Thursday, 22 March 2007

T.O. CFU April 4

Quebecor's demands in a compulsory freelancers' agreement will be among topics discussed at an April 4 meeting of the Canadian Freelance Union.

Former Toronto Sun reporter Ian Harvey, a CFU spokesperson, said the 7 p.m. Toronto chapter meeting will be held at the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild offices, 1252 Queen St. E.

One of the topics will be "why Quebecor's freelancer agreement, which they are demanding all contributing freelancers sign, is such a bad idea," says Ian.

The role of the CFU will also be discussed.

The 2007 CFU recruiting drive has the support of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), Canada's largest media union.

"(CEP) has decided to utilize its resources to create a strong collective voice for media freelancers and other independent communication professionals — to improve their income, benefits and working conditions," CEP says on its web site.

"We believe that uniting everyone who works in Canada's media — employee or independent contractor — will be good for everyone," the CEP says. "In addition, the development of an independent media sector, in which people can earn a decent living, will allow more viewpoints to be expressed, energizing our democracy."

The CFU is much needed for freelance reporters, photographers and videographers in this age of media conglomerates and multi-media demands.

This blogger's first freelance assignment for Southam in the early 1960s paid $50 for a short farming story and a photo. Payment was pre-arranged and there were no concerns about the story being used more than once.

Since the arrival of the Internet and media conglomerates, the lives of an increasing number of men and women working freelance have become a constant battle for fair play and decent wages.

Freelance stories, photographs and video footage can all be duplicated for use on the Internet, in sister newspapers and on television, creating the need for written usage agreements.

The CFU makes sense in 2007. The growing number of freelancers across Canada are being taken advantage of in this multi-media age.

FU membership is open to service-for-fee print and broadcast reporters, writers, producers, editors, columnists, commentators, artists, designers, web designers, technicians, technical support staff, researchers, information officers and public relations practitioners.

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