The belly of the beast

Last week I had coffee with President and CEO Robert Rabinovitch and most of the Senior Management Committee and some other guys. Everyone in the building was invited to what was billed as an informal information session, but referred to around these parts as a “brown nose meeting.” As such, it was not well attended.

I went in there half expecting them to jump me and put me in shackles.

But this was, of course, only my paranoia and vanity. The truth is that they don’t lose too much sleep over me.

First off, I was a little surprised at how good they all looked. Great, in fact.

They all spoke very intelligently. They are not stupid brutes, these people. Cathy Sprague is as sharp as a tack and refreshingly straight-talking, and all questions were answered in real language. All concerens were openly and honestly discussed.

I have to laugh when I hear people say that these guys are short-sighted and spineless. This is just not true. Their long-term vision might not match yours, but they have one. And they are tough, make no mistake about that.

Nor are they demons. They want to end this, too, that much is obvious.

People are wondering how long management is willing to “let this last.” Well, I’ve laid my hands on the contingency plan and it goes on for days and days and weeks and months. You would be surprised.

I’m not going to lie to you: pending a miracle, this is going to be long. It’s going to be brutal. And we’re going to be pretty beat up by the time it is done.

But the way out will not be through the government or the internet or the newspaper or a bottom-feeding politician or Ouimet or the ipod – it’s going to be through the bargaining table. Everything else is just chatter, noise, and white light. As time goes on I get the sinking feeling that this noise is doing more harm than good, and if I’m being honest with myself, this web site looks more and more like part of the problem than part of the solution.

I’m amazed at how comment after comment on this blog urge me to organize a lynch mob and bring the head of Richard Stursberg out to Wellington street. I’m a fucking blogger. If you think a blogger is going to save the CBC, public broadcasting, and your job, then it shows how much trouble we are all in.

We walk and work with the people who have the power to fix this. So I tell you what – next time they have another brown nose meeting, go and listen and ask questions and speak up. That’s your job. And the next time you see your union rep, tell him or her what’s on your mind, and tell him or her to pass it up.

See you back on the inside. I’ll still be here.

56 comments:

  1. Anonymous
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 9:15 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You say…

    “So I tell you what – next time they have another brown nose meeting, go and listen and ask questions and speak up. That’s your job.”

    Well actually it’s more your job than my job. You’re a manager. You are directly involved in decisions about how this corporation is run. So it’s nice that you care about the CBC and feel badly about the situation, but why not put your money where your mouth is? You and other managers have an opportunity speak out against Bob, Jane and the other corporate sociopaths. Judging from the sympathetic emails and phone calls we get from the inside, you’re not the only manager who hates what Rabinovitch is doing to our CBC. So do something right for once.

    You throw up your arms and say:

    “I’m amazed at how comment after comment on this blog urge me to organize a lynch mob and bring the head of Richard Stursberg out to Wellington street. I’m a fucking blogger. If you think a blogger is going to save the CBC, public broadcasting, and your job, then it shows how much trouble we are all in.”

    But you’re not just a blogger. You’re management. And if you can’t change things at the CBC – who can?

    Or is this blog just a venue for you to paint your self as a nice person innocently caught on the wrong side of the wall?

    If it’s more than that – why not find some managers on your side and speak up. It’s only the future of our national public broadcaster at stake…

    I’ll leave you with the over-used but still true-as-ever Margaret Mead quote:

    A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

  2. Phillip Blancher
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 8:57 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I see no difference in CBC Radio One Ottawa now than before the lockout. The weather reports and Traffic are as relevent now as before the lock out. The monotone sounds of the programs sound the same now as before, causing my car to veer into oncoming traffic because I fell asleep.

    Honestly I don’t miss the CBC programming, it just caused me to listen to other stations on my morning and afternoon commutes.

    CFRA, Team 1200 and NCPR(NPR) have been getting a lot of listening from me. Probably will afterwards too…

    But dont get me wrong.. I have been listening to the CBC less and less in the last couple of years. Stoic shows, familiar voices leaving, Shelaigh Rogers, all have caused me to stop listening to shows.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 6:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hello S.G.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 5:24 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Whoa, beautiful point! What was the last count on F. Mattocks appointments?

    I always favoured a hybrid exam/election process. At least like that more people’s opinions are taken into account.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 4:52 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    When are we going to see a senior management proposal stating that they’ll hire the right managers for the right jobs?

    Or will friendship and cronyism remain a consideration in who gets the top jobs with the top pay?

    Until the process for management appointments change, the worker bees will remain suspicious of anything the senior monkeys say.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 4:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    ‘nor should there be any attempts to “improve the mood” on the line’

    Before the lock-out, these same people were instructing the lower ranks to complete the Personnel Management Staff Development (PMSD) reports. Furthermore, Mr. F. Mattocks was delighted with the ‘Top 100 Corporation’ appraisal. They were concerned about how we felt. Now they’re not.

    Why bother with morale issues if the 3 year contract process undermines the whole effort?

