This year, CEIU received a total of 38 applications from across the country.
The National Executive approved the following candidates to receive a $5,000 CEIU National Scholarship:
|Alexane Bellemare||Nathalie Courcy||70704|
|Ambroise Gnoan||N'Da Brigitte Etien||30851|
|Antoine Brochu||Carl Brochu||10328|
|Denzel Tourkmani-MacDonald||Farid Tourkmani||60262|
|Gabrielle Therese Villaflor||Lady Christine Villaflor||50771|
|Hailey Brake||Janette Brake||90153|
|Hanna Jaglarz||Justyna Jaglarz||576|
|Lauren Watson||Maureen Watson||592|
|Maria Doucet||Daryl Doucet||60254|
|Nadya Nuyen||Kara Antifeau||20938|
|Olivia Charrette||Nadia Zwierzchowska||70704|
|Parth Arora||Mahesh Arora||570|
|Rayne Crosby||Elizabeth Crosby||648|
|Riley Gavan||Corrina Gavan||534|
|Xavier Tedford||Joseph Tedford||20914|
From the candidates who are receiving a CEIU National Scholarship, CEIU is publishing a few essays that drew our attention. Here are the essays from 3 candidates:
1. Denzel Tourkmani-MacDonald
The Future of Organized Labour
Labour unions have played a major role in the United States during the period 1947 to 1973, which is the era of capitalism and industrialization, a period characterized by high wages for workers. In the same manner, labour unions in Canada during the 1970s also helped the country achieve political, economic and social progress. However, times have changed and some observers believe that unions are facing a serious crisis.
McFarland expresses in an article in the "The Globe and Mail" that despite the four million union members in Canada, organized labour still faces a shrinking coverage in Canada's work force. One agrees with Ken Georgetti, the President of the Canadian Labour Congress when he stated that it is not that the unions are shrinking as a percentage of the Canadian work force; rather, he daims that the organization of the work force into labour unions cannot cope with the growing number of workers. Georgetti also daims that most of the unemployed workers today are those who were former union members. He further added that most jobs available today are positions in the technology and professional services which are usually non-unionized positions.
Another reason why one believes that organized labour unions still have a vital role to play in the future is because of globalization. With globalization, jobs are no longer just available for workers within the country. Outsourcing of jobs has been a common trend nowadays in several companies because of the cost benefits it presents. With outsourcing cornes cultural diversity in the workplace. Organized labour unions are essential to help reduce workplace inequalities due to differences in the culture and beliefs of workers. Discrimination of employers among workers from different races increases with the onset of globalization and labour unions can help police this eventuality.
Although there are already numerous labour laws and legislations in place that protects the welfare of the workers, organized labour unions are still very important. With the worldwide slowdown in economic growth and with the current financial crisis, the workers can be better assured of fair wages and benefits if they are part of a union. Alone, the worker's voice may just die down in the midst of the voices of other non-unionized workers, but if they are part of a union, it would be difficult for an employer to turn a deaf ear to them.
Organized labor unions are contributors to the economic growth of a country. Generally speaking, unionized workers earn more than non-unionized workers. Since these unionized workers earn more, they are able to spend more and pay higher taxes. This translates to a boost in the economic growth of the country. Organized labour unions of the future need to be flexible according to Jayson Myers, President of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. He contends that labour unions should be progressive and adapt to the changing business culture, not only to represent the workers but to help employers find the workers they need.
The role of organized labour unions is no longer confined to simply pursuing high wages greater benefits for employees or signing collective bargaining agreements. For it not to lose its relevance and significance in the future, it must be able to adjust to its changing role in society. Reforms in its structures and practices have to be implemented to make it attuned with the times. It has to learn how to deal with the challenges presented by globalization. With this in rnind, one can conclude that organized labour unions are not obsolete, it is only revolutionizing with the times.
As the world moves toward online shopping, home deliveries, food deliveries, unions of the future will be starting to impact this fine of work. These employees now have increased importance, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it puts them in the spotlight delivering goods and services to the consumer at their home address. Because this service uses time as a key performance indicator, employees are finding themselves running red lights and cutting corners in order to acquire a fully satisfied customer. A high rating received from a customer allows for promotion and bonuses but at the cost of the employee if they are faced with traffic violations or being harmed in certain situations. If a low rating is received, it can mean less work and less income. Once a union is established within these organizations, employees can expect to see a better-balanced work-life ensuring their safety and success.
2. Hailey Brake
A Response to Instability: The Role of Organized Labour in the Future
The past three years of the global pandemic have revealed many questions and concerns regarding the state of healthcare systems, the role of government, and the responsibility of individuals to each other. However, one of the most important needs it has revealed to the public is that of organized labour in the future. With an increased need for paid time off and other sickness benefits, there has been a movement by the workforce from what is viewed as a privilege to what is viewed as a right, and justly so. As unions previously advocated for fair wages, a limit on weekly hours, minimum wage, and other essential employment standards, so too are they now advocating for improvement to gaps in labour laws and benefits that the pandemic has unveiled.
