Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CBC Smackdown

69% of Canadians support stable or increased funding for the CBC. A recent poll shows the level of support for the national network remains high. Three quarters of Canadians give the CBC high marks for fulfilling its mandate, and a majority want to see funding increased or maintained. The report by a Ryerson and U of Toronto professors shows viewers from all political parties believe the government should be supporting the CBC. The recent speculation around budget cuts has lead one group, to imagine a world where the CBC is sold to the highest bidder! A wrestling smackdown! See video at Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, May the day never dawn!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Running for A Cause

A shout out to all union members running the New York City
marathon this weekend. Thousands of union members are runners,
and thousands of runners are union members.....so it must be
good for you!

Journalism Quality

When journalists get together these days the declining quality of news is always on the agenda,
everyone is doing more with less; there are fewer working journalists, therefore fewer original stories, (not counting citizen journalists and personal blogs). Now a TV reporter may have to also file a radio or web story; print reporters are filing for multiple sources and everyone is taking photos. This multi-skilling means fewer bodies researching difficult stories because no one has time. What that leads to is the impression all newscasts are the same! To change that, and to encourage enterprize (innovative) reporting, where the real "scoops" come from, we need to support creative and alternate news sources, something many Euopean countries already do.
From Nick Fillmore of J-Source (at Ryerson University)
..."We need to build awareness among Canadians concerning the dangers of corporate media manipulation, as well as take steps to build and develop independent media outlets that will bring the public news and opinions that are more balanced and less ideological. "

"Mainstream journalists also need to increase their awareness level concerning their position in society. They need to listen to, and support, the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations because the one per cent that controls our lives is the same one per cent that owns and controls for-profit news organizations. This does not mean that journalists should become advocates in their work for the positions being expressed, but journalists, just like any other group in their private lives, have an obligation to be responsible citizens and support whatever they believe to be good for society. "

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hearts of Gold

Congrats!











Big hugs to dedicated members who spend their blood and tears helping colleagues and improving our work lives.
The CMG at CBC handed its top prize to long time
volunteer and former President Lise Lareau. (Lise stepped down as President last year) and is now back in the newsroom, assigning news all day, and run ragged all evening volunteering as Vice-President. Honourable mentions include National Treasurer Jonathan Spence, and executive member Bob Sharpe from St.John's. (Plus Vancouver's Colin Preston, and member Liana Harman from Toronto).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pen Pals

Quebecor owner Pierre Karl Peladeau has send a dozen letters to the Prime Minister and others in government COMPLAINING that CBC Radio-Canada does NOT spend enough advertising in his newspapers. Meanwhile his papers have spent
the last three years criticizing the CBC over things most readers might not consider newsworthy. Both parties appear today at a parliamentary Ethics committee hearings. Radio Canada is Quebecors' biggest competitor in Quebec where the media giant owns dozens of newspapers and a television network.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fighting for Better Care

It's not just the kids anymore, many of us are struggling to take care of older parents. The papers are full of complaints about access to home care, when your dad has alzheimer's who helps your mom? This weekend a group of dedicated retired union members from across the country met to discuss how to persuade Ottawa to improve the lives of EVERY Canadian senior with better pensions and home care. (Details at CURC: Congress of Union Retirees of Canada.)

Pain and Persistance

Congrats to CMG national treasurer Jonathan Spence for finishing Toronto's biggest marathon in 3:41. CBC had great coverage on the weekend, it was an exciting race with Canadian Reid Coolsaet finishing third in 2:10:55...seconds from breaking the Canadian record (2:10:08 by Jerome Drayton in 1975.)Last year CMG had a team running the Scotiabank Media Challange. Let's do it again next year.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hands Off Our CBC

Wow, the Liberals have found a voice, (and a heart)
and are shouting out to save the CBC. I quote "The Conservatives
are over-reading their mandate. We need to send
a strong message: CBC funding didn't cause your
Conservative deficit; so don't try to fix that
problem on the back of the CBC!". Hey I could have written that! The Libs even have a petition to sign. What a golden opportunity for ALL CBC fans, friends, staff and families to post their John Henry. Positive change doesn't just happen, if you have an opinion SHARE IT. Txs Bob.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What is Lisa Raitt in for?

[Guest post from karenatcmg]

Has federal labour minister Lisa Raitt thought about what she may be in for as her government forces its way into the middle of collective bargaining in Canada?

