Category Archives: Site Updates/Additions

Unifor challenging OMNI subcontracting

September 6, 2017

TORONTO The union representing Chinese speaking journalists and media workers at Rogers’ OMNI TV is taking legal action in response to the broadcaster’s unprecedented subcontracting of its daily news coverage to its only competitor, Fairchild TV.

“This $20-billion broadcaster is in violation of its CRTC licence to produce its own news coverage,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias. “Rogers promised the CRTC it would cover the news with its in-house staff. It is not supposed to get millions in customer fees, and then reneged on that promise as soon as it gets the CRTC licence.”

Rogers was granted a special licence by the CRTC on May 15 to bring back daily news coverage in the Cantonese, Mandarin, Italian, and Punjabi languages. The licence comes with a “must-carry” obligation on all cable TV distributors and a mandatory 12 cent monthly customer fee. The news shows, which went off the air in 2015, began broadcasting again across Canada on September 1.

Dias was also critical of Rogers’ failure to reveal its hand off of news gathering to Fairchild TV only after the CRTC licensing hearing, without the Chinese Canadian community having the chance to debate a monopoly on Chinese language local and national TV news.

“The news director of Fairchild TV is anti-Trudeau, pro-Conservative, and pro-Trump,” said Dias. ”OMNI’s decision to contract out the work to its only major competitor denies its viewers a different perspective and a fresh voice. We believe the public had a right to know about this.”

Unifor is filing a complaint to the CRTC on the licensing issue as well as a labour grievance against the contracting out.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

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For more information, please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at stuart.laidlaw@unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.

 

August Update

Welcome new members working on OMNI’s Punjabi National News and CITY News Programs

These jobs are, in part, a result of Unifor’s advocacy for improved local programming at the CRTC and with Members of Parliament.

Check out the web site for more info on our continuing efforts:

www.MediaActionPlan.ca  

Contracting Out National Chinese National News

We are disappointed in Rogers decision to contract out Chinese language national news to a competitor, Fairchild Television. We feel Rogers has betrayed Unifor’s support during their 9-1-H license application.

OMNI’s Cantonese and Mandarin national news programming should be produced in-house by our members.

We are coordinating efforts to oppose Rogers short sighted decision in the strongest possible way with our brothers & sisters in Toronto as well as with multi cultural community groups.

Left unchallenged, “contracting out to the cheapest provider” will negatively impact local television news production across Canada.

www.unifor830m.ca Executive Board Members

Stephen Hawkins, Local President, president@unifor830m.ca, 604-317-2312

Tanya Luciani, Vice President, vice-president@unifor830m.ca

Gerald Christenson, Treasurer, treasurer@unfor830m.ca

Cindy Leong, Secretary, secretary@unifor830m.ca

Tasneem Razvi, Women’s Advocate, womensadvocate830@gmail.com

CRTC ruling a blow to local TV: Unifor

TORONTO, May 15 – Today’s ruling from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission does nothing to stop further cuts to local television news across Canada, Unifor says.

“With the CRTC failing to use the tools at its disposal to help ensure Canadians continue to have reliable news and information about their communities, the ball is now in the federal government’s court to take action,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

“Local TV in this country is in crisis. Unifor had hoped that the CRTC would take that seriously with today’s ruling. We are now looking to the government to act swiftly.”

Dias was critical of the CRTC allowing major broadcasters the opportunity to reduce local news programming far below current levels; and imposing not a single requirement for staffing of local newsrooms and bureaus.

“The time for fine speeches from [CRTC Chair] Jean-Pierre Blais about big media’s corporate responsibility is over. A cabinet directive is needed to do for local TV what the CRTC lacks the will to do,” said Unifor Media Director Howard Law.

With more than 12,000 journalists and media workers in television, newspapers, magazines, news websites and film production, Unifor is Canada’s primary media union.

Law said Unifor is nonetheless pleased by the CRTC decision to revive the popular daily newscasts at the Rogers OMNI stations in Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi and Italian.

“OMNI plays a vital role in Canada to help our diverse communities feel more at home here. Its continued viability is essential,” Law said.

