Delegates hear about fight for quality journalism, strong unions
Delegates from locals across the country gathered in Windsor last weekend for the annual meeting of the National Representative Council, the governing body of CWA Canada.
President Martin O’Hanlon said the overriding theme this year was that the media union would continue to fight for quality jobs, quality journalism and press freedom.
Chris Shelton, president of the international Communications Workers of America (CWA), told delegates they needed to heed what was happening in the United States, where the Trump administration is attacking labour unions and workers’ rights. He said CWA Canada members need to fight back before it’s too late.
“We can’t let politicians and corporations keep turning up the heat on our trade union movement,” said Shelton. “We must fight now, while in Canada we still represent 15 per cent of the private-sector workforce. We must expand our presence and not let our gains be rolled back.”
Bernie Lunzer, president of The NewsGuild-CWA, said they were focused on developing strategies for building on recent organizing success in newsrooms across North America and making the media union stronger.
By-election brings two changes to executive
There were changes made to the CWA Canada executive ranks as a result of a by-election that became necessary with the resignation earlier this year of the Secretary, John Rufh.
Mary-Ann Barr was acclaimed to the position and will serve out the remaining 12 months of the three-year term. Barr is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Media & Communications Workers of Alberta (Local 30400). The recently retired journalist worked for the Red Deer Advocate.
There were two candidates to replace Barr as a Member at Large on the executive. Willy Palov, president of the Halifax Typographical Union (Local 30130), emerged the winner of that election. A journalist as well, he works at the daily Chronicle Herald in Halifax, N.S.
Scholarship winners wrote about social justice, labour movement
Leeanne Lyons and Genya Kleiner penned essays that put them into the winners’ circle for this year’s $1,000 John Belcarz & Dan Zeidler Memorial Scholarships.
Both are related to members of the Canadian Media Guild (CWA Canada Local 30213).
Lyons, the spouse of Liam Britten, who works at CBC/Radio-Canada in Vancouver, will be attending Dalhousie University’s School of Social Work. She wrote about the need to achieve a more socially just nation.
Kleiner’s essay looks at similarities between current and historical working conditions to explain why the labour movement is still important to Canadians. She is the daughter of Alison Motluk, a member of the Canadian Media Guild’s Freelance branch.
Due to a large number of entries, the judges awarded Honourable Mentions for essays submitted by Ella McIlroy and Faith Powell. McIlroy is the daughter of Andrew Duffy, a journalist at The Ottawa Citizen and member of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild (Local 30205). Powell is the daughter of David Powell, who works in advertising at The Gazette and is a member of the Montreal Newspaper Guild (Local 30111).