One day, in between one major layoff announcement and another terrible revelation in the Jian Ghomeshi case, an email appeared in my inbox declaring the winners of the CBC President’s Awards. It stunned me; it seemed so wrong to pretend things were normal and the annual tradition was going on uninterrupted, while so much at CBC was disintegrating. I didn’t read on and tried — like many of us — just tried to get through another sorry day at work.
So hats off to the Radio-Canada employees in Sherbrooke, Que., who had the same feeling, but amplified it and acted upon it. They were the winners of a President’s Award for their coverage of the rail disaster at Lac-Mégantic. When CBC President Hubert Lacroix went to deliver it this week, in person, he was rebuffed. The employees refused the award, citing the cuts.
Lacroix is quoted as saying their move was, in effect, useless. But that’s evidence of the massive disconnect between those making decisions to dismantle much about the CBC and the people who do the programming every single day that makes the CBC what it is.
No Mr. Lacroix, what’s useless is pretending it’s business as usual at the CBC these days.
When senior managers write memos of yet another cut (this one the outsourcing of weather to another network, no less) that say people are “pleased to announce” a “new content sharing agreement” before mentioning the people who will lose their jobs, and the president of the CBC declares it’s a “good day” to announce 1,500 job losses in the next five years, one has to seriously wonder if senior CBC managers are deliberately deluding themselves in the hope that if they use words like this, it will all be OK.
There is nothing normal, usual or “good” about any of this. That’s why employees openly ask their CEO who will be their champion as the CBC is attacked by government cuts. The answer should be obvious, but in this strange world of dismantling a public institution, nothing is as it should be.
What we do see is an increasingly empty Broadcasting Centre. We see empty offices. We see one empty studio, another one used by a former network competitor (Rogers) and a few more slated to be shuttered by next year.
We see whole areas of expertise parcelled out (documentary production, weather, hockey). We see a single permanent reporter in a city the size of Fredericton. We listen to talk about selling the Broadcasting Centre itself. And today all of us will bear witness as hundreds more people across the country get notices that their jobs are redundant.
I could go on.
We at the CMG are planning to do a full inventory of the losses in all their grim detail, mostly because we know no one else will. Others, apparently, will keep declaring things are “good” and be pleased to hand out awards – until the very last studio door is closed.
– See more at: http://www.cwa-scacanada.ca/EN/news/2014/141113_cbc_lareau.shtml#sthash.tGmfhUJ3.dpuf
Patrick Lagacé is a columnist with La Presse.
In early 1995, CBC/Radio-Canada president Tony Manera handed his resignation to prime minister Jean Chrétien, citing the proverbial “personal reasons.” Later, Mr. Manera opened up about the real reason why he suddenly quit his job as chief of the public broadcaster: “I will not preside over the dismantling of the CBC,” he told Macleans.
Carmel Smyth, National President for the Canadian Media Guild says she is deeply disappointed that CBC vice president, Heather Conway, has seen fit to assign blame in advance of an investigation that she herself commissioned into the Jian Ghomeshi matter.
“One would have thought there would be enough respect for the process that she’d have the patience to await the findings of the investigation,” said Smyth commenting on tonight’s remarks by Conway on CBC’s As It Happens and The National.
Smyth says Conway makes pained efforts to exonerate management and its handling of the matter, while at the same time singling out one element and publicly observing, “it was not well handled.” “Is this not specifically what the independent investigator has been engaged to determine?” Smyth asks. “The real question is, what did CBC Management know and what did they do about it?”
Please take a moment to check out the link “Your Donations at Work” below.
As in past years, we’ll be holding a daily draw prize for those who donate. The prize table is located near the reception desk. I’ll be around with pledge forms today.
Pledge forms can be returned to me or placed in the United Way bucket located in or near your department.
For first time donors, please check out CRA’s information on the Super Credit:
United Way – Your Donations at Work : http://youtu.be/rgwd-dZ1k3Y
Thank you in advance!
2014 Employee Campaign Chair
Associate Editor Tamara Baluja has obtained memos sent by Postmedia Network and Sun Media to their respective employees.
CEO Paul Godfrey notes that Postmedia Network has agreed to buy 175 English language publications from Sun Media.
Today we announced perhaps the biggest news in the Canadian news media industry since the day Postmedia was formed. Our company has entered into an agreement with Quebecor Inc. to purchase all of Sun Media’s English language publications and associated digital properties. That’s 175 daily newspapers, community weeklies, trade publications, magazines and related digital properties from 5 provinces across Canada.
Mark MacDonald Leaves Daily News
With the resignation of Hugh Nicholson and now Mark MacDonald it will be interestingto see what, if anything changes with Nanaimo’s oldest newspaper.
I went into the Daily to deliver a press release about my council bid and asked to speak to the editor, Mark MacDonald. The receptionist paged Mark and soon another staffer came out to inform both the receptionist and myself that Mr. MacDonald resigned his position as editor yesterday.
I presume there will be a story in tomorrows Daily News, but I just couldn’t resist being the lowly blogger-guy who scoops the local Daily.
Sep 25, 2014
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
After much thought, I have decided not to seek reelection next June as President of our union.
