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Our commitment­ and CMG’s grievance process

Our commitment­

We’ve been saddened and disturbed by recent reports and revelations.

I want to offer my deepest sympathy to everyone, directly and indirectly affected by the issues in the news this past week. Workplaces are communities, and our community has been shaken.

I have heard from many of you that the media reports have brought up memories of past hurt and inappropriate behaviour. I want to reassure you that CMG takes sexual harassment complaints very seriously with each formal complaint investigated thoroughly and competently.

Over the years, work has been done to implement anti-harassment policies at the Guild and at our workplaces. In fact, the law requires that employers have an anti-harassment policy.

However, these complaint-based processes to deal with reports of harassment or other forms of abuse may themselves not be sufficient. Highly individualized processes don’t necessarily serve to get at the structural issues and silences that can enable harassment and abuse in the first place.

With that in mind, the Canadian Media Guild is committed to improving how we root out abuses, including sexual and personal harassment, in our workplaces. Unions are fundamentally about solidarity and collective action among workers. And the best chance we have of really addressing abuses is to work together to change the cultures and conditions that allow them to take place.

That means holding ourselves accountable, and holding our employers and the wider community accountable as well.

We are committed to you, and doing everything it takes to support real change in our workplaces. Please join this effort and think about how you and your colleagues can help.
carmel@cmg.ca (416) 591-5333.

Explaining the CMG grievance process

It is CMG policy not to speak publicly about grievances involving CMG members.

However, it is worth understanding the process.

When a grievance is filed, it is a declaration by an employee – or in the case of a union grievance, by the union – that the collective agreement has been violated. At the filing of the grievance there is no exchange of information between the union and the employer.

At the CBC, grievances are dealt with at grievance committee meetings where parties from both sides present their respective cases. The meetings provide an opportunity for each side to explain their position on the grievance and in some cases to tell the other side what their case will be should the matter go to binding arbitration. There is little or no physical or verbal evidence provided at this point in the process.

Binding arbitration is a legal hearing similar to a trial but less formal, where the parties take an oath, testimonies are given, and physical evidence presented.

Termination grievances are handled at the National Grievance Committee level. It is after the exchanges of information at that level that the parties determine the future of the grievance.

There are a variety of possibilities for the disposition of a grievance. It can be upheld by the employer, it can be withdrawn by the union, it can be left pending further evidence or research, it can be settled without admittance of fault, or it can be referred to binding arbitration.

It is important for the union to ensure that the process is consistent for all members as the rights of one affect the rights of the many. The Canadian Media Guild takes its responsibilities towards this process seriously.

I ask for your patience and confidence as the union handles our responsibilities with the sensitivity that all members would expect, and also considers the privacy issues of all involved.


Carmel Smyth,
National President, Canadian Media Guild

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