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Going Canadian

Throughout the period of expansion in the 1990s, the leadership of SONG became increasingly frustrated with the lack of attention and service that the Newspaper Guild's Washington head office was providing to Canadians. After a long and unsuccessful campaign for more Canadian autonomy within the Guild international, SONG members voted in 1994 to sever ties with The Newspaper Guild. Shortly afterwards, SONG affiliated with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), an all-Canadian union and Canada's largest media union.

The Guild and the Star again did battle in 1992 during a one-month strike over the company's plans to contract-out its delivery department. The strike failed to stop the company's plans, but got a better deal for the laid-off employees.

In 1996, SONG's long-time president, Gail Lem of the Globe and Mail unit, was elected as the CEP's national vice-president of media, the top officer for the CEP's 15,000-strong media section, representing employees in print and broadcast across Canada. She was followed in that post by Peter Murdoch who is a former Hamilton Spectator reporter and SONG representative.

Despite restrictive labour laws passed by the Conservative government elected in Ontario in 1995, SONG has continued to organize, bringing in employees of ethnic community newspapers at Sing Tao Daily, Share, the Korea Times and the World Journal. In early 2002 a further 350 employees of the London Free Press chose union representation with SONG.

Their Quebecor cousins in the Toronto Sun newsroom joined up in early 2003, followed closely by the Local's first broadcasting bargaining units at CHUM's New PL/WI/NX now known as the A Channel and Corus. Soon after pre-press employees at the Toronto Sun and editorial employees at the Ottawa Sun chose SONG.

In addition, employees at the Stratford Beacon Herald and the Simcoe Reformer and the free daily Metro have joined SONG. By 2004, the Local represented media workers in newspapers, magazines, book publishing, television and specialty broadcasting, radio and internet: in recognition of this diversity, we changed the name of our Local to the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild.