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Committee Meeting Minutes – December 16, 2009

Present: Edwin Terry, CBC-Toronto; Natasha Aziz, CBC-Vancouver; Shireen Cuthbert, CBC-Toronto; Ing Wong-Ward, CBC-Toronto; Michael D’Souza, CBC-Toronto (Chair); Terri Monture, Staff Rep for Human Rights and Equity.

Regrets: Alicia Lee, CBC-Toronto; Chuck Haskins, CBC-Sudbury; Ka Yan Ng, Reuters-Toronto; Mary Wong, CBC-Toronto; Turk Chan CBC-Toronto.

The meeting started at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

D’Souza Report
The chair elaborated on sections of his attached report to the committee.

He explained that Turk Chan could not be on the call and has reported that he is working on a discussion forum and now has the necessary access to the CMG Server. He expects to have something up by January 20. Such an electronic forum will further facilitate the committee’s discussion and deliberation.

Pay Equity Committee
The chair reported that the union’s selection committee at the CBC is still considering applications made for the two positions on the pay equity committee.

CMG-National Executive Committee
The Joint HR&EC agreed to consider ways to co-ordinate its work with the objectives set by the CMG. It will explore ways of organizing in non-traditional groups such as sectors with large numbers of members of equity seeking groups. It will also endeavour to look at ways to make the union more relevant to members of equity seeking groups and make a concerted effort to welcome new members in the workplace.

Web stuff
Members, who haven’t done so yet, said they would forward short biographies and photographs to be posted on the committee’s webpages at http://www.cmg.ca/humanrightsEN.shtml

Parking for People with Disabilities
Edwin Terry raised the issue of accessible parking for people with disabilities, particularly people using wheelchairs. Ing Wong-Ward reported that she’s been aware of the issue for about 15 years. The then-executive producer of “The Disability Network” required parking. Due to the efforts of the then-staffing manager, he got it. But she had to threaten building operations that she would take the issue right up to the vice-presidential level. Parking accommodations were made, but we’ve been unable to make a systemic change to ensure anyone who has needs it since, gets it.

The CBC has recently issued a policy, with its Health and Safety Committee, that people with disabilities can park at the adjacent WSIB building and will provide a security escort to people using this parking. The problem that even this adjacent parking facility is a long way away and requires the use of an elevator in the WSIB Building to the food concourse then a lift and elevator before getting to the main elevators at the CBC. The lift is chronically out of order and that makes it very difficult for people with disabilities to get into the Broadcasting Centre. Michael says he’ll have a more extensive report on this issue for the committee.

CMG Convention
The Canadia Media Guild is planning its convention for late May 2010. Terri Monture reported that she is on the steering committee for the convention. The Joint HR&EC agreed that the convention should be fully accessible to all members of equity seeking groups and members of these groups should be encouraged to attend as delegates. The committee also agreed that issues important to members of equity groups should be prominent on the agenda of the convention.

Face-to-face Meeting
The committee discussed the need for a face-to-face meeting in 2010. This could possibly be held in conjunction with the CMG convention in late May. The committee agreed to consider the need for such a meeting and matters that would be addressed at such a meeting.

Adjournment: The Committee agreed to meet again at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 and adjourned at 7:46 p.m.

Joint Human Rights and Equity Report
Canadian Media Guild WA/SCA Canada
Meeting: Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Prepared: Sunday, December 13, 2009
Michael D’Souza

Web stuff
Our web page is up and running at
But we still need biographies and photos from you. I understand that some of you may not want to post pictures and that’s ?k.

As we discussed at our last meeting Turk Chan is working on a forum. This will help our discussions and deliberations because some of you can’t make the ?phone conferences because of other commitments. But between the forum and the meetings all of you should be able to contribute to the work of the committee.

News from the U.S.
Highest-Ranking Newsroom Leader With S. Asian Roots
Peter Bhatia, executive editor of the Oregonian in Portland, has been named the paper’s top editor, the Oregonian announced late Monday, succeeding Sandra Mims Rowe, editor of the paper since 1993.

