Unifor 1119 Unions Essay – Merv Messner Memorial Bursary by Reid McNevin
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Unions are important to my family and I by providing my Dad, Bruce McNevin (UNIFOR Local 1119), with a good job, as well as myself (UNIFOR 466). Unions are monumental in rallying and bringing together our Sunshine Coast Community. Unions not only represent their members but also offer support to non-organized workers, and provide the basis for rights at work for all workers.
I can go to work knowing that I am not required to work in unsafe, or unreasonable conditions. Another important role Unions play is to provide a support network for workers if they become injured at work. Unions are continually fighting to make the workplace better and provide their members and member’s families with benefits and improved working conditions.
I believe that Unions are an important part of my, and all communities, I have been volunteering at Union organized community events for as long as I can remember. I especially enjoy Labour Day. I love how our Labour Council can bring together my community, spreading the joy of social Unionism. I spend my day helping with whatever I can, usually running food or cooking. I enjoy seeing everyone while they eat and listen to the live entertainment. I like how Unions are inclusive of all people, on Labour Day, I especially like seeing the people who are in a rough patch coming and filling their bellies, a luxury they don’t normally have. I believe the biggest proof of a Union community is the fact that we refer to each other as Brother and Sister, Family.
Lastly, Unions provide the basis for work environments throughout Canada. At the B.C, Regional Conference it was mentioned that if it were not for Unions everyone in the Province would be making four dollars per Hour. This stuck with me, because it’s the truth. No business will willingly pay their employees more or give them benefits; they will just give themselves, board members, bonuses while the working class starves. This circles back to minimum wage because there wouldn’t even be a minimum if there wasn’t Unions pushing and saying that we will not work for free. “Working class didn’t get a dam thing we didn’t fight for; if we don’t keep fighting (we) will lose it.” -Jim Sinclair.
In summary, the people in our community benefit every day from our Unions. I believe that even if a family has no “official” ties to a Union, that they benefit from the existence of Unions. Unions have the strength to fight for workers. Without the existence of Unions the working people, the 99%, would still be making $1.00 per hour like in 1965. For this reason I believe that workers owe it to themselves and their forefathers to participate and volunteer in the Unions, one day it will be our turn to carry the responsibilities of maintaining and improving the work place for all.
Editor’s note: Reid was a delegate at the B.C. Regional Council Conference as a Young Worker Delegate for Local 466 he was only 17 when he attended last year. Reid is now attending BCIT Electronics Technician Core course leading into Instrumentation.