At the end of August, the Guild said goodbye to long-time staff representative Kathy Viner, who retired after a 28-year career with the union. At a party held in Toronto on August 25, family, friends and Guild members from across the country celebrated Kathy’s many contributions to our union.
Kathy was a librarian and had been president of her union local when she began working for the Toronto CBC TV producers association in the early 1980s. She helped certify the association as a real union and bring together all the CBC TV producers across the country. In the early 1990s, they joined what is now known as the Canadian Media Guild.
Arnold Amber, the former president of the producers’ association and then of the CBC branch within the Guild, said Kathy played a key role in growing the union over the years. She was later involved in organizing editorial and production staff at TVO and TFO; they joined the Guild in 1999.
Kathy also became the lead Guild staff representative at The Canadian Press and Thomson Reuters, where she built solid working relationships with her management counterparts. One of those, The Canadian Press HR manager Paul Woods, attended the August 25 party and thanked Kathy on behalf of the former wire service co-operative management for her role in keeping the organization alive.
The Canadian Press survived a brush with insolvency a few years ago in large part by securing from the federal government a longer timeline over which to repay its pension plan deficit. The Guild– and Kathy– played an important role in those negotiations with the federal government and pension regulator. Woods added that Canadians also have Kathy to thank for helping to keep our national wire service going. Last year, The Canadian Press ceased being a co-operative and is now co-owned by the Globe and Mail, Torstar and Gesca (publishers of Le Soleil and La Presse).
Kathy was also celebrated on August 25 for her, ahem, colourful use of language, her open and direct style and her significant organizational skills. Guild minutes and files will never be the same!
Thanks for all you did with and for us, Kathy. Enjoy all the new adventures to come!