To The Citizens of Saint John;
It is with regret that we must respond to the statement issued by Halifax-based MBS Radio about us. We are the seven MBS employees from Big John, K-100 and CFBC in Saint John who have been on strike for more than six months to fight for fair compensation and a respectful workplace. We decided to join the Canadian Media Guild in 2011 because we knew that being in a union was the only way we would ever have a fighting chance at fair treatment and respect from our employer and at properly serving our loyal listeners, friends and neighbours in Saint John.
Unfortunately, our employer continues – even after six months – to believe the best way to treat employees is by trying to bully, humiliate and demonize us with false and misleading statements about our strike and our union.
WE, the Saint John 7, are the Canadian Media Guild at MBS Radio. We are honoured to be among the 6,000 members of the Guild who live and work in every province and territory in Canada, including other workplaces here in Saint John. And we are very grateful for the support we have received from people and organizations in Saint John and from union members across the country.
The Company’s accusation that we somehow bullied or threatened a local charity is so blatantly ridiculous that we hesitate to even respond. The Striking 7’s own incredibly successful toy drive and record-setting food drive this year speak for themselves. The accusation taken from the much-maligned Frank “Magazine” (which many describe as a local Halifax version of “The National Enquirer”) is absolutely false. Never has any one of us, nor anyone from The Canadian Media Guild, ever threatened a charity with anything, nor would we ever do such a thing. We would ask that MBS Radio and Frank Magazine either provide proof that a CMG member said this, or print a formal apology and retraction.
The Company has consistently referred to “the majority” of its employees who are not on strike. At the time the strike action began, seven employees were represented in the bargaining unit and three were not. Three is certainly not a “majority” of ten. The company has since hired an additional salesperson, but this still does not represent a “majority”. Even if one were to count the three Managers in the building, we aren’t sure how one could characterize the seven people who are not on strike as a “majority” of fourteen.
As for the Fall 2012 Radio Ratings that the Company quotes, we would challenge them to show us the numbers. The figures we have seen tell a vastly different story. For instance, in the most sought after demographic of Adults 25-54 years of age, Big John’s market share has fallen by 13.5%, while K-100’s share is down by 22.7% and CFBC is off by 21.1% when compared to the numbers from the last ratings period, before the strike.
The Company claims we have not budged from our original contract proposals, while the Company has increased its offer. Once again, these claims are untrue. The Company has told the mediator that it would not be putting any more money on the table. In fact, they have recently threatened to reduce their offer due to the financial hardship that this dispute has caused. On the other hand, our union has repeatedly amended our proposal in an attempt to meet the company halfway. Most recently our negotiators offered to begin discussions around a pay scale based on the salaries paid to unionized MBS Radio employees in Charlottetown, a market half the size of Saint John. Company negotiator Garry Barker responded on December 6th, stating “The Company respectfully declines this request.” and “We maintain our view that the wage offer in our Saint John proposal…” (10.58 to 12.98 per hour)“…is fair, reasonable and sustainable.”
As for an increase in the company’s offer, this is the first we have heard of it. The last wage offer we received was the first one, with scales beginning at 10.58 to 12.98 an hour. We are encouraged that the Company seems to finally be headed in the right direction by increasing their wage offer but would like to see the specifics.
As always, we are ready and willing to return to the bargaining table at any time, and look forward to sitting down to talk about this apparent new offer at the Company’s earliest convenience. And as always, the seven of us remain committed to a future of providing the quality local radio service that our friends and neighbours here in Saint John deserve.
Gary Stackhouse, Donnie Robertson, Paul Jensen, Rob Weir, Jay Delong, Nancy Wood and Michelle Day… -The Saint John 7.