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 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


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.