Veteran activist Martin Mittlestaedt retires
After more than 30 years as a Globe and Mail reporter and union activist, CEP 87M Treasurer Martin Mittlestaedt has opted to take a buyout package and retire.
Mittlestaedt resigned as treasurer of CEP 87M (Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild) and as a Globe reporter at the end of June. The Local Executive appointed Ka Hung Wong from Sing Tao as the interim treasurer at its July 17 meeting.
The Local’s Representative Council must officially elect a new treasurer at its Sept. 18 meeting when the Local will also pay tribute to Mittlestaedt’s long and distinguished role as an activist.
Mittlestaedt began that role shortly after being hired by the Globe and Mail out of university in 1980. He was a key part of organizing drives at the newspaper and soon took a position on both the Globe unit and the Local Executive.
Although he served as Local President from 2002-2004, he is best known for his role as a tough-minded but principled treasurer, both before and after his three-year stint as president.
“Martin’s test as treasurer was, ‘would the members find this expense reasonable?” said former president, and now Local Representative, Brad Honywill. “He could always be relied upon to make smart and defensible decisions, and had the strength of character to withstand the pressures than are inevitably put on someone in that position.”
But, Honywill said, Mittlestaedt was more than a tough-minded treasurer.
“Martin was really the intellectual leader of this Local for much of the past 30 years. He could change the course of a debate with one sentence, simply with the clarity of his thought and the great respect he commanded.”
"It is difficult to put into words how profound an effect Martin had had on SONG 87-M, from frontline activist to leading us from the very top," said Paul Morse, SONG president. "Martin's vision and leadership played a pivotal role in shaping SONG into what it is today – a dynamic, diversified, democratic and responsive media local driven to make life better for our members.
"As a trade unionist, and as a working journalist, he has truly been in a class of his own."
In the short term, Mittlestaedt plans to spend his retirement wading through a decade of unread books and catching up on a myriad of chores that go with parenting four children at his home on Toronto island.