Saturday, October 01, 2005

Stursberg Confirms What We Knew

When VP Richard Stursberg answered questions for locked-out CBC employees in Vancouver last week, he reinforced questions over the CMG's unwillingness to represent all its members. Stursberg's words were, "Your union has not raised the temporary thing. That's not an issue for your union." (see transcript on, Wednesday, September 28th). He said, "The only issue they've raised is contracts", adding "on temporaries and casuals, your own union hasn't raised this".

I'm not defending CBC management, especially their long-time abuses of so-called temporary workers. I also have a big problem with their aggressive action in locking us out. However, this site is about pressing our union to be accountable to all their dues-paying members. Mr. Stursberg is right this time. The only reason he did not mention freelancers in what he said, is that the CMG tabled some improved conditions for one classification of freelancers (out of three). So where do they stand on the other two types of freelancers? Where do they stand on casuals and on temporaries? Why are they so hung-up about reducing contract workers, when the larger number of "temporary" people enduring this abuse of their talents are in the other categories?

The invitation extended in my last posting (to e-mail me with concerns about representation of non-permanent staff) drew a strong response. Although it was titled "Calling All Freelancers, Casuals and Temps", it drew e-mails from contract employees too. One thing that was clear is that many workers do not know whether they are freelancers or contract employees. Both types sign a contract. Therefore, some contract employees think they are freelancers. But, a contract employee's entitlements and negotiating power can be quite different. Still, some expressed concern over the degree of representation afforded them by the CMG.

Casuals and the two under-represented classifications of freelancers are the most troubled by the CMG's indifference to their issues. Too many casuals have been shifted from one assignment to another, with short breaks in service, sometimes over quite a few years. Many workers on Freelance Specific Services and Freelance Fixed-Term contracts have done the same work on the same shows for many years.

The CMG Freelance Branch has seen this abuse in the past. Now, 16 months into negotiations, they have still not tabled anything on behalf of these workers.

Management is now pointing out what many CMG members have known all along. For some of us, there is no "good guy" in this.


Blogger Voltaire said...

Why is anyone - at all - giving any credence to to Stursberg, a man who hasn't been within a quarter-mile of the bargaining table for the past year and a half?

The Guild has been working on behalf of all workers - permanent and *non-permanent*, including contract employees, freelancers of all stripes and temporaries of all kinds. The CMG's proposals are pretty clear on this.

Anyone who has read a Guild collective agreement in the past fifteen years or so knows that the term "casual" doesn't even exist in the book. Casual is a term the CBC uses to describe what it thinks the relationship is, but the fact is that a so-called casual has exactly the same rights as any other temporary employee.

An employee who doesn't know his/her status (whether they're freelance, temp, fish or fowl) should ask. If they can't get a straight answer from their supervisor, they need to call the Guild office and get them to find out.

3/10/05 00:17  

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