Canadian Magazine Industry News
22 July 2009,     OTTAWA
Canadian Freelance Union gets set for inaugural meeting
It’s official: after years of waiting, organizing and finding funds, the Canadian Freelance Union (CEP Local 2040) will hold its inaugural meeting on October 3. Interim president Michael OReilly says the national gathering will actually happen at several locations across Canada with the aid of webcast technology. Members will elect the CFU’s first national executive, and discuss the union’s bylaws and other founding policies.

To discuss the drafted bylaws before the meeting, members can register on the online forum. According to OReilly, the CFU already has about 550 charter members and a three-year commitment from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union, Canada's largest media union.

“As I was telling one union friend who was complaining about the recession, we’ve been in recession for 20 years [in this industry],” OReilly said. “Regardless of good times or bad times, the amount paid to freelancers has gone straight down. Publishers and corporate owners are demanding more and paying less.”

To benefit members of the organization, the CFU has compiled a number of services. According to a memo to union members, these include:
  • A contract advice service to help members interpret and understand what they are signing.
  • A formal contract support to help members deal with disputes over payment, rights usage or other problems.
  • A "Red Flag" service to warn members about unscrupulous engagers.
  • A basic benefits plan.
  • Access to full benefits packages at rates far lower than would normally be possible (leveraging linkages to the CEP).
  • A Hiring Hall, which will link members to work, and work to members.
  • The start of efforts to negotiate better freelance contracts from some of the country's largest publishers such as Quebecor, Transcontinental, Canwest and Rogers.
The CFU is also working on offering additional benefits such as deals on car rentals and hotels, a published set of standard rates, and training and skills upgrading programs. Union dues are $125/year, or $100 for charter members’ first year.
— Laura Godfrey
Story Tools
Most Recent News Comment
Jaded says:
Wow, Torstar really seems to be on a mission to bankrupt one magazine after another....
Most Recent Blog Comment
Lorene Shyba says:
Full of terrific information, Thanks!...
Special Reports