I informed the Executive Board at our meeting September 18. I am confident that our Executive Board can support a strong candidate but this is not a campaign note and that decision is up to you.
I appreciate those of you who take the time to read this note, it could and maybe should have ended here, but I want to share some thinking and feelings on what is, for me, a difficult moment. Too often in labor we make everything seem or sound simple, robbing ourselves of our ability to move each other in much deeper ways.
I am hoping my decision can be as much a signal of what we must do and the state of our movement as it is a notice about my own personal journey. This is the tenth year I have been honored every day to serve as President of our union. I am proud to work with an Executive Board that understands the critical times that face so many of our members. I am proud to work with amazing staff in Washington and across our union.
But mostly, I am proud of all of you and the work we have done together for decades. Obviously, all that we do rests with active members, shop stewards who stand up and fight back, and local officers, mostly volunteers, who defend our values and past accomplishments and in these brutal days of domination by financial capital, still dream and work for real change.
At the end of the day, we each have responsibility for only our own journeys. Just as the earth orbits the sun at 65,000 miles per hour, each of us, as one of 7 billion, finds our way on this earth for our lifetime, living, loving, seeking meaningful work, having fun when possible, but most of all, making a difference. It has long seemed to me that my own journey has meaning for me for the same reasons we all share—faith in basic values, love between family and friends, and shared commitments.
Jumping to our beloved CWA, we do amazing work together in these times. We push out of the shrinking box of traditional unionism, while cherishing the rights on the job we still enjoy. We realize that our traditional and historic union role by itself is much like a death march as our numbers across the USA and even Canada shrink under brutal attacks by the financial elite whose greed has reached historic proportions and whose power is nearly complete.
After Wisconsin, and so many other attacks, public and private sector, together, we developed our movement building strategy and our focus on linking economic justice and democracy. We realized that waiting for labor to unite around a common strategy would lead us to the dustbin of history. Unions have different strategies—some at least for now are faring better, some avoid the grasp of Wall Street greed. Some unions, whether local or national, have a different view based on a simpler agenda or a more traditional collective bargaining approach. This is true within CWA as well, differences are part of democracy as long as we stay tolerant and are not frozen by a lack of unanimity.
So we work with those who are willing, starting in our workplace, our local, our district or sector, then in labor councils or unions in our communities. But we don’t stop there. Our strategy is rooted in the need for national change, even if our own goals are local or just at our own employers. More than ever in our history we must build deeper partnerships beyond labor with groups that are willing to develop a common strategy for economic justice. With six percent of the private sector organized, unions must be ready to partner and not just expect to lead.
Collective bargaining and organizing rights are falling in the private sector and half the states in the public sector, and are far below the rest of the world’s democracies, and we can’t change that one employer at a time. That kind of national change, as we learned after the elections of 2009, is blocked by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street, the right wing, yes, a giant national conspiracy of wealth and privilege, linked to a conservative social agenda that blocks us even when we demonstrate strong majority support.
So after decades of organizing, bargaining and movement building work, it seems time for me to pass the torch as CWA President next June, but I will double down on building the mass movement for democracy and economic justice. Our union has more activists and a better commitment to what must be done than ever. As we battle for fair trade or to get big money out of politics, we demonstrate that we can build amazing new alliances and deeper than ever. And by your convention action over the last ten years, we have millions of dollars each year to commit to those fights, as well as the best activists in the movement and the resources to train thousands more.
I am not leaving for another job or personal benefit. I am not leaving because of the growing anger I feel from the attacks on our members every day. Using last week as an example, first GE announced the sale of its Appliance Division to Electrolux with thousands of our members’ jobs on the line. Then at Cablevision, two weeks after firing one of our best leaders, the billionaire CEO compels the 300 techs to attend a captive meeting where he makes all kinds of promises, and tells them that he is paying for a private election the next day so they can vote out the union. Illegal, yes, but it is already six months since the trial ended on earlier equally outrageous NLRB charges.
It’s true that we also have great days like this past Monday, receiving an NLRB decision that CNN must rehire more than 100 technicians and bargain with our union 11 years after they were fired. Or Tuesday, winning the representation election at American Airlines where so many have struggled 18 years through election defeats and vicious attacks and now 15,000 have a union.
In the Grapes of Wrath, the main character Tom Joad is asked near the end by his mother, “Where will you go?” I am not Tom Joad and my journey is just my journey. But as Tom said, “wherever there’s a fight…I’ll be there.”
For the next nine months, I’ll be right here. Working harder than ever, every chance I get to support our bargaining, our organizing and our movement building work. Fighting the TPP, the worst trade deal in a 20-year string. Fighting to change the Senate rules so they actually debate the issues of the day. Fighting for organizing rights at T-Mobile and Cablevision so one day the sacrifices of so many will make a difference.
After that I’ll be working just as hard to build the movement of 50 million, knowing that CWA will keep leading and I can work with others to help convince them that our work together cannot just be about the next election. Economic change in America will not happen without a broad movement that includes bargaining and organizing rights as a key part of that change. More than ever, I am committed to that effort.
One day longer, each day stronger!