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Strike vote set for Tuesday at MBS radio in Saint John

Members of the Canadian Media Guild at three MBS radio stations in Saint John will vote next Tuesday to give their bargaining committee a strike mandate. The employees, which include on-air hosts as well as production and administrative staff at Big John FM, K-100 and CFBC, joined the CMG a year ago.

The Guild has been attempting to negotiate a first collective agreement for eight months. The parties have been in conciliation since February. Yesterday, the management team left the table without explaining the proposals it had given to the conciliator. Management also advised the conciliator they would not attend the third scheduled day of talks this week.

The annual salary scales the company tabled before abandoning the talks start at $22,041, reaching a maximum of $28,542 by the end of 2015. The absurd proposal would amount to a wage rollback of several thousand dollars for existing positions. The salary offer is offensive considering MBS owner and Nova Scotia lawyer Robert Pace was paid more than $290,000 in 2010 for sitting on a single corporate board, Canadian National Railways. Average annual salary in New Brunswick was more than $39,000 in 2009.

The Guild is advising members to restrict their work to regular duties performed during regular work hours. This does not include non-paid events. The company has a habit of insisting members take part in so-called “station promotional events” including soap box derbies, sandcastle contests, pond hockey, etc., without pay.

We are seeking a fair deal, one that provides a measure of job security, realistic wages and some semblance of respect. We remain prepared to engage in real, good faith bargaining. The Guild committee tabled a comprehensive offer today. Unfortunately, the employer was not present to accept it and it will be forwarded by the conciliator. The parties will be in a legal strike/lockout position as of June 1.

For more information, contact the Guild (info@cmg.ca) at 1-800-465-4149.

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