The phrase "class warfare" entered the lexicon again this summer south of the border. Sure, it started out as conservative bluster but then the 99% set up camp on Wall Street. In the midst of all this, Air Canada flight attendants voted down not one, but two tentative agreements. Some of them created a great video to explain just why. Other observers have suggested Raitt sabotaged bargaining by interfering in two previous work stoppages since June and making it clear that any fair deal would only be granted by an arbitrator and not at the bargaining table.

So why is Raitt undermining a bargaining system that has brought relative peace to labour relations in Canada for several generations? Even management-side commentators (including George Smith, former VP of Industrial Relations at CBC) seem to be scratching their heads on that one. It is even more of a question for all of us who care about maintaining or improving working conditions, salaries and benefits. Raitt seems to be trying to take away our existing rights to bargain for ourselves and our interests. History has taught us that workers find other ways to go about it, and Raitt might not like those any better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Little Sympathy Goes a Long Way

Young men out of work for more than 6 months are 40 times more likely to committ suicide. How is that for a sobering statistic and proof that work is actually good for you. There are no end of studies showing people with jobs are happier, and that goes for people with mental health issues too. Only in addition to the usual stresses at work they also suffer the slings and slights of unsympathetic colleagues. The experts suggest calling it a stress injury to remove the stigma. This is just part of ongoing discussions at progressive unions about how to make work more workable (1 in 5 Canadians will suffer a periodic MH breakdown: 1 in 100 is severe). Progressive grps like Ryersons' Centre for Labour Management Relations are helping.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reporter Suffers Gruesome Overload

Like his news stories, his personal account of the post traumatic stress effects of covering the "killing colonel" story is riveting. CBC Radio reporter Dave Seglins exposes his soul and the impact of sitting through grueling testimony for weeks covering Canada's most shocking serial sex offender-murder trail. He knows more about Colonel Russell Williams than you ever want to know. No surprise it is sickening. An enlightening read on the Canadian Journalism Project.

Occupying Wall Street

Who says idealism is dead? I follow with admiration the wall street protests, working class parents and college kids fuming at the unfairness of a world where the rich get richer and the middle class more oppressed daily. As in Canada we have an educated generation that can't find decent jobs, that's the oppressive fog that lead to unions in the first place. It used to be unions led this kind of demonstration, but this has a searing spontaneity that unions are recognizing and embracing. We share their hope and passion for change. It's a beautiful world when we can work together for an empowering goal, instead of constantly being artificially divided by corporate spin masters. On a related note, big thanks to everyone who voted in recent provincial elections. Even an simple X in favour of a kinder, gentler government makes a difference.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stop bashing workers

I know you don't need a lecture on all the things unions have done to help Canadians, (fighting to increase minimum wage, better pensions for seniors, same sex benefits, paid parental leave, 5- day workweeks, smaller class size, subsidized daycare). There are many examples, but the bottom line is unions work to improve EVERYONE'S quality of life & work.

So it's bizarre to see Ontario Conservatives campaigning on a platform that includes "bringing public sector pay cheques in line with private sector standards". What are they talking about? If they mean decent pay and pensions, that has nothing to do with whether you work for government or a private company. Some private companies have good pay & benefits-usually when the employees have a union to fight for them. If there is no union, you have to fight for these things on your own and we all know how hard that is!

Is that what the Conservatives are talking about? Bringing all Ontarians' salaries down to the lowest possible level (and letting stockholders pocket the profit)? Who does that help? (The Conservatives' corporate backers, who must love the concept?)

Friends and Fans

Thanks to all volunteers handing out
supportive flyers at CBC's OPEN HOUSE this weekend.
As we hear more Conservative musings about cutting the budget, we appreciate the support of CBC's friends and fans, and why not support a mandate to promote Canadian talent! The Huffington Post says Heritage Minister James Moore wants to "slash CBC's budget by 10%", just the latest in an increasing slew of anti-public broadcasting comments by prominent Conservatives.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Good Question?

(Updated)

I was surprised to see this week that several prominent Conservatives floated the question of CBC funding. One survey asked whether the money Ottawa spends on CBC was "good"or"bad" value. It's a troubling question for anyone who supports public broadcasting. Small surveys by renegade politicians might not support the official party line, but when our office sent a questionnaire on support for the provincial public broadcasters TVO & TFO to candidates in the provincial election, the provincial Conservatives did not answer at all.

