

2016

2015

  • 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. 

2014

  • 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.

2013

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.