    I hope these people can understand why we’re so cynical about these kinds of initiatives.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 4:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The REAL management strategy. A reporter in Winnipeg got the goods in the form of an email (round of applause). This is just not right. And any manager who won’t stand up and say this is not right, does not deserve the respect of their employees. Grab a spine, middle management. Tell “Fred and Krista” what you think of this crap.

    This Is Offensive and It Hurts
    by 100000223 @ 2005-08-30 – 17:03:58

    This is an e-mail sent immediately before the lockout and received by managers and other CBC employees who ARE NOT in the CMG.
    For those of you wondering who Fred and Krista are…my best guess is Fred Mattocks and Krista Harris.

    I’m sorry, but this hurts. We are all going to have to work together some day (maybe soon, as both sides are expected to get back to the table tomorrow). Talking about us like we’re children who have to “focus on our situation”, as if our parents have just given us a “time-out” is just, well…I don’t have a word for it.

    As for the grammatical errors…I’m just posting the e-mail in its original form.

    —————————————————-
    On the Friday conference call, we were asked whether managers were expected to visit the picket lines in their locations.

    Some of us remember a day when spending a few minutes with picketers was encouraged. Those days were a very different situation than the one we’re in now.

    It is expected that designated Location Chiefs visit the picket line a couple of times of day to liase with CSM and with the picket captains and to gauge the mood on the line.

    However, there should be no other managers or other non-CMG staff visiting the line, nor should there be any attempts to “improve the mood” on the line, by providing food or drink, for example. It’s very important, if there is a lock-out, that we bring a quick resolution to the work stoppage. A quick resolution will be helped by picketers focussing on the reality of their situation. Making things more comfortable for the picketers does not support this goal.

    Thanks

    Fred and Krista

  8. Billy Idol
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 2:33 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The public knows we are not wrong.

    Actually, I was reading the main section of today’s Toronto Star and there was no mention at all about the lockout. So, if the Star is any indicator (a big “if” mind you), “the public” seems to care little about the CBC lockout.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 11:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I just checked “oxymoron” in my Oxford dictionary.

    For an example it used “It’s always nice to hear the truth from Cathy Sprague”.

    Cathy Sprague and truth have no business being used in the same sentence, unless you were being sarcastic.

    In which case. hahahahaha

    One of the things I am most disappointed by in this lockout is the way the corporation is lying to the public. Jason MacDonald has no business being employed by a corporation which is supposed to be telling the truth to Canadians. Jason, just like other broadcasters are eyeing CBC talent, I hear that big pharmacy has nominated you as flak of the year. How do you look yourself in the mirror? You are eroding the CBC’s credibility every single day. When it’s time for us to get back to work, we will have quite a feat regaining the trust of our loyal viewers and listeners. I just hope they recognize that when we are back, management will have scurried back to its offices for endless meetings about nothing and will have nothing to do with the programming that airs on television and radio.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 10:25 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Its always nice to hear the truth from Cathy Sprague.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 8:08 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well, you knew it would happen. management is using this blog (with ouimet or wihout her) to show how united they are on the inside! I guess news that middle managers were walking the line and donating money to our hardship fund is really scaring them. It’s hard to try to keep even lame programs on the air with a bunch of management that doesn’t really want to be there. So, they get the few sycophants who are more ambitious than moral to start posting about our why WE are wrong. Don’t let it fool you. The public knows we are not wrong. Unless they have an axe to grind, the other media knows we are not wrong. The politicians know we are not wrong. and deep down inside, even the spineless managers who are playing with us know we are not wrong. You are disgraceful. And the funny thing is, you are so short-sighted. Don’t you realize it will be YOU who has to pay for this mess when it’s all over? Try running a department with people who are questioning you and why they’ve dedicated so many years to the CBC. Where will your visionaries be then? Not helping you. I can guarantee it.

  12. Laurence
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 8:01 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    On the other hand, we’ve all read R.R.’s piece in the Globe and Mail.
    Where does he get his ideas??? We’re NOT widgets. We CANNOT be replaced at will. Honest. That’s not a wish or a hope. That’s the real, everyday practice of it. Attend a story meeting for any number of shows to find out.
    There isn’t an infinite pool of talent out there. There isn’t even a small one of the good folks. Most of them are already here, working, in one capacity or another, for the Corp.
    Get over this ‘flexibility’ thing. It’s stalling the negotiations and is killing the CBC. As a tactic, it has not worked. It is now a dead weight that is sinking us all. You don’t need it THAT badly. REALLY!!!!

  13. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 7:33 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    FYI: This was sent to everyone on the inside, this is how they see it.

    To all CBC Managers, Confidentials and APS staff: This is being resent because of formatting issues. The following is for your information. Please pass this to any of your colleagues who are not currently receiving information through our Groupwise systems. The French version follows the English.

