The Canadian Media Guild is based wherever there are members working together to defend their collective interests. That means CMG is based in Saint John and in some 40 other cities and towns across Canada. The main union office is in Toronto, which is only natural since, as the country’s media capital, the majority of CMG members live and work there. We also have an office in Halifax, where MBS Radio has its headquarters.
Decisions about the strike at MBS Radio are taking place right in Saint John, where our seven members have been standing up courageously for their rights for more than a year and have now been on strike for a month. They have stood firm against a bullying employer not because it will make them or their union rich. They’re doing it because they love their work, they love serving their community and they believe the future of local radio is worth the fight.
They’ve heard from dozens of former colleagues who have left MBS or private radio altogether. These people often quit, alone and discouraged. The CMG 7 in Saint John are determined to fight together for a better future for themselves, their families, their radio stations and their audiences.
They’ve all made sacrifices to stay in local radio. Some have had their income drop, others make slightly above minimum wage and have NEVER had a raise. They are expected to do unpaid overtime. They have worked in a climate of fear and uncertainty for too long.
The Saint John 7 are an inspiration to CMG members across the country.
The company seems to enjoy trying to smear its employees by their association with the “CBC union.” It is true that 5,500 CBC/Radio-Canada employees and freelancers across Canada are members of the CMG. And they have something important in common with their colleagues at MBS: they all understand that the use of the public airwaves is a privilege and that they have a huge responsibility to serve the public with their programming. Running a radio station should not be about doing the bare minimum in order to maximize profits.
MBS Radio can pretend this is all about some faraway union creating an unreasonable fight with the company. That’s not what this is about.
This is about a group of dedicated employees who are paid badly and treated even worse by a profitable company. Why should they have to quit a job they love, knowing they are simply making room for another worker to be abused and exploited? The downward spiral has to end.
The MBS management attitude comes either from being out of touch with the lives of its struggling employees or from a complete disregard for them. Either way, we ask that the contempt and intimidation the company is showing by building a security fence, hiring pricy security guards and using replacement workers come to an end. Until it does, our members will continue to get their stories out and to fight for what’s right.