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Bargaining turns to restructuring August 9

Talks continued last week on a wide range of non-monetary issues. We’ve resolved several and expect to reach agreement on most of the others early in the next round.

We’ve made two changes to the probation language in the collective agreement. We have eliminated the need for any temporary employee to serve probation if they are taken on as permanent full time after working a minimum number of months. And we have extended the period of probation for Programmers to six months based on agreement that it was difficult to make proper assessments in the maximum 4 months allowed.

What this means is that any temporary employee taken on as a full time employee, other than a Programmer, who has worked at least 4 months will no longer be required to serve any probationary period. A Programmer would have to work six months.

The company also told us it needed the ability to hire Programmers for specific projects on a temporary basis. Currently, temporaries can only be hired for 6 months unless they are replacing full time employees on sick leave or maternity leave. We have agreed to language that gives the company the right to hire temporary Programmers for up to one year and, with special agreement from the Guild, the ability to extend for a further six months. Any temporary Programmer employed for more than 18 months automatically becomes permanent full time.

The language in Letter of Understanding #9 – dealing with Repetitive Strain Injury – has been cleaned up to set out clear timelines with respect to the submission of receipts and the need to renew medical notes for approval of treatment every 2 years. Those notes may come from either a doctor or physiotherapist and claims must be filed within 120 days of treatment or by January 10 of the following year.

We are close to agreement on a number of other issues: averaging, out of town assignments, work-life balance and how employees not at work are contacted by the company. The issue of sabbatical leave has turned out to be more complex than we anticipated. Consequently, we are looking for less complicated ways to make such a program available.

We will resume negotiations August 9 and, as planned, we’ll focus on the future of The Canadian Press, its pension and restructuring.

Your bargaining committee

Terry Pedwell, Canadian Press Branch President
Sylvia Strojek
Fareed Mohammed
Scott Edmonds, Pension Trustee
Craig Wong, Pension Trustee
Kathy Viner, CMG Staff Representative

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