Answers, but also questions, from latest Why Unions Matter contest winners

Contest winner writes: "Do unions matter? I've got a better question. Do human rights matter?"

Ottawa (18 Dec. 2015) — Jenifer Hutt is one of the latest winners of the Why Unions Matter contest because she knows that sometimes the best answer to a question is another question. 

“Do unions matter?” she asks in her winning contest entry. “I’ve a better question. Do human right’s matter? What about the right to fair wages or work conditions where your safety is paramount? Should people be compensated if they are injured due to practices in the workplace?”

Unions a cornerstone of rights

As the Nova Scotian points out, you can’t really say that you believe in human rights or workplace safety without also believing in unions. “Unions have long been the cornerstone to protecting and promoting human rights,” she says.

Charles Partridge would agree with that. But as the other most recent winner of the contest points out, protecting human rights are far from the only reason that unions matter. A social worker in Surrey, B.C., Partridge submitted an excellent short essay that strongly outlines unions’ many contributions to healthy economies and communities:

  • They reduce income inequality
  • They increase democratic participation
  • They reduce poverty

“If we are to break out of this vicious cycle of income inequality and start to rebuild both our economy and our communities in Canada, unions will once again have to lead the way,” he writes.

Contest still open

Congratulations to both Hutt and Partridge. The Why Unions Matter contest is still accepting entries for more prizes. Please email your entry to

More information: 

Why Unions Matter contest

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

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