A division of the U.S.-based Newspaper Guild has won certification of program and production employees at Canadian pubcaster CBC. The Canadian Wire Services Guild (CWSG) won 55% support in a ballot among CBC radio and TV producers, hosts , journalists and program support staff, defeating the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the ACTRA Media Guild (AMG).
The result ends a 10-year reduction in the number of unions at CBC from 24 to three. While CWSG will represent about 3,500 program makers, the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees & Technicians (NABET) represents technical staff, and CUPE has jurisdiction over clerical workers.
CWSG must now negotiate a master contract for production employees just as CBC is preparing for further cuts in federal funding and attempting to reposition itself in the fragmented TV marketplace. Management is hoping to achieve some savings through introduction of new technologies, broad redefinition of job categories and introduction of a corporate ‘minimum wage’ with increases based on accomplishments rather than seniority.
Although the AMG lost the campaign, ACTRA will continue to represent freelance writers and performers in CBC dramatic and variety programming. Canada’s federal labor board exempted ‘independent contractors’ in these areas from the reorganization.