Sun TV Union’s Modest Progress Suffers Major Setbacks

There’s good news and bad news to report in the ongoing Sun TV/Canadian Media Guild story.  As previously reported by this website, the CMG has been trying to successfully negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the management of struggling Toronto station, Sun TV.  This endless dance has been happening for over a year now and the matter remains unresolved.
First, the good news.  Last week, the official CMG website reported that both sides had “reached agreement on a few minor provisions for the first collective agreement[,]” after sitting down to talk on April 5th and 12th.  What these “minor provisions” are exactly was not specified.  Still, it’s modest progress.
Now, the bad news.  One of the union’s representatives, Thomas Birkovich, has resigned.  The TV veteran noted in his official letter of resignation that “it’s time for a significant change.”.  A Day Oner at the formerly named Toronto 1, the former branch president who has been dealing with Sun TV from the beginning of these epic, ongoing negotiations (and worked in Master Control) has obviously reached his breaking point.  I greatly sympathize with the constant frustrations he has been experiencing trying to deal with this exasperating company.  He realizes life is too short to continuously bang your head against a solid, brick wall.
At the same time, it’s not known who will replace him at the bargaining table.  Also uncertain is whether or not a different negotiator will make a whit of difference to the process.  Regardless, it is a major setback for the union.
If that weren’t bad enough, today’s meeting between the two sides has been cancelled due to an illness.  Philip Andrades, Sun TV’s Human Resources Manager, is unwell.  (There goes the union’s momentum.)  The next scheduled negotiating session is set for April 26.
(Curiously, in its April 12th update, the CMG had already noted that the 26th would be the day of the next session.  It was an unintentional error (they obviously meant the 19th) and not the first one this website has noticed.  Originally, the March 29th update was erroneously labelled “May 29th”.  The March 14th and 15th postings are identical, with the exception of some bolded text in the latter.)
Finally, the union notes in its latest update that “[t]he application for decertification will run its course as set out under the Canada Labour Code.”  That’s something that Birkovich mentioned in his letter of resignation.  (He says, “there will be a vote this spring about CMG’s future at SunTV.”) Who applied for it?  Sun TV or one of their disgruntled employees?  If decertification happens, that means the CMG won’t be the “exclusive” representatives of the workforce any longer.  Who else, then, is willing to go to bat for these long suffering workers?  If not the CMG, then who?  Furthermore, will a deal be reached in time before this even becomes a reality?
The union notes that a more detailed update is forthcoming after the next negotiating session.  For the sake of its workforce, it better be spectacular.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, April 19, 2007
5:00 p.m.
Published in: on April 19, 2007 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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