why we all love cbc – even those of us inside

because we woke up with it every morning
because in our wildest dreams we never thought we would one day have the chance to get a job here
because even when we were hired, then cut, than rehired, than recut, we always prefered working here that anywhere else
because even when we are a so-called evil manager, we are still in love with the cbc
because it hurts to see this family being shattered to piece
because the dream is that one day we can all understand that we all care for the same thing
because we always get exited riding in the elevator with the voices and faces of cbc
because we love radio
because no one wants cbc to die
because we never want anybody to actually say that its irrelevant
Now I am a manager – I don’t do struck work, but I am involved in what,s going on. I started working at the CBC more than 10 years as a temp, as a contract, I lived from one week to the other not knowing if I would continue. and I did…somehow I am not a manager. I still think I can get fired one day. You know what, maybe one day, I’ll just want to leave too… who knows. Most people here inside want this to end and all of us want cbc to survive this crisis. I don,t think anyone is here to kill it. They (big shots) may not agree with us on how to achieve this, but you know what…in the end it is those who believe in cbc who will have the last word.


  1. Anton
    Posted September 18, 2005 at 3:29 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    That makes sense. When I worked in private radio, you got minor increases for increased responsibility, but for the big bucks, you left and worked somewhere else. Half the people at the station, had started there, moved on, and returned at substantially higher wages.

    The problem with CBC is that none of us want to leave. We’re the top of the field, if not wage bracket. Doing commercial production, news, announcing is pretty much the same in all the small private stations, but once you reach CBC you’re doing something unique. Why lower your expectations just for money? And if anybody quotes the 1st sentence of this paragraph out of context, I’ll hunt you down, and hold you in contempt.

  2. PJ
    Posted September 18, 2005 at 2:33 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Quoting anonymous:
    “But the fact is … THERE ARE TOO DAMNED MANY OF YOU!!!”

    You may be right. But it may not be as bad a sign as you think.

    As it happens, I never really wanted to be a manager. But here I am anyway.


    After working at the CBC for a number of years, I got to “the top of my game” as it were. No more room for promotion, no more salary increases for my job category, the only way to “advance” was to move into management.

    It’s the Peter Principle, which somebody described to me a few days ago; people get promoted to their level of incompetence. I’m now doing a job for which I was never trained. I’m not doing the job I love, and I’m not doing it as well as I think it should be done. But I’m smart enough to fake it as a manager, and I certainly know the area of the business I’m responsible for; the people who work for me are doing exactly what I used to do (albeit with newer tools).

    But this is far from ideal. I’m unlikely to get further promotion, and I’d rather be doing what I know I’m good at.

    Is this Upper Management’s fault? Well, sorta. The bonuses of working at the CBC are a little ethereal most of the time; there’s no cash reward for participating in the production of a popular show, and certainly none for keeping the business infrastructure running smoothly. There are few awards handed out just for being damn good at what you do. So where’s the incentive for excellence? It has to be something we provide, as employees, which is nuts.

    So … fault. If nothing else is a hard incentive, all that remains is promotion. And once you hit the top of your field, the only place to promote you is management. Does the CBC have alot of managers? Sure. How many of them started off in the trenches, like their friends walking outside?

    Is it possible for a corporation to provide incentives besides promotion into management? I hope so; if not, my next job is likely to be as ultimately frustrating as my current one.

    I’m not saying that the only reason CBC has alot of managers is because the Corp has traditionally had alot of skilled employees. But it might be a factor. People don’t take a higher paying job at CTV or Global — they switch jobs within the CBC, and eventually get shunted into something they’re not so good at.

