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Gems and jabs … from the frontlines

Photographer wins national award

Frank Gunn’s prize-winning sunrise over Lake Ontario

CP photographer Frank Gunn won a top prize in Canadian journalism in June for a feature photo he took last year. This was Gunn’s second National Newspaper Award.

Gunn grew up in Ottawa and began taking pictures when he was ten. He started following CP photographer (and Guild member) Fred Chartrand around at the tender age of 14 and took up freelancing with CP at 16. He went to then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s house to shoot pictures and was barely older than the PM’s own children. Congratulations on the award, Frank!

Let them play squash

And the Guild can’t get a measly table?

The CBC denied the Guild permission to set up tables in the atrium of the CBC building in Toronto this month to give information to our 2,600 members who work there. CBC’s stinginess is a bit puzzling, given how generous the Corporation has been to others. Just recently, the whole atrium was transformed for a squash tournament, complete with spectators and vendors.

aptn branch thanks management for mobilizing members
Management at aptn has been credited with helping to unionize the broadcaster’s operations unit, which joined the Guild last year not long after aptn’s news and current affairs group.

The first piece of help came when management transferred rabble-rousing editor Allan McKay from news and current affairs into operations, just as the first unit was getting certification. After the somewhat suspicious shuffle, Allan began to talk to the operations crew one by one about the benefits of the union.

The budget crisis at aptn a little later sealed the deal, when a few employees got laid off. After months of discussion about union/non-union there was no need to organize the operations department. It was easy to sign the rest of the members on to the Guild. The collective agreement in operations was signed nine months ago.

McKay received an award for his role in organizing, but the branch would also like to recognize the (unintended) help from management.

Guildster goes for bronze
Players from Canada’s 1964 national hockey team finally got bronze medals, 41 years after the tournament at which a mid-game change of rules kept them out of Olympic contention. Guild member Terry Walker, who is working on “Hockey: a Peoples’ History” for the CBC, fought for the belated recognition after learning the story of that fateful tournament.

At the time, the International Ice Hockey Federation world championships were decided at the Olympic tournament. Canada played its last game against the Soviet Union and lost, putting the team in a three-way tie for second. The IIHF changed the tie-breaking rules in the middle of the final game of the tournament, and the new rules ended up relegating Canada to fourth place in the Olympics. However, the rule change came too late to affect the World Championship standings and Canada should have placed third. But the team never got their medals.

Walker fired off some email messages to well-placed officials, both at the IIHF and at Hockey Canada, and the wrong was righted as far as the World Championship medal goes. Now the fight is on to get Olympic bronze medals awarded to the team.

Reuters members get 4-year deal
Guild members at Reuters signed a new 4-year collective agreement in June.

A big change has taken place at Reuters in Toronto, with the online service moving to a full 24-hour schedule. A joint scheduling committee has been established and it is absolutely imperative that we make it work. The Guild’s aim is to reduce the stress and strain of working nights and overnight as much as possible.

And we thought you were running a public broadcaster
In its latest pledge of allegiance to the ways of big business, the CBC will cut the jobs of 34 publicists later this month and contract their work out to a Toronto-based PR firm with connections to the Liberal party.

“We are a business like any other, and sometimes difficult business decisions have to be made,” wrote VP of English TV, Richard Stursberg in a recent memo to employees.

By the Guild’s count, the CBC has cut close to 140 jobs across the country since the beginning of this year. Will the last manager out please turn off the lights?

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