CMG: Re-run of TNG election correct decision

2019.08.14

Statement by Kamala Rao, national President of the Canadian Media Guild (CWA Canada Local 30213), posted on the union’s Facebook page:

Recently, the NewsGuild-CWA’s Elections Committee (SERC) released its decision to uphold an appeal filed by Canadian Media Guild – La Guilde canadienne des médias (CMG) with regard to the conduct of the last NewsGuild-CWA presidential election.

There will be a new election this fall for the position of president. The candidates will be incumbent Bernie Lunzer and challenger Jon Schleuss. (I would suggest you look them up.)

The NewsGuild-CWA is a component of the Communications Workers of America, the wider union of which CMG is a part.

The election committee’s written account of what transpired and its decision should be read in tandem with CMG’s original appeal.

CMG’s appeal and challenge to the conduct of the election can be found here.

If you review the original appeal, you will better understand the overall context for what took place. CMG was not helped by the framework in which we were operating.

I’m also proud of all of the work that we’ve done at CMG over the last short while to fix an inherited legacy of deficiency in the management and upkeep of our member database.

When problems were suspected and flagged throughout this process, I worked to address and fix things at CMG. Perhaps the biggest problem, the high number of ballots returned on account of bad addresses, was flagged by observers of the vote count, after polls had closed; that problem was subsequently confirmed by the election committee itself.

Rerunning the NewsGuild-CWA election is the correct decision under the circumstances. I thank members of SERC for taking CMG’s appeal seriously enough to make that decision.

It is important to take responsibility and fix things, to try and make things right when we know there are problems.

At this time, I also urge the NewsGuild Executive to reconsider the matter of (dis)allowing electronic balloting.

You can find the legal opinion that has been provided to CMG on this matter at this link — please take a look. (If you’d also like a copy of appendixes B and C, please contact me via kam@cmg.ca .)

We should follow the lead of esteemed fellow members of the Communications Workers of America, including members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), who conduct union officer elections via electronic balloting.

I am satisfied that we at CMG have worked extremely hard to fix a big inherited problem in a relatively short period of time. We’ve covered a lot of ground and the next NewsGuild-CWA election will be more properly executed on account of these efforts.

I trust that fellow union members also support such measures — to constantly improve our union election processes — and through these efforts, improve overall democratic accountability within our union organizations. #Solidarity

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