Earlier this week your bargaining committee met again with TVO as we begin negotiations to renew our collective agreement. The company is still waiting for clear direction on mandate and funding from the provincial government. TVO also wants to await the resolution of the jurisdictional disputes that are currently before the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Hearings are set for early July, and the company is expecting a swift decision.
Although we aren’t pessimistic about the eventual outcome of the Board hearings, we don’t share TVO’s optimism that the matter will be decided quickly. The OLRB is a quasi-judicial tribunal and the hearings are best compared to court proceedings, although with a little less formality. The pace can be glacial, and progress is usually measured in months rather than days. At this point no one – TVO, CEP or the Guild – really knows how much progress will be made in the two days of scheduled hearings, how many further dates will be necessary, or how long the Board will take to render its decision. What we are saying to TVO is that there are a number of other issues that we can talk about at the bargaining table while we wait for the jurisdictional matters to be resolved: job descriptions, scheduling, overtime, editorial independence and more besides.
Because of summer vacations and the run-up to the fall programming season, our next bargaining sessions will probably be held in August or September.
One more note on the jurisdiction issue: also this week, a panel of judges from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice overturned arbitrator Marilyn Nairn’s original award on the “Call Parrot” case. This means that audio recordings made by Guild members using the Call Parrot/Engage software in the course of their work may be repurposed for use online. Although this is an important development, the award can’t and shouldn’t be used – by anyone – as a cudgel to increase members’ workload or to diminish or eliminate the work performed by our colleagues. As always, if you’re ever in doubt about what kinds of work you are permitted and not permitted to perform, check with your supervisor or contact the Guild office.
For more information, please speak to a member of your executive.