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Lots in store for our union at CBC in 2018

This year has a lot in store for us as media workers at the public broadcaster, and as members of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG).  Our union’s membership numbers were stable last year at CBC/Radio-Canada owing to additional government funding from the Liberal government after decades of cuts. That has meant that we have not seen the level of layoffs as we experienced in recent years. However, CBC/Radio-Canada continues to change, and we can expect that will affect us and the work we do,  as well as the services we deliver. We are doing our best to mitigate any job losses in areas affected by automation.  

Here are some of the key issues the CBC Branch Executive is focused on in the new year:

Investing in us and the work we do
The CBC has received an important commitment by the Liberal government to begin restoring funding with an additional $675 million over 5 years . That investment started less than 2 years ago.

Our union told the Corporation at our last corporate steering committee (a joint union-management meeting) that, given the cuts of previous years and rising workloads, we want to see the new public funds invested to support our members and the work we do, through an increase in unionized jobs at the public broadcaster. This hasn’t happened.

Our union is committed to pursuing this issue with CBC management with the goal of increasing our numbers.  As a result of changing technologies and integration due to cuts in funding over the years, most of us are doing many more tasks, and the additional funding commitment needs to support the work we do.  Stay tuned for more action on this front.

Ad-free – A proposal from CBC management 
CBC management made a submission to the CRTC consultation last December repeating a desire to move to an ad-free model in return for additional dollars in government funding.  The suggestion that this approach would be an economic benefit to other media companies is far from persuasive and appears, in any case, to be a misplaced focus given the numerous changes we are currently experiencing in the media landscape.

The fact is that such a shift would remove a valuable funding stream. CBC needs as many funding tools as possible until there is a major, well-thought-out adjustment in our funding model. 

Rather than being diminished further, in any way, CBC/Radio-Canada’s capacity should be expanded to properly fulfill its role within a country as vast and diverse as Canada.
– CMG submission to the CRTC (Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2017-359) December 4th, 2017

An advertising-free model would also affect hundreds of our members at CBC, not only in Revenue and Media Sales but also in many other departments that interact with them.  The effect would be to shrink CBC even further.

Moreover, CBC management has not committed to investing any new funding obtained in replacement of ads into the public broadcaster’s core business – the work that we do. Rather, it appears that any new funds would go to outside production houses.  This would further cast CBC as a distributor of grants and funding, instead of a company that produces news, information/current affairs, sports, arts, entertainment, and performance programming.

Upcoming negotiations for a new collective agreement
The selection of the CBC Branch bargaining committee is underway.  You should have received communications regarding the application process for those interested in being on the bargaining committee. If you have not received these communications fill out the form here.  Of course, we are looking for broad representation for the committee and the more people we have applying the better.

Bargaining experience is preferred but not  necessary.  If you have experience in any kind of negotiations please apply.  Those not chosen for bargaining may be considered for sub-committee work.

Many of you may be eager to contribute to the process.  Once the bargaining committee is struck, there will be consultations at the location unit level, a member survey and other venues to make sure we get as much information as possible regarding improvements and updates you would like to see. 

The issues outlined above are challenging and they go to the core of what we do and the services we deliver to the public. With your commitment, participation and energy, we can work together toward the improvements we want to see at work.   

Jonathan Spence (jonathanspence.cmg@gmail.com)
CBC Branch President
on behalf of the CMG CBC/Radio-Canada Branch Executive

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