Stuff I’ve been busy with and you may be interested in:
Joint Employment Equity Committee (JEEC) at the CBC
While this portion of my report may seem to apply to the CBC, those of you from other branches of the CMG and CWA/SCA should pay some attention to it. The Federal Employment Equity Act applies to all federally regulated industries and may apply to your employer, especially broadcasters. The act gives us some tools to work with as union activists.

The CBC and its unions are well on their way to drafting the next Equity Employment Equity Plan as required under the Federal Employment Equity Act. The joint committee met on Wednesday, December 9 to go over the details. The CMG was the only union at this meeting. The Corporation is moving from compliance with federal legislation to actually planning for change and making sure that such plans are implemented. The CMG Human Rights and Equity activists have contributed much to this new plan from fundamental concepts to specific proposals. But it has taken us, at the CBC, many years to reach this level of co-operation.

Pay Equity Committee
Seven people have applied for the two positions on the CBC Pay Equity Committee. This is a committee mandated under the Collective Agreement but has been dormant for many years. The selection committee expects to deliberate on the applications and have a recommendation for the CBC Branch Executive by Tuesday. I am hoping to have the selection made at the Tuesday, December 15 so we can get on with the work of the committee in the New Year.

NEC of the CMG
Attached is my report on the last meeting of the NEC. Remember these are only my notes and not the minutes of meeting.

Canadian Media Guild
Notes from the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC)
Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21, 2009
Toronto, Ontario

By: Michael D’Souza
Director, Human Rights and Equity

The NEC had a busy session at the end of November. The two big issues were the budget and setting a path for the future.

Priorities for 2010
The NEC spent the last three hours of its meeting talking about priorities for next year. The job losses at places like the CBC means the membership has shrunk by several hundred and the union’s financial resources have contracted while the work that needs to be done keeps expanding. We also need to address a primary motivation for the union, its activists and its relevance to its members. And finally there’s a question of money to do all this work.

The executive, almost unanimously, agreed that organizing other workplaces was the highest priority for next year. We already have members in several workplaces where operations are expanding or consolidating. Companies are setting up new ventures to take advantage of new opportunities and in some cases bringing other operations together under one roof. This presents an opportunity to us, as union activists, to invite others to join our ranks. Another area is freelancers or as some choose to call themselves, independent contractors or contributors. The CMG already represents a large number of freelancers, especially at the CBC.

Questions often asked by members:
Why should I belong to the union?
Why should I be active in the union?
Why am I paying dues?

All question that have pretty straightforward answers but the fact that people ask the questions is troubling. We as a union have to better explain ourselves to our membership. We must be more open to new comers. The ranks of our leadership do not reflect the diversity of the country or the shop floors we work on.

Prioritize Spending
As I said at the top our financial resources are dwindling as our membership drops. Yet there are always new proposals and new projects we must undertake. We also must rebuild our defence fund to be better prepared to defend our members when their rights are threatened or challenged. Even in the best-run workplaces with the best relationships between the union and management there are disagreements and the defence of members costs money.

The executive agreed that these three areas are priorities for the union in 2010. They are all linked. As we organize we will better explain our relevance to our members and organizing new workplaces will also mean an improvement in revenues. Conversely better financial management will mean more resources for organizing and better explaining ourselves to our members etc.

The NEC adopted a budget of more than five million dollars for 2010. Projected spending is down six per cent from this year. But of the five million dollars only about one million is discretionary. The rest is committed to things like salaries, rent arbitration, negotiation on collective agreements etc. Next year is also a convention year; we have one every two years. In 2010 the convention will be held in Toronto at the end of May. The union is being very frugal with the convention to keep costs down while not affecting its usefulness. One recommendation is to limit hotel accommodation for Toronto-area delegates to only those who live outside an easy commuting distance. Staff reps are being asked to review the need for travel and to try and resolve issues using other means. The dropping revenue means that there will be less money for projects and the branches. Committees are being asked to limit face-to-face meetings and use other means to attend to business, such as videoconferences.

Conflict of Interest
The NEC also adopted a new policy for conflict of interest. It’s pretty straightforward but I don’t have an electronic copy of it right now. I’ll send that out when I get the final approved version.

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