A Holiday Message from CWA Canada Director Martin O’Hanlon

Dear friends,

It’s been quite a year! From Cairo to Calgary, common people are standing up and speaking out for their rights. Whether it’s the Arab Spring or the Occupy movement, a dictatorial regime or a political and financial system that favours the rich, the protests of 2011 were spurred by the same thing — injustice. That injustice has aroused a powerful sense of outrage and as we head into 2012, the fight of the 99% will continue and the labour movement will play a key role in pushing for change.Part of that push involves defending ourselves and the right to a decent living as employers cut our jobs and send them overseas, and the Harper government undermines working people.Since taking over as director of CWA Canada in August, my No. 1 mission has been to protect quality jobs and quality journalism. We have launched campaigns and projects to shine a light on those who would savage our livelihoods and break the back of the middle class for the sake of greed. In the coming months, we will be stepping up our offensive in an effort to stop further jobs cuts, defend journalism, improve wages and working conditions, and grow the union. We will start by throwing our full support behind a Canadian Media Guild campaign to block looming cuts to the CBC by the Conservatives that threaten hundreds of jobs.

Other key efforts include:
– Standing up for all members: Bargaining raises and other improvements while rejecting unjustified demands for concessions.
– Movement building: Working with progressive groups to fight for social justice and promote specific projects, such as the CBC campaign.
– Political action: Pressure MPs to stand up for the 99% and for the rights of workers.
– Public outreach: Partner with the Canadian Labour Congress on a PR campaign to educate the public about the importance of the labour movement.
– Journalism: Sponsoring a Canadian Association of Journalists award for excellence in labour reporting.
– Youth: Working with the Canadian University Press to sign up student journalists as associate members, partner them with mentors from within the union, and educate them about the good unions do.
– Organizing: Devote as many resources as possible to grow the union and bring the benefits of unionism to more workers.

I will also be speaking out whenever and wherever possible about the importance of preserving decent-paying jobs and a vibrant media for the good of society and democracy.
Our goal is to build CWA Canada into a dynamic force for good in this country. But the union leadership can’t do it alone. You are the union and we need you to pitch in.
If you believe in fighting the good fight, please make 2012 the year you get involved — whether it’s serving on a union committee, as a shop steward, or just showing up for an event. If you have any questions, just ask your local union rep.
I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and all the best in the new year!

Martin O’Hanlon

Director, CWA Canada


Thomson Reuters continues shift of editorial jobs to Asian pay ghettos

Source: cwa-scacanada.ca

Thomson Reuters is moving its Toronto-based global online newsroom to Bangalore, India, which will eliminate the jobs of 22 members of the Canadian Media Guild.

“It’s really disappointing that Thomson Reuters – a profitable Canadian company – is offshoring jobs to pay people a pittance,” said Glenn Gray, staff representative of the CMG. “It’s not in the interest of our members or of Canadians for employers to throw people out of work and put downward pressure on our wages.”

Editorial job cuts in the United States earlier in the week prompted a bitter response from The Newspaper Guild of New York, a fellow CWA member: “In one of the shabbiest moves made by this increasingly shabby company, seven of our Guild colleagues … some of whom have worked here for over 30 years, walked into the office Monday morning only to be told, 12 days before Christmas, ‘Your job is gone, as of today.’

“As soulless as this layoff of Guild members was, it was better than what happened to a handful of editorial managers this week,” said the New York Guild. “Upper management simply picked a few and sent them packing. If there’s any question about the worth of union membership, the answer can be found at the empty desks of managers who had no Guild contract.”

The CMG, which represents about 60 Thomson Reuters employees in Canada, said the move of the online desk to India on March 15 will cut the company’s newsroom by a third. The online operation, based in Toronto since 2005, creates content for Reuters’ public website.

The Guild plans to hold a meeting at the Toronto office on Monday to ensure the rights of the 22 members affected will be respected.

Thomson Reuters said in a statement it has greatly increased the number of Reuters.com staff over the last eight months. “As part of restructuring of our production staff, we’re moving some roles in our global online newsroom from Toronto to Asia. The online visuals desk remains in Toronto.”