    Then they become bitter and cynical, and start posting to blogs.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted September 17, 2005 at 5:16 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    OK. Here’s the issue no-one’s addressed yet. To the managers who’ve been writing on this site: I like and respect a lot of you. I really believe you when you say you think the lockout was a bad idea and you want it overwith. But the fact is … THERE ARE TOO DAMNED MANY OF YOU!!!
    That’s why the CBC’s in trouble. It’s saddled with too many layers of redundant bureaucracy. The numbers don’t lie. In the private sector, the average ratio of staff to management is 10-1. At the CBC, it’s 5 to 1 and in some departments, three to one.
    In addition, there’s too much managing down and not enough managing up. You guys are too busy trying to implement a vision that is out of step with reality, and spending too little time educating your superiors about the reality they’re out of step with.
    I know, I know. That’s true of all bureaucracies in the public sector and even of some major corporations in the private sector. But the fact is, the CBC can no longer afford it.
    And if Canadians knew the bloated and dysfunctional nature of the CBC’s governance structure, they’d be up in arms.
    Come to think of it … that may be the only way to solve this problem. Hold a public inquiry into the CBC and lay bare the gross mismanagement, incompetence, and yes, even the corruption, cronyism and nepotism that has infected the corporation for decades. Then, maybe, just maybe, something just might get done to change it.
    Believe me, this isn’t coming from a pro-union radical. I certainly don’t trust everything the Guild tells me, and whenever I get the chance I ask Lise and Arnold some tough questions about what they’re doing. But I trust management even less.
    As a desk producer who has spent years busting my ass to get the latest news on the air, with fewer and fewer resources, I can tell you my colleagues certainly aren’t the CBC’s problem. Just look at all the energy and professional skill that’s gone into the websites, the podcasts and the blogs. Look at the CBCUnlocked website for example. It took only four weeks to get up and running, and it’s already one of the best news sites around.
    The blogs and podcasts are everything you guys say you want the CBC to be … edgy, contemporary and creative.
    That alone stands as an eloquent indictment of CBC management. Look at how much we’ve accomplished now that you’ve removed the leaden weight of your bloated bureaucracy.
    By locking us out, you’ve freed us to produce the kind of broadcasting we’ve always wanted to do … and you have proved on so many levels that you are CBC’s problem, not us.

  4. Anton
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 3:50 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve also noticed that this post has been hijacked.

    Why do you say, “even those of us inside” when you talk about why we all love CBC. I have a lot of respect for most CBC managers. Like everywhere (including CMG) there are some real incompetents who hide their failings by making everybody else miserable. They seem to operate on the “I can’t be winning unless you’re losing” theory of life. Thankfully they are in the minority.

    I love CBC because it lets me do stuff I couldn’t do anywhere else in Canada. Actually North America. There’s not a lot of Radio Drama being produced out there. Where else can I spend a day chatting with Stuart Maclean, playing some discs, and when I’m done it’s an hour long show. I usually listen to CBC radio. I’m air checking my stuff for compression levels etc., but I actually enjoy the eclectic circus we broadcast. I think I just dated myself.

    Jowi Taylor gave me a copy of his 7 part series The Wire – The Impact of Electricity on Music. When we’re good it’s normal, when we’re great it’s a regular event. And every now and then we do incredible. I’m looking forward to counting the awards he’s going to collect on this one, and I’m jealous I wasn’t part of production team.

    I’m starting to ramble. The only thing easier than loving CBC is to hate it.

    I surrender. I’ll check in again in a while.

  5. Nonamuss
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 3:35 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It strikes me as naive to think each side is negotiating in a bubble, unswayed by outside pressures.

    The pressure on a union side comes from the loss of wages of its members, and divisions within the membership. From my P.O.V. on the picket line, I haven’t heard much in the way of divisions and dissent.

    The pressure on CBC management comes from: ad revenue loss (balanced by savings in wages) damaged ratings, the board (so far not a factor), and political pressure from “stakeholders” (MPs, Heritage committees, PMO, CRTC, opinion leaders) It’s hard give the appropriate weight to any of these factors without being a fly on the wall of the senior management. But if you consider the time and money CBC normally spends on courting its stakeholders, it just doesn’t make sense that mgt would not care now.

    As for CBC describing a picket at the GG’s investiture as a “stunt”, read between the lines. It means this tactic stings.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 3:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I will have a creemore.

  7. Anton
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 3:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This place is like heroin. Just when I promised myself I wasn’t coming back, I just had to read what’s happening, and I’m back at it again.

    “What in the H*** happenned to the last 18 bloody months.ACL” I’m not in the room, so I don’t know. But I’ll bet you a round of beer, we were talking, and they weren’t listening.

    Who on the CMG negotiating team do you trust to tell you the truth, when this is over, and they can discuss what occured in the room?

    I prefer pilsner.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 2:54 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    So this is it,”Anton said:I also know they’re under terrific pressure right now to make a deal quickly, yet still make sure the members will be satisfied with the deal for the next 3 years.” What in the H*** happenned to the last 18 bloody months.ACL

  9. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 1:55 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hello all from Neutron:
    Anonymous posted concerning that what the CMG is doing in lobbying is worthless to get a
    settlement: “All this makes the issues more visible, but NONE of it negotiates a
    collective agreement.”

    I beg to differ – previous lock-out/strike stalled negotiations were in fact re-ignited and settled
    very quickly negotiated after this lobbying and strategy. In fact it also resulted in
    solving internal problems and conflicts of interest. Trust me the same will be achieved by
    our locked out employees who where hired by management believing that were not as bright as
    they actually are. (We should believe what we profess to our public viewers about our journalists)
    Internal changes will become apparent when they all come back as it has in the past due to
    these strategies.
    (I posted this comment previously for Ouimet).

