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Altruism fuels union's fight for unpaid freelancers

There aren’t many unions that would spend time and money to take up the cause of non-members who haven’t been paid for their work. But that’s exactly what the Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada is doing.
Don Genova, president of the CMG Freelance branch for more than 15 years, is the champion of more than a dozen independent contractors who are owed $40,000 by an Alberta multi-media publisher that has a track record of tardiness when it comes to paying up.
As a result of the efforts by CMG, Genova has become the “go-to guy" for freelancers who face a host of problems ranging from low rates or non-payment to publishers that expect writers to accept contracts that “ask for the moon and the stars.”

Alberta publisher leaves freelance content creators
shivering through winter — hire now; pay much, much later

Venture Publishing Inc. of Edmonton and its CEO Ruth Kelly have developed a disturbing business model when it comes to paying the freelance contributors hired to create articles, photos, and illustrations for the various magazines it produces, such as Alberta Venture, Alberta Oil, and Heroes on behalf of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
For several years, Venture Publishing has contracted freelance writers, photographers, graphic designers and illustrators to produce content, and then fails to pay them in a timely manner or at all.
Venture Publishing currently owes tens of thousands of dollars to these freelancers, and has failed to make good on constant promises to pay them for their work. For those freelancers who do get paid, Venture takes months, or even years, to fulfil its financial obligations.

Union asks for inquiry into 13-month Halifax strike

HALIFAX — It's time for the provincial government to step in and do something about the 13-month strike by 55 newsroom employees at The Chronicle Herald, says the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU).
The HTU has asked Nova Scotia Labour Minister Kelly Regan to appoint an Industrial Inquiry Commission to penetrate the root causes of the prolonged dispute and help the newsroom reporters, editors, photographers and support staff get back to work, while maintaining the Herald as a profitable entity and returning it to the place of prominence that it had earned in the province over these many years.

Talks between Herald, striking staff break down

HALIFAX — Talks between 55 on-strike Chronicle Herald newsroom workers and the company broke down on Thursday over seniority, jurisdiction and a handful of other issues.
The company said it would not continue to bargain on individual issues, telling the union bargaining team it had to accept the company’s latest package offer.
The company refuses to do layoffs by seniority, a key union demand, even though it has said it will lay off nearly half the newsroom staff.

Merged Corus-Shaw workers vote to join Media Guild

There’s great news out of Corus Entertainment where a majority of 49 employees in three departments have chosen to join the Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada.
The Canada Industrial Relations Board today confirmed the result of voting that took place last week. The board had decided to conduct the vote in the wake of non-unionized Corus buying Shaw Media and the merger of the two workforces in the fall. Workers at Shaw were already members of the CMG.
The employees, 17 of them formerly with Shaw, who work in television master control, broadcast technology and INR at Corus’s Toronto headquarters, will form a new bargaining unit. 

Complaints withdrawn in Halifax dispute; talks to resume

The Halifax Typographical Union and The Chronicle Herald have both withdrawn unfair labour practice complaints related to the year-long work stoppage at the newspaper.
The union that represents 55 striking newsroom workers withdrew its complaint today after the Herald agreed to back away from its bad faith bargaining positions.

On strike for one year: ‘We are not going to cave in’

Hundreds of supporters and labour activists turned out for province-wide protests Monday as the strike by Chronicle Herald newsroom workers hit the one-year mark.
There was widespread media coverage of the rallies held in six different communities that were organized by the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU) with the help of various labour groups.
In Halifax, Sydney, Antigonish, Yarmouth, Bridgewater and the Annapolis Valley, activists, politicians, journalism students and union members spoke out against union busting in Nova Scotia and demanded the Herald return to the table and bargain in good faith.

Day of Protest as Halifax strike
enters 2nd year; labour board
hearing postponed

A Day of Protest on Monday, Jan. 23 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU) going on defensive strike is expected to attract hundreds of people to rallies in six locations across the province.
A hearing by the Nova Scotia Labour Board into an unfair labour practice complaint against The Chronicle Herald had been scheduled to begin the same day, but has now been postponed until Feb. 6 at the HTU’s request.
“Off-the-record talks between the two sides have hopefully laid the groundwork for meaningful negotiation,” said Ingrid Bulmer, president of the HTU, which represents 55 newsroom reporters, photographers, editors and support workers.

