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Details on bargaining proposals as we head into conciliation with CP management

Here are details on what The Canadian Press and the CMG have proposed at the bargaining table. Please note that these are proposals only; nothing has been agreed to.

What CP says it wants:

– 10% rollback for all base salaries – OR – no salary rollback and a reduction of an unknown number of jobs

Guild members in Halifax

– Even lower pay scale for new hires in Group 3 (Reporter/Editor/Photographer) with a range of $40,782 to $64,090

– Co-insurance for most benefits on a basis of 65% employer/ 35% employee

– Elimination of premiums for night, weekend and overnight work, temporary upgrades, double-time for employees in IT

– Sick Leave – employees on sick leave would be paid 70% of basic salary to a maximum of six months

– Long-Term Disability – employees to pay 100% of premium (approximately $90/month)

– Part-time and temporary employees would have no access to any benefit programs.

– Vacation – maximum vacation entitlement of four weeks per year, down from six years currently

– Pension – cancellation of the pension payback program (meaning that the company wouldn’t pay back the millions of dollars it owes to Guild members), as well as elimination of profit-sharing and significant changes to early retirement provisions

What about layoffs?

The company has threatened that we have to accept the deep wage concessions or face layoffs in order to bring the overall wage costs down. More job cuts at this point would be irresponsible and undermine the quality of CP’s product. However, it is entirely within the company’s power to decide how much staff they think they need. Accepting wage concessions in no way guarantees there won’t be job cuts now or in the future; all it ensures is that they wouldn’t think twice about coming back to us for more concessions in the future.

What has the Guild proposed?

– A reasonable salary increase – we haven’t given a precise figure

– Co-insurance on a 75/25 basis for most coverage and are prepared to look at benefits to find savings for both the employer and employees.

– Shift premiums exist for a reason, not least to compensate for the already-low base rates, but we’d be prepared to discuss the precise rules and applicability of shift premiums.

– Sick leave – a scale to take an employee’s salary from 100% down to 70% over six months, at which time Long-Term Disability benefits take over.

– Part-time employees – no change in access to benefits, and a commitment from the employer to a minimum number of hours per week for each part-time employee.

– Temporary employees – pay in lieu of benefits that could be used to buy coverage.

– Pension – we are prepared to discuss how to make the pension payback less onerous for the company, but employees are owed money and expect to see it repaid, with interest.

– New provision to post all jobs across the country.

The company says they need to find savings of several million dollars to help CP achieve profitability. Even if that’s true – and it may or may not be, depending on how you look at the books – we reject the premise that Guild members should have to shoulder such an immense burden while the company’s owners sit back and watch.

Driving our salaries down and gutting the collective agreement does nothing to advance our interests, and it would only serve to exert even more pressure on our colleagues at other media outlets – most notably the Star, the Globe & Mail and La Presse.

We’ll be back at the table within the next couple of weeks, and we intend to continue our pressure on the company to step into the real world and present some proposals that will allow us to reach a deal.

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