From CMG President, Carmel Smyth
As I leave the role of CMG president after the 2020-2022 term, and return to my job at CBC Toronto, I’d like to thank you for your support during this and the previous terms (2011-2016), a time in which we’ve worked together to make the CMG a more responsive and stronger union so we can better serve all members, and continue to be an effective voice for media workers across the country.
So many of you shared your time, ideas and energy over the years, and I want you to know that your involvement is a huge part of what makes CMG the union it is. I hope you will remain engaged and encourage others to join our collective efforts to make the improvements we need in our workplaces.
We know media work is challenging. That’s why CMG’s main priority has continued to be making improvements in your working conditions, health and safety, and compensation. Many of you have also told us the opportunity to work from home is important, and we’ve pushed to ensure fair access to this option. Building on current gains, together we can leave media workplaces healthier that we found them for future generations.
As part of those efforts, CMG last year, set up new training, education and outreach programs, with special focus on the crisis of temporary work. A key priority for CMG’s National Temp Task Force is to stop the growing practice of leaving young media workers in precarious jobs for unacceptable lengths of time. Thank you to everyone who took part in our union’s Long Term Service Recognition Awards for CBC Temps, a public campaign that highlighted the problems faced by many workers who are getting sidelined into precarious employment.
We have also been working on the related issue of systemic racism, particularly anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. Our union continues to push employers at all our workplaces to address the underrepresentation of diverse voices in media. Thank you to all our brave colleagues who spoke up, sharing their personal and often painful stories, and calling for action. I have to say, on a personal note, that during the last three years I witnessed firsthand how difficult its is to call out and effectively deal with racism in the workplace, even in the union. It was one of the biggest disappointments in my career as an activist, and a reminder of how much work we still have to do.
Good leaders want to make change, but we need your vigilance and support, starting with more member engagement and more diversity at every level of our union’s leadership.
We’ve taken a few first steps, including setting up a mandatory anti-racism and unconscious bias training program for activists and staff, and routinely including these issues in all our union-management discussions and negotiations.
On the financial front, we made several strategic decisions designed to put the union on a stronger footing: we purchased a small downtown office to save millions of dollars in rent, and guarantee the CMG a permanent home without raising dues, and we’ve re-channelled a large part of those savings into providing education, training, and more staff to serve members better.
Finally, we put more efforts into the ongoing fight for better funding for news media and for public broadcasting. This involved running public campaigns, advocating before federal committees, the CRTC, meeting with decision makers at the federal and provincial levels, and mobilizing allies and the public in support of quality journalism and strong public service media.
I am grateful for the teamwork that led to the practical benefits as well as the political, financial and administrative improvements the union leadership team of 2020-2022 has carefully put in place. So, a big thank you to my union executive team for all the support, the many deep friendships, and for working hard to serve our colleagues. I am proud of these efforts. I hope you are too.
Now we leave the good work to the next generation.
President, Canadian Media Guild