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Guild settles 19 grievances on behalf of members since October

The Canadian Media Guild has won at least 19 settlements for members with grievances against CBC management since October. Fourteen of the cases involved layoffs or dismissal; of those, seven employees kept a job at CBC while seven left with cash settlements.

Seven settlements involved layoffs last year due to the closure of Newsworld International. Five of the affected employees are still working at CBC. The Guild continues to work on the cases of a few others who were bumped out of their positions after the NWI layoffs.

Another settlement involved an employee laid off as a result of the outsourcing of part of the communications department last year. The union is pursuing a grievance on the outsourcing, challenging the CBC’s business case and the impact of the restructuring on employees.

At arbitration, the Guild and the CBC reached a settlement on the case of a 20-year employee who was let go last year without displacement rights or severance. The CBC had considered the employee a “specific services” freelancer, with no rights at dismissal. The Guild argued that there was a continuing employment relationship and that freelance status, which meant no severance pay, was inappropriate. Despite the matter being settled to the member’s satisfaction, the basic issue between the CBC and the Guild remains and is being dealt with through other grievances. We are aware of a number of people who have been engaged on a similar basis, notably by the TV Sports department.

Five settlements were reached in cases not involving layoffs or dismissal. One involved denial of promotion and discriminatory assignment, while another was based on the denial of a cross-skilling premium. As well, a technical employee returning to work with medical restrictions after being on long-term disability is being accommodated after a settlement with the Corporation. Two other settlements involved unscheduled overtime and inappropriately scheduled days off for technicians working on the road on multiple hockey telecasts.

In addition, the Guild has reached an agreement with the CBC about paying temporary employees for October 7 and 10 according to the Return to Work protocol. We are providing a list to CBC management of temporary employees who worked the week prior to the lockout and who returned to work the week following the lockout and who informed us that they were not paid for the two days. If you have not advised the CBC or the Guild that you should have been paid for those days, please send a note as soon as possible to Bruce May at bruce@cmg.ca.

Arbitrator re-affirms employee rights during layoff
The Guild has won an important arbitration on the issue of the individual rights of employees during a layoff. The Union filed a grievance after the Corporation tried to force an employee who received a redundancy notice to either accept a vacant
position or be laid off.

Arbitrator Russell Goodfellow re-affirmed that our collective agreement emphasizes reducing the impact of a staff reduction on employees. That means ensuring the affected employee has the most possible options for remaining employed at CBC in a job they want, both by canvassing vacancies and leaving open the option for displacing a more junior employee. Goodfellow ruled that the employee, not the Corporation, has the right to make the final decision on whether to accept a vacancy or to bump.

Guild seeks fair compensation for low per diems in Athens
The Guild has been in discussions with CBC to come up with compensation for employees who worked the Olympic Games in Athens. An arbitrator ruled against the Corporation on per diems paid to employees, saying that CBC should have paid expense allowances of no less than the rate paid by the federal government. So far, the CBC has not respected the arbitrator’s ruling. If we are unable to reach a settlement on compensation for the affected employees, the Guild will ask the arbitrator to hold more hearings and impose terms of compensation.

Other major issues headed for arbitration
The Guild is pursuing arbitration for a number of other unresolved issues, including the Corporation’s failure to grant retroactive pay to employees who worked between April 1, 2004 and October 11, 2005 but who had left the CBC when we returned to work after the lockout.

An arbitration has been set for March 27 on the creation of project manager positions that were excluded from the Guild bargaining unit. The Guild charges that the CBC laid off Guild-represented resource co-ordinators and replaced them with new management positions. Similarly, the Guild is seeking to resolve a dispute around the creation of Managing Editor positions across the country that are excluded from the Guild bargaining unit. The new managing editors are doing the work of executive producers and their positions should be covered by the Guild collective agreement.

We are awaiting response to our proposal to correct the Corporation’s failure to keep accurate records of employees’ seniority dates. In the meantime, we have referred the issue to arbitration.

The parties remain commited to trying to settle outstanding grievances under the old Collective Agreements before the first meeting of the new Grievance Committee in mid-April. Where settlements are not possible, the Guild and CBC management have agreed to put the cases to arbitration quickly.

Your National Grievance Committee:

Gerry Jones, Chair (gerry.jones@sasktel.net)
Philippe Bourbeau (bourbeap@hotmail.com)
Elaine Janes (doubleej@hotmail.com)
Bob Waller (bobbywaller@hotmail.com)
Karin Wells (karin5237@hotmail.com)
Bruce May, CMG staff representative (bruce@cmg.ca)

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