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CBC management threatens lockout

We have suggested you judge the Corporation by its actions, not its words. Just hours after telling us they did not want a work stoppage, management advised us that it plans to lock out Guild members beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday, August 15 if an agreement isn’t reached by then. The threat came before the parties had even begun to discuss the Corporation offer. We told the management bargaining committee that pressure tactics will not get a deal done, but that honest bargaining without ultimatums is the way to succeed.

Earlier in the day the management tabled what it calls a comprehensive offer. An analysis of the package reveals that it is little more than a veiled attempt to buy off employees with their own money. At the same time, it fails to resolve the critical issues of how employees will be hired in the future and rights related to lay off and recall.

The Corporation has offered 2% in wage increases for each year up to August of 2007, beginning after collective agreement is ratified. The Treasury Board has given more money than that to the Corporation in anticipation of expected wage increases. As well, the increase offered for the first 18 months will not go on your base salary. It will be paid in a lump sum. That means you will not benefit from the compounding effect of a real wage increase. It also reduces the benefit in terms of overtime, pension and life insurance.

The big news from management’s perspective is the $17 million for implementation and retroactive payment for Job Evaluation. It’s a lot of money and it is your money. They would lead you to believe it is theirs to give. Employees have been contributing 1% of their wages into a fund for almost seven years. At this point CBC has not contributed a dime to the process.

The CBC’s so-called commitment to permanent employees is no commitment at all. Under the current collective agreement, the Corporation cannot unilaterally change the status of a permanent employee. The offer adds nothing. And what is missing is a commitment to hiring future employees as permanent staff. There is also no limitation on the use of non-permanent employees. The so-called commitment is also the only reference of any kind to the existence of permanent employees in the entire article.

Management is also proposing language that would restrict an employee’s bumping and reassignment rights at the time of a layoff to the specific medium (Radio, T.V., CBC.ca) that the employee was working in, regardless of experience or background. At the same time, it is insisting on broad assignment rights where employees could be obliged to work across media lines, in multiple languages and in multiple classifications.

The offer also includes a revised position on turnaround, the time between shifts. While it is an improvement on the Corporation’s earlier position, the offer of ten hours is less than the current provisions for two-thirds of Guild members. The offer to pay temporary upgrades from the first day of the assignment and improving upgrade pay to $20 does represent progress.

The Corporation has told us it does not want a strike or lockout. Who does? On the other hand it says it is treating the August 15 date as a real deadline. There is a great deal of work to do to get a deal. While the Corporation’s offer is not the basis of an agreement, we have told their bargaining team we are prepared to continue talks in a sincere effort to avoid a work stoppage.

In previous negotiations, we have received up to six comprehensive or final offers, each better than the one before. And the final agreement was the best of all.

First of all, this is simply a notice of a potential lockout on that day. Until such a time as a lockout is actually in effect, continue working as usual. If you are leaving work and are not scheduled to return until after Sunday night, take your personal belongings with you when you go. Fill out your timecards before you leave so that you get paid for this week’s work.

Even though notice has been given, it is important to note that a lockout or strike is not a foregone conclusion. It is possible that talks will continue beyond the 72-hour period. We will keep you informed as the hours pass. For up-to-the-minute information, call the Guild hotline at 1-888-591-9129 or visit our website at http://www.cmg.ca/cbcbranchnegsupdatesn.asp.

If and when a lockout is actually in place, management will likely lock the doors of CBC buildings and you will notice a strong security presence. If you are outside, look for Guild officials. If you are in your workplace, you will likely be asked to leave very quickly. Take you personal belongings with you. Seek direction from Guild officials in your location when you leave.

If the Guild calls a strike, we will be in touch with you directly, either in person, by e-mail or by phone. If a manager tells you that the union has called a strike, remain at work and seek direction from the Guild.

Remember, together we are strong. Let’s look out for each other in these difficult times.

You can reach the Guild (guild@interlog.com) at 416-591-5333 or at 1-800-465-4149.

Your bargaining committee:
Arnold Amber, Toronto
Pierre Claveau, Vancouver
Brendan Elliott, Charlottetown
Percy Hatfield, Windsor
Joe Hill, Toronto
Wendy Hunt, Toronto
Gerry Jones, Regina
Barbara Saxberg, Toronto
Lee Siemon, Toronto
Chris Turner, Fredericton
Rick Warren, Vancouver
Dan Oldfield, Senior CMG staff representative

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