We are reaching out to address the short-term layoff that HR has announced, affecting half our membership at ZoomerMedia.
As you are likely already aware, many of our fellow teammates that Zoomer deems “non-essential” are now working four days a week, effectively reducing their pay by 20%. Our union was not included in these cuts because our Collective Agreement saves us from being paid less than our full salary, even if our hours are reduced. We all want to keep our jobs and pay our bills, and CMG members do not expect special treatment from our Employer to be able to do this. But we do pay dues into an organization that was founded on principles of fairness and good work, and upholding our Collective Agreement is essential to maintaining this.
That being said, over the last few weeks, we have been willing to negotiate with the Employer on these terms, if they came to the table with an alternative to labelling some people more important than others. We proposed a progressive temporary wage reduction that starts with the executives and rolls back on a sliding scale across the company as a whole. We believe this to be a fair and equitable savings plan because it does not separate us into “essential” and “non-essential” staff, and it takes into consideration the reality that a 20% cut from bottom is not the same as it is at the top. Unfortunately, after multiple attempts at negotiation, we are disappointed to confirm that the Employer did not agree to this top-down plan, and Zoomer has announced a layoff of our members instead.
In Moses Znaimer’s last all-staff memo, he said positive revenue forecasts are coming out of TV for later in the summer, and that come July, these cutbacks may no longer be required. This is good news, and we are glad to hear it. Over a quarter of our members have worked for ZoomerMedia since day one; we are a dedicated and loyal team. Our work in the Television Division has always been Zoomer’s most profitable – and we are proud that it continues to be, even in these uncertain times. We look forward to further business updates as we work towards a new broadcast year in September.
In the meantime, here’s what you can do: you are entitled to apply any accrued vacation days or time in lieu to cover this short-term layoff. It’s up to you if you want to do this. Your benefits and seniority will not be affected by this layoff, even if it extends longer than one week.
Our union is our voice. We stand together in good times and bad. To quote Moses himself, “Be calm, have patience and maintain your solidarity.” You are an essential member of this team and our union continues to have your back.
Carolyn, Mike, Darren, Huong,
& Carmel Smyth, CMG President, on behalf of the entire Canadian Media Guild membership