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Turbulence in the holding pattern at CW Television

We’re all watching the slow disintegration of Canwest and waiting for the other, or maybe just the next, shoe to drop. Guild members at CW Television have gotten used to living in a constant state of flux. Long-time employees recall the merger that created Alliance Atlantis Communications; nearly everyone in the unit was around in late 2007/early 2008 when the company changed hands and became Canwest Television Inc.

When Canwest applied for bankruptcy protection for most of its TV operations this fall, the CW Television channels were apparently not in the mix. That may not be the case for much longer. It turns out that the company– or its creditors– are trying to undo the deal Canwest cut with its financier, US investment bank Goldman Sachs, that keeps the former Alliance Atlantis stations separate until 2011.

That’s why the Guild has applied to intervene in an upcoming hearing over the erupted dispute between Canwest and Goldman Sachs.

It’s hard to believe that anyone involved in the various ownership/control groups – Canwest, Goldman Sachs, bondholders, vulture funds, prospective buyers – has any interest in or regard for the people involved. As we write this, it’s not even completely clear who’s really running the operation on a day-to-day basis.

Of all the groups following this long, drawn-out process, only the Guild has the best interests of the workers, the people who keep the “crown jewels” of the crumbling Canwest TV empire running, at heart. We’ve made a commitment to our members to do everything we can to protect their interests, their jobs and their benefits. And it’s not just an organized-labour issue: we also care about having Canadian workers broadcasting Canadian programs and culture to Canadian viewers.

Click here to read Nick Fillmore’s article about how the Canwest media empire has “knocked the stuffing out of what already had been largely mediocre news operations across the country, rendering the papers and the TV network bone-bare and demoralizing hundreds of employees.” (on rabble.ca).

For more information, write to Keith Maskell at keith@cmg.ca.

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