UPDATE: Last night we received a response from a single PC candidate, leader Tim Hudak, who sent a letter on Wednesday evening, just before he appeared on TVO's Agenda. Here's how he answered our ten questions:

Thank you for your survey about TVO and TFO and for the opportunity to tell you more about the change we’re proposing for Ontario families.
I have firsthand experience with TVO and the quality broadcasting you deliver. As you know, I have appeared on TVO programs many times, both before and after becoming Ontario PC Leader. I also enjoy watching TVO programming with my family.
In changebook, we’ve set three priorities: Change to put more money in your pocket, change to guarantee the services you need, and change to clean up government. These are difficult but important choices that we made only after listening to literally thousands of families from every corner of Ontario.
On October 6th, Ontario families will face a clear choice. They will choose four more years of Dalton McGuinty raising their taxes, wasting their money, and never standing up for the things we believe in; or they will choose change with an Ontario PC government.
To read more about the change we’re proposing for Ontario families, I encourage you to visit www.changebook.ca
Sincerely,
Tim Hudak

Liberal, NDP and Green party candidates have been supportive of funding for TVO and TFO. To quote a Green : "would love to see more of Ontario shown off". We agree. Just another reason to question your candidates before casting your vote.

Speaking Out

Thousands of people protested at Toronto city hall to oppose proposed cuts to programs and services. I'm amazed at the vigor and enthusiasm of people who showed up to fight for a more progressive city. It is inspiring.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Taxes and other Misunderstandings

There are good kids, and there is bad behavior. That's the way I feel about taxes. Why is it a clown can get elected promising "no taxes"; it doesn't even make sense. Anyone who has traveled knows there are hundreds of places where "no taxes" means living in squalor, with no schools for your children, no decent roads, hospitals or dependable public services. Are any of us really against taxes that pay for good schools, hospitals, highways, garbage pickup, recycling, even public pools. Why is it such an oxymoron? Would we really have it any other way? What we don't want is waste, corruption, billions in corporate breaks, and helping the super rich avoid paying a fair share. So lets give the maligned 3 letter word a little love, and make politicians actually think and tell us WHAT they are going to spend our taxes on, instead of accepting a worn out old cliche.

Friday, September 16, 2011

We Can All Dream

An insightful and sobering read from the US President written long before he was in the Oval office. Its not about politics, just the story of a young man trying to find his place in the world, and tracking down his absent fathers' family. There are millions of stories like it. The difference?His clear and perceptive observations on race and how the colour of your skin can affect everything from confidence to lifetime income. Its an inspiration for activists everywhere. None of us will ever match the impact he has made just by getting elected, but its so hopeful to be here at a time when that could happen. He will probably forever be the only US President (or any country's President) who actually got started working in downtown neighborhoods trying to make democracy work for the working class.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CBC hits back on Quebecor bashing

Quebecor has been throwing $$ away for months foaming about the CBC's real and imagined slights, it has made an industry of rampant rivalry that rational minds try to ignore. This Monday a calm response from a CBC VP to a vexing Montreal Gazette editorial puts it in perspective.

Marvel at how much ink a jealous rival used to calling the shots can spill inventing a scandal just because he can. Quebecor's owner can afford to print whatever he likes in his newspapers (and he owns MANY). This is the dark side of letting anyone monopolize the media.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Something to Celebrate

We had a great turn out from CBC, The Canadian Press, TVO, tfo, Shaw Television, Thomson Reuters,and Zoomer TV for the Labour Day Parade in Toronto. And no wonder. These are difficult times for anyone who works for a living and belongs to a union. Which is odd because at its core we are just a group helping each other and trying to help all working class people improve their lives. How can that be bad. Its unfortunate instead of inspiring others to work for similar goals, (we can help) it has become fodder for narrow minds to incite envy and intolerance.The only way an average person with no money and no power can get ahead is by working with others. Thus a union is born. It can work for everyone.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ciao Bella

This week we celebrated the long career of a favorite staff rep. Kathy Viner fought for better pay, pensions,benefits and working conditions for CMG members for nearly 30 years. (And loved every minute of it! ahh) So she says. Union work can be both satisfying and frustrating. Satisfying in that you really do make the world a better place, and frustrating because there is so much to do. Many of us start off as volunteers helping colleagues through a bureaucratic maze,
but working for a union is also a challenging, rewarding career that many people would love as much as Kathy did. (She's off to Italy now to enjoy her freedom!) Ciao Bella.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Sad Day