Law said Unifor applauds the opportunity in the CRTC decision for other TV companies to come forward with their own proposals for even more ethnic programming.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

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For more information, please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at stuart.laidlaw@unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.

Ottawa Lobby Efforts: Media Action Plan

#SAVELOCALNEWS  #REALNEWSMATTERS

Feb 1-3 Unifor National is sending 20 media members to Ottawa to Lobby federal ministers to support the media industry

YOUR PRESIDENT Stephen Hawkins IS ONE OF THOSE LOBBYIST!

Please sign this online petition – and ask your friends to sign – to support this initiative

Petition: www.mediaactionplan.ca

LIKE AND SHARE:

Facebook (Bilingual): www.facebook.com/mediaactionplan/
Twitter (English):   twitter.com/MAP_Canada

Twitter (French):    twitter.com/PAM_CanadaFR

Regulatory Advocacy 2016/2017

 The last 12 months have seen local news issues given a lot of attention. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission’s Let’s Talk TV public consultation into Local and Community Programming.  This resulted in a new Television Policy prior to the Group Licensing Hearings for Canada’s major broadcasters this past November.

The Minister of Heritage, Mélanie Joly, is conducting a public consultation into Canadian Content in a Digital World.  This wide ranging consultation also confirms the importance of Local News to Canadians.

Unifor Local 830M has been involved in these important consultations and continues to advocate for improved funding and regulatory support for Local News Programming.

This is a detail account of what we have said on the record over the past year:

January 2016: CRTC denies Unifor complaint into OMNI cuts, 2016-8

Unifor National responds to CRTC Decision 2016-8

January 2016: Local 830M president, Steve Hawkins, gives testimony during the CRTC’s review of local news and community programming. 2015-421

Unifor 830M’s final submission to Let’s Talk Local TV

June 2016: CRTC Broadcast Decision 2016-224 sets out the frame work for Local News Programming for the up coming Group Licensing and call for interventions 2016-225.

Unifor Nation responds to CRTC’s new broadcasting policy

Rogers makes a group licensing application 2016-0009-9 for CITY & OMNI, releasing very few details for their five year plans

Roger applies for a mandatory carriage license (known as a 9-1-H application) for a Regional OMNI channel, to coincide with their group licensing application, 2016-0377-0

Unifor 830M Journalism Advocacy Letter

Unifor National gives conditional support for Rogers 9-1-H application

Unifor Local 830M supports the National Unifor position, supporting 9-1-H, however does not support Rogers group licensing application for lack of specific details. This submission details the lack of Local Programming Roger’s currently provides in Vancouver.  This is most evident when you review 830M’s Membership List from March 2015, which demonstrates the devastating 50% cuts to local programming staffing.

August 25th, Rogers responds to written interventions

December 2016: Unifor Local 830M gives testimony during CRTC Group Licensing hearing 2016-225; 2016-0009-9 & 2016-0377-0

Unifor Nation media release following appearance at Group Licensing hearing

Unifor 830 Final submission to Group Licensing hearing; 2016-225; 2016-0009-9 & 2016-0377-0

Unifor’s Media Actiion Plan publishes a letter in several major Canadian newspapers

Unifor 830M submission to Canadian Heritage Minister Joly’s public consultation into Canadian Content in a Digital World

Rogers makes final submission to 2016-225; 2016-0009-9 & 2016-0377-0

Unifor 830M responds to Rogers final comments

Unifor 830M Response to Roger’s Final Reply 2016-225

The following letter was declined by the CRTC and is not part of the public record for BNOC 2016-225.  Roger’s statements are misleading and do not represent the facts.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Danielle May-Cuconat

Secretary General

CRTC

Ottawa, ON K1A 0N2

Dear Ms May-Cuconato;

I have reviewed Rogers final reply to BNOC 2016-225 and I am writing to address the fact that Rogers’ comments in paragraph 47  of its reply to interveners mischaracterize the evidence that I have presented during this important license application process, and to correct the errors it has made.

