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Federally regulated employees must be given cause for firing, Supreme Court rules

Employers must have just cause for firing a federally regulated worker who lacks union protection, the Supreme Court of Canada says.
In a ruling Thursday, the high court said the dismissal of an Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. employee without a valid reason was prohibited under the Canada Labour Code.
The Canadian Labour Congress hailed the decision as a win for all federally regulated employees, particularly half a million non-union workers at banks, telecommunications firms, transportation companies and some Crown corporations. | Toronto Star

Who Still Believes Postmedia Is Canadian-Controlled?

Latest debt-shedding move gives citizens the chance to press for a different future for Canada's papers
Postmedia's escape from bankruptcy this week offers at least a tiny opportunity for critics who want the giant corporation's grip on Canadian newspapers loosened.
Postmedia, which owns the Sun, Province, and 24 Hours in Vancouver and 170-plus newspapers across the country, has been stumbling toward insolvency. Its stock is almost worthless, revenues are in freefall — down another 12.9 per cent according to Thursday's quarterly report — and management has no credible plan. It's barely able to pay the interest on its $648-million debt.
So Postmedia went to the people who were owed that money and cut a deal, giving control of Canada's largest newspaper company to an "ad hoc" group of creditors apparently led by Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey hedge fund. | The Tyee

Postmedia reduces debt load by $300 million by turning debt holders into shareholders

Postmedia management has made a deal with the majority of its bondholders and shareholders that will see some of its lenders become majority owners of the company, and wipe out $307 million worth of debt in the process.
The newspaper chain announced a "recapitalization transaction" that will see bondholders get 98 per cent of the equity of the company, leaving existing shareholders at just two per cent.
Postmedia shares have been effectively worthless for much of the past year, dropping from a high of over $15 a share five years ago to 1.5 cents per share today. Postmedia shares were halted on the TSX Thursday while shareholders digest the news. When trading reopened, the shares jumped to 2.5 cents.
The complex transaction effectively allows the company to shore up its balance sheet by eliminating a good portion of its large debt load. | CBC News

Musician Keith Mullins, striking Herald editor
write song for workers everywhere

When Keith Mullins played a recording of Just Another Day during a gig at the Inverary Resort in Baddeck, the song resonated immediately.
"Two or three sets of tables, blue-collar-looking people, asked me 'Where can I get that song?' " the singer-songwriter says by phone from his home in Hunters Mountain, Cape Breton.
Mullins hopes the song, co-written with Randy Jones, an editor and reporter at The Chronicle Herald for 31 years before he was forced out on strike nearly five months ago, will hit a chord with workers everywhere.

2 CWA Canada Locals ratify contracts with pay increases

Two CWA Canada Locals have ratified new contracts that contain salary increases for workers at news operations in Ottawa and Medicine Hat, Alta.
CTV Ottawa unit members of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild (Local 30205) voted this week to accept a five-year deal that gives them a retroactive lump sum payment for 2014 equal to 1.5 per cent of salary and increases of 1.75 per cent for years 2015 through 2018.

Strong majority of VICE Canada workers vote to join Guild

After months of meetings, discussions, card signings and an official vote conducted by the federal labour board, it was confirmed this week that two thirds of VICE Canada workers chose to join the Canadian Media Guild (CMG).
“We are thrilled to welcome employees at VICE Canada” into the Guild, said President Carmel Smyth. “We look forward to working with them and one of Canada’s most innovative and exciting digital media organizations to create a positive workplace now and for the future.”
The new bargaining unit includes all VICE employees across Canada working in editorial, marketing, production and post-production, with the exception of managers and people working in sales.

Halifax journalists urged to stand firm in face of Herald’s ‘insulting’ offer

CWA Canada is urging its striking Halifax newsroom workers to stand firm in the face of an “insulting” contract offer that torpedoed mediation talks on Wednesday.
President Martin O’Hanlon, in a message to the 57 journalists and support staff who were forced out on a defensive strike on Jan. 23 by The Chronicle Herald, said he shares their anger and bitter disappointment.
The Halifax Typographical Union’s bargaining team, he said, did everything it could to break the stalemate and get a deal. It “went well beyond its comfort level” in presenting a “major concessionary offer that addressed the company’s key demands.”
“Any fair-minded employer would have jumped on the offer,” said O’Hanlon. Instead, the Herald’s response was a “worse offer than previously, lowlighted by even more layoffs” which proves “beyond doubt” that CEO Mark Lever is not “interested in an agreement unless the union is emasculated.”

Newsroom strike talks break down

News Release
HALIFAX — Talks between The Chronicle Herald and its striking newsroom workers broke off today when the company tabled a position worse than the one that forced workers to strike in January.
David Wilson, lead negotiator for the union, said the stance taken by Herald is “unworkable and insulting.”
Wilson, a staff representative with CWA Canada, says the Herald’s position is unlike that of any other newspaper company in the country.

