CWG/CMG representing Toronto Star and The Grid freelancers in talks with senior management

Do you freelance at the Toronto Star or The Grid? There have been talks between the Canadian Writers Group/Canadian Media Guild and the Star‘s senior management about the new freelance agreement at the paper, which contains a couple of, in our view, unnecessary and troublesome clauses. The most recent meeting took place in late August, and according to the CWG’s Derek Finkle, the Star is open to having an ongoing dialogue with its freelancers. The Star‘s publisher, John Cruickshank, has been vocal about wanting to make the agreement more equitable; he remarked that freelancers are an important part of the Toronto Star‘s future and made it clear that he’d like to have ongoing discussions about the paper’s relationship with its freelancers.

More recently, The Grid, also owned by Torstar Corp., began distributing new freelancer agreements. CWG/CMG are concerned that additional clauses in The Grid agreement could leave freelancers open to counter-suits in the event of a libel suit. Finkle says that, similar to Cruickshank, The Grid‘s publisher and editor, Laas Turnbull, has been agreeable and open to discussing the agreement.

Undoubtedly, the more freelancers that CMG/CWG represents, the more fruitful their meetings with the Star‘s and The Grid‘s publisher and editors will be. This is an opportunity to be represented in these discussions and have your voice heard.

If you’re a freelancer for the Star or The Grid interested in hearing more about the talks and what’s going on now, please contact Jean Broughton (jean@cmg.ca). We will keep your information confidential.

Background

We first wrote about the Star agreement in June, and the questions raised then largely remain. Though the Star specified who the “affiliates” mentioned in the agreement are, the document’s use of the term “marketing purposes” remains unclear. As the agreement now stands, these are the issues that CWG and CMG would like to see addressed:

  • That the agreement was perpetual and had no review date on it, which, given the speed at which things are changing, is problematic.
  • Freelancers should be compensated appropriately when work is syndicated to third parties. And they should also be able to approve edited/altered work if syndicated.
  • That TorStar’s license to the work “in any medium, context or form whatsoever” extends unnecessarily and unfairly to film, TV, books, etc.
Posted on October 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm by editor · · Tagged with: , , , ,

Leave a Reply