Dear friends,

It’s been quite a year! From Cairo to Calgary, common people are standing up and speaking out for their rights.

Whether it’s the Arab Spring or the Occupy movement, a dictatorial regime or a political and financial system that favours the rich, the protests of 2011 were spurred by the same thing — injustice.

That injustice has aroused a powerful sense of outrage and as we head into 2012, the fight of the 99% will continue and the labour movement will play a key role in pushing for change.

Part of that push involves defending ourselves and the right to a decent living as employers cut our jobs and send them overseas, and the Harper government undermines working people.

Since taking over as director of CWA Canada in August, my No. 1 mission has been to protect quality jobs and quality journalism. We have launched campaigns and projects to shine a light on those who would savage our livelihoods and break the back of the middle class for the sake of greed.

In the coming months, we will be stepping up our offensive in an effort to stop further jobs cuts, defend journalism, improve wages and working conditions, and grow the union. We will start by throwing our full support behind a Canadian Media Guild campaign to block looming cuts to the CBC by the Conservatives that threaten hundreds of jobs.

Other key efforts include:

– Standing up for all members: Bargaining raises and other improvements while rejecting unjustified demands for concessions.
– Movement building: Working with progressive groups to fight for social justice and promote specific projects, such as the CBC campaign.
– Political action: Pressure MPs to stand up for the 99% and for the rights of workers.
– Public outreach: Partner with the Canadian Labour Congress on a PR campaign to educate the public about the importance of the labour movement.
– Journalism: Sponsoring a Canadian Association of Journalists award for excellence in labour reporting.
– Youth: Working with the Canadian University Press to sign up student journalists as associate members, partner them with mentors from within the union, and educate them about the good unions do.
– Organizing: Devote as many resources as possible to grow the union and bring the benefits of unionism to more workers.
I will also be speaking out whenever and wherever possible about the importance of preserving decent-paying jobs and a vibrant media for the good of society and democracy.
Our goal is to build CWA Canada into a dynamic force for good in this country. But the union leadership can’t do it alone. You are the union and we need you to pitch in.
If you believe in fighting the good fight, please make 2012 the year you get involved — whether it’s serving on a union committee, as a shop steward, or just showing up for an event. If you have any questions, just ask your local union rep.
I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and all the best in the new year!

 

Martin O’Hanlon

Director, CWA Canada

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