Dear fellow CWA Canada members,
We’re less than a month away from the federal election – an election that will be pivotal to us and to our families as working people and as Canadians. It is vital that we all understand the issues in this campaign so that we can make informed choices.
Do we want a government that supports workers, decent pay, good pensions, fair working conditions, and public broadcasting? Or do we want legislation and policies that drive down wages, delay old-age pension, hurt workers, and threaten the very existence of the CBC?
Do we want a Canada where we work for the common good, build each other up, and respect democracy?
As a leader who represents thousands of journalists, I cannot support one political party over another. But that doesn’t mean I must sit idly back when a government, political party or any group threatens journalism, the democratic process, or the economic interest of our members.
Please take a minute to look at the four key issues below of special interest to us all.
Please also take a minute to share with your friends, through social media or otherwise, the importance of electing a government that will strengthen Canada by supporting decent wages, stronger pensions, fair working conditions – and public broadcasting.
All the best,
President, CWA/SCA Canada
1) Save the CBC
We have lost 2,000 jobs at the CBC in the last five years. Unless we get a government that will provide adequate funding, the survival of our public broadcaster is in doubt.
That unthinkable prospect would be a huge blow to Canadian culture and it would mean the loss of CBC News, with far fewer journalists to keep an eye on government, politicians and corporate power brokers, and to tell the stories of Canadians. Does anyone think that’s good for democracy? For society? For the economy?
Even the president of the CBC is finally admitting that he should have sounded the alarm earlier. In a speech last week, Hubert Lacroix admitted that “like the proverbial frog put in cold water that is slowly heated, we’ve resisted telling people that we risk being boiled to death.”
Each of the three opposition parties has promised to reverse the $115 million the Conservative government cut from the CBC budget. The Conservatives have not responded to our request for their position.
Here is a link listing each party’s commitment on the CBC:
And here is a link to our Save the CBC campaign webpage:
2) Anti-union Bill C-377
It took two years for the Conservative government to force this fundamentally flawed bill through Parliament. It’s so bad that it was originally defeated in the Senate last year – with the help of some Conservative senators.
The Harper PMO was finally able to ram it through this year, but only after having Tory senators overrule longtime Senate rules.
The Conservatives say Bill C-377, which is a copy of anti-union Republican legislation in the U.S., is about making union finances more transparent. That is a lie. Union finances are already transparent. Our books are audited and any member can see them. But union financial information is for members – not for the public. It’s telling that the bill does not apply to any other member organizations like lawyers and doctors groups.
The bill’s real intent is to tie up unions with red tape and make suck out financial and other information for right-wing propaganda.
It is an intrusive, unfair, unnecessary and ideologically motivated piece of rubbish that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year to administer and yield no benefit to society. It is unconstitutional and we will challenge it in court if the Conservatives are re-elected.
The opposition parties have said they will repeal the bill.
For more information:
3) Secret police Bill C-51
Bill C-51 gives the government unprecedented and intrusive new powers, which, in the words of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) “presents disturbing implications for free speech, privacy, the powers of government, including CSIS, and the protection of civil liberties in Canada.”
We strongly support a Charter challenge against Bill C-51 which has been launched by CJFE and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).
The NDP has said they will repeal the bill; the Liberals have said they will change it.
For more information:
4) Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
The TPP is a huge international trade deal being negotiated by the federal government – in secret – with plenty of input from multinational corporations, but nothing from labour leaders, environmentalists and other experts. Even our MPs don’t know what’s in it.
It’s actually far more than a trade deal. It’s a corporate rights deal that would give multinational corporations the power to override Canadian sovereignty by suing governments under secretive trade tribunals — rather than through the courts — if they feel our labour, environmental, health or other standards contravene the TPP and could lead to a loss of profits.
Canada would lose thousands more jobs under the TPP as companies move manufacturing and other jobs to low-wage countries such as Vietnam.
The TPP would have a major impact on Canada, yet almost no one is talking about it. How can there be so little debate – and information – in a democracy about such a huge deal?
Please educate yourself. For more information:
On Facebook, check out: Trade Justice Network
On Twitter, follow: @TradeJusticeNet
September 17, 2015
2015 Ottawa Labour Day March and Picnic
In an incredible show of support and unity Ottawa’s labour community and their many friends took part in this year’s annual Labour Day March and Picnic. Leaving Ottawa City Hall to McNabb Park many observered one of the largest March turnouts in memory. Carrying several messages the walk was led by Unifor members who currently are locked out by their employer at the Ottawa airport.
At McNabb Park over 5000 people participated in a fun filled day. PIPSC National president Debi Daviau representing the Canadian Labour Congress addressed the gathering on the importance of the upcoming Federal election. Congratulations to PIPSC NCR for winning the ATU 279 Trophy for best float.