Jack Layton was a charismatic politician who spoke up for the kind and gentle side of politics. He was all heart, brains and compassion. An outspoken friend of the working class, if you met him in person, he was impossible not to like. We'll miss his cheery welcome at the Labour Day Parade in Toronto, I don't think he ever missed it. He was an enthusiastic supporter of public broadcasting and a voice for reason and compassion in many public debates. We will miss him.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Embracing Change

An outdated term I try not to use anymore is visible minority. In cities like Toronto and Vancouver more than half the population is culturally mixed. (Stats Can predicts 60% will be
" visible minorities" by 2031.) So obviously the term is just plain wrong. We know from recent news reports the UN disapproves. But put yourself in your neighbors shoes, who wants to be called a viz min? Remember not so long ago when we stopped using fire and police MEN and started using firefighter, police officer; or calling actresses - actors. We can find a better way again.
Great article in Vancouver Sun
http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/thesearch/archive/2010/03/17/has-the-term-visible-minority-outlived-its-usefulness.aspx

Friday, August 5, 2011

Forget Free Work

Should young journalists work for free (as unpaid interns)? A brave young journalist
has publiclly criticized the industry for its increasing and selfish reliance on free labour by forcing young journalists to work as unpaid interns. Bethany Horne's personal pet peeve is it only allows students from families with money to get into jouranlism because anyone who needs an income can't afford to work for free...and that this defeats industry attempts to hire more diverse staff. It's a bold, thoughtful article that has generated heated debate, and may encourage companies with a conscience to reexamine the practise.


From The Canadian Journalism Project
http://j-source.ca/article/one-j-student-explains-why-she-will-no-longer-work-free

One for All

The digital revolution is dazzling in the speed it has changed our lives. CD are on their way out already (remember when they were new), not to mention the family bonding over the evening news. Now everyone watches on their own time, on their own personal platform. This increasingly diverse delivery has techie guru and author Don Tapscott musing on the difficulties of sharing common interests in the public good in the future. In a thoughtful article in the Toronto Star recently Tapscott opines that alone is a significant reason to support a strong, national broadcaster. Of course I agree!

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1032448--a-new-reason-to-support-the-cbc

Friday, July 22, 2011

Moms' Hero

A Toronto couple just won a precedent setting court case that will help thousands of new moms. I'm proud to say the new dad is a CMG member. SR thought it was grossly unfair a woman on maternity leave who became ill (his wife was diagnosed & treated for breast cancer), couldn't get extra paid time off for illness; that others NOT on mat leave could get. First he got mad, then they went to court. Now any other new mom who gets sick, may benefit! (as long as its not appealed)! SR says it bothered him to think that a single mom who gets ill, would be out the $6,000 she could have got from EI, on top of coping with sickness and a new baby. From his note to me; "one of the reasons I became involved in the union.. unions are one of the few organizations that can support such actions that lead to greater equality and justice". Congrats and thank you SR, your lovely wife N, and baby Aris.
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1025199--toronto-mom-with-breast-cancer-wins-ei-case?bn=1

All For One



..and one for all. The upside of the flagrant union bashing going on in the US (and the less obvious bashing going on here); is it is bringing unions together. We realize we have to work together to support gains like decent pension plans and fair working conditions or we all suffer. In the US non-unionized workers and small businesses are also coming out to oppose crushing cuts to social programs and services. If unions can't help improve general living conditions for everyone, who can? United we have a voice.

Hot Topics



The weather isn't the only thing sizzling. A burning topic for unionistas is two-tiered systems; when a company offers a less attractive benefit to new hires, keeping a more beneficial package for existing staff. It works for companies, a way to save money and to encourage infighting. But new hires see it as an unfair betrayal, that they don't get the same deal as everyone else. This strategy is popping up at negotiating tables everywhere. Before you support it remember what the new hires get today, becomes the standard for everyone tomorrow!