New CMG leader has 2017 roadmap in place

Kamala Rao had her New Year’s resolutions set for her in December when she won the election to lead the Canadian Media Guild.
Rao, who defeated sitting president Carmel Smyth in a close vote, officially started her three-year term on Jan. 1. She said she would be using her campaign platform to map out what’s ahead for CWA Canada’s largest Local, with about 5,000 members.

Coalition urges press shield laws, inquiry into spying on journalists

A press freedom coalition of a dozen organizations, including CWA Canada, is calling on the federal government to take urgent action to protect journalists and their sources.
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the coalition expressed its concern that press freedom is being steadily eroded in Canada.

The Canadian Press updated the style guide description of “alt-right”

The Canadian Press issued new guidelines for using the term “alt-right” on Nov. 29—and it doesn’t mince words.
The update to Caps and Spellings states that alt-right or alternative right should be used “sparingly, with modifiers ("self-proclaimed," "so-called") and include description in copy: "a U.S.-based white nationalist movement" or, if space permits, "a U.S.-based offshoot of conservatism that combines elements of racism, white nationalism and populism." | J-Source.ca

CMG calls for comprehensive policies that support quality journalism, production of Canadian content

The Canadian Media Guild is calling for innovative, “smart” policies that will accommodate changing technology while ensuring the production of quality journalism and original Canadian programming is a priority. Canadians want and deserve access to news, arts and culture produced here, and the opportunity to work in Canada in these fields on any platform.
In a submission filed Thursday for the Canadian Heritage review of Canada’s media and cultural policies, CWA Canada's largest Local outlined its views for a vibrant media and cultural ecosystem that includes a mix of public, private and community media, with space for diverse views, and a real possibility of career opportunities for future generations. | CMG.ca

Chronicle Herald says it's not trying to bust the union of striking journalists

'It is the most bizarre round of negotiations in my 21 years of doing this,' union says
A Chronicle Herald vice-president says he isn't trying to bust the union, something he's been accused of doing over the course of the now 10-month strike.
"Never even crossed our minds, frankly," Ian Scott said in an interview Saturday.
The Chronicle Herald is Canada's oldest independently owned newspaper, but no longer has its most experienced staff writing articles.
Instead, they're walking the picket line outside their old offices in Halifax and Sydney, N.S., while the newspaper uses replacement workers to get the paper out each day.
Talks have broken off a number of times, and six of the original 61 Halifax Typographical Union members have left the Herald for other work.
Now management has filed a defence to a labour board complaint in which the union accuses it of intending to remove the union and not negotiate a contract. | CBC News

Mark Never, Grant Machum and ‘Graham Dennis
isn’t around to save you anymore’

When the Halifax Chronicle Herald’s reporters and editors went on strike last January, I, like many readers, cancelled my subscription as a least-we-could-do gesture to support those journalists who produce the news that made the Herald an actual newspaper, and not just another advertising flyer.
Although I’d grown up with and subscribed for more than 45 years to Nova Scotia’s “newspaper of record,” I’ve done my best since the strike began to avoid reading it — except on those rare occasions when I’ve accidentally followed a Facebook or Twitter link to an interesting but unidentified Herald story, or on those less rare occasions when the newspaper did something so egregiously awful it was impossible not to pay attention in a yes-Martha-that-really-is-a-train-wreck sort of way. | StephenKimber.com

Postmedia execs must return bonuses: media union

OTTAWA – CWA Canada, the country's only all-media union, is calling on Paul Godfrey and other top Postmedia executives to return the $2.3 million in bonuses they are receiving as they prepare to lay off hundreds of employees.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said it is unconscionable that any boss would accept a bonus while dumping staff in a round of Christmas layoffs.
“This is an absolute disgrace,” O’Hanlon said. “The fact that it is even legal shows how broken our system is.

