Members at TVO vote 100% in favour of strike mandate

2023.02.28 | CWA Canada Local 30213 - Canadian Media Guild

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Unionized journalists, hosts, producers and education workers at TVO, whose collective agreement expired in October, have voted 100 per cent in favour of giving their bargaining committee a strike mandate.

The employees of the public broadcaster (formerly known as TVOntario), who are represented by CWA Canada’s largest Local, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), have received below-inflation wage increases for the past 10 years, including three years of wage freezes. There was a turnout of 96 per cent for the vote, which puts the union one step closer to a legal strike position.

The members are disheartened with TVO’s move from permanent employment to precarious contracts with no benefits. Further, the company appears to be positioning to abandon journalism at a critical time for quality and trustworthy information.

As part of their negotiations, CMG members are seeking wages that take into account industry standards and inflation; permanent jobs for permanent work; and a commitment to quality journalism at TVO.

The salaries of the members were subject to Bill 124, which was ruled unconstitutional in November and is now being appealed by the province. TVO has received no inflationary increase in base funding from the provincial government for many years, and saw a five-per-cent decrease in 2019.

When the province was shutting down in the early stages of the pandemic, TVO workers continued to inform the public through its journalism and online learning. TVO’s flagship show, The Agenda, didn’t miss a beat, with Steve Paikin and Nam Kiwanuka hosting from their respective homes. It was a place Ontarians could turn to for calm, rational and reliably truthful information during an unprecedented global crisis.

An issue of concern to CMG members is the change in the education minister’s letter of direction to TVO, which now contains zero references to journalism or current affairs. This is reflected in TVO’s business plan, which also makes no mention of journalism and describes major changes coming to its current affairs content.

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