Tag Archives: Martin O’Hanlon

Save the CBC, Stop the TPP: A Call to Action in 2015

110520_ohanlon_200x270By Martin O’Hanlon
President, CWA/SCA Canada

Making New Year’s predictions is risky business.

Last January, I predicted the worst would be over for newspapers in 2014 and things would start to improve.

Well, I may have been half right.

The last year, like the last decade, was not kind to the media industry. We saw more deep and damaging cuts at a number of employers, with the CBC and Halifax Chronicle Herald hardest hit.

In Halifax, a proud and vibrant newsroom was stunned and battered by deep cuts that came with no warning, empathy or delicacy.

At the CBC, we are losing hundreds of colleagues and unless we get a government that will provide adequate funding, the survival of our public broadcaster is in doubt.

As we begin 2015, I remain confident that things will improve, but we can’t just sit back and hope. We must stand up for jobs and journalism, and we must build a movement for social and economic justice. After all, if we don’t, who will?

Each of us has a part to play and once again, I am asking every member of CWA Canada to do something – even just one small thing – to help as we launch two new campaigns.

The first, the “Save the CBC” campaign, is already gearing up under the direction of our biggest local, the Canadian Media Guild.

The goal is to make quality public broadcasting a ballot box issue in this year’s federal election.

For years now, the CBC has been starved of the funds it needs to fulfill its federally legislated mandate.

The Harper Conservatives, while scared to kill the CBC outright, have not been shy about showing their disdain for public broadcasting. Unless they change their position, or unless we have a new government committed to public broadcasting, the CBC will fade away.

That unthinkable prospect would be a huge blow to Canadian culture and it would mean the loss of CBC News, with far fewer journalists to keep an eye on government, politicians and corporate power brokers.

That’s bad for society and democracy and we can’t let it happen.

So what can we do?

Over the coming weeks and months, we will use email, Twitter, Facebook and workplace posters to let you know how you can help.

It could be:

•    Attending a Save the CBC rally

•    Signing an online petition

•    Joining our Facebook page

•    Retweeting Twitter posts

•    Telling your local MP that the CBC matters to you

Our second campaign is to stop Canada from signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a secretive “trade” deal being negotiated behind closed doors.

The TPP isn’t really a trade agreement at all – it’s a cozy arrangement that would give corporations unprecedented new international powers and it’s being negotiated with plenty of input from corporations and almost no involvement from elected officials, never mind labour leaders or environmental experts.

The TPP would have a major impact on Canada, yet almost no one is talking about it. We must change that.

Under the TPP:

·       Foreign corporations would be able to challenge Canadian laws (environment, safety, etc.) bypassing Canadian courts and going directly to closed-door international tribunals that could override Canadian sovereignty.

·       Canada would lose thousands more jobs as companies move production overseas, particularly to Vietnam where garment workers earn just 50 cents an hour.

With both the CBC and TPP campaigns, we have to build a movement, working with other progressives, including community organizations, social groups, student activists, environmentalists, religious leaders – anyone with whom we can find a common interest.

Again, over the coming months, we will use email and social media to let you know how you can help.

One person and one act at a time, working together, we can make a difference.

Let’s each do our part in 2015 to protect quality jobs, defend quality journalism – and make Canada a better place.

O’Hanlon wins national vote to head CWA Canada

Source: cwa-scacanada.ca

Martin O’Hanlon will be the next Director of CWA Canada after emerging the clear winner in national elections.

O’Hanlon, a member of the Canadian Media Guild, captured 440 votes. His challenger, Ron Carroll, a copy editor at The Gazette and vice-president of the Montreal Newspaper Guild, garnered 167.

“I’d like to thank the members for putting their trust in me to lead the union,” said O’Hanlon, 44, who has been Deputy Director for seven years. “I promise to do my best to build CWA|SCA Canada into the most dynamic and progressive union in Canada. And I will always put the interests of the members above all else.

“A huge thank you to all who helped with my campaign. There are too many names to list here, but I’ll be in touch with everyone to thank them personally.”

Outgoing Director Arnold Amber congratulated O’Hanlon on his successful campaign. “It’s certainly good that we finally have a declared winner. Now we can move ahead.”

The voting period was twice extended due to the postal dispute. Results were originally expected to be announced on June 27, in time for the winner to be sworn in on July 12 at the 73rd convention of the Communications Workers of America held in Las Vegas.

Amber, who remains as Director until O’Hanlon can assume office, will conduct the swearing-in sometime in the next few weeks. O’Hanlon will be arranging for a leave of absence from his position as parliamentary editor for The Canadian Press in Ottawa.

Amber has been Director of the union since its inception as TNG Canada/CWA in 1995. He noted that O’Hanlon “was there from the beginning” as one of the delegates to the founding meeting.

This was the first time that members of CWA Canada directly voted for Director of the union. Prior to 2008, the Director and Deputy were elected by delegates to the National Representative Council meeting. (Lois Kirkup, president of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild, was acclaimed Deputy Director at this year’s meeting in April.)

Some Locals arranged for in-plant voting while others opted to have members vote by mail-in ballot.

The National Elections Committee, comprising Scott Edmonds, Gord Holder and Nigel Sones, who gathered in Ottawa on Saturday for the official tally, reported there were 65 ballots not counted because they did not conform to the rules. They included 30 unsigned return envelopes, four spoiled ballots and one that was challenged. A procedural error in one Local’s in-plant voting led to another 30 ballots not being counted.

