The Guild bargaining committee met last week with the Company to discuss in detail our respective opening proposals. The Guild has proposed improvements in scheduling and overtime, leave, working conditions for part-time employees, and protections for our work and jobs at The Canadian Press. For its part, the company has asked for take-aways in a few areas, such as vacation entitlements and benefits, as a way to save some money. The Company also wants us to consider ways to allow it to take advantage of special funding for a new, time-limited project.
The Guild team expressed concern that employees don’t have a good sense of, or much confidence in, the company’s business plans and efforts to expand revenue to avoid the cuts that have deeply affected members and the company over the last 18 months. We conveyed the anger caused by the company’s move a year ago to cut the CP Video Desk and move the job to its lower-cost subsidiary Pagemasters, where videos are now produced by editors earning much lower wages. That wound remains open for many CP members whose workload has increased as a result of the company’s move, partly due to the changes in the process which then require efforts to try to maintain the quality of the product and CP’s reputation. In French services, the recent cuts have further eroded the company’s ability to provide original reporting in French.
We have asked the Company for a commitment not to contract out jobs done by CP employees and to maintain a viable French services newsroom.
While we remained far apart in terms of reaching a deal at the end of last week’s talks, we better understand where the divisions are and must now consider carefully whether and how we can bridge them.
We are slated to meet again during the last week of January, where we plan to exchange detailed wage proposals. You can expect another update in early February at the latest.
In the meantime, thanks for all of your interest and support.
The Guild bargaining committee at The Canadian Press:
Karen Wirsig, Guild staff rep (firstname.lastname@example.org)