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May update – Our union’s work at CBC/Radio-Canada

We are preparing for the upcoming round of bargaining to renew our collective agreement at CBC/Radio-Canada while union work continues within various committees and at location units across the country. Canadian Media Guild (CMG) members, our co-workers, who will be part of the bargaining team have now been selected. Be sure to check out their profiles if you haven’t already.

Before bargaining with CBC management, we will roll out an all-member survey, location unit meetings about bargaining, as well as some town halls and working groups. The goal is to invite the best possible level and quality of member participation.

With ongoing changes at CBC/Radio-Canada and the appointment of both a new CBC President and a new Chair of the Board of Directors, our active engagement as workers and union members will be critical. Please continue to share your views on developments in the workplace and stay tuned for multiple ways to be involved throughout the bargaining process.

Please find below  information about our efforts over the past few months:

– Appointment of new President of CBC/Radio-Canada
– Update on the Job evaluation initiative
– Pay Equity at CBC/Radio-Canada
– Reporter arrested in Gatineau
– CCSB update
– CMG Biennial Convention

Appointment of new President of CBC/Radio-Canada
We welcome the appointment of Catherine Tait as President of CBC/Radio-Canada. We are encouraged that Tait, as well as Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, have expressed support for the national public broadcaster’s services and functions, including local news and programming, Canadian stories and content, strengthening digital services, and the development and support of Canadian talent. 

Our union has raised concerns with management at CBC/Radio-Canada about the lack of investment in news overall and the abandonment of in-house production. We look forward to meeting with the new President sometime this summer to discuss matters further.

Job Evaluation initiative
There is an increasing disconnect between some job descriptions and the work that some members actually do. At the National Joint (union-management) Job Evaluation Committee, we are pushing for a review of some of these job classifications. After a long recess of the Job Evaluation Committee in 2017, CBC management is now launching a project called Job Strategy to review a small set of classifications where job descriptions have been particularly problematic. Find out more about this initiative here.

CMG is participating in this review to ensure the integrity of the process under Article 55 of our collective agreement.

While the review is taking place, the Joint Job Evaluation Committee will continue to meet regarding challenges to job classifications that do not fall within the current review’s scope or that came to the committee’s attention prior to the review’s launch. We are committed to continuing the Job Evaluation process in parallel with the Job Strategy review, however long that may take.

Pay Equity at CBC/Radio-Canada
The issue of pay equity across CBC/Radio-Canada was raised in a recent media report published in the Globe and Mail and based on research from Ottawa University professor Patrick McCurdy.
Our union has requested an urgent meeting of the Pay Equity Committee to discuss the potential pay disparities the article highlights.

Typically, it’s been difficult for us to obtain pay data from CBC/Radio-Canada, but we have asked CBC management to immediately provide us with the raw data they made available to the professor so that we can dig into the numbers that apply specifically to roles held by CMG members.

We will report back once the committee has met and have conducted a review.

Reporter arrested in Gatineau
Radio-Canada reporter Antoine Trépanier was arrested in March of this year while doing work related to his job.  We know that Radio-Canada management did its best to support our co-worker during that time. CMG was also in contact with Trépanier to offer support and encouragement. We are glad that the police eventually decided the arresting officer “had made a mistake and had not properly assessed the situation” and that no criminal act was committed in this case.

Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits (CCSB)
At our March 2018 meeting, the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits (CCSB) heard a report from our Working Group on Workplace and Culture regarding two initiatives related to mental health.  First, about one hundred (100) people across the CBC have undertaken “Mental Health First Aid” training, and more people are to be trained within the next few months. Second, an education-based program designed to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in a workplace setting is being offered in collaboration with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. (That program is called “The Working Mind”.)

Some employees (and CMG members) in British Columbia have been personally paying the premiums associated with the province’s Medical Service Plan (MSP) when these premiums should be paid by the employer, the CBC, as a taxable tax benefit. Since our committee raised this issue, the CBC will now be following up with affected members. Anyone working in B.C. who has been paying their own MSP premiums should contact Shared Services to rectify the situation.

Our medical insurance company also made a presentation to the committee about how medications are approved for coverage under our plan. The presentation followed questions that had been raised about why certain medications were not covered. We are working to ensure that employees have the best coverage possible. More.

CMG Biennial Convention
Delegates will gather in Toronto later this month, between May 25 and 27, to discuss union business and the path ahead. CBC Branch delegates will also have time dedicated during the convention to focusing on issues that specifically affect our branch, such as the upcoming negotiations for the renewal of our collective agreement.

We will also discuss proposed branch bylaw amendments – three (3) amendments to the branch bylaws and one (1) general resolution have been submitted. Read proposed amendments here. The deadline for proposed bylaw amendment has now passed, but you can continue to submit general resolutions up until the convention. You can find out more about the 2018 CMG Convention on our website.

Jonathan Spence (jonathanspence.cmg@gmail.com)

President, CBC Branch
Canadian Media Guild (CMG)
On behalf of the CBC Branch Executive Committee

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