Friday, October 14, 2005

Freelance Watchdog Responds

Someone using the alias “Voltaire” has made three comments on this bog and we would like to respond. We know who you are Voltaire. Your last comment screamed loud and clear of words that we, and most CMG-member freelancers, have heard before. But, as usual, you didn’t get it. And, as you often do, you argued back about topics that hadn’t been mentioned.

Don’t worry, we respect your wish for anonymity. Bloggers know that we’re not just talking amongst ourselves. After all, this is the world wide web.

We have to correct Voltaire on his first point. No one “complained” about freelancers not receiving information from the CMG. We stated a fact -- that they didn’t. Voltaire suggested that they should just ask. Is he suggesting freelancers call the CMG office every day, or even every week, to ask if there’s anything they should know? Most of us are busy working hard for CBC. There are so many things that maybe they should know, at any given time. There are elections of officials (or so we're told), negotiation updates, strike votes, and ratification votes. The recent negotiations went on for nearly a year and a half. How does one know when to call? We all belong to other professional and recreational organizations and receive their group e-mails regularly. With today’s technology, it just takes the push of a button to reach all freelancers.

Voltaire said these people should have gotten information at picket headquarters or on the many websites that were created. If they work outside of, or only occasionally at, a CBC site, and thought freelancers were not eligible to picket, what would they be doing at picket headquarters? They’d only know about the lockout from listening to the news. And, how would they know about the “many (newly created) websites”? (Besides, I don’t recall seeing any of these sites talk about the minimum work requirements for eligibility.)

Voltaire said that no one should work without a contract. Pardon me, but I don’t remember seeing anyone raise that issue on this blog. I also don’t know any freelancer who is dumb enough to do so. And thanks so much for the definition of contract. I wasn’t aware anyone had expressed confusion over what a contract is. Voltaire’s response is typical union rhetoric. Not very sophisticated advice, but it’s a lot easier than negotiating conditions under which a freelancer can get a fair contract.

If, as Voltaire suggests, “making change from the inside” is the best way, why have freelance conditions at the CBC gone downhill since the creation of the “Freelance Branch”?. We have a whole “Branch” devoted to us. Other groups, that have their own set of problems, don’t get a “Branch”. Thanks to the new agreement, it will be 2009 before real change can take place. The most talented freelancers may have been driven out of CBC by then.

Again, we must correct Voltaire, we have not taken “pot shots” at anyone. And the accusation is rather amusing. It was Voltaire, in a comment following an earlier post, who outright insulted Richard Stursburg. It was no little pot shot. This blog has raised a collection of unresolved freelance issues. And raised some questions. Anything that has been stated about anyone by name, is fact. Why is CBC upper management fair game for mud-slinging and personal insults, but the CMG is not even subject to question? Remember, Voltaire, that someone on either side of a battle can be right or wrong at least once.

Although Voltaire notes that the word casual does not exist in a collective agreement, that makes it ever more interesting how many of them CBC has created under CMG’s jurisdiction.

Keep the comments coming Voltaire. You are helping us to prove our point. If you can dispute, with reasonable facts, the issues and questions, then I also welcome your comments.

As always, freelancers who have not done so already, are welcome to raise their issues at


Blogger Brett, Windsor V-J said...

Re: no casual reference in the agreement-

That is pretty funny since some of the non-full timers I work with were wondering why their cheques even come with reference to "casual payroll"

16/10/05 18:48  

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