Across the country, CUPE members are walking community picket lines with locked-out CBC and Societé Radio-Canada workers. They’re also pressing CBC management and politicians to end the lockout of the 5,500 workers, which began Aug. 15.
In Ottawa, CUPE national helped organize a benefit concert for Ottawa members of the Canadian Media Guild on Aug. 23. The benefit was an inspiring evening with the Cultural Heritage Choir, and raised $2,500. Locked-out workers also performed one of the many songs they’ve written on the line.
CUPE support for the event was strong, with both the national union and local district council donating funds, as well as CUPE 2204 (child care workers) and CUPE 4600 (Carleton University teaching and research assistants). Other support came from the Ottawa Folk Festival, Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Communications Energy and Paperworkers’ Union, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Professional Institute of the Public Service and the Ottawa and District Labour Council.
CUPE leaders and staff have also been active on the Ottawa picket line, outside the CBC’s brand-new headquarters in downtown Ottawa. Visit www.cupe.ca/gallery for photos from the Ottawa picket line and benefit. In Regina, a rally for striking municipal workers, members of CUPE 21 and CUPE 7, as well as the Amalgamated Transit Union, ended up with a thousand-strong crowd joining a CBC picket.
The pressure is also mounting on CBC management and federal politicians to end the lockout. In a recent letter to heritage minister Liza Frulla, CUPE 966 executive vice-president Andrew Ward wrote that “as a public librarian, I rely on cultural-related information from our public broadcaster to perform my job responsibly. The current grip that CBC management has placed on its employees is, simply put, an insult to the hard working employees who are committed to public service.”
CUPE has issued a national media release supporting the locked out workers, and National President Paul Moist has spent time on a Winnipeg picket line as well as the Ottawa line. CUPE Quebec has also denounced how the CBC has been broadcasting local Montreal news, weather and traffic reports on their French-language radio stations from Vancouver to Toronto to fill air time. (Workers in Quebec and Moncton, N.B. belong to a different union and are not affected by the lockout).
The call to bring back the CBC gets louder every day. Add your voice. Visit http://www.cbcontheline.ca/ for ongoing picket line news and links to actions you can take. Visit the Canadian Media Guild, www.cmg.ca, for bargaining updates.