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Dear Local President,

I am pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for the John Belcarz and Dan Zeidler post-secondary education/training memorial scholarships. Two scholarships of $1,000 each are available.

The accompanying attachments contain a poster and application form in both English and French (also available on our website: Please circulate this information to your members.

In solidarity,

Martin O’Hanlon
Director, CWA/SCA Canada

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Labour Day 2013: Let’s talk about fairness

Martin O’Hanlon
CWA Canada Director

110520_ohanlon_200x270The biggest challenge I find in talking with people about economic, labour and social justice issues is that they get so blinded by ideology, prejudice and ignorance that they can’t focus on the main issue: what’s fair.

When you strip away the labels, politics and prejudices and ask about core issues of fairness and justice, people of all political persuasions have similar opinions.

For example, most conservatives agree with progressives that workers deserve a decent day’s pay for a decent day’s work.

The trouble is that many people get distracted by destructive appeals to emotion — talk of “lazy” workers, “greedy” unions and over-paid bureaucrats — and are unable to see the biggest threat to society: the huge economic inequality out there.

People are more concerned about what their “lazy” neighbour is earning rather than the fact that some companies and billionaires are raking in obscene profits while failing to pay a decent wage — hello Walmart.

Some would rather see laws that restrict unions and workers than laws that raise wages and guarantee fair working conditions.

The implications for society are huge: wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of the 1%, who keep most of it locked away out of the economy, and people are unhappy in their jobs and their lives.

If wages were raised, much of that money would go to workers who would spend it, providing a huge economic boost. And good working conditions mean happier workers and happier families. I think we all agree that’s better for society.

Until people see the Big Picture, overcome their prejudices and ignore those who attack labour for their own selfish gain, we cannot realize our true economic, social and human potential.

That brings us to Labour Day 2013 and a fresh effort to educate Canadians about the vital role unions play in improving society.

On Labour Day, CWA|SCA Canada is joining with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) to launch labour’s new “together FAIRNESS WORKS” campaign.

We will help engage millions of union members in conversations about how unions have improved their lives and share their stories with Canadians.

Labour Day isn’t just an opportunity to honour workers with a day off. It is a time to reflect on the many contributions labour makes to building a better country.

Unions have brought about many society-changing improvements: the weekend, the 40-hour work week, medicare, overtime, pensions, health and safety laws, on and on. It is thanks to unions that we can spend time with our families, take a sick day off with pay and live a decent life.

It’s not just about all the huge improvements unions have brought about in the past; it’s about defending what we all enjoy as Canadians and continuing to make society better.

That’s why our union is working hard with the CLC to improve the lives of all Canadians, for example by bolstering the Canada Pension Plan, which will help everyone when they retire regardless of whether they are a union member.

Unfortunately, the good and important work unions do is often ignored. Some in business and politics — whether for profit or political gain — falsely blame unions for problems in our society and economy.

That’s why the “together FAIRNESS WORKS” campaign is so essential. It’s vital that everyone understands how much unions contribute to their prosperity, health, income, safety and security.

Have a Happy Labour Day and please tell everyone that “together FAIRNESS WORKS” – because your union makes your life and your community better!

Let’s fight the good fight, together.


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Winnipeg Free Press restricts online comments to subscribers in effort to reduce “digital diatribe”


The Winnipeg Free Press is restricting its online comments to print and online subscribers in an effort to keep “the e-party going without the party-crashers.”

The newspaper’s editor Paul Samyn said the new commenting policy designed to reduce the “digital diatribe” will go into effect on June 3.

“The thinking behind our policy change is the bulk of the ugliness that lands from time to time on our website comes from those abusing the “free” in Free Press to engage in gutter talk or worse on our no-cost forum,” he said. “There will no doubt be some who will accuse the Free Press of limiting their right to free speech, or complain that we’re not living up to the “free” in Free Press. They, of course, are entitled to their opinion, but, just for the record, there are no charter rights requiring us to have their voice heard at our water cooler.”