    Someone posted: “He never asked to be handed insufficient funding, and he never stops
    trying to get more for us, or make more with what we have…if you only knew the facts,
    you’d spend a lot longer wondering why you’re actually out there.”

    Well to contradict you on him never trying to ask PM for more money here is a part of the
    Heritage Cmttee interview for Rabinovitch’s 2nd mandate (see last sentence):

    “Mr. Charlie Angus: I was looking at you.

    Mr. Rabinovitch, I’m looking at a 1999 Globe and Mail article that talks about the
    angry feud between you and the CRTC. The headline is ’śBroadcaster’s president sees national
    service rather than reliance on local TV stations’ť. At that time, that was very much
    identified with what you were coming in to do, which was to move us away from reliance on
    local to national. Two months later you appeared before the heritage committee and you
    said you wanted to make one thing clear at the outset: you were not asking for additional
    funding. A few months after that the decision was made to start cutting, shrinking, the
    regional newscasts, which lost over 200,000 viewers.

    Today, when I asked you about that, you said you had to make those cuts because there
    was a funding shortfall. I don’t understand why you didn’t tell the committee in 2000 that
    you were going to be making serious cuts to regional programming across the country because
    you didn’t have any money, that you needed money. It seems to me it was very clear your
    mandate was to move away from regional funding.

    I would ask you today, was that decision to cut those local networks a mistake?

    Mr. Robert Rabinovitch: When I appeared before the committee, I said we would not at
    this time ask for additional funds, and it was for a couple of reasons. Number one, CBC
    did not have credibility with government, and that was clear from the fact that CBC had
    been cut every year since about 1984, either directly or through inflation. As well, in
    1995-96 the CBC was cut by $450 million. So it was silly to say I’m going to go to
    government and ask for money when in fact the message was extremely clear that at that
    point in time CBC did not have credibility with government.”

  10. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 1:43 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    To the manager that posted at 3:38 pm: Why is the union the only one being asked to be flexible with their demands in these negotiations?
    Maybe you can explain to the people walking around outside why CBC has an all or nothing attitude on certain issues.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 12:38 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I think I’ll call this one….Ridiculous.
    cbcinside, if you’re really inside, and really a manager, it’s ridiculous that you feel you have not received a clear rationale for why this has happened. You’re either not paying attention, or you don’t want to know.
    More ridiculous though, is how hypocritical CMG leadership, specifically Ms. Lareau has become in her characterisation of this “vicious lockout”. I suppose the “CMG On Strike” signs were printed up just for some distant, unforeseen day? Ridiculous. A strike or lockout was predetermined months ago with every day that passed with the newly minted CMG negotiating team being completely unprepared and disorganized for every single meeting. Frankly, Dan and Lise would have had you out in October or January, just in time for hockey or the Olympics…it’s probably better for everyone this way, better weather anyway, if it had to happen. Which it didn’t, if the union’s negotiating team had been up to the task.
    And to insult anyone with a brain by saying the Corporation chose to put the Olympics ahead of Terry Fox’s heroism, is quite frankly, juvenile. As was even bringing the Fox family into the discussion…if you want to get your pictures in the paper, run a damn mile in his name. Don’t stop a truck trying to broadcast and celebrate a hero’s memory, and even worse then single out three honest people trying to feed their families. Juvenile, and amateurish. And ridiculous.
    Every single person I know who is walking around this building right now is far too smart to be mislead very much longer by Lise Lareau.
    And for all of the Rabinovitch bashers, especially the completely uninformed ones who claim he never fights the government for more money, I have two words for you. Sixty Million. He never asked to be handed insufficient funding, and he never stops trying to get more for us, or make more with what we have…if you only knew the facts, you’d spend a lot longer wondering why you’re actually out there.
    I can’t say I miss some of the programming…but I miss Sports and News…no one does either better. Tell Dan, Arnold and Lise to get their collective act together, stop humiliating your Guild by stunting against a hero’s memory, and get a deal done.
    This has nothing to do with the future of public broadcasting. This blog probably has more to do with the future of public broadcasting than does the current make-up of CBC. I’d hurry back in before someone realizes that we only really need a blog and a pair of computer speakers to tell the nation’s story. Lise is not worth it.
    Take care of yourselves though, we miss ya.

  12. Anton
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 11:52 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I read all the lobbying differently. I look at as a way to force management to come to the table and negotiate beyond a simple no.

