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What you need to know to vote on the new Canadian region within the CWA

All Canadian members of the Communications Workers of America – including Canadian Media Guild members – will vote at the end of the month on a structural change to turn TNG Canada into an autonomous Canadian region of the CWA.

TNG Canada is a network of the thirty or so locals that make up the Canadian membership of the CWA. Its director is CMG’s former CBC branch president, Arnold Amber.

A new Canadian region of the CWA would give leaders in this country direct control over the spending of all dues money collected in Canada. For example, the Canadian region would control its own legal fund designed to help small locals fight important grievances.

Right now, CMG sends about 20% of member dues, known as “per caps,” to CWA for the union’s North American operations, including the payment of strike/lockout benefits. Under the proposed change, CMG and other locals of TNG Canada will send the per caps to Ottawa. Some of the money will continue to be directed to CWA for its North American operations. But the majority will be retained and administered by TNG Canada. This change will have no impact on the amount of dues individual members pay.

CMG and other Canadian locals will still participate fully in the Newspaper Guild and the CWA. We will continue to have access to the CWA Members Relief Fund, enabling members to get strike or lockout pay if necessary.

The proposal for a Canadian region followed a series of talks involving Amber and several senior CWA leaders, including the president of the union, Larry Cohen, as part of a review of the North American union’s entire structure.

Canadian members are now being asked to approve the memorandum of agreement. Click here to read it. CMG members will vote by online referendum November 27-30.

If members approve the creation of the Canadian region, it will go into effect January 1, 2007. If the measure is rejected, TNG Canada’s executive will not have independent decision-making authority over CWA expenditures in Canada.

For more information contact CMG president Lise Lareau (lise@cmg.ca) or vice president Scott Edmonds (tsedmonds@yahoo.ca) who both sit on the TNG Canada executive.

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