    =============================

    August 26, 2005

    NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE #53 – CBC CONFIRMS NO PRECONDITIONS ON TALKS WITH CMG

    There were no formal talks between CBC and CMG this week and none are scheduled for this weekend or next week at this time. However, we’d like to use this opportunity to clear up two pieces of information that have been circulating, as well as to answer some common employee questions.

    First, there continue to be reports that the CBC has set pre-conditions to resuming talks. We can assure you that there are absolutely no preconditions on talks with the CMG. As recently as yesterday, we reiterated this to the CMG and indicated that we are fully prepared to return to the table and negotiate any of the 40 outstanding issues, including the issue of contract staff. We reiterated that we are fully prepared, as we always have been, to continue discussions on this proposal and made plain once again that there is room to negotiate. We very much look forward to continuing discussions on this and the 39 other unresolved issues.

    Second, the Guild recently reported that CBC’s bargaining committee had their photograph taken at the Royal York Hotel to show that they are “ready and eager to bargain.” While it is true that the bargaining committee is ready and willing to bargain, this alleged photo shoot never took place and we are disappointed that the union continues to report misinformation to our employees, taking focus off the real issues at hand.

    EMPLOYEE QUESTIONS ANSWERED

    We have received a myriad of employee questions. Here are answers to a few of the most common questions:

    Question #1: Why did you lock us out?

    After more than 15 largely unproductive months of bargaining and after a great deal of serious reflection, the CBC locked out its employees. We had come to the conviction that there was no other course of action open to us that would move the negotiations process forward. As you know, CBC began negotiations with the CMG in May 2004, and to date, no resolution has been achieved on the most important issues, even in the last days of bargaining. CMG had received a strong strike mandate from its membership and had indicated that it would use that to call a strike at a time most advantageous to them. During the last full week before the lockout, CBC repeatedly brought new language and proposals plus two comprehensive offers to the bargaining table, while CMG brought little in return. It was clear that extending the deadline would not have resulted in genuine progress. Whether we called a lockout immediately or waited for CMG to call a strike on its own timetable, the result would have been the same. So having made it clear to the CMG for days in advance that, without progress, we would act, we took the difficult step of declaring a lockout. It was critical to protect the future interests of the business. If the union had decided to strike once our season had launched, after hockey was well underway or we were on the brink of the upcoming Olympics, this would have caused greater uncertainty than we are currently experiencing. We made it clear to the CMG for days in advance that, without progress at the table, we would be forced to take the difficult step of declaring a lockout.

    Questions #2: Why aren’t you and the CMG back at the table negotiating so we can get back to work?

    We do not know. CBC wants to be back at the table. We are ready to continue discussions on these issues immediately.

    Question #3: What do you mean when you say you need flexibility? If it’s not costing fewer dollars to hire a contract person over a permanent person, what’s the difference?

    Flexibility is about us having the option to best match the right person to the right job at the right time. Our proposal on employment status clearly indicates that current permanent employees will never be affected by this proposal and states that a permanent employee will never have to resign to take on any future job, regardless how it is posted. CBC exists to provide a service to Canadians in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment and our programming for Canadians is our first priority. We also have a duty to treat our employees responsibly and with fairness. CBC employees in all categories, including non-permanent categories, enjoy competitive compensation and benefits better than most of their counterparts in the media world. Our proposal is all about balancing the two needs. At the end of this, the majority of CBC employees will still be permanent and the percentage of unionized employees at the CBC will be the same as it is today.

    Question #4: Why won’t CBC rescind the ultimatum that CMG must accept the classifications around contract vs. permanent and invite the union back to the table?

    There is no ultimatum about employee status. We have tabled proposals that protect the status of all existing permanent employees, limit our proposal to a handful of job classifications, and said we are prepared to negotiate the substance of all of these matters.

    Question #5: Is CBC prepared to lose some of its best employees because of the lockout?

    A lockout was truly a measure of last resort for the CBC. After 15 months of negotiations with 40 issues still on the table and a union with a strong strike vote, we had to deal with the situation as best we could under the Canada Labour Code. We sincerely hope we won’t lose talented employees and look forward to welcoming them back to work once a settlement has been reached.

    Question #6: Has the percentage of Contract, Temporary, and Freelance Fixed Term employees at the CBC stayed stable, or has it grown or reduced in the past 10-20 years?

    Ten years ago there were many more contract staff at CBC than there are now. Television and Radio producers, many hosts and journalists were under collective agreements that permitted that status. CBC did some of our best programming and best journalism under these conditions. This changed during the 1996 negotiation when contract employees in certain areas were given permanent status. This change reduced the number of employees on contract. The percentage of employees on short-term employment arrangements (temporary and casual) fluctuates with replacement needs (maternity backfill, sick leave replacement, etc.) and with major projects like Federal elections and Canada Day. The conditions under which short-term employees may be hired have not changed significantly, and the overall percentage has remained relatively constant.

    Cathy Sprague
    Senior Director, Human Resources
    English Networks

  14. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 6:50 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I just pray that this will end soon.

  15. Ouimet
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 5:57 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Interesting comments. I sincerely thank all of you for taking the time to write.

