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CMG and CP management discussing parameters for part-time work and internships

Last week a group of CMG representatives met with managers from The Canadian Press to discuss two issues that have been irritants for some time: the use – or rather, the overuse – of part-time employees, and the parameters around interns and internship programs.

Part-timers working full-time – resolution yet to come

The new collective agreement we signed earlier this year contained two measures that are meant to ensure appropriate treatment of part-timers. The first was a commitment that each part-timer would meet with his/her supervisor for a discussion about basic expectations in terms of how many hours of work the employee would get in each two-week period; the second and more important commitment was a review of those situations where part-time employees were working closer to full-time hours.

In June we produced a list of names of people we believe should have the option of converting to full-time status. We were expecting a response at this meeting and we were disappointed when we didn’t get one. That being said, we were informed that new president Malcolm Kirk has taken a personal interest in this issue and is reviewing the facts and data. The company has committed to getting back to us on or before November 13. The Guild has reserved its right to file one or more grievances if we believe that the company hasn’t made enough of an effort to resolve the issue.

Grievance about the use of interns

Both the Guild and The Canadian Press support internship programs. They’re a good way for students to get a better view of what the workplace is really like, and to develop necessary skills. As a union, we want to ensure that our members aren’t disadvantaged – for example, by having an intern perform work that would normally be done by a regular employee – and we certainly don’t want to see the interns abused by being assigned to do free work for the employer. There’s a delicate balance to be struck, and once in a while disputes occur.

A couple of months ago the Guild filed a grievance about the use of interns, arising largely out of a couple of incidents in the Montreal bureau. And we’re concerned that a pilot project currently under way with Ryerson University is creating difficulties that might outweigh the overall benefits.

The Guild and CP are working on clarification of the parameters around work assignments for interns to ensure that everyone – the Guild, CP, the schools and the interns themselves – understands the rules.

We’ll keep you updated on further developments.

For more information, contact Keith Maskell (keith@cmg.ca) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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