Home / Workplace Directory / Report from the CMG general meeting on March 1

Report from the CMG general meeting on March 1

Your Branch Executive Committee at Alliance Atlantis held our first general membership meeting on March 1 at the Marriott Hotel. The meeting was attended by many of our coworkers in different departments, as well as Lise Lareau, President of the National Executive Committee, and Scott Edmonds, Vice-President of the National Executive Committee. Also on hand was Keith Maskell, our staff representative at the Guild. For those of you who weren’t able to make it, here is a quick update on what we discussed.

Negotiations between your CMG bargaining committee and AAC management started in September. Since then we have been working towards agreements on non-monetary issues, such as grievance procedure and hours of work. We hope to begin discussions on monetary issues soon. Although the committee cannot discuss details of the negotiations at this time, we can tell you what will happen once we’ve reached an agreement.
When a full agreement is reached between both sides, the membership at large will have the opportunity to read over the proposed contract and a ratification vote will be held. We will be holding information sessions before the vote to make sure that all members understand the agreement. We will be voting on the agreement as a whole and not on each individual article.

It is the bargaining committee’s responsibility to work with management to get the best possible deal for employees. We want the collective agreement (CA) to be a guideline for employees and managers, so that all workplace issues addressed by the agreement will be dealt with in a consistent manner. We have heard that in the past there have been instances where employees feel that company policy hasn’t been applied consistently. The CA will resolve this problem by ensuring that we all know how workplace issues are addressed. We hope that this first agreement will further improve the relationship between employees and managers.

Employees are already entitled to certain rights under the Canada Labour Code. We feel that these rights are a minimum and we’d like to raise the bar a little. Our goal is to ensure AAC’s employees are treated as well, if not better, than employees working for other companies in the industry.

If at any time you have questions or concerns about the bargaining process or our bargaining objectives, please do not hesitate to let us know. We need to know your concerns so that we can represent you at the bargaining table.

Questions and answers:
Q: We filled out our bargaining surveys before the potential sale of AAC was announced. Some of us are now more concerned with job security than we were when we filled out the survey. How do we let the bargaining committee know that our priorities have changed?
A: You can contact a member of the branch executive committee or bargaining committee at any time. We need to know what’s on your mind in order to negotiate for you. Please remember that all your questions and concerns are very important to us and we will take them seriously.

Q: What kind of protection do we have against being laid off?
A: The bargaining committee is aware that job security has become a much bigger priority for members since the announced sale. There are no indications that the company is planning on laying off employees; however, if the company decides that lay offs are necessary in the future, they will have to inform the union. The Guild will work to minimize the impact of any layoffs in the workplace by exploring alternative measures. The collective bargaining agreement will set out guidelines for how any layoffs are carried out, as well as specifying compensation and recall rights for laid-off employees.

Q: Has our executive spoken to any members of the unions that are currently in place at CanWest Global?
A: CMG has worked with some of the unions at CanWest in the past. In fact, our parent union, TNG Canada, represents a large number of CanWest employees. The executive has not spoken directly to any of their members yet, but we have looked at their collective agreements and will be looking at ways to work with our fellow members.

Q: If CanWest decides to move the Operations department to another city, will we be given the chance to relocate to keep our jobs?
A: There’s no reason to believe that CanWest wants to move the Operations department, but if this does happen the company will have to inform the Guild of their plans, so that we can do what’s best for our members.

Q: Will the sale be final before we have an agreement in place?
A: At this point we don’t know when the sale will be final or when we will complete negotiations. However, the bargaining committee is pushing hard to get an agreement, because we believe it’s in the best interests of the members to complete negotiations as soon as possible.

Q: What happens if the sale is finalized before we have an agreement?
A: During bargaining the company must inform the union of any major changes to the workplace that will affect our members. The Guild is determined to do what’s best for all our members and will continue to work with management whether they are at AAC or CanWest.

Q: Does bargaining continue once the company is placed in trust? Who are we bargaining with?
A: Management met with CanWest about these issues. We are still bargaining with AAC and will continue to do so. AAC’s mandate to bargain with CMG remains unchanged.

Q: Has the pace of bargaining changed?
A: There was a slight delay in bargaining so that management could discuss our negotiations with CanWest. Bargaining has resumed and we are working at getting the best deal possible for our members as quickly as we can.

Q: Does CanWest have to honour the CA after they take control?
A: Yes. By law CanWest must abide by the articles agreed upon in the CA. It’s possible that CanWest will want to change parts of the agreement to reflect their company policies, but these will have to be discussed with us before any changes are made.

The Guild is more than just us
Lise, Scott and Keith reminded us all of two important facts. The first is that we, the members at AAC, are the Guild in our workplace; we are a democratic organization and we determine how ? and how well ? employees’ needs and rights are addressed. Beyond that, though, we have significant support. There are more than 6,000 other members of the Canadian Media Guild. And by the time you add in our colleagues within TNG Canada and the Communication Workers of America, our parent unions, we can count on the support of over 600,000 workers across the continent. That kind of support can come in handy. Just last week our colleagues at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network ratified a new collective agreement. There are only 24 people in that bargaining unit, but knowing that they had the support of our entire organization gave them the additional strength they needed to stand firm against management’s demands. If we ever run into a rough spot, we can count on the same kind of support; all we need to do is tell our colleagues what we need.

The meeting adjourned at around 8:20 ? under an hour!

Thanks again to all who attended.

Your executive:
Ilya Doronin
Jim France
Masaaba Mwambu
Joanne Pak
Michelle Smith
Brent Tennant

Find Member Resources

Popular Topics

Scroll to Top