Kingston campaign aims to restore Whig-Standard’s greatness

Souurce: cwa-scacanada.ca

CWA Canada hopes Quebecor responds to pressure

It’s a project the size and likes of which CWA Canada has never before undertaken. The mission? To enjoin an entire community in a campaign to pressure a corporate media giant to restore the quality of its daily newspaper.

An advertising blitz that heralds the launch today of the ambitious multi-media campaign is sure to make the Kingston Whig-Standard the talk of the town, which some time ago dubbed its once highly regarded publication the “Sub” Standard. The message to “Make It Great!” will emanate from billboards, transit ads, radio spots, flyers, the GreatWhig.ca website and a Facebook fan page.

Quebecor chief Pierre Karl Péladeau is about to get an earful from disgruntled readers and advertisers who have lamented the newspaper’s rapid decline under his stewardship. They will be sending email messages and signing a petition that calls on Quebecor to “devote the appropriate resources to the Whig-Standard so that Kingston can once again have a newspaper worthy of our great city.”

Martin O’Hanlon, deputy director of CWA Canada, initiated the project last fall and has overseen its development over the past six months. The executive of the Kingston Typographical Union (KTU), which represents Whig employees, heartily endorsed the plan and connected its architects with community leaders and activists who were quick to embrace the campaign.

“This is about fighting the good fight for quality local news and jobs. It’s not about union versus management; it’s about doing what’s best for everyone,” says O’Hanlon.

“We want to convince Quebecor that investing properly in its newspapers and keeping jobs in the community is good for readers, employees, democracy — and profits.”

Paul Schliesmann, a veteran reporter at the newspaper and vice-president of the KTU, says this is a last-ditch effort: “This project gives me the only hope I have left for the Whig-Standard.”

As the campaign material notes, the Whig-Standard used to be one of Canada’s best small-city newspapers. It won national awards for investigative reporting, offered in-depth coverage of Kingston issues and provided a balanced forum for discussion of matters of local and national importance.

In recent years, and particularly under Quebecor ownership, the qualities that once made the Whig-Standard a source of pride for Kingston have dramatically declined. Readers and advertisers keenly feel the loss.

Petitioners, whose message will go to both Péladeau and Ron Laurin, the newspaper’s publisher, will “request that Quebecor devote the appropriate resources to the Whig-Standard so that Kingston can once again have a newspaper worthy of our great city.”

Alec Ross, a long-time activist in Kingston who cares passionately about the Whig’s status, is co-ordinating the campaign for CWA Canada. A local company was contracted to design and construct the website, which features video testimonials from people in the community who describe the impact of Quebecor’s corporate decisions.

Among those weighing in are Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, Richard Kizell, chair of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, professors, business people, politicians, writers and former Whig reporters.

“Generally,” says Ross, “I chose the video subjects because they are thoughtful, engaged and articulate Whig readers. We have a lot of support from prominent Kingstonians who totally sympathize with the cause, but who — for various reasons — declined to do a video.”

Lawrence Scanlan, who used to work at the Whig, recounts the halcyon days and expresses his sadness for what has been lost. He’s one of many dedicated journalists who recognize that a once proud profession has been undermined by a corporate ownership more interested in proselytizing a political ideology than upholding the public’s interest, a newspaper’s traditional role.

Indeed, Quebecor’s Sun Media has spread its right-wing tentacles into its newspapers and broadcast outlets to espouse its agenda and silence voices of opposition. The chain’s newspapers are filled with articles that spread the gospel and barely reflect the communities they purport to cover.

Centralizing of functions such as subscription services and advertising has eliminated scores of jobs at Sun Media publications and disconnected the publications from the communities they are supposed to serve.

For interviews or more information, contact Martin O’Hanlon (email / 613-867-5090) or Alec Ross (email / 613-572-3182).

Arnold Amber bows out; 2 contend for leader of CWA Canada


Source: cwa-scacanada.ca

The emergence today of two contenders for Director of CWA Canada both triggers an election for the position and confirms that Arnold Amber is stepping down as leader of the union.

Shortly before nominations closed at noon today, it was announced that Ron Carroll of the Montreal Newspaper Guild (MNG) would be a challenger to Martin O’Hanlon, currently the Deputy Director, whose nomination for the top job was filed April 26. Carroll is a copy editor at The Gazette in Montreal and O’Hanlon, a member of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), is Ottawa News Editor for The Canadian Press.

Lois Kirkup, president of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild, has been acclaimed as Deputy Director by the Elections Committee.

Carroll was nominated by Mona Leroux, president of the MNG. Seconders were Debbie Newton, president of the Kingston Typographical Union, and CMG member David Hawkins.

Amber has been Director of the union since its inception as TNG Canada/CWA in 1995. He was the driving force behind its evolution from a politically autonomous part of The Newspaper Guild to the Canadian Region of the Communications Workers of America. As of Jan. 1, 2007, the Director of the newly christened CWA Canada went from being a volunteer position to a full-time paid job.

This will be the first time that members of CWA Canada will cast ballots for Director of the union. That position, as well as that of Deputy Director, were previously determined by elections at the National Representative Council. Changes to the union’s bylaws so they would conform to the constitution that governs the CWA require that elections for the two positions be held at the national level. Also, the terms of office have increased to four years from three.

The campaign period began at 12:01 p.m. today and runs until June 2. That is followed by a three-week period during which voting would be either by mail ballot (sent directly to members and returned) or at the Local level with ballots sent to the National Elections Committee for counting. It expects to announce results on June 27.

During the campaign period, union funds, staff and other resources are not to be used in support of any particular candidate. Locals must provide equal treatment to both candidates in terms of making websites, bulletin boards and other spaces available for election material.