    Like I said I’m not negotiating this one, I’ve never worked beside Dan Oldfield, but I’ve met him before and after the merger. He seemed to be the kind of negotiator that would strive for the best deal, but balance that with the realistic needs of the members. Having been on a negotiating team, I also know they’re under terrific pressure right now to make a deal quickly, yet still make sure the members will be satisfied with the deal for the next 3 years. After all we’re the ones without a paycheque, CBC management(and APS)is still getting full pay. The CMG team is getting the same strike pay as any other member. In the back of their minds is always the fact, that while they’re talking 5,500 people aren’t getting paid.

    I know for a fact they’re working 7 days a week. When they’re not meeting with management they’re working on rewording articles, preparing their next set of proposals.

    As far as the media blackout goes. It’s pretty well in place. The only reports from the bargaining committees identify what articles have been resolved without any details.

    The other propoganda is just that, and it comes from both sides.

    I totally agree with your 2nd to last statement. “not to give up until they’re ready to ask for a ratification vote.” At this point the best thing CMG members can do is to give the negotiating team the confidence they need to complete the contract in the best interest of the members, and CBC.

    I’m out of here. These blogs are way to addictive. And I still haven’t decided on the intent of this blog.

    Take care, play nice, see you outside the building.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 11:34 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I agree with Anton. I have’t been on a negotiating team, but many friends of mine have been. When all is said and done, the story remains the same, CBC negotiators are always ill prepared to negotiate, and by all accounts, can’t anyway because they lack the clout. This is a common story from the early 90s to the last CEP contract.

    CBC upper management are clearly the aggressors and the blame is definately theirs. I have no reason to think that people I work with and trust would fabricate such a story. CBC management on the other hand…who the hell would trust them??

  14. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 10:28 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    anton, the behaviour you describe is almost exactly what CBC management is telling us the union negotiators have been doing.

    So with all due respect, blame the CBC upper management for the idiocy you saw first-hand, but don’t assume the same game is being played this time around.

    The CMG has been pretty clear about wanting to resolve this away from the negotiating table. Encouraging people to complain to their elected representatives or to the PM, lobbying the gov’t to cut funding, suggesting to advertisers that they boycott the CBC… All this makes the issues more visible, but NONE of it negotiates a collective agreement.

    If you believe in the CBC and want to get back to work, PLEASE ask your union reps for a media blackout and to negotiate in good faith. Ask them to work evenings and weekends, encourage flexibility by example, and not to give up until they’re ready to ask for a ratification vote.

    Anonymous, above, was right. The union’s strength is based on the value its members bring to the CBC. The longer this lasts, the more damage is done to everyone.

  15. Anton
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 10:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    To clarify my last statement. I blame CBC upper management.

  16. Anton
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 10:03 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “I am not sure I understand why negociations were at a stand still after 15 months.”

    It’s easy to understand.

    In 2001 when CEP Unit 2 went in to start negotiations we entered the room with binders, pre-planned counter offers. We had the entire contract printed out and double spaced, with articles marked out to negotiate and change. There were certain articles in the contract that needed simple updating, we had noted them with wording we felt would be acceptable to both parties.

    The CBC negotiating team entered the room carrying blank notepads and coffee. They had no proposals to entertain. On even the simplest word change, they had to get back to us in a day or 2. One day they would agree on an article, the next day they couldn’t possibly accept the language, even when it was their own. It became obvious that the people in the room were not the people we were really negotiating with.

    I’m not on this bargaining committee, so I don’t know what has been holding up negotiations. Based on past practice, I blame CBC.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 9:56 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Not all negotiations fail because both sides are at fault. Sometimes one side is just in the wrong. It is a sweet impulse to try to share the blame around. But that “balanced” view creates a skewed picture of reality — especially now that even Rabinovitch has admitted that this “flexibility” is just a band-aid solution for a funding problem… one that he has failed to solve during his years of leadership. A good leader should be fight to get his employees the necessary funding so that the corporation can treat them well, like the professionals they are.

  18. cbcinside
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 7:24 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If I had a magic wand, I would end this whole lock-out nonesense right now – better still I would make it so it never happened. This is certainly the most difficult to understand move Senior Management could ever make. I never quite got a decent explanation why a lock-out was necessary. I am not convinced it was. never will be. In the same way, I am not sure I understand why negociations were at a stand still after 15 months. Surely there are problems on both sides of the table.
    But you know what when we decide to take on a management job, we don’t sign our name with blood on a contract held by the devil: I will relinquish all good sense, solidarity with friends and collegues and so on… We (I) also make career decisions based on interest. You know what the management job I applied for and got I wanted because it was (and will still be I hope when all this is over) interesting…and makes the CBC go forward.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 7:12 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymous said:
    Love the CBC? This needs to be reciprocal: they need to give a shit about us.