Follow this link to continue reading this story

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Martin O’Hanlon New Years Message


By Martin O’Hanlon
Director, CWA Canada
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110520_ohanlon_200x270I made a New Year’s resolution for 2013.

Every day when I get up, I am now asking myself: “What can I do today to make life better for Canadians and make this a better country.”

Not surprisingly, the answer has yet to be: “Cut wages, layoff workers or send jobs overseas.”

However, that’s exactly the answer many businesses choose – and conservatives endorse – in their quest for higher profits.

These are the same people who – as they ruin local economies, devastate workers’ lives, and slash away at the Middle Class – have the audacity to scapegoat unions for what’s wrong with the economy, despite the fact that only a minority of workers belong to a union.

Over the next year, CWA Canada will continue to fight the good fight by standing up and speaking out for quality jobs and quality journalism. We will do that at the bargaining table, through talks with employers, with press releases, and by building coalitions.

2011 saw the rise of “Occupy” and 2012 brought us “Idle No More.” These grassroots movements show that a great many people are fed up with the social and economic injustice in our society and, more importantly, they’re willing to do something about it. We need to support that. We will work with the labour movement, community groups and other progressive organizations to promote the cause of the 99%, stop further job cuts and improve wages.

We enter 2013 full of hope that the worst is over for the media industry and optimistic that the new year will bring more jobs and better journalism.

But, of course, hope and optimism don’t bring change – that takes effort. The challenge will be persuading our employers to invest in a quality product and grow their businesses rather than keep trimming jobs and cutting costs.

One fact has become painfully obvious over the last decade of media slash-and-burn economics: cost-cutting saves money in the short-term, but results in declining revenue in the long-term as readers, listeners and viewers tune out.

Another key challenge for 2103 will be political. As a leader who represents thousands of journalists, I have said repeatedly that I cannot support one political party over another. But that doesn’t mean we must sit idly by and watch injustice or ignore attacks on the interests of our members, the 99%, and democracy.

When a government, political party or any group attacks the common good, we will stand up, speak out and fight back. That’s why we spoke out against the Harper Conservatives when the introduced Bill C-377 – an intrusive, unfair, unnecessary and ideologically motivated piece of rubbish that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year to administer and yield no benefit to anyone. Its sole aim is to target unions, tie them up with red tape, and suck out financial and other information for right-wing propaganda.

We will keep up the fight against C-377 and support a court challenge when it receives Royal Assent.

We will also build on our efforts to protect the CBC from further funding cuts – through grassroots campaigns and other actions – so that Canadian public broadcasting can survive and thrive.

And we will step up pressure on the Conservative government to abandon its ideological and mean-spirited plan to push back old age pension benefits until age 67 – a move that steals money from our pockets and will force thousands of Canadians to delay their retirements.

The challenges ahead are many, the hurdles high.

We have two options. We can lie down and hope that a rump Middle Class is still around in a generation.

Or we can fight back!

Let’s work together to protect jobs, defend journalism, improve wages and make this country a better place for all Canadians.

Let’s fight the good fight. Together.

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Long time CWA Mailer, Tony Bishop succumbs to cancer

BISHOP, George A. “Tony” December 2, 1931 – December 11, 2012 A true son of Esquimalt, B.C. Tony passed away peacefully at home with family by his side. Dad was an employee of the Times Colonist newspaper for over 40 years. He was an avid amateur sportsman all his life, long term member of the Gorge Vale Golf Course and a talented ball player in his youth. Tony loved his family, the outdoors and the ocean, his many friends at the Esquimalt Branch of the Royal Canadian legion and most especially he “loved a rainy night.” Survived by his three children, Deborah, Greg (Robyn) and Dave, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. At Tony’s request there will be no service but a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Special thanks for the Palliative care nurses from VIHA and the generosity of the Esquimalt Legion and it’s members. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.

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