    I have a few clarifications:

    You are just playing with us and I resent it.

    Hints about some vision or master plan by “Dick and Jane”…are just that: hints.

    What I said was that they had a long-term vision. You implied that it was secret, when in fact they have hit you repeatedly over the head with it in Notes to Staff, speeches, powerpoints, town hall meetings (do you remember what RS said at his last one? he spelled it out pretty clearly), web sites, communiquĂ©s, and the newspaper (today’s Globe and Mail has a good one).

    That you failed to listen, understand, or take them seriously is not my fault.

    With my new part time job and picket pay, I’m making more than before when I was with CBC. I can go for years. Bring it on.

    Here’s a career tip: if you want to make a lot of money, the CBC is not the place to be. I thought everyone knew this?

    Ouimet = Jason McDonald?

    Jason is a lot smarter than me.

  16. Joe Visionary
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 4:05 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    … they don’t lose too much sleep over me.

    First off, I was a little surprised at how good they all looked. Great, in fact.

    They all spoke very intelligently…. Cathy Sprague is as sharp as a tack and refreshingly straight-talking, and all questions were answered in real language…

    Don’t lose sleep? Look great? Spoke very intelligently? Sharp as a tack?

    Clearly, these are not front liners with young kids.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 11:01 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Ouimet,

    I appreciate your blog and, of course, I’m also intriqued by your reports of a contingency plan, designed to keep things sputtering on for *months* possibly …

    As a locked-out news producer, here’s my question: Do you think senior management is preparing to cover a federal election without us? Is there a contingency plan for that?

    Btw, I agree with an earlier post, that the longer this goes on the angrier I get (at Stursberg, Rabinovitch, et al) … The enormous efforts I and others have taken to connect with our audiences and build up the CBC are being severely undermined at this time.

    Seriously, if the managers keep us out through a federal election, I’ll be looking for new work elsewhere – on principle.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 10:42 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    CBC managers are like the ones at Air Canada. They cannot run a company successfully so they go to the membership to bail them out each time. The members are punished for the incompetence of their leaders.
    The CBC is not employee heavy, it is management heavy. The business model is flawed.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 10:38 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    a manager’s donation to CMG, $750
    cost of labour disruption, $750,000
    watching the CFL ratings increase without announcers, priceless!

  20. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 9:38 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “i’ve been suspicious of ouimet from the beginning. talk about a trojan horse!!! and if i’m wrong, then the last entry shows ouimet is completely co-opted by the higher ups.”

    I saw the sasquatch once… it made a sound I would not want to hear twice.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 9:23 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Does anyone really believe there would have been no strike if CBC hadn’t locked CMG out? CBC is taking on dangerous amounts of water and 87 percent of CMG’ers voted to aim for that iceberg. That’s my Titanic analogy…

    There are so many outstanding issues. Not all of the issues are as divisive as the whole contract employee thing. Why not talk about those easier issues first? Good people are in danger because negotiaters are not negotiating. We can knock ourselves out, give ourselves hate-induced aneurisms by insulting each other and spreading fear on these message boards but it’s so meaningless. There are only 2 ways out of this ugly mess… one is way talking, the other is insolvency. I’m ready to go down with the ship, but that’d be damned shame. At some point, probably sooner than you realize, even talking wont be able to float the boat.

    I miss you all and I love you all, and whether you’re angry or not I’ll be teary-eyed happy to see everyone back.

  22. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 9:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s easy to play the victim.

    Let’s get one thing straight. It was a pretty safe bet that the union members were going to strike. I wish it would have happened that way if only because the victimization of the lockout wouldn’t be so easy. Then people would blame the crappy programming on the union.

    A strike was coming. Management decided to choose when it would happen.

    Whoever is right or wrong in the actual dispute, this was coming one way or another.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 9:11 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    i’ve been suspicious of ouimet from the beginning. talk about a trojan horse!!! and if i’m wrong, then the last entry shows ouimet is completely co-opted by the higher ups.

    ouimet, if you’d like to take a message back to your puppetmasters, tell them morale is still up, baby. we’re having a blast doing live shows without managers who know nothing about journalism breathing down our necks.

    disco said it best: I will survive.

    cheerio.

  24. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 8:42 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    kiddies need a place to rant, k? just be glad they’re not the ones at the table :)

  25. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 8:16 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    don’t blame the cmg for negative press for the corp. in case you didn’t notice, it was corp which locked us out, creating negative press. it then put on programming that is not even university radio station or community cable like quality, creating negative press (and an embarassment for all of us) CBC management has created every inch of bad press for the corp. and you are drinking a crazy kind of kool-aid to believe otherwise. boy, you management types are sore losers. and if you think working on the inside alone is no fun now, just wait until we get back. i’m pissed beyond belief at the fucking turncoat middle managers who sit and whine about their long (over paid shifts) and whine about the bad press the CMG is creating. apparently the only requirement for your job, whomever you are, is ARROGANCE. you are an asshole who didn’t even deserve the time i invested in this post.

