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Tentative agreement reached

As you should have already heard, the Guild and company reached a tentative three-year agreement April 27. You will receive an exhaustive list of all proposed changes (the Memorandum of Settlement) prior to a ratification vote expected later this month.

The bargaining committee is recommending that you accept this agreement. In the meantime, here are the main points:

– As of July 1, 2007 all Group 1 and Group 3 Editorial salary levels will be adjusted upwards. Group 1 (News Editor) will increase to $1,510.16. Group 3 (Reporter/Editor, National Photographer, Foreign Correspondent, Photo Editor, Photographer/Photo Editor) will increase to:

Start – $806.99
1 year – $891.69
2 years – $976.40
3 years – $1,069.21
4 years – $1,157.93
5 years – $1,300.62

– July 1, 2007 all employees get a three per cent (3%) salary increase
– January 1, 2008 all employees get a one per cent (1%) salary increase
– July 1, 2008 all employees get a one per cent (1%) salary increase
– January 1, 2009 all employees get a one and one-half per cent (1.5%) increase
– July 1, 2009 all employees get a one and three-quarter per cent (1.75%) increase

Salaries: Your bargaining committee believes the settlement is a good one. We agreed to forgo retroactivity and split the increases in order to achieve higher increases in base salary rates over the three-year term of the agreement. Close to 40% of any retroactive money might have been lost to income taxes. Also, further retro money could have pushed some of you into a higher tax bracket given the 2006 retro payment everyone received in February.

As you know, we went into these talks seeking additional compensation for employees who face new demands such as video. We feel the adjustment in editorial salaries before the general rate increase is applied goes part way to compensating for those demands.

Vision Care: The vision care benefit will increase to $250 every two years from the current $170. This was an issue many of you said needed addressing.

Paramedical Services: The maximum for this benefit, which covers such services as chiropractic, registered massage, acupuncture and psychological, increases from $200 to $300 per person per year.

Major Out of Town Assignments (Letter of Understanding #10): We have reworked this letter on assignments out of town that last five days or more to ensure clarity in line with the understanding we reached when it was first negotiated. We have now specified that this protocol will not apply to events such as political conventions and court cases. With the exception of sports events only, it will not apply in any bureau city if employees from the bureau are working beside out-of-town employees. We have also established an agreed-upon list of events covered by this protocol. CP/BN must have advance consultation with the Guild (not individual employees) about any event not on the lists or the protocol will not apply.

Federal Election Protocol (Letter of Understanding #14): The current protocol no longer exists and the letter has been deleted from the collective agreement. We have agreed to continue discussions on establishing any new protocol.

Averaging (Letter of Understanding #17): Article 16.06 sets out which positions are averaged. We have now defined Specialist Reporter (which replaces National Writer) so the criteria that determine whether a position should be averaged are clearly understood. We have established new principles that set out how employees who are averaged will manage their work. Averaged employees now work under the same shift premium rules as all other employees. A “Guide to Averaging” will be issued to all averaged employees.

Shift Premiums: The language in Articles 12 and 16 has been amended to reflect the new premiums ? 7% for nights, 8% for overnights and 6.5% for weekends ? that have been in place for the past several weeks. The rules now apply to averaged employees as well. Article 17 ? Vacations has also been amended to clarify how shift premiums might apply during vacations.

Part-Time Employees Montreal: Three employees (one NTR and two SF) discovered to be working more than 28 hours/week on a regular basis have been converted to full-time.

Jurisdiction (exclusions from bargaining unit): The re-organization of the Main Desk and creation of the National Desk has changed the work of some Guild members and some individuals previously excluded. BN news editor Ellen Huebert and audio supervisor Rose Kingdon will now be excluded. Former CP Main Deskers Vic Riding and Shawn Waddell will return to the Guild. The position of World Editor is now in the Guild but Paul Loong remains an excluded manager.

A separate Entertainment Dept with a new manager – Entertainment Editor – has been created. Andrea Baillie has been promoted to the position and will be excluded from the bargaining unit on ratification of the agreement.

Montreal issues: The company has agreed to create an SF News Editor position by the end of 2009. It will also issue a memo setting out the roles and responsibilities of each of the SF, NTR and CP managers in the Montreal bureau.

– Before French Online service is moved to Montreal, the company and Guild will discuss how the work will be managed and this will be implemented.
– Employees assigned temporarily as Buro Chief will receive 10% above the Group 1 rate.
– Freelance/Stringers: The Employee-Employer Committee will discuss how best to monitor the use of freelancers. The Guild seeks to ensure that freelancers are not de facto temporary or part time employees.
– We will incorporate language setting out how the new Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) will apply under our existing maternity, parental and paternity leave provisions.

It is now up to you to decide whether the tentative agreement meets your expectations. We will be sending everyone the complete memorandum of understanding before you vote.

Scott Edmonds, Winnipeg
Sylvain Laroque, SF Montreal
Terry Pedwell, Ottawa
Colin Perkel, Toronto
Ken Trimble, Edmonton
Kathy Viner, CMG Staff Representative

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