The New York Guild called the company’s offshoring of jobs “standard operating procedure.” It said employees get “long chirpy emails from the top brass on how well we’re doing and how much high-priced talent we’re hiring, but public silence on the forced departures of the workers who have created this success.”

CWA leads push for crackdown on offshoring call centre jobs

While the offshoring of editorial jobs is a fairly recent development in North America, it’s a firmly established practice for companies that operate call centres. The CWA, which represents more than 150,000 customer service and call centre workers throughout the U.S., is agressively pushing for legislation to crack down on companies that ship American jobs overseas.

More than 4,000 CWA members have called on Congress to pass the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by New York Democrat Tim Bishop and Republican David McKinley of West Virginia, would prevent companies that operate foreign call centres from receiving taxpayer assistance, put protections in place for U.S. consumers to know where their calls are going and provide consumers the right to be transferred back to a more secure call centre in the States.

The CWA argues that offshoring hurts not only workers, but small communities that offered tax breaks to lure jobs, and consumers, who are increasingly victims of identity theft, which has soared in the past decade. The union notes that the personal information of millions of Americans now resides in countries like India, the Philippines and Egypt, which lack basic security measures to safeguard their privacy.

Postmedia offering buyouts at two B.C. papers

Source: ctv.ca

Following a dip in advertising sales this fall that has affected companies across the media industry, Postmedia Network Canada Corp. is offering another round of buyouts to employees at its two daily papers in Vancouver.

Staff at the Granville Square building that houses The Vancouver Sun and The Province received letters from the company last Friday, Dec. 9, explaining that it would once again put forward a “voluntary staff reduction plan” to cut costs at the papers.

Read entire story here


Godfrey on Postmedia’s executive shakeup

Source: marketingmag.ca Will ‘digital first’ lead to a digital burst? The following appears in the Dec. 12 issue of Marketing In his bio on the Postmedia Network website, one of the responsibilities for executive vice-president of digital media Malcolm Kirk included chairing a special committee undertaking Postmedia Network’s “transformation plan.” Kirk and two fellow Postmedia executives, chief information officer Ed Brouwer and senior vice-president, digital content strategy and managing director of Canada.com Scott Anderson, themselves became part of that transformation last month, dismissed in a management shakeup that came with the standard descriptor in such matters: “organizational changes.” Read entire story here

CWA Canada and CAJ launch new journalism award for excellence in labour reporting

Source: cwa-scacanada.ca

Has your journalism advanced the Canadian public’s understanding of a labour issue? Have you been creative in telling stories about workers and their unions? Has your story had an impact on policy or law?

The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce there’s now an award for that — the CWA Canada / CAJ Award for Excellence in Labour Reporting.

This new award is being jointly sponsored by CWA Canada and its biggest Local, the Canadian Media Guild.

The award will be presented at the CAJ’s annual gala, to be held at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto on April 28, 2012. A $1,000 prize is up for grabs for the top labour-related reporting in either of Canada’s official languages.

“Labour reporting has played a vital role over the last century in highlighting workplace and social injustice and bringing progressive change,” says CWA Canada Director Martin O’Hanlon. “This award will honour and encourage reporting that shines a light on issues that affect millions of working Canadians.”

Submissions will be accepted from Canadian journalists, with priority given to stories on Canadian labour events and issues. The full details on eligibility criteria and how to apply will be released as part of the CAJ Awards package before the end of the year and will be posted at www.cwa-scacanada.cawww.cmg.ca and www.caj.ca.

The new award joins the annual CAJ awards program, which recognizes the nation’s top investigative journalism across all media and excellence in journalism in several other categories.

“We’re proud to have CWA Canada and the CMG join our awards program,” says CAJ President Hugo Rodrigues. “This new award fits in well with our other award categories in rewarding and promoting journalism that makes a difference in the lives of Canadians.”

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing hundreds of members across the country. Its primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.