  26. Laurence
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 8:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Agreed, agreed, agreed.
    But when the main thing that the opposing party is after, indeed insists on, has been shown to be, is absolutely proved to be, a BAD thing, where do we start?????

  27. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 7:20 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Ouimet said…
    I’ve laid my hands on the contingency plan and it goes on for days and days and weeks and months.

    then anonymous said…
    Until we see a plan, from you or anyone else, about WHY management REALLY locked us out AND details regarding MY job security in the future, I will stay out here.

    Get a grip, anonymous. A contingency plan has nothing to do with your job security.

    And why on Earth should Ouimet bother posting anything about job security on a blog, when it’s all on paper waiting for a response from CMG negotiators?

    And of what possible relevance could the Corp’s contingency plans be to folks on the picket line?

    Stop being so insulting, and urge your union reps to get back to the table. Ranting on a middle manager’s blog is useless and foolish. Regardless of any negative press CMG generates for the Corp, and despite any pressure you may try to put on your elected representatives, THIS WILL ONLY BE RESOLVED BY NEGOTIATING.

    There have been some very stupid suggestions about how to apply further pressure. Sure, reduce CBC’s funding further so that there’s even less of a pie to slice up. Sure, drive away the entire audience so that when things finally DO get resolved, nobody will care whether you can do your job.

    Stupid as they are, none of these suggestions matter in the least.

    Sing along now…

    THIS WILL ONLY BE RESOLVED BY NEGOTIATING.

  28. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 7:19 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    re:Hmmmm… Ouimet = Jason McDonald? I’ve looked at the speech/writing patterns of both. Just a thought.

    Wonderful. I wouldn’t put it past them. Like I said earlier, there are many patterns in the responses.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 7:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hmmmm… Ouimet = Jason McDonald? I’ve looked at the speech/writing patterns of both. Just a thought.

  30. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 7:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Ouimet = Jason McDonald? I’ve looked at the speech/writing patterns of both. Just an observation.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 6:42 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’™m detecting a series of themes in the alleged management posting, here and elsewhere:

    – stress above all else that we (management) are in this for the long haul;
    – put much emphasis on the need to get back to the table at any cost;
    – try, whenever possible, to make the topics personal in nature (what I want, what I feel, why you should feel sorry for me);
    – and don’™t, under any circumstances, enter into any discussions about any aspect of CBC programming -or current lack thereof- its mandate or its responsibility to the stake holders, the viewers.

    Keep up the good work, boys and girls. Can’™t wait to see you all on the inside.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 6:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “Well, I’ve laid my hands on the contingency plan and it goes on for days and days and weeks and months. You would be surprised.”

    Only months? With my new part time job and picket pay, I’m making more than before when I was with CBC. I can go for years. Bring it on.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 6:00 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymous previously said, “of course viewership is down, of course the on-air quality is down… that’s kind of irrelevant. it certainly wont get our leaders back to the table no matter how bad it gets.”

    .. Thats exactly what is going to happen. The place is going down a fast tunnel to hell, and when this is all over, it is the employees..the people who are currently locked out, who will take the fall…take the blame… not the Robinovitches, or Strusbergs… they are only in it for the short term to move on and restructure something else…
    CBC will have poor ratings… (even though we aren’t in it for the numbers..) Advertising revenues down…and morale.. will be at an all time low.
    Senior managers will report that audiences aren’t tuning in… and what happens when no-one is watching or caring…
    JOB CUTS!
    So eventually locked out folks we are Fucked. Thanks senior managers who run this joint. Working at CBC the last 10 years has been a living hell…
    ok im going to have another beer

  34. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 5:26 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    hey, i’m not a volunteer. no one here is, no one outside is either… for christ’s sake the whole lockout is about security!

    i do what i’m paid to do. if i don’t like what i’m being paid to do, or i don’t like the way the boss treats me, i don’t go crying to anyone. i’d look for employment elsewhere.

    you’d volunteer 40+ hours a week for your ideals?

  35. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 5:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    re: 7:07 PM, August 29, 2005

    The reason you’re inside is not complex; it’s very simple; you’re inside because you can say and believe things like ’śof course viewership is down, of course the on-air quality is down… that’s kind of irrelevant…’ť

    Irrelevant? On a public broadcaster?

    Shame on you for taking public money – my money- for something you neither believe in nor understand. Shame on all of you.

  36. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 5:00 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Ouimet, I think you are a fake.

    Do something useful like the manager who just made a $750 donation to his locked-out colleagues.

    At least he is putting his guilt to good use.

    You are just playing with us and I resent it.

    Hints about some vision or master plan by “Dick and Jane”…are just that: hints.

    Put up or shut up.

    Or better yet, donate to the strike fund. At least that way you might be able to sleep at night.

    Otherwise you will have to live with yourself knowing you and your management colleagues are forcing their once-devoted employees to go elsewhere before they lose their homes.

