Over the last 10 years, Guild members have shown an extraordinary willingness to work with management to find solutions and do what it takes to keep The Canadian Press operating. We’ve worked hard to develop a relationship of trust and open communication beyond the negotiating table. Our work on the pension front speaks for itself.
So we are disheartened and troubled by the complete absence of recent communication from senior management. Most recently, our request for a meeting with the interim leadership group was refused. And negotiations with Pagemasters for a first collective agreement have been cancelled until further notice.
Eric Morrison’s departure was sudden and the announcement raised more questions than answers. Members want to know what it means. We asked for a meeting with the new interim leadership committee (STOC) to get a sense of where things are going so we can intelligently respond to members. Unfortunately, we have been turned down on the grounds that it would be premature to meet ?in the absence of direction from the Board?, which meets in early July. It will likely be mid- to late July before management can arrange a meeting with us.
Since January, we’ve had only one Employer/Employee meeting and there was little information to share at that time since the deal had only just been completed. Since then, we’ve been told that managers are working flat-out on reports to give the new owners a deeper understanding of the business and are undertaking a strategic review of the operation. Members in Toronto are keenly aware that meetings take place constantly.
After more than a decade of open, frank communication with the employer, it is as though the door has been closed in our face. Meanwhile, Guild leaders across the country say members are nervous and there’s a sense of suspended animation in the bureaus. They recognize a strategic review is much-needed and extremely valuable. However, we are concerned that the general sense of uncertainty, compounded by the silence from senior management, does not bode well for a productive exercise.
Staff know the company needs to change direction and generate revenue — they’ve made significant sacrifices in recent years. But these last few months we’ve been in a vacuum. This is a problem.
We’d like to believe that the new owners will make it their business to get to know us and acknowledge that we’ve been part of the solution, instead of the problem at The Canadian Press.
Canadian Press Branch President
Canadian Media Guild