(PIx: your team of delegates to CWA convention)



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Everyone's A Winner

Better pay, regular hours, respect; things we all want, and things unions fight for. But many people don't know the time, effort and money unions big and small put into improving living conditions for NON-UNION members. Things like boosting minimum wage, increasing Canada pension, better treatment for immigrant labourers and people who suffer with mental health issues, anti-racism programs, and so much more that you rarely hear about. it was inspiring to hear and see all the volunteers at the Canadian Labour Congress in Vancouver (2,600 people);sharing their goals and describing how they have improved their neighborhoods and communities, (not just their union).

Make It Great

Getting the community on board is a great way to make friends, connections, and build solid support. That's the focus of a novel approach our progressive colleagues are taking in Kingston,Ontario. Martin O'Hanlon, of CWA-SCA Canada represents staff at The Kingston Whig -Standard, which is suffering the same ills as many newspapers with declining staff and disappearing local news coverage.

Instead of picketing to improve the papers fortunes, boost staff and improve working conditions he's spearheaded a community drive where readers can share their hopes for the Whig's improvement. Its a great city, it deserves a great paper with lots of LOCAL news.

Good luck Martin (and Kingston!)

greatwhig.ca

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rad-Can's Sylvain Lafrance and PK Peladeau settle dispute

The VP of Radio-Canada, Sylvain Lafrance, and the CEO of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Peladeau (aka PKP) have buried the hatchet.

Today they settled a defamation suit PKP launched against Lafrance in 2007 after Lafrance said PKP was acting like a ~thug ("voyou" - a rather high-profile insult in France these days) when Quebecor stopped contributing to the Canadian Television Fund. The comment was reported. PKP wanted $700,000 in damages.

Instead, Lafrance and Radio-Canada issued a public statement saying they regret that the comments were taken in offence.

All right, then.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Best Budds





The union for Canadian performers ACTRA: awarded long time CBC radio host Barbara Budd a national honour calling her the "voice of Canada". Among those cheering was Corner Gas star Eric Peterson.


Meeting such talented people reminds me how difficult it is for actors in Canada, where we are swamped by all things American. Would any other country allow its independent voice to be so smothered?http://http//www.canadiancontent.net/people/actors/

I have high hopes a more assertive generation coming up will fight to protect a space for their own talent on Canadian Radio, TV and theatre screens. http://http://www.friends.ca/files/PDF/polls/Canada-US_IR_report_final.pdf

One Good Thing

Congratulations to the handful of young leaders just elected to parliament. Imagine representing your country at 19!


In the union movement too we are lucky to increasingly have talented young members stepping up to run things. Age is not an obstacle to leadership. Anyone can learn the skills it takes to excel, make a contribution to your community and improve the lives of your colleagues at work. (photo: CMG national executive members)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Good Reason to Vote

On the election front the Bloc and Greens support increasing CBC funding, and keeping an arms-length relationship between the corp. and the government. The NDP and Liberals support "stable funding" (which could mean anything) and the Conservatives refused to even answer our questionnaire!
More details: http://www.cmg.ca/newsresults.asp?ID=1610&SubjectID=64&BranchID=10

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NDP drops ball on major cultural issue

While the Bloc and the Greens support increasing CBC’s funding considerably, the NDP merely vows to “maintain the CBC’s current levels of funding until Canada’s budgetary outlook improves.” The Liberals promise “stable and predictable funding” and the Conservatives didn’t even answer the Guild’s survey.

• Bloc: increase CBC/Radio-Canada funding to at least $40 per Canadian and Quebecker per year (some $230 million)
• The Greens: increase CBC/Radio Canada funding by $450 million over the next three years
• The NDP: stable funding until federal budget outlook improves
• The Libs: stable and predictable funding
• The Cons: NO ANSWER

In the last two elections, the NDP has promised an increase to CBC funding.

Click here for the full answers provided by the parties on the questionnaire the Guild submitted to them on April 5.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

This Election Vote CBC

The CBC (and its French services SRC) is the only national network devoted to promoting CANADIAN arts, culture, entertainment, sports and news. In every province, with services in isolated rural areas, the CBC/SRC brings Canadians together, reflects your community,(including in Aboriginal languages). Please ask politiicans if they support adequate funding.


watch our video!


One in Four of Us Can't be all Bad


Is calling someone a"wanker" or a "perv" in a headline discrimination? Yes says a mental health expert chiding the press for its insensitive coverage of Canadians with mental health issues. 25% of us struggle with a mental health episode (one in 4 seems high) but the experts are adamant, it is common, largely treatable, and NOT helped by the negative portrayal in the press. McGill University's Rob Whitley


says the media should be leading the way to treating suffers with respect, not reinforcing damaging (and incorrect) stereotypes. It's a message 40 union activist's (largely representing reporters and other media workers) at a CWA-SCA Canada conference in Montreal took to heart.


