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Talks with CBC disappointingly slow

The Canadian Media Guild and the Corporation met for three days last week. We are still confronted with CBC proposals that refuse to address the interests of employees and frequently offer less than the rights contained in existing collective agreements.

The Corporation finally responded to our proposal on training. Unfortunately, the language falls well short of meeting any of the major interests of the Guild. The CBC has rejected the idea of a jointly-run training program and is proposing a purely symbolic joint committee that would meet just once a year. Given the rapid pace of change and ever-increasing demands on employees, training is critical to being able to develop and maintain a career. The Guild has offered a training partnership to the Corporation. So far, CBC has flatly rejected the notion.

The Guild put forward language on statutory holidays, return to work after a serious illness or disability, and performance management. We continue to seek a performance management process that permits an honest dialogue and feedback without fear of those discussions being used as part of a disciplinary or review process.

On a positive note, the parties reached agreement on language that permits employees to take part in both paid and voluntary activities outside the workplace. The language is similar to existing rights but also guarantees that anyone denied permission will have the right to go to quick arbitration where the matter will be settled by a knowledgeable third party.

Finally, we notice the Corporation has been complaining lately about the pace of negotiations. We share the frustration. But it takes both parties to get a deal. It’s difficult to get to the more meaningful issues when, on more straightforward matters, management rejects resolutions that are fair, reasonable and relatively uncontroversial.

For example, the CBC is refusing to agree to hold selection boards for vacant positions and promotions, opening the door to unfair practices. The Corporation is also holding up agreement on three unrelated articles while it waits for the Guild to give in on the issue of meal breaks. The CBC proposal would mean that meal breaks, when given, could be scheduled at the last minute. We believe that part of the balance between work and life outside work is that employees should have a reasonable opportunity to make plans to deal with personal issues during a meal break.

The Guild is anxious to get on to what we see as the core issues at stake in this round of negotiations which include work-life balance, employment status, contracting out, layoffs and recall. For more information on these and other issues click here .

We return to the table next week for two days. Bargaining dates have been scheduled until the end of May.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at guild@interlog.com or by calling 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

Your bargaining committee:
Arnold Amber, Toronto
Pierre Claveau, Vancouver
Brendan Elliott, Charlottetown
Percy Hatfield, Windsor
Joe Hill, Toronto
Wendy Hunt, Toronto
Gerry Jones, Regina
Barbara Saxberg, Toronto
Lee Siemon, Toronto
Chris Turner, Fredericton
Rick Warren, Vancouver
Dan Oldfield, Senior CMG staff representative

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