As the union representing the seven striking radio workers in Saint John, we are very disappointed that the employer, Maritime Broadcasting System (MBS), a company that owns 24 radio stations across the Maritimes is resorting to publishing unfounded, incorrect and inflammatory anti-union comments on its website, instead of working to address the dispute with their employees who have been on strike for over six months.
The company claims that we have not budged from our original contract proposals, while it has increased its offer. This is untrue. If the company truly has a new wage offer we would love to see it, but at this point the only one we are aware of is the one they tabled months ago. For our part, we have amended our initial proposals, including our wage demands, to attempt to meet the employer half way, but they continue to take an extremely hard line, apparently hoping we will give up and go away.
As always, we are ready to return to the bargaining table at any time for serious discussions to bring an end to the strike by negotiating a fair collective agreement.
The company’s claims that we opposed the renewal of the licenses for the stations are also untrue. We asked for conditions on the licenses to ensure the local market was being properly served, for instance, by having actual newspersons in Saint John to cover local events, as opposed to the company’s current practice of generating and producing all news outside the market. We believe quality, local programming in radio and television is important for all communities, something we have been fighting for and promoting for years.
Our members at Saint John had been working under appalling conditions and barely making minimum wage, and we salute their resolve and resilience. We are also encouraged that their story has struck a chord across the country reminding many of their right to decent working conditions and a living wage.
Director, CWA Canada