    As this drags on, I am getting more and more angry over management’s decision to lock us out and I am becoming the union person I never thought I would be.

    I can’t help BUT take it personally.

    Congratulations.

    Until we see a plan, from you or anyone else, about WHY management REALLY locked us out AND details regarding MY job security in the future, I will stay out here.

    It just smells better.

  37. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 4:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    self confirming bias. there is convincing propaganda on both sides. i can’t claim to be any kind of authority, but I know this: if you see the issue as black and white, we’re right – you’re wrong… you’re totally delusional, you’re brainwashed, you don’t have all the facts. journalists should know better. almost every person i’ve spoken with, inside and out, seems to understand the concept that even the best of us are only getting one side of a multi-faceted story. reasonable, well-informed people don’t make an effective strike-line. these things you’re bickering about are not the reason you’re outside.

    the reason you’re outside is not complex; it’s very simple. you’re outside because of an 87 percent strike mandate and because our leaders have failed at the bargaining table.

    of course viewership is down, of course the on-air quality is down… that’s kind of irrelevant. it certainly wont get our leaders back to the table no matter how bad it gets. the issues, whatever the f*** they are, are too important.

  38. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 4:03 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hello Ouimet from Neutron. The deal between Bobby and Paul Martin is on fragile ice. You see the CBC is an act of Parliament not a piece of Govt fly by nite legislation that fades out with every change of party that gets re-elected. The idea of getting the CBC less sufficient of govt funds is a good one but the business case that was formed by these two to get there is extremely flawed in more ways than one ( there’s not enough room here to type out all the details).
    Of course the top brass looks good and acts like they know what they do but look at their job record and they and their recently hired buddies change companies quickly. They are not institutionalised and the CBC is an institution for the development of Canadian culture. Yes the American govt is lobbied intensily to stop Canadians in entering the American showbiz industry, Hollywood is closing studios because talent on or off the camera is great and cheap here in the Great White North. A majority of soap opera producers in Calif. are from Canada and first started at the CBC. But our PM has decided instead of riding the wave on this Hollywood North boom to PRIVATISE many govt institutions including the CBC. We are part of this experiment at the CBC. I somewhat agree and believe that we can get closer at getting the CBC less dependant on Govt funds but not at the expense of the corp’s biggest asset – our inside talent called permanent employees who have dedicated themselves even after all of the years and side effects of cuts. We are laughing that we presently pay up to 35% less in salary at the CBC for the same job as one posted at the CTV network. We have truly dedicated people who believe in the need for this institution and have gotten institutionalised in the process. Now Bobby and Paul want to change this and try & run it as an ABC, CBS or NBC. Maybe they believe its easier to create a private network by raping a already setup Crown institution than building it from the ground up.
    Thank God the board of directors has asked and implemented manager testing standards for future hired managers – the same should be done for senior executives instead of the existing buddy buddy system – lets hope it is used wisely and its not too late as Bobby and Paul empty the sand in the CBC sandbox.

  39. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 3:29 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m sure there is a long contingency plan — Much like the many five year CBC plans that never reach the end of their 5 year cycles. That’s not proof that the lockout will last long, it just means there’s been lots of meetings.
    I’m sure our CBC leaders are as “sharp as tacks” and maybe they believe they are right in doing this. But if they believe in this so strongly then tell us why and talk to us directly instead of having the latest designated CBC spokesperson relay the message.
    And please don’t kid yourself — Nobody really thinks that a blogger is going to save CBC and nobody wants any sort of corporate “lynch mob”. Blogging is just the internet equivalent of passing notes in class. I think people maybe just hope that if some managers really disagree with the lockout that they be true leaders in the CBC and speak up. That is what being a leader is right?
    Everyone says to get back to the table but there’s no point showing up for dinner if the person across from you won’t pass the potato salad. Until CBC is willing to make some fair compromises there’s no point having the union show up to have a contract dictated to them. If only CBC practiced what it preached. The 3 unions were merged we were told to help simplify bargaining and create more cooperation. This is my third labour dispute in a row and “this just in” — SO FAR THE PLAN IS NOT WORKING.

  40. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 2:58 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Re: this big contingency plan… I can only tell you that what they had planned and what they have been airing are far, far apart. Things ain’t goin’ the way they planned, trust me.

    It’s amateur hour, folks. Plain, simple…and embarrasing.

  41. Laurence
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 2:45 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m perfectly prepared to believe that we have a ‘torn and confused’ blogger’ in Ouimet.
    It’s got to be hard being exposed to all that crap (even brainwashing!) going on inside. Remember, our fearless leaders actually believe that they have a vision. And, just like trying to sell ‘intelligent design’, it requires a LOT of single-minded marketing. And ‘faith’.
    Regrettably, outside we’re all unbelievers…and the facts are also on our side. Darn…very inconvenient, that.
    So, Ouimet, do what you can to resist the bullshit. The ‘real world’ really is…outside.

