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CWA what? It’s your union!

“CWA/SCA Canada? I thought CMG was my union.”

Without a doubt, that’s the most common response I get when I talk to CMGers about our national parent union. The answer is both simple and confusing. Yes, CMG is your union, but so is CWA/SCA Canada. That’s because CMG is a local of CWA/SCA Canada, which is in turn part of the Communications Workers of America, our international union.

And why should you care? In short, because CWA/SCA Canada is doing great things (with your dues money) to help you and to protect quality journalism and jobs.

The last few years have been among the most difficult ever on the labour movement and the media industry. But while some have reacted with worry and woe, CWA/SCA Canada has responded with energy and innovation.

For example, while many people are lamenting the decline of print journalism and saying that something should be done about it, we’re actually doing something – right now. A few months back, we launched a pilot project in Kingston – a community-based, public-awareness campaign aimed at pressuring Quebecor to improve local news coverage and protect local jobs at the Whig-Standard.

In the coming months, I will be working closely with the CMG leadership on a strategy to head off any cuts to public broadcasting at the CBC or TVO.

And as we work proactively to defend journalism and save jobs, it’s also important that we help members when we lose the battle to protect them from layoffs. CWA/SCA Canada has spent tens of thousands of dollars through our education/training subsidy to help many laid-off CMGers with the cost of study courses and retraining. It does a little bit to help them get back on their feet, and – more importantly – it shows that we care.

In the next year, we will be moving forward with a number of priorities, including:

* Organizing: devote as many resources as possible to grow the union, bring the benefits of unionism to more workers, and reinvigorate the labour movement. If you have a friend or family member working without the benefit of a union who might be interested in exploring the idea of organizing their workplace, please ask them to get in touch with our organizing director, Dave Bosveld: dbosveld@cwa-scacanada.ca or call 416-948-0539.

* New activists/leaders: Establish a strategy to use education, training and other means to get more members involved (especially younger ones) and build the next generation of leadership.

* Communication: Build on recent efforts to improve the flow of union information to members in an effort to make sure everyone knows what CWA/SCA Canada is and what it’s doing. Improve external communications to establish CWA/SCA Canada as the “Go-To” union for media labour issues.

* Diversity: Develop a plan to reach out better to members and prospective members from diverse backgrounds to make the union inclusive and more representative of our membership.

Our goal is to build CWA/SCA Canada into a dynamic force for good in this country and we hope you will help make that happen. You can get involved by running for a union position, serving on a committee, or attending an education program. Why not start by checking out our newly renovated website at www.cwa-scacanada.ca.

And please don’t hesitate to call or email if you have any questions or just want to chat. You can reach me at: mohanlon@cwa-scacanada.ca or 613-820-8460.

Martin O’Hanlon was elected as Director of CWA/SCA Canada this summer.

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