We all know that underdogs can win, but it’s nice to see it happen right before our eyes.
This is to congratulate our members at MBS Radio in Saint John, the “Saint John Seven” as they`ve been nicknamed.
Here’s their story: three years ago, a committed group of employees at the Maritime Broadcasting System decided they needed the support and help of a union. They voted to join the Canadian Media Guild. What followed was an emotional roller coaster as long-time announcers marched on a picket line for the first time, embraced technology and set up their own online radio station; and were moved to tears by the outpouring of support from their neighbours, friends and community.
Colleagues from other media and radio stations across the country lined up to send supportive messages and bolster their commitment.
After nearly two years on strike, the group is happy to be back at work with their first collective agreement. The four-year deal provides a range of improvements in working conditions, including
- Job classifications and salary scales with annual step-ups
- $1500 signing bonus
- Rates for participating in commercial remotes
- Written schedule
- Seniority provisions
- Rules and procedures dealing with layoff and recall
- A procedure for resolving disputes and grievances
- Discipline and dismissal only for just and sufficient cause
- The right to be represented by the union.
Many workers in commercial radio would benefit from being union members, but with their high staff turnover and relatively low rates of pay, it can be tough for people to stay long enough to take the necessary steps. We believe this is the first new collective agreement in private-sector radio in Canada in years.
In this case, it took a small group of smart people and strong financial support from many levels of the union – CMG, CWA Canada and the CWA – plus astounding support from the New Brunswick Federation of Labour and the Saint John District Labour Council, to win one of the longest disputes ever in Canada’s federally-regulated sector.
On behalf of everyone at CMG, congratulations to Gary Stackhouse who led the effort, Michelle Day, Nancy Wood, Paul Jensen, Rob Weir, Donnie Robertson and Jay Delong. All of you have made permanent improvements to the MBS workplace and made history along the way.