Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Letter from CKLN News Director Kristin Schwartz

August 18, 2008

Dear friends, colleagues, comrades:

I am writing to seek your support. On August 11 I was fired from my position as News Director at CKLN 88.1fm, without warning and without cause. After 10 years of service to CKLN, and only six weeks after returning from a year-long parental leave, I was told that the current board of directors and I "do not see eye to eye". For that reason I was terminated, effective immediately.

It is true that I "don't see eye to eye" with the current board as they have taken many steps that I disagree with, including interfering in news programming in ways that are totally unprecedented, and expelling 30 volunteers who have produced excellent, community-based, progressive programming at CKLN, without giving any reasons or opportunity to appeal. This course of action is shameful and demonstrates a complete lack of responsible leadership, in my view.

But "not seeing eye to eye" is not a lawful reason for firing employees. Thankfully, I now have some protection from this board's arbitrary behavior because our workplace is unionized with the largest labour union in the country, the Canadian Union of Public Employees. CUPE Local 1281 is fighting my termination on my behalf.

Please, take a few moments to write a letter in support of my work at CKLN. You may want to highlight these points:

- the importance of CKLN's news department for broadcasting progressive perspectives on the critical issues of our time - war, poverty, violence, ecological devastation - and for providing access to the airwaves to poor and working people, racialized people, women, queer and trans people, youth, disAbled people, and others who are underrepresented or misrepresented in mainstream media
- the opportunities our news department has created for students, youth and community members to learn about broadcasting
- my work as a journalist and producer of programming which has aired across Canada and the United States
- my excellent record of supporting annual special programming for International Women's Day, LGBTQ Pride, and Prisoner Justice Day
- my contributions to the National Campus/Community Radio Association, and
- the outrageous violation of my rights as a unionized worker, in the midst of bargaining for a first contract.

You may send a copy to me at kristin.schwartz2008@gmail.com, our union at office@cupe1281.ca, and to Toby Whitfield, a member of CKLN's board of directors representing the Ryerson Students Union, at vp.finance@rsuonline.ca. The RSU is CKLN's largest funder.

Thanks for your support.


Kristin Schwartz

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