The immediate concerns that organized labour will be essential in advocating for include the right to safe work. This includes universal paid sick days and increased safety measures and protection for those working with the general public. Overall, the pandemic has established that paid sick leave is essential for both individuals and organizations, as we have come to learn that safe and healthy work conditions benefit both parties. In addition to these direct benefits, the past few years have also had a large impact on inflation and the increasing cost of living, of which unions will have an important role with their right to bargain for a living wage and potential increases to provincial minimum wages. As such, organized labour is immediately concerned with many different gaps that have emerged as a result of the pandemic.
Importantly, organized labour will serve an integral role outside of pandemic-related concerns. With regards to my personal experience, as a bisexual woman, organized labour has proved especially productive in allowing me the opportunities I have experienced so far and the ability to pursue my intended career path of Narrative Medicine. Both academia and medicine have historically been male-dominated, and it is the work of unions that will not only allow me to enter these spaces, but to enter them with the same rights as anyone else. It is important to acknowledge that this work is ongoing, especially with regards to the promotion of the LGBTQ2+ community within academic and medical spheres, and that it is the work of organized labour that will allow for academic and medical professions and teachings to better include and respond to members of varied minority groups.
Additionally, the past few years have revealed the importance of women’s reproductive care, which is also of great personal concern to me. Within Canada, this is especially important regarding maternal care (including maternity leave) and access to services nationwide. Again, in the coming years, it will be organized labour that advocates for universal and union-specific benefits with regards to these increasing gaps in healthcare, as organized labour advocated for increased maternity benefits in previous decades.
When writing my Honours thesis this past year on the evolving role of religion and institutions in nineteenth-century novels, it became clear to me that instability is always an opportunity for the proposition of new ideas and solutions. I view the role of organized labour as a necessary response to instability. With the pandemic and all of the concerns it unearthed, unions will have the opportunity to advocate new solutions, allowing for growth and progress. While the past few years have brought much turmoil, there is the reassurance that instability creates space that we can use to approach better alternatives—and hopefully, solutions—to the problems that so many face. It is my belief that organized labour will only become more prevalent and foundational as we work towards filling the gaps left by the pandemic by advocating for and providing solutions that benefit all.
3. Nadya Nuyen
Youth: The Future of Organized Labour
David vs. Goliath. Boy vs. giant. How could the boy ever win against something so much larger and more powerful than him? He could only do it with the help of a slingshot, stone, and a higher power. That story comes from the Bible; however, we are a part of this story too. Young retail workers are David, big corporations are Goliath, and unions are the slingshot, stone, and higher power that ensure the success of David. It is time to give youth the power to win against the Goliaths of today’s retail and service economy; it is time to bring young people into the inner workings of unions.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of a trade union is as follows: an organization that represents the people who work in a particular industry, protects their rights, and discusses their pay and working conditions with employers. The lack of unions for retail and service workers is appalling and results in employees being taken advantage of by the commercial giants they have as employers. For those who have the means to support themselves otherwise, it is easy to choose any job other than retail or service. Unfortunately for some, it is their only choice. Youth are the ones who are most often stuck with these jobs due to their lack of experience and lack of knowledge. According to the UFCW union, “33.7% of young workers were employed in the Retail, Hospitality, and Foodservice sectors, compared to 13.4% of workers aged 30 and over (in 2015).” Retail and service employers are aware of the main demographic working for them and hire young workers knowing they are not adequately informed of their workplace rights.
In the past there have been attempts to create unions in retail, and some strides have been made within the grocery industry. The problem lies within the fact that “unionized stores are under considerable pressure today under the threat of new large American non-union operations like Walmart” (Doorey, 2013). It is nearly impossible to bargain with a system that is based on brute power and strength. In August 2022, a U.S. judge ordered Starbucks to reinstate seven employees who were allegedly fired for supporting the formation of unions in their stores. Kathleen McKinney, a regional director for the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, said that “without immediate interim relief from this Court, Starbucks could irreparably harm the campaign in Memphis, and send a chilling message to its employees across the country that they too will suffer the same fate as the terminated Memphis employees if they dare to exercise their right to engage in protected activities.” This brutal reality of our Goliaths squashing down any David who dares stand up to them is what prevents many workers from fighting for their rights. Change must occur.
