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Rubber hitting the road in negotiations with Shaw Media

We are narrowing in on the core issues in negotiations with Shaw Media. As we discussed at the membership meetings yesterday, the most contentious issues in this round of bargaining revolve around wages, the introduction of pay scales and pension contributions.

Shaw Media has offered a wage increase of 1.5% for each year over two years on the existing salaries and the status quo on pension contributions. The company offer would not even allow your salaries to keep pace with inflation.

Your bargaining committee has proposed the introduction of salary scales that would enable members’ salaries to increase predictably from year to year, as is very common in the broadcasting industry. Even if starting wages are fairly similar for most jobs, Shaw Television employees earn less over time than at private and public sector competitors despite working for the most profitable television operation in the country. Click http://www.cmg.ca/ShawCMGsalaryscaleproposalMar11.pdf to see the initial salary scale proposal we put forward to the company. To develop our proposal, we took into account the existing ranges of salaries at Shaw Television and also compared them with the ranges for similar jobs in the industry. Please note that this is an initial proposal only; the classification groupings and dollar amounts are subject to negotiation and likely to change.

We also proposed that Shaw contribute an amount worth 5% of members’ base salaries to their retirement savings, as they do for other employees of the company. Under the existing agreement signed with Alliance Atlantis, the employer matches the percentage that a member chooses to contribute, up to 4%. That means if the member doesn’t, or can’t afford to, contribute anything to their retirement savings, the employer contributes nothing. At the moment, this is the case for some 30% of members, a situation we believe needs to change. Every member deserves retirement savings.

We are preparing a backgrounder on the existing retirement plan and our proposal. Watch for it in the next week or so.

This week, the two sides reached agreement in principle on a number of non-monetary or low-cost items, including confirming the current benefits plan in the collective agreement, setting out the short-term disability process and inserting maternity/parental leave provisions. We have also added language to the article on temporary employees to clarify that a temporary engagement should not normally extend beyond 12 months.

We are in the process of scheduling additional bargaining dates for the coming month. As always, we will keep you informed of the developments. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with us. We would like to thank all of the members who attended yesterday’s union information sessions.

Your bargaining committee:

Mike Duong, branch president
Katy Boudreau
Sherisse White
Karen Wirsig, CMG staff
Keith Maskell, CMG staff representative

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