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Labour Day Message from CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon

Dear fellow CWA Canada members,

On this Labour Day weekend, please take a moment to think about how important the labour movement and a free press are for our society, and what you can do to help defend these vital pillars of democracy.

For well over a century, the labour movement has led the struggle to make life better for common people. It is thanks to unions that we have so much we often take for granted, from decent wages to the five-day workweek, pensions, health coverage — on and on. These gains, which built the middle class, spurred the economy, and strengthened our democracy, took decades to achieve and if we don’t keep up the struggle, we will lose them.

Sadly, in the age of Trump, both our union sisters and brothers and our media colleagues in the U.S. are under attack. In addition to gutting labour laws and social supports, Trump is stirring up anti-media sentiment with inflammatory and hateful rhetoric. It is not normal. It is dangerous. His language is that of a dictator, not of a democratic leader.

We are feeling the effects here in Canada as Trump emboldens not only right-wing radicals and others who despise unions and a free press, but even some politicians and their followers. We have seen a clear disdain for the press from Ontario’s new premier and his supporters who recently drowned out reporters’ questions at a public event by clapping over them. We must make it clear that such behaviour is not acceptable.

Democracy and freedom are fragile and precious — and they are under attack around the globe. More and more governments are cracking down on freedom of expression. Even formerly progressive countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Turkey are now openly hostile to the media, and in the case of Turkey, hundreds of journalists are in jail.

At CWA Canada, we are standing on guard this Labour Day – and always – to defend quality jobs, quality journalism, a vibrant free press, and a strong independent labour movement.

This weekend, please stand with us and take a moment to think about what you can do to help.

In solidarity,

Martin O’Hanlon
President, CWA Canada
The Media Union

The Canadian Media Guild is comprised of over 5000 media workers at APTN, The Canadian Press, CBC/Radio-Canada, Thomson Reuters, TFO, TVO, Vice Media, and ZoomerMedia, among other media organizations. About half of us live and work in the Toronto area.

We work across all available media platforms and we are linked to the larger labour movement through the Canadian component (CWA/SCA Canada) of our wider international union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union, represents over 6,000 media workers at companies across the country, including the CBC, The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters, and newspapers such as the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and Victoria Times Colonist.

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