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President’s update – Guild challenging editorial direction at tvoparents

This is a quick update on some things your CMG executive have been working on over the past few weeks:

Challenging TVO’s “new direction” for tvoparents unit

We have significant concerns about TVO’s planned “new direction” for the tvoparents unit. We believe that some elements of the new strategy are in conflict with TVO’s own Journalistic Standards Policy.  When members raised those issues, the company’s response was to suggest that tvoparents be unilaterally exempted from the policy. We think such a move would undermine TVO’s credibility with its core audience and compromise the journalistic integrity of the employees involved. One member has already left TVO as a direct result of the company’s new direction. We have filed a grievance on the matter and expect discussions to continue.

Negotiations to renew collective agreement set to begin

Negotiations for a new collective agreement will start soon. We have presented TVO with official notice of our intent to bargain, meaning that the company is now legally obliged to start negotiations. No dates have been set yet, but we will push to get the process started as soon as possible. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to complete our bargaining survey; we are using it to build our objectives for this round of bargaining. The CMG bargaining committee consists of Mike Fitzgerald, David Hawkins, Liane Kotler and myself, along with Drew Dafoe as our alternate. Guild staff rep Keith Maskell will serve as chief negotiator.

Discussions on online work with the Ontario Labour Relations Board now under way

Earlier this week CMG, along with representatives of TVO and CEP, met with Vice-Chair Mary Anne McKellar of the Ontario Labour Relations Board to deal with the numerous jurisdictional disputes that have cropped up over time. Our goal is to ensure that, as the work we do continues to evolve, Guild members are able to use the tools they need to create high-quality programming for TV and the online realm. The first day of hearings was taken up with preliminary issues raised by CEP, but I’m happy to report that those have now been dealt with and the Board can begin its work to help deal with the disputes.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress on these files. And please don’t hesitate to contact me, an executive member or your department steward if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Thanks as always for your interest and your support.

Gregg Thurlbeck
President, TVO Branch
Canadian Media Guild

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