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Letter from branch president Colin Perkel

Dear Colleagues and fellow CMGers:

Summer has proven to be a busy one so far and I want to bring you up to speed on some important branch issues:

It is with regret that I recently accepted Gillian Livingston’s resignation as vice-president and treasurer of the Guild’s Canadian Press branch. Gillian was also an active member of the Employee-Employer committee, and the Guild’s National Finance committee. Her intelligent counsel, strong grasp of union issues, and infectiously upbeat humour will all be sorely missed – not only by the Guild, but by those who had the good fortune to work with her at The Canadian Press. On the positive side, Gillian will be assuming a position on the business desk of the Globe and Mail when she completes her maternity leave, an opportunity that bodes well for her future. As such, I can only wish her the very best and express thanks for all her efforts on behalf of Guild members.

Under CMG bylaws, Gillian’s departure does not require a byelection because her term expires at the end of the year. Steve Mertl in Vancouver has been filling in for her on an acting basis since she began her maternity leave and has graciously agreed to stay on in that capacity until general branch executive elections are held in December.

Vancouver local president steps down
You should also know that Guild stalwart, Greg Joyce, has decided to step down as president of the location executive committee in Vancouver. Greg has been a quiet but constant and constructive Guild presence for many years, also serving at the negotiating table and attending national CMG conventions as a branch delegate. Over the past few years, Greg has been the company’s point reporter on the horrific Robert Pickton case, which has made juggling Guild duties particularly onerous. But Greg also feels it’s time for a newer generation to become more involved in union affairs. Many thanks to Greg for his long and valuable service to his union and Guild colleagues. A by-election will be called shortly to replace him on the Vancouver executive.

Vacancy on the National Training Committee
Greg is also stepping away from his position on the National Training committee. This committee, with representatives from both the union and company, plays a key role in identifying training needs and then delivery for employees across the company. Proper training is crucial to both the ongoing success of The Canadian Press and employee job satisfaction. Please consider getting involved. I welcome all expressions of interest.

Vacancy on the Diversity Committee
Rita Trichur’s recent departure from the company has left a vacancy on the important joint Diversity committee (formerly called Employment Equity). This committee works to identify ways to make The Canadian Press a more diverse, inclusive workplace that reflects the society we live in; and to eliminate barriers to employment for equity-seeking groups (women, people with disabilities, aboriginal people and visible minorities).

Rita deserves our thanks for her valuable input on the committee and I want to urge you to consider stepping into her role. If you are interested, please contact Kathy Viner (kathy@cmg.ca) at the Guild’s national office, or speak with Lorrayne Anthony and Thuy-Anh Nguyen in Marketing.

New Member Handbook now online!
As a quick aside: The New Member Handbook is now available online in both English and French at www.cmg.ca/CPBNnewmemberbookEN.pdf??or www.cmg.ca/CPBNnewmemberbookFR.pdf. This is an attractive, easy-to-read booklet that outlines some of your collective bargaining rights and explains how the Guild functions and your role in your union. Hard copies are also available.?
Finally, on a personal note: I want to let you know that I will not be seeking re-election as branch president or standing for other elected office when my term expires at the end of this year. I have always believed that a constant infusion of fresh blood and activism is critical to the success of the Guild. I feel that way now more than ever.

It has been a privilege to serve you over the years. I have watched our union grow, both in size and professionalism, and take on an increasingly larger role in the national affairs driving the media industry of this country. We have developed a progressive and positive labour climate with the company that other media organizations can only marvel at.

I have always viewed my role as a Guild leader in two ways: as representing my unionized colleagues and as a way of giving something back to the company beyond my daily editorial efforts. Being a Guild activist affords a rare opportunity both to shape the kind of union we want to build as well as the kind of company we want to work for.

Kind regards,

Colin Perkel
President ? The Canadian Press Branch
Canadian Media Guild

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