CWA Canada urges withdrawal of pensions Bill C-27

In an open letter to Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, CWA Canada President Martin O'Hanlon urges the government to abandon Bill C-27, which would be a blow to future and current retirees and Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans in the federal private sector and Crown corporations.
"Bill C-27 would ... encourage the proliferation of Target Benefit (TB) pension plans instead, potentially lowering benefits for both current and future retirees. Employers would also be allowed to persuade individual active and retired plan members to surrender their earned DB benefits in exchange for less secure, less stable TB plan benefits."

Herald continues its union-busting campaign of lies and distortion

Statement by CWA Canada President Martin O'Hanlon

Halifax Chronicle Herald “CEO” Mark Lever is at it again, using the province’s once-venerable newspaper of record to throw a temper tantrum and spew lies.
Mark has used the pages of the Herald several times as propaganda for his now-infamous feats of truth twisting, but today’s rant goes beyond anything we have seen before.
He doesn’t get one sentence in before he blurts out his first whopper – that the company has been at the negotiating table for several weeks. Fact: the sides have held only one bargaining session in months, and that was last week.
Prior to that, the union had to work for days to persuade the company to even agree to off-the-record talks, and then we had to agree to pre-conditions to get the one session of mediated bargaining.
Mark goes on to claim, among other things, that the union ignored a media blackout, when in reality it was the company that broke the blackout by issuing a press release last Saturday morning. Again, that is a demonstrable fact.

Halifax Local to file unfair labour practice complaint

HALIFAX — The union representing striking newsroom workers at The Chronicle Herald will launch an unfair labour practice complaint against the company.
The move comes after talks broke down because the Herald once again refused to compromise on its unreasonable demands despite the fact the union has agreed to major concessions.
The Herald refuses to negotiate fairly even though the union offered another huge concession Friday by agreeing to bargain a non-union production hub. The Herald finally responded late Sunday evening with a counter-proposal that practically mirrored its unacceptable offer from a month ago. The union has previously offered concessions, including an across-the-board five-per-cent wage cut and a freeze of the company pension plan, that combined would save the company millions of dollars over the life of a contract.
“It’s clear that they do not want to truly negotiate, they only want capitulation,” said Martin O’Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, the national union that represents the 55 members of the Halifax Typographical Union who have been on strike for more than nine months.

Herald walks away from talks with striking newsroom workers

HALIFAX — The Chronicle Herald walked away from mediated talks with the union that represents its newsroom workers late Friday afternoon.
With a flurry of outright fabrications and half-truths, the company claimed in a news release Saturday that the union refused to negotiate on terms that had been agreed upon by both parties.
Terms that are already agreed on do not require further negotiation.
It was the company that reneged on sending its counter-proposal late Friday afternoon, arguing that the counter-proposal would be withheld unless the union agreed to a number of conditions that included refraining from legal strike activities and honouring a media blackout that the company then ignored in its Saturday news release.

More job cuts won’t solve Postmedia’s problems

OTTAWA — CWA Canada, the country's only all-media union, says Postmedia should drop its ill-advised plan to cut more jobs as it struggles under a self-created mountain of debt.
Postmedia CEO Paul Godrey announced today that corporate revenue was down 13.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 and that the company is offering voluntary buyouts to help cut operating costs.
Postmedia blames shrinking print advertising for its woes but the biggest factor is its debt, which stands at a whopping $648 million.
“Let’s be clear: Cutting more jobs will not bring prosperity to Postmedia which is already cut to the bone,” CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said.

Associate members back demand
for free public education

CWA Canada Associate Members are backing the Canadian Federation of Students’ demand for free access to education in a National Day of Action on Nov. 2.
In a letter of support to the CFS, the associate members — who number nearly 700 students and precarious media workers — say they support education without barriers.

CWA Canada among interveners in VICE vs RCMP case

A judge has granted CWA Canada and its coalition partners permission to intervene in the legal fight between VICE Media and the RCMP over a journalist’s right to protect sources.
“This is an initial victory,” said President Martin O’Hanlon. “The big battle lies ahead” when the case is heard in February by the Ontario Court of Appeal.
VICE is appealing an Ontario Superior Court ruling that upheld a production order issued by the Mounties against journalist Ben Makuch to hand over all communications between him and an alleged ISIS fighter.
The media company has launched protectpressfreedom.ca, a multi-platform campaign to raise awareness about the case.

     
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