By Mitchell Thompson
The Canadian Media Guild has said Vice Canada "appears intent" on stalling negotiations and avoiding specific language during bargaining for Vice Canada’s new collective agreement.
The negotiations, which began Aug. 11, are the first for the newly formed bargaining unit at Vice Canada, formed after 69 per cent of its employees voted to unionize earlier this year. Union organizers told J-Source they were working towards higher wages and starting salaries, benefits and protection for contract workers and protections against termination without cause.
A memo released from the CMG’s bargaining committee on Nov. 30 reads, “We felt that we had committed to a few initiatives from the company last meeting on the issue of pay equity and were fully expecting that they would return with an offer. Instead we’ve received nothing but excuses and delays in actually getting down to bargaining language that reflects the work we do and the conditions we want in our workplace.”
Both Vice and the CMG declined J-Source’s request for comment, with Vice’s head of communications, Chris Ball saying, “We are still at the table working through a number of proposals. We can't comment any further as both parties have agreed to a media blackout during negotiations. This is an agreement we will continue to respect in order to maintain the integrity of our negotiations.”
The CMG’s memo says Vice “has acknowledged that their failure to provide a response to the union’s proposals hampers our progress and leads to a great deal of frustration not only for the bargaining committee but the entire workplace.”
The union says it is seeking better pay and salary scales, a longterm plan for pay increases and “to set the minimum amount the company pays for each job.” The CMG says it is also seeking to address pay equity issues in collaboration with the company “to make sure any salary difference related to gender is corrected.”
Mitchell Thompson is a third-year journalism student at Ryerson. He is also the ideas co-editor for Folio and a contributor at Disinformation. He has previously written for Rabble, Canadian Dimension, Dissident Voice and others.