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Update for Guild members at The Canadian Press

The Guild Branch Council met last week by conference call and we now have a full national branch team in place. Nelson Sergerie (Montreal) was acclaimed as the Canadian Press Branch national Secretary-treasurer. The other executive officers are Terry Pedwell, President, and Lise Millette, Vice-President.

During the last round of negotiations it became clear we had to have someone from Montreal on the next bargaining team. While employees in Montreal share many concerns with Guild members across the country, the media landscape in Quebec is different and staff has specific issues around the restructuring of the company. Terry Pedwell spoke with Guild leadership in Montreal urging them to seek out candidates now in order to take advantage of a training session coming up in early April. Three members put their names forward ? Sylvain Larocque; Ross Marowits and Nelson Sergerie.

The Branch Council selected Sylvain Larocque and named Ross Marowits as the alternate.

We hope this will kick-start thinking among Guild reps across the country about others who can/should serve on the next bargaining team. The collective agreement expires at the end of this year and the team should be selected well before then.

Restructuring Update
Work continues on the full transformation of The Canadian Press into a for-profit corporation. The new owners are gaining a much deeper understanding of the business, as well as the pressures, risks and opportunities. Managers provided a major strategic review to the new Board this month. This year will be a difficult one ? full loss of Quebecor plus the resumption of pension contributions represents a $7M budget pressure.

Taxis, workload and other issues?
Guild members across the country continue to tell us workload is onerous, either because their bureau or department is short-staffed or because of increasing demands for audio, pictures and content.

The new policy covering late night taxi rides to/from work has angered some members while others are very happy to finally have taxi costs reimbursed. In the past, the practice of providing taxi chits was completely arbitrary; some managers said it only applied to women, others said there was no policy. This ad hoc approach couldn’t continue. The reimbursement is treated as taxable income because getting to and from work it is not a normal “business” expense.

Odds and Ends
* Repetitive Strain Injury treatment: a reminder that receipts for RSI treatment from massage or physiotherapist must be submitted within 120 days of treatment. (Ref Ltr #9 in the Agreement)

* Health & Safety: A very informative video of a presentation on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological hazards faced by journalists covering war and other horrors is now available on CP’s internal Health & Safety webpage. Dr. Anthony Feinstein, a University of Toronto professor of psychiatry and leading scholar on the subject, gave the presentation to managers and supervisors following Michelle Lang’s death in Afghanistan.

* Toronto Guild Exec Vacancy: Shi Davidi’s departure from Canadian Press was a big loss not just for the company but also to the Guild. Shi was Secretary-Treasurer of the local Guild team in Toronto, so his move to Rogers creates a vacancy on the Executive. If you, or somebody you know, are keen and want to get involved, please let Roger Ward or Kathy Viner (kathy@cmg.ca) know.

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