    Eh, what? WE are the CBC every bit as much as upper management. Without content, there is no CBC. And on the other hand, without without management, the Corp is a haphazard mess with little hope of achieving any long term goals. (Sure, we’d like the CBC to be a big group hug, but somebody still has to pay the electrical bill.)

    As for Plan B, believe me, the union doesn’t want that any more than the Corp. If all its members jump ship, it loses its relevance.

    A labour union is supposed to represent the interests of the employees. Its strength is a reflection of the skill and value of the people it represents. If the skilled employees leave, the union loses.

    And the CBC isn’t about to let that happen. If the CBC negotiators truly feel that there is no hope of reaching an agreement, and believe that the union is in fact not acting in the best interests of the employees it’s supposed to represent, there ARE other options.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. A legislated resolution means that everybody loses. A negotiated resolution means that everybody is at least satisfied.

    The best solution right now would be for both sides to agree to a media blackout to reduce distraction, and for the negotiators to apply their noses to the proverbial grindstone and get a new collective agreement in place.

    Anything else is a waste of time and effort.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 6:31 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Love the CBC? This needs to be reciprocal: they need to give a shit about us.

    That aside, I’m getting the sense that if this thing doesn’t wind down within 2 weeks, given the pace of negotiations, hockey deadlines, fall launch possibilities, etc. those of us on the outside will need to consider Plan B.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 5:45 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymous said:
    (Love the site but the font is too small to comfortably read)

    In Firefox, you can easily increase the font size by hitting Ctrl+ (hold Ctrl and press the plus key on your keypad).

  22. Anonymous
    Posted September 16, 2005 at 5:20 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If the managers and the employees could find a common vision for the CBC’s future, it might just have one.
    I’ve worked a contract or two with a CBC unit that shall remain nameless and found management was so out of touch with reality outside the political correctness of public broadcasting.
    One producer insisted I ask a women’s shelter manager if she’d been an abused women while I was working on a piece about a memorial service for the Montreal Massacre. She just couldn’t grasp the fact a social worker setting up a memorial was just doing her job and not doing it because she was some tragic figure. It was my last contract there.
    (Love the site but the font is too small to comfortably read)

  23. Justin Beach
    Posted September 15, 2005 at 7:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I believe every word of it myself – really. I don’t know what’s going on inside, or in negotiations. I do know that once this is over, the people who caused it aren’t the ones who are going to repair the damage. It’s going to take alot of people who love the CBC – managers, workerbees and fans to put it back together again. So, I believe, or I sincerely hope that there are alot of people in management who love the CBC. There are obviously a few who don’t, or at least don’t seem to get public broadcasting in general, but hopefully they are a minority.

  24. Anonymous
    Posted September 15, 2005 at 5:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “because it hurts to see this family being shattered to piece
    because the dream is that one day we can all understand that we all care for the same thing
    because we always get exited riding in the elevator with the voices and faces of cbc”…

    …because I can’t take anymore of this pathetic dribble. Please lets get back to work. We are actually beginning to lose it>

  25. Anonymous
    Posted September 15, 2005 at 4:56 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Yes some managers on the inside are folding. Insude sources have informed me that some middle managers are even taking the opportunity to get even with bad deliquent managers. While some out of town small managers are doing struck work at the TBC I hear these middle managers are getting revenge from past mismanaged incidences.
    Are you one of those managers – assigned to a bad late nite graveyard shift away from home. Gotta love it when they eat their own ! (ps I do have respect for those managers that have treated employees fairly in the past though, it just that I haven’t seen one in years)

  26. Anonymous
    Posted September 15, 2005 at 1:33 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I have it on dam good authority (from deep inside TBC) that managers are folding and want the corpse up and running asap. Happy (one month lockout) Anniversary!

  27. Anonymous
    Posted September 15, 2005 at 12:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Perhaps the greatest damage the lock out has created is that we on the outside don’t believe that the managers do love the CBC….if you did you wouldn’t have been so cavilier about destroying it…

  28. Laurence
    Posted September 15, 2005 at 9:47 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Oh boy, if there ever was a Freudian slip…………
    Amen to the body of the piece untouched.
    I have misgivings about the amendment but I hope that that’ll just be temporary.

  29. cbcinside
    Posted September 15, 2005 at 8:23 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Should have read I am NOW a manager (not not) – and I am proud of it..

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