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Letter from Colin Perkel, CP branch president

Dear colleagues and fellow CMGers:

By now you will have seen the communiqu? from the bargaining committee outlining briefly the company’s second-quarter financial results along with the committee’s proposal for a modest increase. The detailed financial numbers were presented at a recent employee-employer committee meeting (also attended by members of the bargaining committee). As the bargaining team has already told you, the company continued to do better than expected for the second quarter in a row although the pension solvency problem continues to create a drag. Nevertheless, the innovative wage proposal, to which the company has yet to respond, should be eminently doable – and at least would keep us barely treading water.

Several other topics were canvassed at the E&E meeting. You will have seen the communiqu? on overtime. We have had several complaints from various departments about pressure against filing legitimately worked overtime, pressure to take filed overtime in time, or pressure to take overtime in time “off-the-books.” None of these options are acceptable and senior management has made it clear it does not support any of them. Please let us know if you continue to encounter problems.

We have also agreed to what could be a lengthy process related to “competitiveness.” Initially, the company insisted it needs at its discretion to be able to move people who now enjoy protection from involuntary transfers (such as employees of the Ottawa bureau or national photographers) to maintain its competitive edge. To be clear, existing employees would be grandfathered, the company sought this for the future.

While we clearly have a vested interest in helping the company remain competitive, we had several serious reservations about this proposal. After a second round of talks, we have agreed to discuss the issues further but as part of a wide-ranging examination. We believe these issues must be considered in terms of how we promote and transfer people throughout the company, not just in one or two departments or locations. It is in everyone’s best interest to have a system that is open and fair and in which skill and experience are recognized. We have set aside a one-day E&E meeting next month to continue our discussions.

Finally, the company briefed us on the progress being made in terms of the strategic planning review designed to set a course for CP/BN over the next five to 10 years. An independent consultant (hired by the board) has already begun his work. He will spend the next several months coming to grips with the complexities of CP/BN and its diversity of products as well as what it is our member-owners and other clients want from us. He will then attempt to facilitate a consensus on how CP should operate that will work for everyone concerned. The aim is to do this by next June. We are still awaiting details of how the Guild and employees will be consulted, but have been assured we will have a role to play.

Here’s hoping your summer has been safe and relaxing.

Best regards,

Colin Perkel

CP/BN Branch President
Canadian Media Guild

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