Rogers January 6th final submission states:

Correcting an Inaccurate Statement of an Intervener

47.One final issue that we feel compelled to address is the inaccurate statements made at the hearing by Steve Hawkins who appeared on behalf of Unifor Local 830. At the hearing, Mr. Hawkins said that our City station in Vancouver operates with “one journalist”, which is misleading.41 The reality is that our news team for City Vancouver consists of the equivalent of 28 full-time staff, which includes on-air hosts, news reporters, writers/researchers, news shooters/editors and studio crew.

The CITY newsroom employees are detailed in our evidence which also gives revealing details of the positions cut on May 2015 with an attached membership list that has strike-outs for the positions that were cut.

830M’s August Intervention, 2016-0009-9, stated:

24. In May of 2015, following a major staff restructuring, Rogers has only 6 full time news camera operators/editors, and 1 full time news editor. There are 6 members working in editorial news operations at CITY and 9 employees working on OMNI’s three current affairs programs.  There are 5 members working in station operations and another 11 members working in either promotions, traffic or sales for CITY and OMNI. (Membership List Mar2015)

25. Where does this leave CITY programming in 2016?  How does the local Canadian programming that airs on CITY Vancouver differ from other Vancouver broadcasters? How does it differ from what Rogers offers its Ontario viewers?

How does this compare to other Vancouver Broadcasters?

26. Shaw’s local news programming employs 13 full time anchors; 13 full time and 12 part-time/temporary reporters; 2 full time videographers; 2 full time assignment editors, 1 full camera assignment/ digital media producer; 24 full time & 2 part-time producers; 2 full time & 1 part-time associate producers; 4 full time  4 part-time/temporary writers; 6 full time online journalists; 1 online video producer; 17 full time & 8 part-time/temporary news camera operators; 14 full time & 12 part-time/temporary news editors; 6 full time LiveEye operators; 7 full time & 5 part-time/temporary feed co-ordinators. That’s a total of 112 full time, 44 part-time/temporary local news employees.

27. CTV’s local programming in Vancouver employs 12 full time & 7 part-time/freelance reporters; 19 full time & 5 part-time news camera operators; 2 Live Truck operators, 10 full time & 6 part-time news editors; 15 full time & 4 part-time writers and producers; and 4 full time employees involved in assignment. That’s a total of 62 full time, 22 part-time local news employees.

How does this compare to CITY in Toronto? 

28. Rogers CITY TV operations in Toronto have far more employees involved in local news programming.  There are over 124 full time and 41 part-time/casual operations employees; 37 full time and 6 casual in-house editorial employees; 24 full time and 14 part-time/casual news field operations; and 32 casual field news editorial employees.

Budget vs Quality 

29. I can tell the Commission there is a substantive difference between the programming provided by Rogers in Vancouver than in Toronto.  How could there not be when you objectively look at the number of hours of programming and the number of people involved in that programming, especially the lack of field journalists in Vancouver?

30. Rogers operations in Vancouver does not have a single person that works exclusively as a news reporter.  The morning news reporter spends the first few hours of their shift writing sports for Breakfast Television, then if the work flow allows it, they will go on location to report live segments into the news show, often only appearing live for a few hours of the show.  Once the show is off the air, that reporter day answers phones for Sportsnet, OMNI or CITY; or some other newsroom duty

Rogers’ misrepresentation of material facts in its reply to interveners

Rogers now states that the facts in my written intervention are incorrect, based on the evidence that it has now chosen to provide:  ”our news team for City Vancouver consists of the equivalent of 28 full-time staff, which includes on-air hosts, news reporters, writers/researchers, news shooters/editors and studio crew”.

This statement misrepresents the facts I presented, by leaving the misleading impression that these were incorrect, and ignores my specific comments at paragraph 30, addressing the actual duties of their one field reporter.

Without seeking to re-explain the evidence in my written submission, or to introduce more evidence, permit me to note that Rogers has simply muddied the water even further:  it does not state whether these positions are devoted solely to City Vancouver, or to OMNI Vancouver or to both stations, or – and most importantly – the percentage of time that each position provides journalistic services.

Respectfully, Rogers has mischaracterized my evidence as inaccurate, without providing the evidence needed by the CRTC to determine the accuracy of Rogers’ own evidence.

