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Meet your new national union representatives

This fall’s national Guild elections returned some familiar faces while bringing in a brand new group of media employees eager to stand up for their colleagues and run their union. They begin their three-year term on January 1, 2008. In this edition of G-Force, we introduce ten new and returning members of the Guild’s national executive committee. We will introduce the remaining members of the NEC in the next edition.

Scott Edmonds– Vice President, NEC
Why and when did you get involved in the union? I first got involved in The Newspaper Guild when I was a member of the newly organized unit at the Winnipeg Free Press, where I was also active and a member of the bargaining committee. My mother was an organizer and first president of a union at Air Canada in the finance department, so I guess I just always thought it was natural– like breathing– to ensure you worked with your fellow employees to achieve your objectives. I’ve been on the NEC since the early 1990s and have been active internationally for more than 10 years as a vice-president of TNG/CWA.

What’s the most important thing the NEC does? The NEC ties our staff and executive to the members. It must make decisions that prepare us for changes within our industries and whatever our employers choose to deal us. It has to think broadly and ensure we aren’t getting caught off guard. Then it has to plan and make certain we have the tools and people in place to handle the work that needs doing. It’s the steward that ensures the dues members pay are being spent as wisely as possible on furthering their interests now and in the future.

Rick Basarke– Treasurer, NEC
Why and when did you get involved in the union? My first epxerience in union matters was during the 1989 strike (at CBC), helping the treasurer guard and dispense the $80,000 in cash we had withdrawn from the bank for the first week’s picket pay. I then ran for and was elected to our local executive. I was on the CUPE national executive at CBC when it merged with the CMG and I’ve been acclaimed as treasurer ever since!

What is your top goal for the next three years? To rebuild the Guild defence fund by March 2009, when the CBC collective agreement expires. If the past is any indication, we will be forced to use many different resources to renegotiate that collective agreement. Failure to rebuild this fund could give CBC management the tool it needs to bust this union.

What’s the most important thing the NEC does? Oversees and authorizes the affairs of the union in the interests of the membership.

Brendan Elliott– director of new members, NEC
Why and when did you get involved in the union? I got involved in the union when I attended the Not Born Yesterday conference for union newbies. It was also around that time that I took a union education course. I discovered that it’s rare to be young and want to be active within the union. And I saw that with the baby boomers nearing retirement, we needed more people like myself out there, who will be ready to take over leadership roles when our current leaders retire. I was first elected to the NEC in 2004.

What is your top goal for the next three years? To get more newer/younger members active within CMG.

What’s the most important thing the NEC does? To listen to the membership and also to seek out their opinions on all issues of major consequence to the union. We are making decisions that have a direct impact on the union’s financial bottom line, as well as policy decisions that we hope reflect the wishes of our membership. But the only way we’ll know if these decisions truly reflect the wishes of our members is to stay in touch with them and get their input.


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