Staff at news website Canada’s National Observer have officially filed for union certification.
The Canadian Media Guild, CWA Canada’s biggest local, filed yesterday with the Canada Industrial Relations Board after a strong majority of the staff signed union cards.
The National Observer staff explained their motivation for organizing: “We recognize the hard work, the struggle, and the resolve that it has taken to build the Observer (from Vancouver to National) into a recognized national news brand. We recognize the effort its founder and its leaders, past and present, have put in to marshal it to the place where it is today. We are grateful for these efforts and for where they have gotten us. We care deeply about our newsroom, the stability of our company, and we want the work we do to move forward in a way that is healthy and sustainable, as we can expand our staff and broaden our journalistic capacity… It is in this spirit that we believe a union will be beneficial to our company, to help the National Observer to continue to evolve into a better, stronger, more cohesive, more united workplace.”
The filing is part of a wave of unionization in the North American media industry. Staff at VICE Canada and BuzzFeed Canada have also joined CMG and CWA Canada.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon welcomed the National Observer workers into the union, noting unionizing will be good for staff, for the company, and for journalism.
“As a journalist, I deeply respect what the National Observer has accomplished, and I want to see that fine work continue. We think the best way to make that happen is by giving workers a stronger voice and the power to negotiate wages and working conditions.”
CWA Canada is the country’s only all-media union, representing 6,000 media workers, including at the CBC, The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters, VICE Canada, and newspapers coast to coast.