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Covering the federal election at CP-BN

Earlier this year, we agreed to extend the Federal Election protocol to this campaign. Although the election is already underway, we are resending these explanatory notes so all reporters and photographers can familiarize themselves with the protocol again. Click here to read the full protocol.

What is most important is that anyone assigned to cover the federal election campaign will be paid for all time worked, including travel. Overtime will be earned on a daily basis after 7 hours as per usual. The only thing you won’t be paid for are rest periods, such as meal breaks. There are no special formulas and there is no averaging of hours over several days. Veterans of past campaigns know that on some days there are no meal breaks, while on others there are. You also know that the demands for coverage from both BN and CP mean you may spend meal breaks filing audio clips while you’re wolfing down the sandwich. If you’re working, you’re working. But, if there’s a legitimate break, take it and subtract it from the hours you submit. We discussed this at length with management and emphasized the need for reasonableness. No one should be harassed about whether they actually had a meal break that day.

Other issues you should note:
? It is imperative that reporters and photographers report their hours on a daily basis. Management was exploring the possibility of setting something up on the web to make this accessible and easy, but we don’t know if this has been done. Regardless of the method used, Guild members must report hours worked each day and the Guild urges you to do this. It avoids arguments and accusations after the fact.

? Management has the right to schedule you off during the campaign to reduce your overtime hours. But it must be scheduled after the fact, not in anticipation of overtime you might earn. So if you come home after several days on the road and you’ve racked up a lot of time you might be scheduled off for two or three days.

? And after the campaign management has the right to schedule you off within a 4-week window ? but only to a maximum of 70 hours. This can now be extended for a further four (4) weeks ? but only by mutual consent. If at the end you’ve got 130 hours of overtime built up, you can only be scheduled to burn off seventy of them. The rest are yours to take as set out in the collective agreement. Just remember that election OT must be taken by the end of the year in which it was accumulated otherwise it gets paid out. [Sec 16.02 (b)]

? If you’re travelling with a leader on a bus/plane for which CP/BN has bought a seat you don’t get a per diem. You’ll be reimbursed for expenses with receipts. Management has committed that expenses will be honoured and there will be no nitpicking. For our part we committed that claims will be submitted in a timely/orderly way with receipts.

We believe this protocol worked well last time and yielded very useful information for planning purposes. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to talk to a Guild rep. If problems arise during the campaign, it is essential that we hear of them immediately.

Kathy Viner
CMG Staff Representative

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