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CMG aims to replenish defence fund, approves temporary dues levy

To rebuild the Canadian Media Guild’s Defence Fund, the national executive, with the support of delegates to our recent biennial convention, made the difficult decision to apply a temporary $5 monthly increase to the dues paid by members. This levy is permitted under our bylaws.

The Defence Fund is our rainy-day fund to pay for extraordinary costs to defend our collective agreements, as well as expenses during a strike or lockout other than strike pay.

The plan is for all CMG dues-payers who work full time to pay an extra $5 per month in dues for one year. In the interest of fairness, the executive decided that part-timers, freelancers and short-term temporary employees would pay a reduced levy of $1 dollar for each month they pay dues over the year. The CMG anticipates applying the temporary levy beginning in September 2008 but we will confirm the start date and details once we have worked them out with the employers, who transmit your dues to the union.

“We have been working hard to rebuild the defence fund after the 2005 lockout at CBC, when we relied on it quite heavily,” explains CMG national president Lise Lareau. “But we realized that existing dues are not enough to make the down payment necessary to ensure we’re ready for anything that may come at us in the next couple of years.”

“That being said, rest assured that this levy is not about any future action that we anticipate,” Lareau adds. “We simply need to be responsible about the union’s finances and our defence fund.”

The temporary $5 levy will be paid directly into the defence fund, which was at $1,863,306 at the end of April 2008. The executive hopes to build the fund back up to $2,500,000 by September 2009.

View a video report on the debate at the convention:

Guild also moves to eliminate cap on dues
Acting on another resolution passed at our biennial convention, the national executive will hold a referendum in the fall about phasing out the cap on dues paid by members. CMG members pay 1.55% of their earnings in dues, which are now capped at $1,500 per year. The cap therefore applies to members earning more than around $100,000 per year. The cap would rise by $100 per year for ten years and be eliminated altogether at the end of that period. Delegates who spoke in favour of eliminating the cap expressed the view that all members should pay the same percentage of their income in dues.

Unlike the temporary levy, this permanent change to dues requires approval of a majority of members who will vote in the planned referendum. More information about the referendum will follow in the coming weeks.

Both dues measures are based on recommendations of a special Financial Review Committee that was set up after the 2006 convention. Click here to read the committee’s report.

Click here to view the national treasurer’s report to get a sense of CMG’s annual spending from 2006 to 2008.

For more information, please write to Lise Lareau (lise@cmg.ca) or call 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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