One of the great beauties of this company we have built together is how spread out we are across the country, each of us telling the stories of Canadians from St. John’s to Montreal to Regina to Victoria. But this vast geography also means we might not have a good handle on how our colleagues are feeling and thinking in other bureaus, particularly at this critical time.
This letter serves as a candid expression of the position of your colleagues in the Ottawa bureau vis-à-vis the current negotiations between management and the union. It has been drafted without prompting by anybody involved in those talks.
Simply put, we are angry and disappointed. We are angry, and we will not accept any proposal that asks us to reduce our salaries, cut our hard-won benefits or relinquish the pension money we put in over the past three years. We refuse to be treated as second-class citizens to journalists at the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and La Presse who already earn more than we do. We are disappointed as we reflect on the tireless hard work and sacrifice that we have put into this company, while repeatedly negotiating in good faith contracts that permitted the company to survive its former ownership structure – in large measure the same companies now asking for much more. Some of us have risked our lives covering the war in Afghanistan so that our clients (including our new owners), could bring the news to Canadians. We are angry as we consider how the company revels in the public accolades we receive, only to ask us later to be paid less for our efforts.
Our work is in the public eye, demanding great responsibility, integrity and skill. We now cart around video cameras with our notebooks and digital recorders, a major new task shouldered without any additional compensation. We carry around Blackberrys, which keep us tethered to work and the office 24/7.
We stand together at the CP Ottawa bureau in demanding that the company recognize that Canadian Press reporter/editors and beleaguered support staff are some of the country’s best, and that we are already under-compensated. We hope you stand with us in supporting the union in these negotiations.
Guild members in the Ottawa bureau