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Highlights of the tentative agreement reached with The Canadian Press

The Canadian Media Guild has reached a tentative collective agreement with The Canadian Press. We would like to thank everyone for their patience as we worked through what was one of the most complicated set of negotiations ever faced by the Guild. It is a 2-year agreement that includes a 1% wage increase across the board in 2011.

We have also reached an agreement with The Canadian Press on the new investment structure of the company; this includes how members will be repaid for their investment that allowed for the continued operation of the company, in the form of three years of forgone pension contributions.

Here are the highlights of the tentative collective agreement:

* 2 year term ending December 31, 2011
* 1% salary increase next year
* A new policy on enhanced Family Leave
* Ability to substitute Recognized Holidays for other religious holidays so non-Christians are able to observe their faith
* New, clarified Late Night Transportation policy. This policy is not gender based; employees required to work between midnight and 6 am will be reimbursed for parking up to $15, and taxi fares up to $30, on a per-shift basis.
* Revised policy on Overtime on Assignments so that overtime is calculated and paid on all work over 9 hours each day.
* Existing Election overtime protocol is incorporated as a new Letter of Understanding in the agreement
* Agreement to create a work group to examine setting up a Deferred Salary Leave Plan that allows an employee to defer a portion of their salary for a period of time and then take time off that is paid with those deferred wages,

As you are aware, complicating the process of reaching a collective agreement was the restructuring of The Canadian Press from a not-for-profit co-operative into a for-profit corporation. We struggled to protect members’ interests in the face of demands from the new investor group that will effectively take control of The Canadian Press.

As part of our agreement with the company, we have also signed a Deal Sheet that sets out the details of profit sharing and repayment of pension contributions.
– all of your investment in The Canadian Press through forgone pension contributions will be repaid on the same basis as they were deferred, plus interest at 4.75%.
– employees who remain with the company until such time as it becomes profitable will share in those profits until their investment in the company is fully repaid.
– Employees who leave will be repaid their contributions with interest, but will not have a share in profit.
– The existing Defined Benefit pension plan will continue for current employees. All employees hired after Jan 1, 2012 will be enrolled in a Defined Contribution plan to which the employer will contribute 5% of salary. Employees in this DC plan will contribute at the same rate as employees in the Defined Benefit pension plan.

Because a meaningful wage increase was not possible for 2012, we decided that a 2 year deal was more appropriate than anything longer.

Your bargaining committee is unanimously recommending approval of this deal. While we cannot describe it as a great deal, we feel it is the best possible outcome, given the circumstances we faced in this round. The interests of many parties — Guild members, retirees, the company, the investors, the federal government and the pension regulatory body ? all came into play as we struggled to achieve this agreement.

The full Memorandum of Settlement and the Deal Sheet will be distributed to all members next week. We are planning the ratification vote and expect it will take place before the end of the month. Guild representatives will answer questions about the agreement and the Deal Sheet and provide further detail, during information sessions that will be held across the country over the next two weeks.

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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