What have unions done for you?

NUPGE's campaign shows what the ongoing fight for labour rights has achieved, from mat leave to asbestos-free walls.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has launched a new campaign to get the public to realize how unions help create fair treatment in the workplace – even if they aren’t a member of one themselves.

The ad leading the new campaign has a simple message: “Unions are f@$#ing great.”

During a stroll through a hospital, our host explains that people can thank unions for many of the most basic rights that workers in Canada enjoy, from paid vacations to maternity leave to working in a safe environment. The attention then turns to the present, explaining how unions are still fighting for the things that matter the most to Canadian workers – and today, that means income equality.

The 60-second spot, as well as a 30-second version, have been running during broadcasts of the Winter Olympics, with assets extending to digital and social channels. Grey Canada led creative on the campaign, with the agency’s Vancouver office also handling media.

The campaign is a continuation of NUPGE’s “All Together Now” platform, which first launched in 2010 and has focused on reducing income inequality and ensuring equal pay for all. The new campaign marks the second phase of that platform, as NUPGE is looking to spread its message to those outside its own membership and labour activist circles.

NUPGE has also tried to achieve its goals with regards to policy approaches outside the workplace as part of the “All Together Now” campaign – such as improving public services and tax fairness – and is now looking to take a more nuanced and positive look on how those fights help create a more equal and democratic society.

“We are facing a certain level of complacency towards the benefit of unions in Canada,” said Larry Brown, president of NUPGE. “Canadian workers don’t understand that many of the rights that they have, have been fought and won by unions.”