Union asking for sked changes, meal break concessions

TORONTO — Technicians at the English-language division of pubcaster the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. could be on strike by today.

More than 85% of the 1,600 workers at the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union have voted for industrial action if the union and management do not agree shift scheduling changes and meal breaks by their midnight deadline tonight.

CBC management is pushing for concessions to harmonize with other unions, and CEP is digging in its heels.

CEP administrative VP Joel Carr said the agreements should be harmonized up, not down. “These are basic human elements so that people can plan their lives,” Carr told Daily Variety. “Certainly after Sept. 11, there’s more reinforcement from our membership that they want a life outside of their work.”

While he pointed out that “the union is not planning a strike at this time,” the CEP is making provisions in case of a strike or lockout. He said the union is preparing to picket the Olympics in Salt Lake City in February if the CBC tries to cover the games using replacement workers.

CBC management must give 72 hours’ notice if there is to be a lockout.

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