Category Archives: Site Updates/Additions

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.

 

Annual General Membership Meeting

Unifor Local 830M

Annual General Membership Meeting

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Multi Purpose Room 1 at Creekside Community Centre has been book for meetings at 10 AM and 12:30 PM.

 

On The Agenda:

  1. Update on presentations to the CRTC by Unifor prior to January public hearings
  2. Wealth Accumulation Q&A (Sunlife to present on Tuesday, Nov 24th at 10 & 1:30)
  3. Changes to the Collective Agreement Q&A
  4. Union Elections for
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Chief Steward
  • Women’s Advocate

Please consider helping out in one of these important roles.

 

Local by-laws require that you notify someone on the current executive board prior to the day of the election of your intent to run for office.

Vice President: vacant (elected odd years)
By-Law: 2.2.2 Vice President
The Vice-President shall act in place and instead of the Local President in the event of the latter’s inability or refusal to act.
Secretary: Cindy Leong (elected odd years)
By-Law: 2.2.3 Secretary
(i)  The Local Secretary shall conduct the correspondence pertaining to the business of the Local and shall keep the official records of the Local.
(ii)  The Secretary shall give notice of all General, Special and Executive Board Meetings.
(iii)  The Secretary shall record minutes at all General, Special and Executive Board Meetings
Treasurer: Gerald Christenson (elected even years)
By-Law: 2.2.4 Treasurer
The Treasurer shall have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all funds and securities of the Local, receive and give receipts for all monies due and payable to the Local and deposit such monies in the name of the Local with such banks or other financial institutions authorized as depositories by the Local Executive Board.
Chief Steward: vacant (elected odd years)
By-Law: 2.2.5 Chief Steward
(1)The Chief Steward shall assist the President and Vice-President in the administration of the collective agreement.
 
Stephen Hawkins
Local President, Unifor 830 M

Memorandum of Agreement 2015 to 2020

Thanks to the many members who showed up to one of our four ratification meetings today. The memorandum of agreement was enthusiastically accepted by the membership.

Memorandum of Agreement 2015 to 2020

RATIFIED, September 8th, 2015

Next Step

Annual General Membership Meeting

November 2015, TBA

  1. Membership Education

  2. Wealth Accumulation Q&A

  3. Changes to the Collective Agreement Q&A

  4. Union Elections for:

        • Vice President
        • Secretary
        • Chief Steward
        • Women’s Advocate

Anyone interested in an executive position should contact:

Stephen Hawkins:  president@unifor830m.ca

Mark Cameron: mark.cameron@unifor.org

 

Stephen Hawkins
Local President, Unifor 830 M
president@unifor830m.ca

Ratification Vote

Dear Unifor 830M Member:

Your Bargaining Committee met with the Company over several days and has developed a memorandum of agreement that we recommend you accept. You must attend one of four meetings to get the specific details and cast your vote.

The results of this vote will affect your working life for years to come, so please take the time to show up. There will be food and beverages.

Tuesday, September 8th, Four Meetings: 10AM, 12 Noon, 2PM & 4PM
Creekside Community Centre, Meeting Room 2

Stephen Hawkins
Local President, Unifor 830 M
president@unifor830m.ca

Response by Unifor Local 723M to the CRTC

Thanks to  the thousands of Canadians who have expressed their great concern about Rogers decision to shut down multicultural newsrooms across the country, and especially to the over 880 individuals that took the time to register interventions in support of our efforts at the CRTC to hold Rogers accountable.
 
This is the final response document in Local 723M’s current complaint process; this is not the final chapter for daily multicultural news in Canada. 
In this election year the Canadian Government has the responsibility to call on the CRTC to act on this important matter.  Rogers will also be required to tell Canadians why they are the best Company to be entrusted with five of Canada’s six multicultural broadcast licences as they apply for license renewals in 2016/2017. 
Hopefully we can continue to count on you for support as we participate in this important process.
 
Stephen Hawkins
Local President, Unifor 830 M

 

DRAFT Local By-Laws, Nov 2014

 

BY-LAW AMENDMENTS

 

Submitted at the General Membership Meeting of Unifor 830M, November 13th, 2014.

The following motion is presented here by the Executive Board to the General Membership in accordance with By-Law 7.1 of the current (2005) By- Laws.

ARTICLE 7     AMENDMENTS

7.1 These Bylaws may be amended by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of members in good standing at a General Meeting, provided that any proposed amendment is posted at least ten (10) days prior to such General Meeting.

Motion: 

That the current By-Laws (2005) for Local 830M be replaced by the following By-Laws (November 2014) and submitted for approval to the National Unifor Union for approval.

Procedure:

As noted above, amendments to the By-Laws must be made with 10 days prior notice to a general membership meeting at which the proposals are being presented to vote on. Because these By-Laws are replacing the 2005 By-Laws, amendments may be made at the meeting to the proposed new By-Laws. The support of a two-thirds of members in good standing at the meeting is required to pass these new By-Laws.

