Monday, October 22, 2007

Canadian Freelance Union: a lamentably
long time coming

It was more than two years ago (August 2005) that the first word of the launch of the Canadian Freelance Union was heard about, under the auspices of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, the country's largest media union with 25,000 members.

Since then, there have been a series of information meetings and repeated promises that the founding, annual general meeting of the union was imminent. A lot of hope was placed in the idea precisely because of the clout of the parent union. But after all this time, those who anted up their provisional fees may now be wondering if anything is ever going to happen.

In early September, I wrote to Michael OReilly, the president of the union, asking what was happening and he said:
We're still growing, and we're still working on a number of issues to put more meat on the CFU bones. This includes benefits, contract services, and advocacy. We're still trying to get to the negotiating table at any of the major newspaper publishers. All have revised the standard freelance contracts in the past 6 months, making them more onerous and ugly. Just when I think it can't get worse, the next version comes out at proves me wrong.

Yes, the AGM is still on the horizon. I may have more information on that soon -- we're looking for a university partner since we want to make it a real symposium on freelance issues. There are a few possibilities bubbling. I'll let you know as soon as I can, but I am hoping for sooner rather than later.
This union has been simmering for far too long, without coming to a boil.

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