CBC, APTN journalists share top labour reporting award

The country’s premier award for reporting on labour issues is being shared this year by journalists at CBC News and the Aboriginal People’s Television Network.
They were among many CWA Canada members who won Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) awards at a weekend ceremony in Edmonton.
Joint winners of the CWA Canada / CAJ Award for Labour Reporting were Melissa Ridgen of APTN Investigates for Hurting for Work and Nick Purdon and Leonardo Palleja of CBC’s The National for Up Close: Prison Guards.

Striking Halifax journalists expand online rival to Chronicle Herald

Newsroom workers in Halifax today relaunched LocalXpress.ca as a full-spectrum online strike newspaper to compete with their employer’s flagship publication.
Members of the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU), who were forced out on a defensive strike on Jan. 23 by The Chronicle Herald, which has not budged from its union-busting contract demands made late last year, have been producing the news site since Jan. 30.
The HTU announced at a press conference and in a news release this morning that Local Xpress will now be offering local, regional and national news, business, entertainment and sports coverage, as well as accepting advertising.

Media/Culture Review: Share your unique perspective by May 20

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly recently launched a comprehensive review of Canada’s media and cultural sectors, saying that “everything is on the table.” This seems to mean reviewing the mandate of all media and national cultural institutions, as well as the legislative and regulatory mechanisms that govern them such as the Broadcasting Act and the CRTC.
The review starts with a survey — Strengthening Canadian Content Creation, Discovery and Export in a Digital World — which is available online until Friday, May 20. | CMG.ca

Guild seeks union certificate
for Vice Canada employees

CWA Canada's largest Local, the Canadian Media Guild, applied today to the Canada Industrial Relations Board for the right to represent employees at Vice Canada.
“A strong majority of employees at Vice across Canada have signed a union card and we are delighted to welcome them into our union,” says Carmel Smyth, national president of the CMG. “We look forward to supporting them to find their collective voice in the workplace and to negotiate the kinds of progressive working conditions and benefits that digital media workers expect in 2016.” | CMG.ca

U.S. Vice writers get a union contract with a big raise

Editorial employees at Vice Media, who unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East last summer, have tentatively agreed on their first union contract. It comes with a big raise.
Many editorial staffers at Vice were notoriously poorly paid for many years, even by the relatively modest standards of online media. In recent years, the company has said that its salaries have improved, though the 70 writers and editors who make up the Vice union were almost certainly at the very lowest end of the company pay scale. (Gawker Media editorial staffers are also members of the WGAE.) Now, they have won a deal that will bring them close to a 30% pay increase over the next three years, as well as a reported $45,000 minimum annual salary for union members. | Gawker.com

Lies and Damned Lies: Mark Lever and the Herald strike

News Release
HALIFAX – We largely ignore the fiction coming out of the Chronicle Herald these days, but the latest outrageous piece of propaganda from company CEO Mark Lever demands a response.
In an April 22 letter to advertisers, Mark had the audacity to claim that the Herald is “doing everything in our power, short of capitulating to the union’s threats and intimidation, to reach a fair and reasonable agreement.”
Let me be blunt: that is a damned lie.

Interning at unionized media companies pays — literally

Summer internship season is about to begin. But decently paid internships, like jobs, are hard to find. Still, internships are often seen as the pathway to a job in journalism. That’s why media unions in Canada have been leading efforts to help emerging journalists find paid placements. What are unions doing to ensure that students get this vital experience and also get paid?
Some unionized media outlets, such as the Canadian Press (CP) and The Globe and Mail, pay summer interns the equivalent of the entry-level employee rates outlined in their collective agreements. Both internship programs, based in Toronto, are still thriving. While The Globe usually hires up to 20 summer interns, CP normally accepts about six applicants.
At other media outlets such as the Victoria Times Colonist, unions have created paid journalism internship programs. The internship program at the Times Colonist was established in 2002 by the Victoria Vancouver Island Newspaper Guild (CWA Canada Local 30223). | TheStoryboard.ca

Canada drops 10 spots on 2016 World Press Freedom Index
after 'dark age' for journalism

A new report from the global press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Border (RSF), describes the tenure of former prime minister Stephen Harper as a “dark age” for journalism in Canada, citing his hermetically-sealed style of government and the shameful state of our access to information system. The report notes that current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken strongly for media freedom but “only time will tell” if he follows through on his promises.
RSF’s assessment, from its annual World Press Freedom Index released on April 20, highlights how the Canadian public’s right to know was systematically undermined by the previous federal government’s penchant for secrecy and control. | Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression

Why does Black Press buy and then close small B.C. papers?

Eric Plummer, editor of the Alberni Valley Times, remembers the day last September when two representatives from Black Press told him his paper was closing.
“They came in, I think it was like 4:00 or 4:30,” he said. “I don’t think that we’d even finished the paper yet, actually.”
The daily paper, which served the 25,000 people of Alberni Valley on Vancouver Island from 1967 to 2015, was one of 11 British Columbia community newspapers that Black Press bought from Glacier Media in 2014. | J-Source.ca

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