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Greetings from CMG president Carmel Smyth

Another busy year has begun! I am proud to take the office of national president of the Canadian Media Guild and I’m very much looking forward to working with and on behalf of you. I’d like to welcome all of the new volunteers who have come forward to sit on a Guild executive or on a bargaining committee ? or both. We could not run the union without so many dedicated volunteers.

I’d like to mention in particular those who have stepped up to lead their branch executive. We have new branch presidents at Shaw Media (Mike Duong), TVO (Gregg Thurlbeck), aptn (Vince Proteau) and CJRC Radio in Gatineau (Benoit Desjardins). It is inspiring to see these talented leaders taking the union challenge.

And there’s no shortage of work. Members at ZoomerMedia are voting this week on their renewed collective agreement after an agreement was reached just before Christmas. We are on the cusp of a deal at aptn, where the editorial and operations employees will be under the same collective agreement for the first time. We are soon to begin bargaining a first agreement at Pagemasters, a new division of The Canadian Press, and a renewal of our agreement at TFO. And later this year we will start bargaining new agreements with Thomson Reuters, The Canadian Press and CJRC, which changed ownership from Corus to Cogeco late last year.

In the meantime, we’re involved in an alliance with the Canadian Writers Group that will see the CMG freelance branch grow this year. We are also seeking individual members to join that branch. If you know of a media freelancer that would like to join a union, have them send an email to freelancemember@cmg.ca . For more information on the freelance initiative, visit www.thestoryboard.ca .

And that’s not the only organizing of media workers that’s on the horizon this year. Our parent union, CWA Canada, has just announced the hiring of a new organizing director, Dave Bosveld. I have a big interest in organizing new workplaces and new members and look forward to being involved in Dave’s organizing campaigns. If you have an interest, or an idea, about organizing the unorganized media workers in our midst, you can send it to me and I’ll pass it along to Dave.

Negotiating strong contracts, mobilizing members to stand up for their rights and organizing new members will continue to be priorities at the CMG, as will promoting diversity and increasing visibility and service in our workplaces. We can be proud of our large and diverse media family and I encourage each of you to get involved and share your ideas and suggestions. We need to know when members feel supported and when we can do a better job.

The Guild will also continue to fight to protect brave and independent journalism, public broadcasting, increased local and original content, and for a society that values union membership and fair and reasonable working environments.

We are here to lead, inspire and provide service. I would like to thank the outgoing members of the Guild’s national executive committee for their work on behalf of fellow CMG members over the last three years, and much longer for some, including Secretary-Treasurer Rick Basarke and Vice President Scott Edmonds. We will miss you.

For the next six weeks, I will be at Harvard (yes, that Harvard) on a special program on union leadership. I will be learning more about how to do all the many things that are expected of the leaders in our important movement? and stay sane! I plan to share the highlights with you after I have completed the program. While I’m gone new vice-president (and past-president) Lise Lareau will manage the day-to-day operations of the union.

You can always reach me at carmel@cmg.ca . I would love to hear from you.

Carmel Smyth
National president

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