Before the summer sets in, here is an update on some important matters.
We have heard from some of you, but many more of you may have concerns about the recent announcement of the Facebook Initiative.
The Guild is aware of Facebook‘s well-documented record and shares your concerns.
This includes the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, a coalition of businesses and civil rights groups that are calling Facebook to account for earning revenue on posts that contain disinformation, hate speech and racism.
The Guild is committed to diversity and inclusion, and will continue to fight to have these principles entrenched in our collective agreement.
However, the economic landscape for our craft is bleak. So we’ve agreed to allow this Facebook initiative to move forward — while doing our best to attach a few strings.
We have sought and received assurances from CP that Facebook won’t interfere with the unbiased work that we do. We’ve put the company on notice we will be watching carefully to ensure there is no erosion of CP‘s editorial integrity under this arrangement.
The Guild agrees that the economic outlook for the Canadian media is challenging. Therefore, we must embrace opportunities that could help increase revenue and ultimately protect the work of CP members as our clients continue to struggle.
We must be open to creative solutions while maintaining the integrity and independence of the news service.
The Guild has taken steps to ensure that the highest levels of oversight and transparency are brought to bear on the Facebook arrangement.
We have received assurances from CP that Facebook will have no editorial control over the new hires that it will be financing. These journalists will report directly to CP editors and will be a part of our daily workflow.
The stories that these journalists create will be accompanied by a tag line that makes clear to readers that the work is being funded through an arrangement with Facebook.
The eight new Facebook hires will modestly increase the number of journalists at CP. Given our shrinking workforce, this will provide a slight relief to many of us as our workloads continue to soar during the pandemic.
A final note: Some current CP part-time employees will be eligible for some of these new full-time Facebook positions. The company has assured us that those part-timers will be protected so that they can return to their part-time jobs once the one-year arrangement with Facebook has ended.
2. Pay deferral
After receiving input from the Guild, the company has confirmed that it will implement a modified pay deferral plan from the one it set out in its past communication to staff. The company will instead implement a staggered pay schedule.
The one-week pay deferral will take place as originally planned for employees in certain provinces where employment legislation allows and not in others. That means the Thursday, July 30 pay will be deferred to Thursday, August 6, as planned for some but where legislation does not allow for it they will have their pay date delayed by one day – from Thursday, July 30 to Friday, August 1 and those employees will be paid every second Friday moving forward. The Employer advised the Guild that it will notify employees of how they will be impacted based on their province of employment.
The Guild declined the company’s request to waive those relevant provincial laws, which would have created a uniform Aug. 6 payday for the entire company. The Guild did request for members to have the option to use banked vacation to cover the 1 week pay deferral but the Employer declined the proposal with the rationale that doing so would eliminate the primary purpose of the deferral which is to improve CP’s cash flow.
3. Health and Safety Committee
The Guild has a vacancy on the Toronto Health and Safety Committee so please consider this important position. This committee will play an important role in the eventual reopening of CP’s offices while looking out for the welfare of those of us who will continue working from home.
4. Other important news
We are currently working on a member survey so we can understand the impact of working from home during the pandemic. Please keep an eye out for it. It will be coming out shortly. Needless to say, your full participation is essential.
And, as for the arbitration on the 1% wage increase tied to the changing of the pension plan, it has been delayed due to the pandemic and we will provide an update as soon as one is available.
As always, we are working vigilantly to protect our collective interests. The pandemic has increased our workload and our stress levels. It has increased the economic threats to CP’s future. But we have much to be proud of.
As we move towards a Canada Day that will be like no other, let’s take a collective moment to congratulate ourselves for rising to historic new challenges in our company’s already storied history. We haven’t finished writing this historic new chapter, but at this moment, we have much to be proud of.