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Going back to work: renewed and with a new mission

by Lise Lareau
CMG National President

Assuming the new contract gets ratified this weekend, we return to work on Tuesday. How can we prepare for that first feeling as we enter the doors, that first look at a senior manager, that first awkward conversation?

First, we have to acknowledge that we are returning to work as changed people. I’ve said many times that we’ve been chemically transformed over these past 8 weeks. We’ve learned to work together in new and exciting ways and we shouldn’t forget that once we are back inside our workplaces.

We’ve also come face to face with our own anger. In an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen, our colleague Anthony Germain suggested we’ve become 5,500 hard asses.

I hope we use this bitterness productively. We have to become the leaders in the conversation about the future role of the CBC. People expect it from us after this lockout. We’ve become the faces and voices of the “real” CBC.

There is a lack of informed and rational discussion about the future of the CBC. When Patrick Watson is the person getting the op-ed space, we know we’re in trouble. He gets it because he’s one of the few people talking about it, and talking about it provocatively. But we can begin a much more rooted and informed discussion ourselves.

We must find a way to lead conversations in a focused way in every location, similar to the informal ones we’ve all had on the picket line. Maybe we have to draft opinion papers for Guild members to discuss and debate. We probably have to identify a team of Guild members who will lead all this. I don’t know precisely how it should work, but I know we have to do it.

The lockout was just part one. Part two has to be the thinking and part three has to be the replacement of our senior managers with people who know how to manage a creative group of employees in the quest for excellent public broadcasting.

So let’s not lose the focus and energy of this lockout. Let’s figure out a way to turn it into a legacy of change at the CBC.

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