  42. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 2:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “Or some Tokyo Rose that is looking for info from
    us, gauging the mood, and feeding it back to superior beings.’

    Of course she is. So give her something to report!

  43. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 1:45 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Come on, guys, get a grip. So many cling to Ouimet’s words as if in need of a friend. This sense of desperation is our worst enemy. This person is not our friend. Do you think some high ranking manager with any kind of power or information would risk sanctions, or losing their jobs? This sounds more like one of two things – a lowly manager with the need for an attention fix. Or some Tokyo Rose that is looking for info from us, gauging the mood, and feeding it back to superior beings..

  44. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 12:27 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You keep forgetting -if you ever knew; I don’™t think I’™ve yet to read a single comment you’™ve made about actual programming on CBC- that the CBC is in fact a public broadcaster.

    As such, it does not matter what the brown-shirts write on a piece of paper. It matters what they put on the air.

    What they put on the air today with the Katrina coverage was laughable. It looked like someone had relocated the CBC to a community access channel and handed a bunch of inept, amateur, malcontents third-hand PD150s and told them to cover a real story just like the big boys.

    Guess what? It takes more than a binder of ’śvisions’ť to succeed in broadcasting.

    Those responsible for this mockery -that that would include Rabinovitch for staging the coup, Stursberg for implementing the ’śvision’ť and Burman and Chalmers for bringing such abominations to the air- are clinging to a lifeboat on a sinking ship.

    But not to worry. I hear Rogers is always looking for people with ’śvision’ť to work on their community access channel. They are contract positions, but that shouldn’™t be a problem. Really. I promise…

  45. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 11:26 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I seem to be getting more cynical and jaded by the moment, but Ouimet I must admit I’m starting to have my doubts about you and what your purpose really is.
    Your first posts are about how bad you feel for yourself for being locked in, for the workers for being locked out.
    Your carefully phrased language keeps the readers of your blog hanging on to the hope you’re at least marginally on “our side”.
    But this post was a bit much. If there is a “vision”, tell us what it is. If there is a contingency plan for this to go on for “weeks and weeks and months”, tell us how that can possibly be.
    I, for one, see this carefully crafted post (and a few others) as an inevitable invitation for union members to start splitting ranks. No one is saying we should all be mindless idiots who can’t have opinions of our own. If management is making sense regarding something, then we should tell our union rep so. If the union makes a mistake then we should tell them that too . But, splitting ranks publicly is just plain stupid. Remember, this Corporation locked us out. There are no real black hats or white hats to be sure. But, they have placed us in an adversarial position against them. And slamming the union publicly, is giving them ammunition they need to NOT negotiate. If they really believe there are chinks in our armour, they will be only too happy to drag this on and on. Yes, they want this lockout to end. They want it to end by union-busting. Don’t let them do it, because it will only hurt you in the end. Have an opinion, hold the union accountable, but don’t do it in a blog. Anyone who does is weakening our position.
    As for you Ouimet, if you ARE blogging to try to reveal divisions, shame on you.

  46. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 10:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “and it goes on for days and days and weeks and months.”
    Bring it on! By week 4 with both my daughter and myself doing the Front Street Shuffle we’ll get $80 more in strike/lockout pay than what I bring home from CBC. Plus I get a 4 or 5 day ‘weekend’. It’s the best break I’ve had in years.
    The weather’s gorgeous, 20 hours of butt slimming exercise and a chance to meet faces one never sees trudging the well-worn route of the hamster-maze inside.
    So while the talking heads jockey for position I’m dreaming of all that overtime they’ll have to pay to clean up the mess that’s awaiting us on our return.
    I’m all over that.

  47. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 10:03 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I seem to recall our dear VP’s vision for TV saying the 2005/06 season is all about getting more audiences….bring up the audience levels….increase the number of people watching (he says)! In Dr. Phil’s words….how’s that workin’ for ya Richard? Oh, pardon me…it’s working quite well isn’t it…he must’ve been talking about CTV’s and Global’s audience numbers…yah..that’s it. In that case…his vision is working!

  48. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 8:04 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    we’re more than happy to listen to the vision.
    what is the vision?
    why don’t you spend a few keystrokes and communicate it?

  49. Laurence
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 7:29 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    They say they have a ‘vision’. They say it just needs ‘flexibility’.
    Well, if that’s as good as their communication gets…we’re doomed.
    I have NO sense of where they want to go with this.
    If the top management could somehow (hire a frigging communications consultant!!!) impart where it is they are trying to go with this, maybe we could rally behind it in some way.
    But, to date, it’s all been smoke, mirrors and bafflegab.
    So clarity , please, or we’re into the trenches for a long one.
    And that’s because we HAVE a vision of where we want to go, are (or were) implimenting it and are prepared to fight for it. At least our vision was (at least in radio) proving to be somewhat successful.

  50. Ouimet
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 6:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    just a sucker?
    According to them, if you have job security now, you will also have it if they get what they want, unless you are really bad at your job. I don’t know anymore than that.

