Why review the union structure?

To continue being a strong, creative broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada must capitalize on flexibility to address the new challenges it faces. Having staff divided into four separate bargaining units no longer meets today’s requirements and needlessly bogs down our work processes. Streamlining the union structure will bring many benefits to employees and allow us to tap our full potential. Everyone will come out a winner.

  • A simplified bargaining structure would contribute to a more positive work environment.

The current bargaining unit structure is a source of dissension that negatively affects the work environment and hinders staff mobility. The four-unit structure creates an artificial separation: it’s common to see employees performing more or less similar duties, but belonging to different unions.

A simpler, less compartmentalized structure will cut down on the jurisdictional disputes and questions that arise on an ongoing basis. The situation will be much clearer, creating a less adversarial work environment for all CBC/Radio-Canada employees.

Over the past 10 years, technological advances have revolutionized production methods and fundamentally changed how many CBC/Radio-Canada employees do their jobs. For example, editing is now done on computers, video news reports can be produced on smartphones, and content can be easily delivered across multiple platforms via simple, user-friendly equipment.

The current union structure is not conducive to adopting and leveraging these powerful new technologies, since employees’ different union affiliations create obstacles to their use. Many employees, especially those hired in recent years, come with a versatile background that includes knowledge of IT and all stages of the production process. They’d like to apply their full potential, but are discouraged from doing so under the existing union structure.

  • It would enable us to be a more efficient organization, in line with industry best practices.

The complex, cumbersome structure we have today generates bureaucratic red tape that makes it difficult to produce projects requiring input from employees affiliated with different units. We need to streamline our work processes in order to deliver the kind of distinctive programming that has earned the public broadcaster its reputation for quality.

Currently, having four bargaining units impedes cooperation and leads to large numbers of grievances that monopolize time, energy and financial resources that could be better employed in programming. Lastly, we must take into account the current financial situation. Given our limited financial flexibility, we need to adopt the best industry practices if we hope to thrive in today’s market.

  • It would allow us to compete more effectively in a highly competitive market and better meet our audiences’ expectations.

In the past 10 years, the broadcasting industry has changed a great deal: new technologies have completely transformed jobs, production methods and delivery platforms, while the proliferation of specialty channels has led to audience fragmentation and declining advertising revenues. The growth of media conglomerates in the industry is also creating competitive pressures that we cannot ignore.

We need to remain more competitive than ever to be able to react as quickly as our competitors do in a rapidly changing market. Our audiences have become used to having access to virtually instantaneous productions, and expect to receive video and reports in near real-time on what’s happening around the world. Our success will depend on having a versatile, mobile and well-trained workforce that can rise to the challenges we face as a news and entertainment organization.

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