Unifor Local 87-M Supports The Recent Arbitration Decision


Unifor Local 87-M supports the recent arbitration decision (https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/cala/doc/2021/2021canlii761/2021canlii761.html?fbclid=IwAR1yx-7pniW2VJrmeAaUfIVVe1W7OcS_e5SXMDweVVJZTd6IJ2ZRFjtS_-E) in favour of Ahmar Khan and our brothers and sisters at the Canadian Media Guild. 


The arbitrator ruled that Mr. Khan was improperly dismissed by the CBC regarding his tweet about Don Cherry's racist comments, and the actions he took to publicly highlight how the employer forced him to remove the post. The decision touches on many issues, including expectations of workplace privacy and internal codes of conduct. 


Local 87-M most strongly calls on media organizations to re-examine policies that hinder the ability of journalists to openly discuss racism within their own workplaces – without repercussions.


Local 87-M also supports our brothers and sisters at CBC who signed a letter asking for the directorship of journalistic standards to be managed by committee, rather than a single person in the role, in order to better the company's equitable practices.


There is widespread systemic racism in many Canadian newsrooms. That is a fact. It has been widely acknowledged across the industry as the Black Lives Matter movement brought greater scrutiny of inequities in Canadian media. 


Despite this acceptance, many managers and leaders still fall short when it comes to their own newsrooms and how they handle issues of race and criticism from their own journalists. In a profession that so often shines a light on such inequities in other parts of society (and, sometimes, in rival media organizations) for the public good, many outlets struggle with publicly accountable self-examination. As other colleagues and advocacy groups also note, restrictive policies governing critiques of internal racism disproportionately affect racialized journalists, a group that is already underrepresented in many newsrooms. 


More than a year after Mr. Khan was first dismissed by the CBC, there have been many encouraging signs of progress to eliminate systemic racism in Canadian media. But imagine how much quicker change would come if leaders in Canadian media were more willing to call out their own problems, out loud. Until then, employees should be free to confront these problems on their own terms.