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Unanimous strike mandate at MBS radio in Saint John

Members of the Canadian Media Guild at three MBS radio stations in Saint John, New Brunswick, voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to give their bargaining committee a strike mandate.

“Our priority is to bargain a fair first agreement with MBS,” says Gary Stackhouse, a CMG member on the bargaining committee. “We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the support the community has shown us. We want to assure the citizens of Saint John that we’re committed to serving the community and our listeners.”

A Facebook group set up by listeners last weekend to defend MBS employees in Saint John now has more than 3,300 supporters: http://www.facebook.com/groups/fairdealformbspeople/.

The CMG began bargaining a first agreement with MBS more than eight months ago. After making no headway at the bargaining table, with the management team refusing to respond to proposals or table any of their own, the union applied for federal conciliation in January. After several meetings in the presence of the conciliator since March, little progress was made. Last week, the management team presented an insulting wage proposal on paper and left the table without explaining it. The proposed salary rates would start at $22,041 and cap at $28,542 by 2015.

“In all my years of negotiating, I have rarely encountered a management team with so little regard for their employees or the collective bargaining process,” says Dan Oldfield, CMG’s senior staff representative. “So far, they have shown utter disrespect for their employees. If the management team changes its mind and wants to return to the table, we’ll be there and ready to bargain. And we’ll support our members with whatever they need from the CMG.”

The employees are in a legal strike position starting June 1.

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

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