Explanation:

  1. To update the change from CEP to Unifor.
  2. To reflect and identify obligations and considerations of the Unifor Constitution (2013).
  3. To better organize and clarify the administration and operation of Local 830M for all members.

BY-LAWS Unifor830M Nov 13th-2014 (PDF Version)

 

Nanos survey finds Canadians skeptical about CRTC TV proposals

Toronto (September 5, 2014) – On the eve of a CRTC hearing that could result in the gutting of Canada’s TV rules, a new Nanos survey released this morning finds the sweeping changes up for consideration next week are on shaky ground with Canadians.

The survey found more than half (54%) think it is unlikely that unbundling cable TV packages to allow consumers to pick and pay for only the channels they want will result in lower TV subscription costs.  Only one-in-four (24%) believe the federal government’s promise of lower prices while 62% believe cable and satellite companies who say prices won’t go down by unbundling TV packages.

Even with the prospect of lower subscription costs, 41% of Canadians say pick and pay and other changes should not occur because of potential damage to the economy and Canadian programming, while 43% believe the changes are acceptable.

According to the survey, Canadians place a very high level of importance (84%) on local news, yet this kind of programming is threatened by the CRTC’s proposals.

“Local TV stations across the land, especially in smaller markets, will shut down and investment in Canadian programs will plummet if the CRTC adopts rule changes it has broached in its review of TV policy, says Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting which commissioned the survey in collaboration with ACTRA and Unifor.

“This poll shows that regardless of the platform upon which content is being delivered to viewers, the CRTC is trusted to ensure support for Canadian programming, to strengthen diversity in the system, and to use its authority to affirm the cornerstone place of the CBC,” says Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director of ACTRA.

By a very strong margin (68% agree), Canadians want foreign Internet broadcasters like Netflix to abide by the same rules as Canadian companies.  They also want foreign companies to contribute financially to new Canadian programming.   More than half (52%) completely disagree with the notion that these companies should not be required to financially contribute to help support new Canadian programming.  Of note, if Netflix and Canal + contributed to new Canadian programming, the positive impressions of those organizations would increase for most people (69%).

Other findings from the survey include:

• Canadians are satisfied (46% satisfied/25% somewhat satisfied) with the choice of US and other foreign programming that is available to them.

• Canadians place most trust and confidence in CBC and the CRTC to protect Canadian culture and identity on TV  (report pages 13 to 18).

• Canadians see the CRTC as responsible for protecting Canadian TV and radio content (page 5), strongly support the goals of the CRTC (report pages 19 to 23), and see a need for the CRTC today (report page 24).

• The vast majority of Canadians would like to see funding for the CBC stay at the same level or increase while only 10 percent would like to see CBC funding decreased.  Among federal Conservative supporters 51 percent would like CBC funding to be maintained, 25 percent would like to see CBC funding increased and 21 percent would like to see funding decreased.

• Canadians see the CBC playing an important role in strengthening Canadian culture and identity. The intensity of views on this opinion has increased over the past year.

“We have given evidence to the CRTC that the regulatory changes under consideration could cost the Canadian economy more than 31,000 jobs and almost $3 billion, a devastating consequence. Eliminating simultaneous substitution alone is a $300M revenue loss from Canadian media companies to American broadcast giants,” says Randy Kitt, Media Chair at Unifor.

Nanos conducted a random telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians between August 16th and 25th, 2014. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists – www.actra.ca) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent watchdog for Canadian programming and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including 14,500 media sector workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

-30-

For information:

ACTRA: Carol Taverner 416-644-1519 ctaverner@actra.ca

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting: Jim Thompson 613-567-9592 jim@friends.ca

Unifor: Randy Kitt, Unifor Media Council Chairperson 416-529-5152 (cell)  rkitt@unifor79m.ca

The complete Nanos Report is available here.

 Full page ad in the Hills Times

CRTC HEARING UPDATE

cropped-UNIFOR-bilingual-RGB-horizontal.jpgAfter two intense days of CRTC hearings in the nation’s capital, we were encouraged by the significant back pedalling that Rogers has made on some of the key issues in the City and OMNI license hearings.

On the strength of our intervention and those of like minded community groups, the Canadian public and Unifor members were rewarded by RBL CEO Keith Pelley’s concessions in his reply comments to the Commission on OMNI prime-time programming and the threat that NHL hockey broadcasts could displace current commitments to local programming on City.

However there is no cause for immediate celebration, our work is not done. We will have to wait for the Commission decision to see how it addresses some of the other key issues:

  • on City, the diversion of $5M annual local programming spending to Programs of National Interest
  • on OMNI, the dilution of Canadian content requirements and the minimum number of ethnic groups covered by programming requirements
  • the re-establishment of feet-on-the-street news reporting at Alberta’s two OMNI stations, and a guarantee that Vancouver’s local OMNI news will be protected by license and the Chinese news should have their staffing restored to January 2013 levels

We were also delighted that Pelley backed down on the RBL request for a lengthy five-year license for OMNI when the main reason for seeking regulatory relief was a two-year inventory of US programming  for which RBL overpaid. Pelley conceded to a two year term and we expect that the Commission will agree.

