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Time to talk union…Update from the CMG President

You are all busy people, so let’s keep this update short and to the point! So far, it’s been mostly pure pleasure working on behalf of CMG members. I’ve always been invigorated by endeavors to improve working conditions for all.

Half a year into my term, I’m happy to report that all CMG staff positions are filled, and we can now focus on ramping up servicing for members. Since January, we have welcomed in our ranks two staff representatives based in Toronto: Ryan Toews and Karren Hwang, and one based in Halifax: Carl Gannon. We have also welcomed a new permanent office coordinator, Jennifer Cumming. 

A full CMG staff list can be found on our gorgeous, informative and much friendlier redesigned CMG Website. Navigate on over –once you finish reading my note of course –and let us know what you think: info@cmg.ca subject line: Website. We’re still touching it up, so now is the time to speak up! Many, many thanks to our magical systems administrator Sonya Sharma-Scott and our bilingual, detail oriented, wordsmith and communicator Jeanne d’Arc Umurungi for their many hours of work on this project. Thank you also to the entire staff who supported the project. The baby is born, now let us enjoy helping it grow with great member information and input!

2023 CMG Convention

Speaking of births, the gestation period of the 2023 CMG Convention was a little shorter than optimal, and there were a few hiccups along the way, but all in all the CMG Delegates who assembled in Toronto on the unceded territory of the Mississauga of the Credit River, the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnawbe and the Haudenosaune in June to give the union its working orders for the next two years was a  success. The delegates debated 19 bylaw amendments proposals and 4 resolutions under the expert chairmanship of CMG staff representative Olivier Desharnais-Roy.

As in any good debate, some amendments and resolutions passed while others failed. Here is a synopsis of the impact of those that passed:

  • There is now a bylaw that establishes the salary of the CMG President and the CBC Branch President, removing the irritant for the National Executive Committee to debate the question every new term.
  • The NEC has been asked by the CMG Delegates, and is now in the process of, striking and populating the following special committees:
    • Special Consultative Committee on the needs of trans, non-binary and other non-conforming CMG Members
    • Special Environment Impact Committee
    • Special Consultative Committee on release days for sitting Branch and Location Unit Officers
  • There was also clarification on who may become a trustee and some housekeeping of the bylaws to keep them in tune with changes that have occurred since the last Convention.

Read the 19 Bylaw Amendment Proposals and 4 Resolutions and the outcome of the debates.

The CBC Branch Delegates had a chance to discuss and outline their priorities for the next round of bargaining ramping up in the next few months. They also invited the rest of the CMG Delegates to an evening of live Karaoke where member after member showcased their considerable   entertainment chops. CBC Branch members: if you wish to have your say about the priorities for the next round of bargaining, fill out the Barganing Survey : deadline July 10.

Take a look at some CMG Convention pictures here.

We also welcomed a couple of exciting speakers who shared important ideas on the future work in news media. Patrick White summarized the current use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Software by media organizations around the world, and Dave Seglins gave us an enlightening, if slightly frightening, introduction to the impact of working in media on our mental health. Interested? We will be giving workshops to CMG members. The next one is scheduled in Vancouver in September. Keep an eye out for your opportunity to sign up.

We will be offering more union training in the fall, check the calendar of upcoming training on our website.

Last but not least, CWA Canada’s organizers Kat Lapointe and Nasr Ahmed were joined by our own CMG activists to share views and ideas on effective organizing approaches in news media and other sectors.

2023 Meritorious Service Award

Over a magical evening with, a talented entertainer who helped lighten the mood after a long day of union deliberations, the Guild presented its Meritorious Service Award to past CMG president Carmel Smyth. She received four individual nominations praising her for shepherding changes that helped to strengthen the Guild as a union and for mentoring new activists. She joins a select group of recipients of this prestigious CMG honour. 

Hard work paying off

Some positive developments to share: 

  • The Canadian Press Branch have reached a settlement with the employer regarding work breaks.
  • An arbitrator ruled in favour of the CMG’s CBC Branch regarding the 2009 Benefits and pension agreement.
  • And the Canadian Government passed the Online News Act, the new legislation designed to support the production of trusted news and information in Canada. CMG welcomes the new law and will be sharing media workers’ perspectives on its application with a focus on news funds being invested in news production capacity and quality jobs.

Meeting with colleagues from our broader union

Nine CMG Delegates and I will be in St. Louis, Missouri from July 7 to July 12 to participate in the TNG-CWA and CWA conventions. The CMG is a Local of CWA/SCA Canada, which in turn is a member of the Communication Workers of America, an international union with over 700,000 members. 

Speaking about CWA/SCA Canada, our past president Carmel Smyth was recently elected president of that union. She follows in the footsteps of outgoing president Martin O’Hanlon who has been in the leadership ranks of our parent union since its inception as TNG Canada/CWA in 1995.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out: https://cmg.ca/staff-and-offices/

In solidarity,
Annick R. Forest
President of the Canadian Media Guild

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