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Arbitration begins on outsourcing of CBC publicists

The Guild’s fight against the outsourcing of the CBC publicity department in 2005 is now before an arbitrator. In June 2005, 34 publicists lost their jobs when the CBC contracted with an outside firm, Media Profile, to do their work. At the same time, 13 new managers were hired in the communications department, including five promotions managers.

“The reason we have pushed this case all the way to arbitration is that the decision to outsource CBC publicity was simply wrong,” says Lise Lareau, president of the Canadian Media Guild. “It was bad for the CBC, bad for its programs, and bad for the bottom line. Not to mention what it did to the 34 people affected. Many of them had years of seniority and were at a time in their careers that made this especially devastating.”

The case hinges on whether the CBC had a valid business case to outsource the work and whether it kept the Guild properly informed in a timely fashion according to terms of the CMG-CBC collective agreement. Arbitrator Ted Weatherill is hearing the case, which is expected to take several months.

The Guild is also arguing that much of the work of those who lost their jobs was incorrectly shifted to the promo managers, who are represented by the Association of Professionals and Supervisors (APS). Weatherill will also decide on whether the jobs are actually in the Guild’s jurisdiction.

As part of the case, the Guild is seeking more documentation from the CBC, including financial information and “any and all memos, business plans or proposals created by and for CBC management relating to the reorganization of the Communications department” and “any and all feasibility studies undertaken to compare the costs of contracting out the Communications Department work to the costs of doing that work in-house”. The CBC continues to resist providing more documents and Weatherill will make a decision on the Guild’s request within two weeks.

For more information, contact the Guild (info@cmg.ca) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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