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Edmonton radio layoff: creating a chill at the CBC?

The Canadian Media Guild is concerned about the circumstances surrounding CBC Alberta radio announcer Don Hill’s impending layoff and changes to Wild Rose Forum, the show he hosted.

The Guild has not been given a good explanation as to why the local CBC management targeted Hill for layoff. Furthermore, it is unusual for an announcer to be taken off the air immediately after being given notice that his or her job is being cut, as was the case with Hill. We are concerned that the Corporation’s heavy-handed approach could create a chill across the CBC.

The Guild and other CBC unions have fought for decades to ensure that front-line employees working on programming are protected from the possibility of interference by management in the content of their programmes. We want answers about whether censorship played a role in the Corporation’s decision.

Hill has become a popular radio figure in Alberta and we are puzzled that the Corporation is antagonizing the very listeners they have worked to attract, some of whom are now picketing CBC buildings in Alberta because their concerns have not been addressed.

Hill’s layoff comes at a time when the Corporation is eliminating programmes and making job cuts across the country. In all recent cases, the CBC has not followed the proper layoff process outlined in our collective agreement. This is of grave concern to us because of what it means for the rights of our members, their morale and the quality of their work.

We are working to see that Hill’s rights at the CBC, including the right to free speech, are respected. The Guild will be filing a grievance on his behalf since the CBC has closed the door to a satisfactory settlement.

For more information, contact the Guild (guild@interlog.com) at 1-800-465-4149 or 416-591-5333.

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