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Union survey shows members are dealing with higher rates of stress, additional costs during the pandemic

The findings:

CMG asked members to tell all in a survey probing answers to questions about their health and safety while working during the pandemic.

Respondents from across the country, and all areas of CBC/Radio-Canada, relayed their experiences of what they’ve been dealing with during this unprecedented time, including suddenly having to work in new and unfamiliar ways.

Overwhelmingly, most concerns raised were about teaching children while filing news stories, feeling disconnected from managers, and paying out of pocket for Internet upgrades, phones and other office supplies.

Speaking of home offices, of all comments submitted by 579  members, the word “chair” popped up 190 times.

Importantly, there are concerns of burnout and mental health challenges as many members are working longer hours, with no down-time and heavier workloads.

Meanwhile, for CBC members who are still working in the field, health and safety concerns are top of mind, including not having easy access to safety equipment and cleaning supplies, and no additional remuneration for taking on more risk.

In fact, one member told us about feeling pressured to take an assignment in the field they didn’t feel was warranted. Questioning the meaning of ‘necessary field work,’ the member says their manager put the burden back on them to make the decision, even though it was clearly expected the assignment would be covered. And 15 weeks into the public health crisis, many members still do not receive routine risk assessments when sent on assignment.

The survey further highlights the fear that casual or temporary workers at CBC are disproportionately affected by the ongoing pandemic because of a drop in shifts.

The results of the survey also show safety supplies are not consistently available across CBC workplaces.

Looking ahead, back-to-office procedures are also a worry for members who fear the lack of clear communications from the corporation about future plans may result in health and safety problems once more workers return to working in the building.

Significantly, survey responses show members have done all they can to make things work, and have continued to deliver the services Canadians expect.

And despite the concerns raised by numerous comments in the survey, an overwhelming number of respondents, believe management has done a good job providing support during the pandemic.

The confidential online survey was conducted between May 21 and June 1, 2020.

Union action:

Over the last three months, as the COVID-19 crisis disrupted everyone’s life,  our union has worked with members to address individual challenges while also pressing the CBC to put in place increased supports on multiple fronts. These include:

-fighting for an additional 2 weeks of annual leave;
-top-ups and premium payments for members who face greater health risks, for example from continued field work;
-reimbursements for additional costs incurred in working from home such as higher Internet costs and supplies;
-and pressing the corporation for health and safety procedures across all CBC workplaces to ensure fair and maximum protection regardless of region, or size of location.
-CMG also wants the corporation to develop a clear definition of what it means when it uses the term ‘essential work’.

We have taken our direction from members and worked to address the issues you have shared with the union in locations across the country. And now these survey results have confirmed that the measures we are seeking would go a long way in helping to address some of the anxiety many CMG members are dealing with.

Unfortunately the corporation has so far refused to implement many of these changes, but we remain determined to ensure improvements are put in place. They are required for safe, healthy and fair work environments. It’s the right thing to do.

As always, please keep reaching out to union representatives and CMG staff reps; we will continue to do everything we can to support member health and safety, and to ensure a smooth transition back into our office spaces when the time comes.
The CBC Branch Executive

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