2015 Federal Election
In one of the longest election periods ever held Canadians will go to the polls on October 19th to elect a government. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have made no secret of their disdain for unions since first coming to power. Through back-to-work legislation, anti-union government bills such as C-377 and C-525 and a host of other legislative changes and policies union members and their families have suffered. Now more than ever union members need to be involved in this election. Casting a ballot and volunteering for a candidate will go a long way ensuring we elect a government who wants to work together with us and not against working people. Our Political Action and Municipal Affairs Committee has been hard at work and will be providing further information throughout the campaign. For more info on our issues check out betterchoice.ca
In addition, the Ottawa and District Labour Council and the Canadian Labour Congress are holding canvass nights for NDP candidates in the Ottawa area. The canvasses take place on Tuesday evenings and commenced September 8th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Each Tuesday will see a different riding selected for the canvass. We will also be holding Saturday canvasses. For more info contact the Labour Council.
Ottawa Airport Taxis Locked-Out
On August 11th the Ottawa Airport Authority locked out Airport Taxis at the Ottawa International Airport. The drivers are members of Unifor Local 1688. The attack against the airport drivers by Coventry Connection continues as the imposed doubling of fees paid by drivers was implemented at the airport without discussion or negotiation. All of this in addition to UBER illegally operating in our city. Labour Council reminds our affiliates and friends to support Ottawa’s unionized workforce.
Unifor has requested that anyone flying into the Ottawa airport not use any and all taxis leaving the airport. The union considers all of these drivers scabs. Instead you are asked to use the shuttle, OC Transpo, rent a car, have a friend or coworker pick you up. However, if travelling to the airport from any other area of the city do use BlueLine or Capital taxis.
The loss of door to door mail delivery remains a priority and a Federal election issue not only for CUPW and the broader labour community but for many others. If talking to candidates or attending all candidate debates as we head towwards October 19th please ask them what their position is on the loss of door to door mail delivery.
Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed while doing a live TV interview Wednesday morning.
The following statement was issued jointly by NewsGuild, NABET and CWA:
THIS morning’s senseless tragedy in Roanoke, Va., struck close to home for the journalists and other news media workers represented by The NewsGuild-CWA and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA).
We are heartsick over the killings of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. Our thoughts and prayers are with their grieving colleagues, friends and families,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. “We also pray for the recovery of Vicki Garner, the woman the journalists were interviewing, who was badly wounded.”
The threats journalists face on the job every day do not normally include their coworkers. But tragically, work-related shootings and other violence are not uncommon in the United States. Our members in the media sector and all of the Communications Workers of America are gravely concerned about this issue and committed to helping build safe workplaces.
Whatever the shooter’s motive, two young people who were looking forward to long and happy lives are gone today. We join with WDBJ, the Roanoke community and all those who loved Alison and Adam in mourning their loss.
PROPOSED CHANGES FOR SEPT. 16, 2015 GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Housekeeping – Update name of The Newspaper Guild to The NewsGuild (as per name change approved at the January 2015 TNG Sector Conference)
Proposing changes to 10.01.02; 10.01.03; 10.01.05
10.01 Composition of a Collective Bargaining Committee
.01 Negotiators in collective bargaining on behalf of the ONG or any of its units shall be elected by members of the unit concerned.
.02 Each department shall be entitled to a representative on the bargaining committee. Nominations for the committee shall be made by and from the department concerned. should be made by and from the department concerned, but, in the event that no such nomination is made, nominations may be made by any member of the unit for representation of that department.
.03 A unit meeting to select bargaining committee representatives shall be scheduled. held by the members of the department. A minimum of five days notice shall be given of such meeting. Voting shall be by secret ballots cast by the members present at the meeting.
.04 In the event that a unit consists of one department only, that unit shall elect a minimum of two and a maximum of four negotiators, except where joint bargaining with another Guild unit takes place. In the event of such joint bargaining, the single-department unit shall elect the same number of negotiators as each department in the other unit or units involved in the joint bargaining, unless the Executive Committee deems it wise to permit two negotiators to be elected from the single-department unit.
.05 In the event that no member of a department is willing to accept nomination or a quorum is not available at the unit nominating meeting time and place, the Executive Committee may appoint any member to represent that department.
.06 The Executive Committee shall appoint a primary spokesperson for the bargaining committee.
10.02 Any proposed agreement arrived at in negotiations shall be submitted to CWA/SCA Canada for approval and shall be ratified by the Executive Committee of the ONG and the membership concerned before signing.
10.03 In the event of joint bargaining that includes units of the Guild and/or other unions, the units concerned may enlarge their bargaining committees to include the bargaining committees of all other units or unions involved in the joint bargaining.