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Money and video dominate talks: bargaining update #4

CP’s strong financial position became apparent this week when the company presented detailed budget information to the Guild’s bargaining team. We have agreed to strict confidentiality on this material, so we can’t go into detail. However, we can say that the company seems well prepared to face the expected departure of CanWest and meet other challenges ahead. We are encouraged to see that some of the company’s newer commercial ventures such as Online and TSX are already delivering or show promise. Your hard work is paying off and like you we expect it to result in dividends for all members in the next collective agreement.

The company sees video as extremely important to its ongoing success. While video at CP is still in its infancy the market is evolving rapidly and clients’ expectations are slowly becoming clearer. Editor-in-Chief Scott White and Director of New Product Development Tim Clark shed more light on what CP expects in the way of video.

No one is certain yet how video is ultimately going to be gathered and by whom. We need to learn what works and doesn’t work and how much time it takes to do it. Of note, we succeeded in reversing management’s initial plan to make video mandatory for reporters covering the leaders’ campaigns in the Quebec election. Instead, the campaign now will be treated more as a field test to see just how feasible it is to expect reporters to collect video under such conditions. Another video collection model being tried in Ottawa is to use a dedicated video journalist on a part-time basis to supplement what reporters can gather.

We made it clear editorial integrity cannot be ignored when dealing with video and journalists are not going to be satisfied by doing anything of inferior quality. Management says it shares these concerns. Production standards for online video may not be those of network television, but they are certainly not “anything goes”.

Video may be here to stay but it cannot be an onerous addition to an already heavy workload. No one should be forced to do video if they are not capable or do not have the time. We all have to help shape how video is introduced. If managed properly, it can and should complement our story-telling and enhance what we do.

Our next session will be February 26-28.

Your bargaining committee
Scott Edmonds
Sylvain Larocque
Terry Pedwell
Colin Perkel
Ken Trimble
Kathy Viner, CMG Staff Representative

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