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Real careers help make for a diversity of news and views

The last six months have not been easy for Guild members. Many are worried about their jobs and their futures in the wake of job cuts announced at a number of media outlets. These worries are added to the general malaise because of growing temporary employment in an industry that seems to be providing less and less chance of a real career to many of our colleagues.

Media employees with little security in their jobs are less able to shape the content of their work and, in terms of news or creativity, less independent of the boss. It is an unhealthy trend for Canadian media, where concentrated ownership has reduced the diversity of news and views provided to Canadians.

The move toward temporary and contract work, including at Canada’s national public broadcaster, pushes the homogenization of ideas a step further. A few media bosses can further control how Canadians’ stories get told if the people they employ work in fear of losing their jobs at any moment, especially if they say or do “the wrong thing” or refuse to follow the party line.

This is particularly true for employees of colour and others whose “diversity” is supposedly valued: without a sense that their job is safe, they are even less able to challenge prevaling wisdom on how news is made or entertainment is produced.

Media jobs on the chopping block
Since January, the Canadian Media Guild estimates that more than 140 union jobs have been cut at the CBC, in part to finance the purchase of drama programming from outside producers.

In March, TVOntario announced it was eliminating 10 Guild jobs in a restructuring designed to funnel more resources from educational broadcasting into its fee-for-service education arm.

As well, 15 jobs will be lost this summer at Reuters in Toronto, when the company centralizes administration and the coordination of technical support at its office in St. Louis, Missouri.

There is also uncertainty at Toronto 1, where it was announced that the TV station’s flagship news show, Toronto Tonight, is being cancelled this summer. It is not yet known how the program will be replaced. The Guild applied to the Canada Industrial Relations Board in April to represent more than 80 non-management employees at the station.

Employers want more control over hiring and firing
Toronto 1 station owner Quebecor is also trying to keep current affairs staff out of the new bargaining unit because they argue the working conditions of these employees “do not lend themselves to

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