And the winner is..... The second winning entry in the Why Unions Matter contest has been chosen. Frank O'Neill, a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) has won the $1000 contest prize for his entry about the Labatt strike in St. John's.
Winning entry speaks to the heart of the value of unions
"This latest winner has been living the life of why unions matter since early April 2013. Frank and his co-workers have been on strike at the Labatt brewery in St. John's for over eight months, " said James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) which has sponsored the contest. "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."
"But they haven't just been standing up for themselves, they have been defending the rights of workers everywhere - in the private and in the public sector - to fight for a decent standard of living, a good job and decent pay in order to take care of their families. Frank and the workers know that this struggle to get a fair contract represents so many other struggles being played out for so many Canadians across this country. People working harder, doing more and not getting ahead."
Why unions matter
My name is Frank, an employee of Labatt in St. John’s with almost 10 years of service. I was a proud employee, never late and never missed a day of work in those ten years. We have been on the picket line for 7 months. This company Labatt (AB InBev) made over $9 Billion, in net profit last year and they are currently seeking concessions at our brewery while the CEO & Executives take home millions in bonus and increased salary. That’s why unions matter!!!!!!!
Unions mean better pay, benefits, and working conditions for their members, it also forces employers to treat employees with dignity and respect If we want to rebuild the Canadian middle class, we need unions, who else will speak on behalf of workers We must support each other’s causes and support the common interests of organized labour Unions mattered in the past, they matter today, and they will matter in the future. If unions do not stand united and do not fight for the needs of working Canadians, then Labour Day is meaningless.
Labatt has been named one of the top 100 companies to work for in Canada in 2014. How could this happen? With a 7 month strike and demonstrations at all other breweries across Canada. No union members were involved in the rewarding of this award. It's big business taking care of big business and only for unions matter these greedy companies would keep all profits for themselves and we would be all working for minimum wage and no benefits.
"Frank's message is one we can all hear more often," said Clancy. "We want to congratulate Frank for sharing his struggle with all of us, for standing strong and for showing us exactly why unions matter."