Rogers’ reply is out of process

I have participated in a number of CRTC proceedings, and am aware that the CRTC does not normally permit interveners to respond to applicants’ response to interveners’ final replies.

In this case, however, it seems to me that Rogers is not responding to my final reply, but has instead decided to respond to the evidence presented in my written intervention.

My understanding of the CRTC’s procedural rules, however, is that Rogers should have presented this new information in its final reply either in its initial reply to interventions, in its opening remarks, during questioning from the CRTC, or in its final remarks at the hearing.

Rogers had many chances to prove that it was right, and that the people like me who work every day at the station are not. Perhaps its unusual decision to respond to me now – in its very last reply in this proceeding – shows that it now recognizes its error in failing to prove the level of journalistic resources it makes available to each station, in a proceeding focussed on its past performance and future commitments.

Regardless, allowing Rogers’ statements to stand unchallenged would be, quite simply, unfair.

I realize Rogers is supposed to have the last word in these matters, however when they use this opportunity to make statements like in paragraph 47, I feel the Commission should investigate these statements in context to all the evidence that has been presented.  At the very least, the CRTC should permit this response to Rogers’ mischaracterization of my evidence to be placed on the record of this proceeding, and I respectfully request that this be done.

Should you require any clarification of my written intervention’s factual evidence, please let me know.

I have provided a copy of this letter to Rogers.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hawkins

Local President, Unifor 830M

cc, Susan Wheeler, VP Regulatory, Rogers Media Inc

Open letter to Minister Joly

“Minister, we cannot hold elected representatives and powerful private institutions to account when there is no journalist to cover the story, investigate it, analyze it, publish it or broadcast it.”

Minister, it’s on our watch

Minister Joly,

You have stated that “everything is on the table” as your government embarks on a digital re-set of our $50-billion media industries.

From film production and TV broadcasting to internet streaming and news journalism, your ministry’s current public consultation will touch on core Canadian values, our expression of who we are, and our access to the information needed to hold political leaders and powerful institutions to account.

We write to you today as members of Unifor – Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 310,000 Canadians including 12,000 media workers and journalists. As the voice of those working in this important industry, with an especially large presence in local TV, print, and digital news coverage, we encourage you and your cabinet colleagues to keep in mind three things during the big media rethink.

First, no matter how globalized the digital world becomes, we can’t lose sight of the basic principle of supporting Canadian news, information and entertainment in our media. Government assistance and regulation has always been our hedge against the natural tendency of American media to overwhelm our media and our sovereign identity.

Second, our governments have long supported Canadian media through film production tax credits and government funding for the CBC. Thanks to government regulation, large media companies have provided important financial support for independent film productions funds and local TV. That support needs to continue and be adjusted to the new digital media environment.

Third, digital disruption has revolutionized the media advertising market, and not to Canada’s advantage. Large media companies - particularly large US tech giants – have gobbled up this country’s media advertising market. Canadian news providers are being starved for the ad dollars that allow them to provide free or low-cost news to Canadians. That flow of Canadian news and information is vital to our democracy. Let us not mince words: the financial viability of news coverage is in peril.

Minister Joly, as you move forward with public consultations on Canada’s media landscape, Unifor urges intelligent regulation to protect what Canadians value most. We look forward to meeting your committee to discuss the problems we see on the ground as media workers and journalists, and offering some of the solutions that can help.

Sincerely,

Canada’s Journalists and Media Workers

Unifor’s 11 page submission to CCDW can be found at: www.uniformedia.ca

 

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY UPDATE

FAMILY DAY

BC’s Family Day on February 8th is just another day at work for Unionized employees.  Some members have decided to use their one Union floater day on the 8th, however it is not mandatory.  We were unsuccessful in getting the Company to recognize this provincial stat, they do recognize BC Day in August and Remembrance Day in November.

BENEFITS OF BENEFITS

Rogers wealth accumulation program and employee discount program are now available to all unionized employees at CITY and OMNI.  Contact a member of the Executive Board or any fellow member who has signed up to find out how to take advantage of these great offers.

