Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Guild meet news?

Did we miss it?

Did we miss a Sun, Star, Globe or Post story about The Newspaper Guild and the Communications Workers of America union holding their conferences in Toronto?

The 72nd TNG conference, with delegates from across Canada and the United States, was held Friday and Saturday. The 69th CWA conference opened Monday and ends today.

But you wouldn't know it from Toronto media coverage. (Are they open sessions?)

TSF learned about the TNG and CWA conferences from a Milwaukee Newspaper Guild blog.

Delegates had favourable things to say about Toronto, as a city and as a competitive newspaper town, says the detailed Milwaukee blog.

It says:

"With a backdrop of U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican flags, the 72nd meeting of The Newspaper Guild sector conference opened Friday morning in Toronto, one of the most ethically diverse cities, and union supporting, in the world.

"Lise Lareau, president of TNG-CWA Local 30213, the host local of the conference, welcomed the 148 Guild delegates from across America and Canada.

"Lareau noted that Toronto is a great newspaper town, with four daily newspapers - Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Toronto Globe and Mail and the National Post - as well as a daily Chinese and daily Italian newspaper.

"She also noted that the conference is being held just a few blocks from the headquarters of CBC, where 2,500 members of TNG work.

"Simcoe Park, next to CBC headquarters, is a place with history for the Guild because of the many events that took place there during the contentious CBC strike a few years ago."

The Milwaukee blog also says:

"Arnold Amber, director of CWA Canada, said the union faces many challenges in an industry that is changing at a breakneck pace. Yet he said the industry in Canada does not face as many problems as the U.S. industry. He noted that two of the dailies in Toronto have held their own in circulation in recent years.

"But the real keynote in Canada is the same as it is in the United States: change, change, change," Amber said.

The blog says Bernie Lunzer, TNG secretary-treasurer, said Guild membership in the past few years had dropped from 33,000 to 30,000 members.

It quotes Lunzer as saying "it is tragic that newspaper people are leaving the industry and going to public relations and other jobs outside the industry and enjoying their work for the first time in a long time."

“How sad it that?” he said.

Lunzer's "how sad is that?" comment hits close to home for hundreds of Quebecor employees laid off since 1999, especially the journalists who opted to move on to non-media jobs.

It is sad to see men and women born to be journalists giving up their dreams.

FYI: Conference speech by Larry Cohen, CWA president.

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