    I’ll be honest – I want to believe them, but what happened to the publicists doesn’t bode well, does it?

    anonymous:
    “Details please! If you’ve seen the contingency plan, tell us what it is? Will this be days, weeks or months? If you care about the people walking the line and the families they support, help them plan by being a little more specific.”

    My point is that they are prepared to go on for a long time. I bet the union is, too. They are not at the table, and still have a lot to sort out.

    That’s why I say that pending a miracle, this is going to be long. But no one knows how long it will be. I just wouldn’t bet on HNIC to bail you out.

    Sorry I can’t give you more, hon.

  51. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 5:22 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Humpty Dumpty (read: CBC) sat on a wall
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall (lock-out)
    All the kings'(Rabinovitch) horses
    and all the kings men (and women)
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

  52. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 5:20 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    i should be more alarmed that you mention a *plan* – but really, i’m more reassured than upset. i’ve seen the *plan* in action – at least on tv- other managers who actually appear outside to chat say tell us mgmt was/is really organized. however if the current tv schedule is the result of any amount of planning or strategic thinking- then i’ll be more than happy to see the big *plan* unfold. i watch endless repeats of the same current affairs programming interspersed with the SAME antiques roadshows. c’mon- three weeks in already – can’t somebody go to the library and pick a different selection?
    does the contigency plan address the fact that we’re losing or alienating key audience segments? did they talk about how they were going to build on some of their successes from last season? does the plan even mention *audience* or does it just talk about how mgmnt will deal with this *disruption* cuz i think every day it drags on- they’ll be starting from scratch- trying to attract audiences back. that doesn’t sound like a great plan to me.

  53. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 4:55 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “Well, I’ve laid my hands on the contingency plan and it goes on for days and days and weeks and months. You would be surprised.” — Ouimet.

    Details please! If you’ve seen the contingency plan, tell us what it is? Will this be days, weeks or months? If you care about the people walking the line and the families they support, help them plan by being a little more specific. That last posting was scary but it certainly wasn’t helpful. I am not a locked-out CBC employee. I am married to one and s/he is the sole source of income for a family of 5. With school about to begin and all the costs associated with it, money is already very tight. Do we bite the bullet and register the kids in fall sports and music lessons or tell them they have to do without? I’m glad CBC managers have a contingency plan. In the interest of fairness, they should make it public so that I can come up with one of my own.

  54. anonymous2199
    Posted August 28, 2005 at 10:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You said:

    “We walk and work with the people who have the power to fix this. So I tell you what – next time they have another brown nose meeting, go and listen and ask questions and speak up. That’s your job. And the next time you see your union rep, tell him or her what’s on your mind, and tell him or her to pass it up.”

    Okay. Done. But your words sound boffo coming from someone who’s cloaked themselves behind the curtain of anonymity.

    Tessa
    (FTR: Tessa Sproule, currently a professional walker but normally finds herself working in NCAN in some online capacity.)

  55. Anonymous
    Posted August 28, 2005 at 9:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This one has got to be anonymous. I have no hard feelings toward you or middle managment, but on the outside, they (Sr. Managment) are demons, they may not be short sighted or spineless, but they are the enemies of the CBC, pulic broadcasting in general and Canada overall.

    Outside it is not a “informal information session” or a “brown nose meeting” we have rallies, and this is a war for (the things I mentioned above) the CBC, public broadcasting in general and Canada.

    It may not be won on the internet, in the newspapers, or on the iPod but those are all battles in the war and we will continue to fight them all. In truth many on the outside were not ready for this, but on many fronts the true counter offensive is in the planning stages and getting ready to launch.

    When the dust settles many will no longer be with the CBC (they will have gone elsewhere) and their loss will be felt on all levels. While there will be better relationships between different departments of the CBC (with managers and union members having spent alot more time with people from other departments and other parts of the country.) Management (even middle management) and union members will have lived in a different world – with different news, views and propaganda for however long this lasts and there will be not only a disconnect, but some hostility between the ‘insiders’ and the ‘outsiders’. So in that respect, senior managment is somewhat short sighted – ‘managers’ will be ‘managers’ not leaders – they won’t have the clout left to lead.

    See you in the trenches – pray for peace

  56. just a sucker?
    Posted August 28, 2005 at 9:23 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Okay, you’ve seen the plan. You’re impressed by their resolve and intelligence.

    But here’s the question: if they get what they want, will I have any job security? I’m not talking iron-clad security (no one has that), I’m talking about a level which reflects my longtime commitment to the CBC.

    I (like many others on the payroll) have put in long, hard, stressful shifts over years. I’ve given up a lot of time with family and friends to work odd hours and jobs few will.

    Months of my life have gone by in a manic working flash, all because I believe in that CBC logo. Am I just a sucker? Does this vision which has me out on the streets give me reason to believe my sacrifices are worth it?

    Do these guys want to destroy my seniority, my bumping rights, my compensation?

    Or am I pounding the pavement for no good reason?

    I want to know.


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