Thursday, September 29, 2005

CBC Lockout

-- a sister Torstar publication, it must be said -- has a bang-on editorial this week about the CBC lockout of 5,500 members of the Canadian Media Guild, now in their seventh week of pounding the pavement.

The piece argues that public sector unions -- and, I might add, crown corporations -- be prevented from going the labour disruption route. Specifically, no strikes, no lockouts. There are too many losers -- and most of them are ordinary citizens.


Think about CBC. Top management has absolutely no incentive to end the dispute because there is no financial penalty in continuing it.

In a private company, losses would pile up as assembly lines ground to a halt and inventories dried up. Executive bonuses would shrink. Shareholders would scream and yell.

But CBC managers are getting paid extra to cover for the locked-out workers. There will be more money for them to play with after this is all over. There's no financial downside.

- Antonia Zerbisias,Toronto Star

Bang-on post by Antonia. CBC management has shown that it has no regard for a) Canadians, b) public broadcasting, and c) its most valuable asset - the employees.

Makes me wonder: What treatment should we expect from CBC management once we graduate?

For many of us young wanna-be journalists, working for the CBC is a dream, but not the distant, fantasy-type. We work on assignments, interviews, tapings, edits, bearing with each frustrating screw-up, hoping that it's all preparing us for the day we can say "CBC News" in our extro. We dream of sporting the CBC logo on our press pass and equipment. We want the Mother Corp. to adopt us, treat us well, and give us the chance to do what we're so passionate about.

Whether our dream is to report from far away places, do exposes as investigative journalists, or become a trusted news anchor, most of us would want to do it for the CBC before doing it for anyone else.

But Mama's ugly side is beginning to shatter the dreams. Sure, we may be passionate about journalism and the CBC, and we may very well find ourselves without much of a choice, but if this is the type of CBC that'll be adopting us, well....then let us re-focus our dreams.

Rabinovitch seems to be under the impression that young people nowadays (yeah, that's us) don't like to stick around for too long, and thus can conveniently be offered short-term contracts.

In other words, we don't deserve careers at the CBC.

Well, I've got news for Mr. Rabinovitch.

We don't dream of spending six months or a year at the CBC. We dream long-term. We don't like uncertainty. We want stability so that we can pursue our passion while earning a decent living, enabling us to raise families and live a stable life.

If someone else offers that, we'll probably go for it.

End result: Rabinovitch will be left mostly with those who have no choice, which won't be a happy bunch. Unhappy kids working for a unloving mom is not a recipe for a good product.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good to hear from an aspiring journalist about this lockout. As a graduate of Concordia University's Journalism program back when dinosaurs ruled the world, I too aspired, as you do, to join the CBC. I was fortunate enough to be hired right after graduation, 20 years ago. It's been a great ride until 7 weeks ago when my employer threw me onto the streets. Thanks for exposing the BIG lie in this fight. That is kids coming out of school don't want fulltime, permanent work. According to the CBC they'd rather have the "freedom" to flit from job to job. Try buying a house or starting a family with that kind of uncertainty hanging over your head. Good luck at "J" school and hopefully they'll still be a CBC worth working for by the time you graduate.

Jean Laroche
CBC Radio Halifax

P.S> Say hi to Enn for me.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Sikander said...

Thanks for dropping by, Jean. I can sort of imagine what it must be like to have your employer turn against you all of a sudden after 20 years.

I had the oppurtunity to taste the CBC through the Fresh Voice contest last year and I had a great experience. But if this is the type of underlying attitude we'll be faced with, then I'm not so sure.

I wonder if CBC employees will ever feel the same way about their employer as they used to pre-lockout...

I'll pass on your hi to Enn next time I see him.


11:48 PM  
Blogger Melanie Holubowski said...

After watching and listening to the CBC for years, I had grown in awe of the reporters and people working to produce quality and informative news. My goal (as most student in J schools)at the end of the 3 years at ConU was to get a job for the CBC, work my way up the ladder until I became a foreign correspondent.

Now after so many weeks of the CBC lockout, I have news for the CBC managers - I don't necessarily need to work for the CBC.

They are NOT the only news organization out there and already, people are turning to other media to find their news (I see blogging is quite popular with the journalists that are being locked-out, for example)

I would have been proud to work for the CBC a few months ago, before this ridiculous dispute. Now, I am a bit ashamed that managers are willing to let go of their viewers and the confidence of future journalists.

As Jean Laroche said in another comment, I don't only want a contract job - that is a scary thought. How am I going to live? Where? How will I be able to build a life if I don't know if I will be working in 6 months?

CBC, if things don't radically change, I will opt for another TV or radio station, I will work for a community newspaper (which I do and find incredibly important to inform the community about the issues that matter to THEM). And I will produce good news and will fulfill my dreams of being a good, fair and inspiring journalist.

CBC, you will loose out on many J students, I guarantee you this.

9:56 AM  

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