This is where the youth come in. It has been shown that “young people have the ideas, the creativity and great energy to shape a better world. Young people are full of hope and through innovation and imagination, they are problem solvers and have a great potential to generate a positive social change in the world” (World Youth Alliance, n.d.). Without established union positions for them to use as a slingshot, youth will have no legal rights to bargain with their employers. Youth are ordinarily the ones who take on the most unstable jobs in society. Therefore, youth must be able to represent themselves in issues of fair labour. Unions must understand the value of young people and their voices. Gabriel Bako calls unions to “recognize that in order to work they must allow youth to take on participatory roles in all aspects of the union – organizing drives, negotiations, advisory and executive boards, and even take on staff positions. Unions must begin to reflect the workplace they’re looking to organize”.
The future of organized labour is simple: young people. Once unions start putting more effort into reaching out to youth and educating them about the benefits of unions, the world will see how much youth can do.
Instead of writing an essay:
- 1 candidate sent CEIU a video:
Where would we be without Organized Labour. In Canada alone, it has diminished the exploitation of immigrant workers, created the Industrial Safety Act, Increased time duration and safety of Maternal, Adoption, and Paternity leave, and gave birth to Unemployment Insurance.
However, the future of Organized labour, relying heavily on our upcoming youth joining the workforce, is one of tension. In fact, The president of Unifor, holding the title of the largest private sector union in Canada, stated that "Young people in precarious jobs typically have been non-unionized. They don't see a union fighting for them, they see themselves as being left aside".
For the future of organized labor, our youth must be educated on its benefits and the potential risk of diminishing unionization. I foresee that the role of organized labor in the future must shift towards reducing the stigmatization of 9-5 jobs, mitigating the automation of labor forces, and working further to diminish gender and race-based discrimination in labor unions to captivate our youth into joining these incredible organizations.
It was found that Union members from ages 16-19 have dropped by half in the last decade. Yet, hundreds of millions of students participate in activism and strikes regarding tuition, climate change, and education reform, so why has there been a decline in unions among the youth?
There are several reasons, but the one that's the most concerning is the stigmatization of 9-5 working jobs, or more recently known as the "rat race".
More youth and adults want to be "their own boss" in pursuit of entrepreneurship versus the traditional 9-5 jobs that would have unions associated with them. It was reported that the pandemic has caused a surge in entrepreneurship, with a 95% increase in applications for new businesses in 2020 compared to 2019.
By having the luxury to choose your hours, potentially generate a 7-figure income, and live the lives as other entrepreneurs on social media sites like tik tok and youtube, it is important to teach the youth about the importance of 9-5 jobs and help to develop their financial literacy and how social media influencers only represent a very small portion of entrepreneurs.
By teaching them about the security of unionization and the benefits of increased wages, health benefits, and retirement funding, the youth will become more incentivized to join unions.
A lot of how unions were structured was dependent on the masses of overwhelmed workers who could coordinate a movement against a company using their numbers. If too many people left their jobs, the company couldn't run, so they needed to listen to what the unions were saying.
The problem now is the ability of AI and other technologies to replace workers in the event of strikes or union activities, reducing union feasibility in the future. For example, I regularly volunteer at the hospital, and a lot of my job as a screener is being replaced by online questionnaires.
As such, working towards job security and reducing the advent of technological replacement must be one of Organized Labours' top priorities in the future in order to remain in a position where they can bargain for the sake of workers.
By actively working to protect future jobs, more youth will be encouraged to dive deeper into the benefits of organized labor, which can potentially cause an uprise in membership.
And finally, providing ample leadership to the youth is necessary to engage diversified youth groups.
We're seeing an increase in gender equality within unions, in fact, it was reported that in 2019, women made up 53.1% of union members, a massive 24% higher than in 1978.
To add on, it took till 1964 after the Civic Rights Act for African-American workers to join unions. Since then, Jan Simpson became the first Black woman to lead a national union in Canada.
To continue to break boundaries and welcome more youth into unions, organized labour must continue their efforts to create equitable and non-discriminatory practices essential within unions, creating a safe space for youth to thrive and maintain the structural integrity of today’s unions.
This means promoting women's leadership as well as facilitating a multicultural approach to union demography.
The road ahead for organized labor is one of major uncertainty. As such, the future of organized labor must direct its resources towards the mitigation of labour automation; they must educate the youth about labor unions and financial literacy, and further diminish the racial and gender discrimination present in labor unions by actively looking for diversity in leadership roles.
Our youth are the future of organized labor; therefore, by giving them a rigid foundation to grow and create impact in our future unions, we are keeping unions alive and helping our future workers live the life they truly deserve.
- 1 candidate provided us with a drawn:
A future where all workers with disabilities have access to the accommodations they need and do not experience discrimination in the workplace.
A future where all workers who belong to a visible minority group can work without fear of being treated differently.
A future where all workers can go to work with a smile, without fear, thanks to the unions that fought for their rights.