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The truth about APTN’s wage proposal

When we last wrote you, we told you the dispute with the employer is all about respect. The latest communiqu? from the CEO Jean LaRose, filled with misinformation and half truths, is a perfect example of a lack of respect for employees.

APTN wage proposal is 8% over five years: less than inflation
Mr. LaRose says the company’s last offer last offer is an 11% wage increase. That is simply not true. The across the board increase being offered is 8% over five years. The company is offering a lump sum payment on top of that, but it will not be applied to the wage scales and will not increase wages by a nickel. Mr. LaRose knows this, or should know it. He also knows that the 8% he put on the table is even less than the company’s earlier offer of 9%. This is not an honest attempt to resolve the differences between the parties.

Mr. LaRose says the company is “concerned” the Guild’s proposal of 13% over five years is not fiscally prudent. What he doesn’t tell you is that the company’s own experts have advised that average increases in the media industry are 2.5% a year and, in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, average wage increases are between 2.75% and 3% a year. The Guild’s proposal is fully in line with those findings; APTN management is not listening to its own advisers.

Mr. LaRose never once mentions the $11-million annually the company is getting in additional cable fees since its licence renewal in 2005. He also doesn’t acknowledge that that Guild’s monetary package will only cost the company about $40,000 a year. He claims the new cable fees will remain “fairly flat” until the next licence review in 2012. What he doesn’t say is that APTN’s submission to the CRTC anticipates a growth in cable users, and therefore a growth in revenue.

Finally, Mr. LaRose has used his time to send you individual pay comparisons. But note that he is comparing the company’s offer with your existing pay, assuming the alternative to his proposal is no increase at all. Unfortunately, he doesn’t take the time to tell you what others in the industry are earning. For example, under APTN’s proposal, a video journalist will earn $63,000 per year by 2010. Meanwhile, a VJ at CBC will earn nearly $71,000 by 2008 ? a full two years earlier.

It’s time for APTN to bargain fairly
If Mr. LaRose is truly concerned about cost, he has some options. For one thing, he can stop using a law firm to negotiate with us. We estimate APTN is spending between $2,500 and $3,000 per day on lawyers when it already has a full-time Director of Industrial Relations and Human Resources Assistant at the table. We would suggest Mr. Larose stop relying on lawyers and come to the bargaining table himself. Secondly, APTN should show us its books if it wants us to believe that CMG’s proposal is going to cause financial hardship. We have no interest in seeing the company fail; that’s why we’ve made a fair wage proposal that we believe is entirely within APTN’s means.

We urge APTN management to stop trying to bargain directly with union members. Our members have chosen colleagues to represent them at the bargaining table so that everyone’s interests are considered together when we agree on a final deal. Remember: your bargaining team has only your interests at heart.

We will issue information about a strike vote shortly. We need your backing to get a fair deal for everyone.

We thank you for your support.

Your bargaining committee:
Greg Taylor
Bruce Spence
Cheryl McKenzie
Dan Oldfield
Dan Zeidler

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