We are aware of a recent Globe and Mail column about a matter involving outside activities and CBC employees.
To Canadian Media Guild (CMG) members who have expressed your concerns about the situation and possible overreach by management, please be assured that the member involved has received ample advice and support from our union organization and we are continuing to attend to the case.
We can also tell everyone that according to our collective agreement, CMG members working for the CBC are permitted to take part in activities outside of the workplace. Article 12 has been part of our collective agreement for nearly 20 years.
Article 12 says in part: “Employees shall be free to engage in activities, such as voluntary and/or paid work outside their hours of work…”.
There are some restrictions, namely that employees may not work with the competition; that they may not, without permission, exploit their connection with the CBC; and that they cannot take part in activities that will adversely affect their work. Additionally, recognized on-air personnel must discuss any outside activities before engaging in them.
In January 2015, however, despite the provisions of Article 12, CBC management unveiled a blanket policy intended to prohibit all paid outside appearances by on-air CBC journalistic employees.
Our union has been pursuing a policy grievance against that blanket CBC policy, on behalf of all members, since 2015. Our concerns have not been satisfactorily addressed so far.
As it turns out, the matter of “outside activities” may be one that our union needs to address at the bargaining table with CBC next year, as our collective agreement is scheduled to expire in early 2019.
We understand the importance of accountability. Article 12 is designed to ensure protection against perceived conflicts of interest while also ensuring some latitude on the part of CBC employees to pursue outside activities.
It is also our position that employers must refrain from disproportionate and arbitrary punishments and ensure that any rules are impartially applied to all.
President, CBC Branch
Canadian Media Guild
Canadian Media Guild