IMPORTANT PENSION CHANGES

Rogers has announced they are no longer going to be offering a Defined Benefits (DB) Pension to new employees, opting to offer a less attractive Defined Contribution (DC) Pension. Current employee will remain in the DB plan. Over a dozen members who are currently not taking advantage of this very generous DB plan have until June 30th, 2016 to sign up or you will lose out.

Many employees who were laid off last May and had been in the plan since 2009 were paid out over a $60,000 benefit from Rogers DB Pension plan.

CRTC UPDATE

COMMISSION DENIES UNIFOR COMPLAINT

CRTC Decision 2016-8 denied the applications by Unifor Local 723M and Urban Alliance on Race Relations for an expedited public hearing into Rogers’ May 2015 decision to cancel local third-language newscasts on its OMNI stations.

Ontario CRTC commissioner Raj Shoan disagreed with the decision and said that the CRTC should have taken this opportunity to undertake a review of the 1999 Ethnic Broadcasting Policy in conjunction with this decision.

While the CRTC spins its wheels with bureaucratic process Vancouver’s Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi communities will continue to be denied the daily local ethnic news Rogers promised Canadians when it received its licence renewal for OMNI just last year.

That said, the OMNI cuts issue has come up several times during the CRTC’s current public hearing on local television.

Let’s Talk Local TV News

Local President Steve Hawkins appeared in front of the CRTC’s current hearing into local TV news, on Thursday, January 28th.

He called for stronger conditions of licence to require Rogers to provide the levels of local news programming they promised Canadians when they were allowed to purchase CITY and OMNI.  He said the CRTC’s lack of conditions of licence allowed Rogers to make programming changes that resulted devastating job loss.

From his presentation:

“Some have asked if local programming on OMNI and CITY in western Canada is the canary in the coal mine for local news.  If it is, that canary is lying on the bottom of the cage and its future prospects don’t look very good.  It’s being starved of the resources it needs to survive”.

He also called on the CRTC to conduct a separate review of the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy.

A full transcript of his presentation can be found on the Local web site: www.unifor830m.ca.

Video of the presentation can be found on CPAC2, Jan 28th, second posting at 1:45 to 2:05

Interestingly, when the Urban Alliance on Race Relations (the 2nd party to file an application on the OMNI cuts) appeared on Friday – emphasizing ethnic communities’ shock at the CRTC’s unwillingness to take action over the cuts – the CRTC’s Chair, Jean-Pierre Blais essentially said that Rogers was not yet off the hook for local news, and that he very much hoped the Alliance (and others) would be involved in the spring 2017 renewal process.

The CRTC will likely be sending out broadcasters’ television licence renewal application forms this September, for a hearing in March/April or even earlier – Jean-Pierre Blais’ term as CRTC Chair ends 7 June 2017:  if he wants to set his mark on the renewal decisions, they would probably have to happen by February, to permit the decisions to be issued within the next four months.

Stephen will be travelling to Ottawa in the first week in February to call on the new Liberal Government to require the CRTC to act on these important policies and to support the work we do in providing local news and local programming on CITY and OMNI

Re-Newed Executive Board

 

Vice President: Tanya Luciani

Woman’s Advocate: Tasneem Razvi

Secretary: Cindy Leong

Treasurer: Gerald Christenson

Executive Members Contact Info 

 

CRTC Update

The CRTC is conducting hearings into the future of Local Programming. Unifor National and your Local Union have made detailed Interventions and hope to appear in front of the Commission at the end of January 2016.

Unifor is hopeful the new Liberal Government will listen to Canadians and act in support of local Canadian programming in ways the previous Conservative Government refused to.  It’s been five months since two complaints were launched against Rogers decision to cut local ethnic news programming across the country.  The new Liberal Cabinet can instruct the CRTC to require Rogers to live up to the commitments they made to Canadians when they were granted their OMNI broadcast licences in July 2014.

830M Comments on Broadcast Notice of Consultation 2015-421

Unifor National Submission BNOC2015-421 

 Wealth Accumulation & Discounts

The Company will be signing up Unionized employees for Rogers wealth accumulation program and cellphone discounts in the weeks ahead.

If you have any questions or experience problems enrolling contact an Executive Board member and we will help you out.