PS his group tracks the worst offenders! So be warned.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Investigative Reporters: Threatened Species


Congratulations to an endangered species! The Hamilton Spectators' Steve Buist wins the Hillman Canada Award for Code Red, an original, insightful investigation into the circle of poverty and health care in Hamilton. Investigative reporters are practically an endangered species as more and more newspapers cut staff and resources increasingly using syndicated stories instead of local news. We salute Steve and other journalists trying to fight this dumbing down of the news, and the gutting of local newspapers. http://www.hillmanfoundation.org.hillman-prize-canada/

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why Vote?

My husband and I often disagree on politics and sometimes support different parties. We’ve reached a truce lately by agreeing that we can each post one sign on our front lawn. Ridiculous? Maybe, since we risk canceling each other’s vote…BUT most of the time, I post my sign and he doesn’t (because he doesn’t care as much as I do).
So my vote usually counts even though it appears initially it won’t. In this federal election I hope everyone who cares about the state of journalism, the freedom we need to expose corruption, the access we need to get answers from politicians, the
support we need for public broadcasting to be able to dig up the facts, will put up their own sign. Who to vote for? Vote for freedom, transparency, social justice and politicians who answer the questions you ask, and who support the kind of world you want to live in.
http://www.caj.ca/?p=692

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Politics Anyone?

Many unions are openly political. Like savvy CEO’s, they use available funds to support political decisions they hope will pay off.There’s nothing wrong with that. Democracy thrives on it. If you don’t stand up for your own interests, why would anyone else?

For journalists, however, it’s a different story. We make a living being fiercely objective. Most journalists I know don’t vote, many won’t even eat at a free press lunch so they can’t be accused of being “bought”. It means a union that represents journalists faces a dilemma.

Do we stay quiet because journalists are supposed to cover the story, not be the story?

Do we lobby carefully for our interests; protecting sources, access to information,
ensuring Canadian content, fighting for fair rules governing the internet(http://openmedia.ca),protecting public broadcasting, http://www.friends.ca/providing TV in isolated rural areas, stopping the same 3 families from buying EVERY newspaper, TV and radio station so the only voices you will hear are trust fund heirs and their grandchildren. http://www.mediachannel.org/ownership/front.shtml; http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/media-ownership/media-monopoly.html

Or do we take open political stands on issues that affect us as citizens and workers, as well as journalists?

Right now, CMG takes the middle road. Should we be doing more
?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hard lessons and hope at Harvard


The six weeks I spent Harvard this winter really opened my eyes. I was there to learn more about unions - history, labour law, and how collective action has advanced human rights - and how to be a better leader.

I certainly learned unions are in trouble. Membership is down and there is less and less public understanding about the good things unions do. In the US, people seem to believe that unions are responsible for the ongoing financial crisis. It's ludicrous and we have to fight that perception. Yes, it's worse in the States, but as we all know, every trend - good and bad - finds its way north. Our own government has frozen public service wages two years running, after all.

The headline is that we have to start fighting back. Here are some of the ideas we discussed at Harvard ... and CMG is in a good position to do make them real:

- work more closely with other unions
- get unorganized workers to join the union ... build our forces
- make sure our country's diversity is reflected in our ranks.

I picked up a library of books at Harvard on the struggles and successes of unions in North America. It'll take me three years to get through them all. I plan to do a review from time to time in this space.

The bottom line is, what kind of world do you want to live in?

New Prez in this space

I thought I should introduce myself ... the new President in this space. My name is Carmel Smyth and I was elected national president of the Canadian Media Guild last December. I was a long-time reporter in various cities across the country and am now a television producer at CBC in Toronto. For the next three years, my day job will be leading the union through these interesting times.

I'm a little late getting started on this blog because I spent the first six weeks of the year at Harvard's trade union program. It was an eye-opener, depressing and inspiring at the same time. More on that in later posts.

I'd love to hear from you ... your thoughts, ideas and questions about this turbulent industry, about how the union is working for you, and any topics you might have. Feel free to leave a comment, anonymous or not.