Pelley also agreed to our request to re-establish the OMNI community advisory boards. We are hoping it will be made a condition of license and we advocated for including union members on those boards.

We hope to get a decision within a couple of months and we will keep you posted.

Howard Law

Director, Media Sector

 

National Unifor President’s OMNI Editorial

UNIFOR-local830M-CMYK-horizontal.jpg

LICENCE RENEWALS APRIL 8th – 10th

Unifor will be making a presentation to the CRTC on April 9th in Gatineau, Quebec.  Local President, Stephen Hawkins will be appearing on Wednesday afternoon with other Unifor representatives to advocate for conditions of licence that support local original daily programming on both OMNI and City.

These proceedings should be available live on the CRTC’s web site.  The hearing number is 2014-26.  Transcripts should also be posted on the Commissions web page.

National President Jerry Dias captured Unifor’s position in his recent Toronto Star editorial.

 

TO star logo

Opinion / Commentary

Rogers’ cuts to OMNI chip away at Canada’s cultural mosaic

Despite cuts to OMNI, Rogers Communications has the necessary resources to make quality local ethnic broadcasting work.

Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. is right now asking the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (our national broadcast regulator) to rewrite the rules governing ethnic television in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta – and not to the benefit of ethnic communities.

Rogers wants to direct its multilingual OMNI programming to fewer ethnic audiences, eliminating those it deems unprofitable. They are asking for the ability to remove half of the ethnic communities served. Rogers wants more flexibility to broadcast non-Canadian programming and feels that local community-based programming is too onerous, and wants to cut that, too. That likely means less local news for ethnic and third-language communities.

The company (one of Canada’s largest and wealthiest media corporations) says ethnic broadcasting isn’t paying the bills, that it’s a money loser.

We know that multicultural and multilingual television programming is vitally important to many newcomer communities across Canada. Ethnic broadcasting not only fosters a sense of connection to Canada’s cultural mosaic, it builds communities (through native language story-telling), provides employment opportunities (with in-house technical production, journalists and on-air personalities) and informs the public (through local news reporting in various languages).

Above all, it fosters greater participation in Canada’s democratic life.

It’s no surprise, then, that Canada’s immigrant and newcomer communities were stunned when Rogers announced job and program cuts impacting OMNI stations in May 2013, the latest in a series of ethnic television cuts over recent years.

Our union filed an official complaint with the CRTC, arguing that Rogers had breached the terms of its license. Canadians agreed. Many expressed frustration with the declining level of programming quality and local-ness in community ethnic television.

At OMNI-1 in Toronto, for instance, local programming has been cut in half since 2000/2001, according to the Forum for Research and Policy in Communications. Since 2005, staff in Toronto (arguably the most multi-cultural city in the country) has been cut by 80 per cent – barely above a skeleton crew today. In Alberta, OMNI stations in Edmonton and Calgary don’t employ a single local journalist reporting community news. In 2010, Rogers decided to dissolve community advisory boards, originally created to solicit input and feedback on OMNI programming – losing touch with its ethnic audience.

This consistent decline in resources dedicated to OMNI raises serious concerns about the future of ethnic broadcasting in Canada. Young viewers won’t tune in, if what they see isn’t relevant. And it won’t be relevant if it continues to be starved out.

In fairness to Rogers, the playing field among ethnic broadcasters is tilted. OMNI’s main source of revenue is advertising, and that’s becoming less lucrative as new ethnic specialty channels come online. Some specialty channels can charge viewers subscriber fees, a source of revenue not available to “over-the-air” broadcasters like OMNI (meaning that programs can be watched, for free, through a television antenna).

This imbalance must be addressed by the CRTC, and we hope it frames part of the commission’s Ethnic Broadcasting Policy review set for 2016.

But if Rogers thinks the best way to solve its competitive woes is by taking away airtime for ethnic communities (to broadcast more lucrative U.S. programming), then that begs the question: Is Rogers still the most appropriate carrier of Over-the-Air ethnic programming?

Ultimately, we think it is. Not only because Rogers has ethnic broadcasting experience, but also because it has the necessary resources to make quality local ethnic broadcasting work.

Rogers Communications is a multi-billion dollar operation that raked in $1.7 billion in profits in 2013. Rogers Media, its subsidiary, earned a healthy $161 million in profits. Dividend payments to shareholders topped $870 million.

If Rogers continue to produce ethnic and multilingual programming, without any changes to its license, it would cost OMNI $2 million annually – a relatively small price to pay so that small-market and third-language communities are well-served. Ethnic broadcasting is about serving the public interest – not solely about padding a corporation’s profits.

The voices of our ethnic communities must speak out. The CRTC is holding hearings on April 8 to decide on Rogers proposed cuts. Rogers has had the privilege of delivering this vital service to our communities, for years. Let’s ensure they continue providing quality service for years to come.

Jerry Dias is the national president of Unifor, which represents 660 workers at Rogers, including 60 at OMNI and 370 at City.