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Watch for the new collective agreement document and details on your pension plans

Watch for the new collective agreement document and details on your pension plans

Here’s hoping that everyone had an enjoyable summer. With fall beginning, routines being re-established and the end of the year approaching, I wanted to take some time to let everyone know what has been happening with your branch, and your company.
New collective agreement document and pension plan details will be available soon
It’s been a while since we reached our most recent collective agreement, so I’m sure many are interested in reading the printed document. Unfortunately, the creation and editing of the new agreement was held up by the transition of leadership at The Canadian Press. But drafts of the new books will be with the Guild soon, so stay tuned.

CP Ottawa business reporter-editor Craig Wong and Winnipeg Guild braintrust Scott Edmonds continue to keep close eyes on your pension plans. The new Defined Contribution (DC) plan is being rolled out, and existing Defined Benefit (DB) employees will have a one-time window to switch over should they choose to do so. We’re not necessarily recommending that, but for some people it may be an option they wish to consider. There will be documents and information sessions to help you make an informed choice. 

New company president committed to maintaining – even increasing – staffing levels
The company’s new president Malcolm Kirk has been meeting with the Guild, and with people across the country. My own first impression of the man is that he is well spoken and carries a “glass half-full” attitude toward The Canadian Press. While we can all appreciate a positive outlook, it remains to be seen whether he can deliver on his mandate of expanding CP’s revenue base. One positive thing he has said that I’m sure we can all appreciate is that he is committed to no further reductions in staffing levels. In fact, he has stated that some new hires will take place in areas where the company needs to invest to increase revenues, and in some areas where holes have been left unfilled for far too long.

From a labour relations perspective, David Callum is being groomed as the company’s new point man on all things CP. Alan Bower at The Toronto Star, who led the company side in bargaining for the current contract, has appointed Callum as his lieutenant. This should take some of the burden off the shoulders of Marissa D’Mello and hopefully speed things up a little more than they’ve been moving over the past months.

End of month meeting scheduled to address intern grievance and part-time work issues
A tentative date of Oct. 30 has been set to deal with the intern grievance the Guild launched, along with the issue of officially converting those part-time people who work essentially full-time hours to full-time status. The Guild’s CP staff rep, Keith Maskell, will be meeting with Mr. Callum prior to that date to discuss, well, what needs to be discussed. Toronto Guild guru Roger Ward, Sylvain Larocque from Montreal and I will be part of those ongoing discussions in some fashion.

Keith has also raised the issue of part-timers working at Pagemasters North America. It appears that very nearly every new hire at the company in the past year has been on a part-time basis. We’ve also raised the issue of late-night transportation and parking. The company has indicated that it wants to change current practice, and we want to make sure that existing employees aren’t disadvantaged as a result. We also want to address the concerns of PageMasters employees about workload, particularly in Montreal.

New pilot project with Ryerson University to help assess demand for local content
This fall CP launched a pilot project with Ryerson: a partnership that will see senior journalism students providing some local Toronto content for the wire. For Ryerson and the students it’s an opportunity to get some exposure to real deadline pressures and the expectations of a professional wire service. At the same time, it’s an opportunity for The Canadian Press to see whether there is sufficient demand for local content to justify assigning or hiring staff to that coverage, creating a new potential revenue stream. Near the end of the semester we’ll have at least some sense of whether the idea is worth pursuing. In the meantime, we need to make sure that editors don’t get so wrapped up in slogging through the students’ efforts that they aren’t able to concentrate on staffers’ work.
Noise problems issue in the new Toronto newsroom have been raised  
The structural changes to the newsroom in Toronto are causing significant irritation to some members, specifically when it comes to noise. We’ve brought the issue to the company’s attention and we’ll continue to try to find measures that can be taken to address the noise and workspace problems.

That’s about all from me for now. Should anyone have any other concerns or suggestions about how we move forward with the company, feel free to reach out to me or to Keith Maskell at the CMG office.

Terry Pedwell
CP Branch President

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