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Where we are in bargaining with Shaw

For those of you who missed yesterday’s membership meetings, here is a recap of where we are in bargaining and possible next steps.

We have been at the bargaining table with Shaw management since the end of February and have no further dates scheduled. Shaw has tabled a final offer that they say is valid until Monday May 9. That offer does not meet the priorities of Guild members and their bargaining committee.

Now what happens?

We have a number of options. The most likely is to apply to the federal Minister of Labour for conciliation. The Minister will appoint a conciliator.

The conciliator’s mandate is for 60 days from the date of his or her appointment. The 60-day period can be extended if both Shaw and the union agree that it would be useful to do so.

If there is still no agreement at the end of the conciliation period, the two sides have a 21-day “cooling off” period, during which they can continue to meet to try to reach an agreement. After that, either side can initiate job action. The employer may impose a lockout of its employees, or the employees may go on strike; whichever side decides to take action must give 72 hours notice.

The law governing bargaining in the broadcast sector is the Canada Labour Code.

Is a strike or a lockout coming?

A legal strike can’t occur until the employees give a strike mandate to their bargaining committee. This would be done via a strike vote that would have to be held no more than 60 days prior to the beginning of any contemplated strike.

It’s important to remember that a strong strike mandate generally helps make a deal happen, because it shows the employer that its employees are willing to stand up for their rights, and that they support their bargaining committee. Conversely, a weak strike mandate significantly diminishes the credibility of the bargaining committee, and the employer can pretty much impose any rules it wants.

We should also remember that a work stoppage is not in the interest of the employer because it would mean a disruption in broadcasting and a loss of revenue.

What can I expect from our bargaining committee and union?

You can expect your bargaining committee to be honest and to work hard to get a deal with management. We will continue to communicate with you and ask for your input.

What can I do to help get a fair deal?

The more members demonstrate their support for a better deal, the more likely we will achieve a settlement without a dispute.

Your executive has struck a communications committee, chaired by Chris Beesley and Mike Duong. If you have ideas or you’d like to help out, please talk to one of them.

How do I get more information?

You can always ask a member of the bargaining committee, or contact Keith Maskell at keith@cmg.ca .

Your bargaining committee:

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

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