Outgoing CBC Branch president Kim Trynacity and CMG president Carmel Smyth were honoured for their years of service on behalf of media workers at the Canadian Media Guild and in the broader union movement.
After more than 40 years as a journalist and 32 years with the CBC, I’ve decided to leave the Corporation at the end of this year.
I’m grateful for the exceptional colleagues I’ve shared so much with, and for the wide range of opportunities I’ve had to cross our country and tell amazing stories.
Our industry is almost unrecognizable compared to when I first entered the newsroom in the eighties. We had typewriters, ashtrays, and rotary dial telephones on our desks. I leave with a ton of memories to cherish for a lifetime.
It was my privilege to serve as your Branch president these past three years, but it was tough and at times lonely. The pandemic prevented us from meeting face-to-face, but we adjusted by moving straight over to Zoom calls. I’m sick of them now, but realize they are here to stay.
Through a virtual platform, we were also able to renew training to members across Canada for everything from knowing your rights under the collective agreement to diversity and inclusion.
At the outset of the pandemic, we pushed CBC hard to get everyone out of the buildings. Now we’re in a constant struggle with the Corporation to find the right balance between remote and in-person work.
We’ve had gains such as the Wellness Days I suggested to the CBC, and there are now open conversations about mental health and the harm members face from just doing their jobs.
The Corporation seems to be moving toward more diversity than it’s been so far, although much remains to be done to make CBC as inclusive as the public we serve expects and deserves.
On the advocacy side, we successfully persuaded the federal government to send the CBC license renewal decision back to the CRTC for review to ensure local television news is secure.
That said, there is an extensive list of issues which remain unresolved and will be up to the new administration of CMG to continue advancing.
Temporary workers – While the work “experience” has improved somewhat, there is still no smooth path to convert a temporary colleague to permanent. Without a better conversion formula, temps will continue to be exploited. This is a shameful practice for Canada’s public broadcaster.
Pension surplus sharing – Arbitration of the 2009 MOA on pension surplus sharing continues before Mr. Justice Dennis O’Connor. It’s a long and costly process, but for the good of our members and retired colleagues it’s one we firmly believe in fighting.
Job evaluation – Progress has been made and I’m hopeful we’ll soon learn more about payments to AP’s .
Member engagement – Democracy is difficult. Unions by their very nature are sustained through ongoing accountability, and wide-ranging consultation. Our current contract expires March 31, 2024, and as we head into 2023, bargaining is top of the agenda. If you want change, members have a responsibility to get involved one way or another. Help your new executive team by sharing your ideas, responding to survey questions, and taking part in your union’s activities. I encourage members to consider serving on a committee or becoming a shop steward.
The beauty of union work is that there is always plenty to go around.
Stay well, and keep fighting for fair wages, improved working conditions for everyone, equity, and a vibrant public broadcaster.