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CBC bargaining starts Wednesday

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Labor/union news
TORONTO - Negotiations between the Canadian Media Guild and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on a new collective bargaining agreement begin on tomorrow morning, May 12.

It will be the first time the parties negotiate a single new collective agreement for almost 6,000 CBC employees working outside the province of Quebec and the city of Moncton, N.B., says a release from the CMG.

"This historic round presents both the Guild and the Corporation with both significant challenges and opportunities. All Guild members will be watching these negotiations closely," it says.

"The Guild has listened to members new and old throughout the 'one union' campaign, in meetings across the country and in a recently completed membership survey. We have identified several recurring themes; these issues will be priorities at the bargaining table. Those themes, says the release, are:

* Work-Life Balance: Members have overwhelmingly identified the issues involved with work-life balance as important to them. CBC employees are feeling stressed and overworked. They want to see measures taken to change the way work is done in a way that allows them to have some predictability in their lives and permits them time with family. The bargaining committee is committed to exploring options to achieve a better balance.

* Fair compensation for work performed: CBC employees have seen the work force shrink, new technologies introduced, work practices and assignment procedures change and significantly greater demands imposed. In a word, they are feeling under-valued. Guild members want to realize some of the benefits of their increased contributions over the past several years. We don't see any merit in the trend toward a more generic kind of employee who is expected to do, or be capable of doing, every type of work.

* Workload: Guild members are also calling on their union to address the full spectrum of workload issues, both in terms of volume of work and intensity of work. We will be seeking language in the collective agreement in order to create a more realistic process to allow employees to deal with workload issues without fear of reprisal or repercussions.

* Temporary and other non-permanent employees: More than a quarter of all employees are engaged as some form of temporary or term workers. These individuals are frequently denied opportunities for permanent jobs. They are often denied progression on salary scales, annual leave and adequate training. The bargaining committee wants to see an end to abuses around the engagement of non-permanent workers.

"This round of talks gives both the Guild and the CBC a chance to re-examine how we do things, to reassess the relationship between the Corporation and its employees. It is a considerable task. The questions are difficult and the answers won't always be easy to find. The way we manage the changes that confront us will ultimately determine the future of the Corporation. We believe the approach should be patient, thoughtful, imaginative, fair and responsible. We look forward to the challenge," says the release.

For more, go to the CMG web site at www.cmg.ca.
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