Economic Literacy,  PowerShare,  Trade Unions

Short Film Explores Benefits of Workers’ Collective Voice for Workplaces and the Economy

The Centre for Future Work is proud to announce the release of a new animated film dramatizing the many ways workers with collective voice, representation, and bargaining power can make workplaces safer, more productive, more stable, and more fair.

The 11-minute film is titled Having a Say at Your Job: Why Workers’ Voice Builds Better Workplaces, a Better Economy, and Better Lives. 

It features narration by Jim Stanford, Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work, and innovative animation by renowned progressive graphic designer Tony Biddle. The film follows a worker at a logistics factory through her day at work, documenting the many ways her union, collective agreement, and representation enhance the quality, fairness, and satisfaction of her job.

The film considers ten concrete benefits of workers’ voice in a workplace, including: job security, working conditions, training, working hours, health and safety, representation, wages and benefits, equality, union democracy, and broader social well-being.

The film will be a valuable resource for union education courses, organizing drives, and high school or university courses in labour studies, business, and economics.

Stanford said the film’s release is timely, given the upsurge in unionization and strikes in Canada and other countries in the last two years. “Workers are demanding more security, more fairness, and more respect at their jobs since COVID,” he said.

“The pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and the widening gap between corporate profits and social well-being make it clear that workers need the power of the collective workforce to create better, fairer workplaces.”

“Hundreds of thousands of workers, in all sectors and all provinces, are forming unions, demanding change, and winning it. This film shows their struggles are not just about money: they are about respect, security, and democracy.”

The film’s unique moving-hand animation motif was developed by Tony Biddle, founder of Perfect World Design, who has illustrated many progressive projects in the past (including illustrations for Stanford’s best-selling economics textbook, Economics for Everyone). Videographer Steve Hawkins also contributed to the film with video and editing services.

The film was released as part of the Centre for Future Work’s ‘PowerShare’ project – a partnership with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, with support from the Atkinson Foundation. Previous PowerShare reports (such as Speaking Up, Being Heard, Making Change: The Theory and Practice of Worker Voice in Canada Today, by Jim Stanford and Daniel Poon), have documented the benefits of workers’ collective organization and voice for wages, equality, staff retention, and other economic variables.

The new film can be viewed at 

Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work. He divides his time between Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada. Jim is one of Canada’s best-known economic commentators. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union.