The Canadian Media Guild, which represents operations employees at CW Television, has gone to court to represent its members in the dispute between Canwest and investment bank Goldman Sachs.
CMG lawyer Hugh O’Reilly, one of Canada’s top specialists in corporate bankruptcy and restructuring law; has filed a notice of appearance asking to be heard if the dispute ends up in front of a judge. No date for a hearing has been set but it’s possible that one could be held as early as this month.
Until recently, it was believed that CW Television was not “in play” in the current bankruptcy protection proceedings. It came to light in early November that Canwest had quietly dissolved the numbered company that kept CW separated from the rest of its operations. This move is being contested by Goldman Sachs, which largely financed the sale of the former Alliance Atlantis Communications properties to Canwest in late 2007.
O’Reilly will ensure that the needs of employees are taken into account as Canwest continues its restructuring with Goldman Sachs, as well as with creditors, bond holders and other financial backers.
It’s important to remember that Guild members at CW Television are covered by a collective agreement. The provisions of that agreement can’t be changed unilaterally. Even more importantly, the collective agreement follows the employees in the event of a sale of some or all of the business. O’Reilly puts it succinctly: “Employees covered by a collective agreement always fare better than non-unionized employees in a restructuring like this.”