Saturday, August 20, 2005

Will the Real Managers Please Stand Up?

Since the lockout began, I've been thinking quite a bit about management. Specifically, the managers themselves. I wonder what they think of the position taken by upper management, about the drive to make CBC more 'flexible'.
The managers I deal with are professional, competent, and committed to public broadcasting. So do THEY think we need more flexibility?
I guess I just wonder what is happening behind the scenes. Are there managers out there who are calling head office and letting them know this path is a destructive one? Or are they on board?
If a group of professional, dedicated managers (and I'm talking about people much closer to the guts of broadcasting than Stursberg, Chalmers et al) let upper management know this is folly...would it help? Probably not. But I think it's reasonable to ask everyone to stand up and be counted.
I know, it's dangerous...who wants to stick their neck out when it could easily be chopped off?
But as someone who can't work...and isn't getting paid...I'd like to hear someone say that CBC does things pretty damn good right now, and there is no need to blow things up in search of 'flexibility'.

God help us

I hate to do this, but here's another post from the 'manager's' blog:

"CBC News
Now, don't get me wrong: I like the BBC as much as anyone.But this BBC news feed has simply got to go. And it will. Soon.We are working on CBC News and will have it running. Soon.Just be a patient for a little longer."

Are you working on it? Oh, thank goodness! I can't wait! Here's an idea: allow the professionals to get back to work and put CBC News back on the air. YOU are not CBC News.

Work as hard as you want, Ouimet, but you will never get 'CBC News' up and running until the lockout ends.

Unless the plan to get it up and running involves ending the lockout. Then I'm with you, brother.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Could I be wrong?

In the interests of balance...a manager's blog (apparently) says:

"2 to 3 weeks

Rumours that the CBC is going to invite employees to cross the line and come back to work are just that: rumours.
False ones."

Not according to my sources. But who knows. Management doesn't seem to have a very good plan at this point.

What IS the plan?

We walk...they drink

So you've been walking the picket line outside the broadcast centre in Toronto for eight hours. You're tired. You're thirsty. Hey...why not head somewhere for a beer? And if you've ever been to CBC in Toronto on a training course, you know there's only one spot to go: the Duke. So you sit down, order a beer, check out the room...and notice a group of friggin' managers swilling back booze. It seems after a hard day doing OUR work, managers feel the need to hang out at the one bar they know locked out employees will likely be drinking at.

This may be petty on my part, but GO DRINK SOMEWHERE ELSE!

But I guess they have to spend that overtime money somewhere.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Crossing the Line?

Sources indicate CBC management is considering a move that is going to piss off a lot of people...and maybe make a few happy. Within the next week or two, the CBC is considering posting the terms of the latest offer...and allowing anyone to come back to work under those conditions.
It's a move the corp will likely wait a bit longer to implement: another week or two with no pay, bills piling up...and some people may be willing to cross the line and go back to work. Of course, such a move would drastically weaken the union's position in negotiations.

But you know what?
I bet some people would go back to work. This ain't the old CBC. The CMG is made up of a pretty diverse group of people, and not everyone is 'brother and sister' union friendly. And on some issues, I'd say I'm not much of a union person either. This is different. Our future livelihood is at stake, make no mistake. If new hires are the CBC focus right now for contract work, permanent employees will be on the radar next time round.

So let's get one thing straight: if I see one asshole crossing my line, I'm throwing something at them.

CBC 'Unplugged'

It seems a bright plan to do our jobs (without getting paid) is getting a lot of support on the picket line. Here's the latest missive on a picket line broadcast:

"Lockout Podcast: `CBC-Unplugged'In the days leading up to the lock-out a few of us started talking about a sort of `pirate broadcast`. Now we are gearing up to put that idea into action. Toronto producer ......... told me plans are underway at stations across the country to do this sort of thing. Toronto guild members are building their own studio. Our colleagues hope to launch their alternative website on Monday. We're hoping to coordinate efforts across the country-aiming for a one hour national cast each day."

This plan has apparently been o-kayed by the union brass. So I guess that makes it ok...NOT. Perhaps I'm the only one who thinks this undermines what we're trying to do.

The first few days on the line were predictable.
Old timers telling everyone to settle in for the long haul.
Newbies playing games like they were at a picnic.
Ideas were everywhere.
My favourite: starting up an alternate broadcast from the picket line. Apparently some people in Toronto are doing the same thing, except on the web. The idea is to show the listeners and viewers what they're missing. Excuse me...but the the only pressure that means anything is from listeners and viewers who miss our programming. Providing them with that programming EVEN THOUGH WE ARE LOCKED OUT seems a bit outta wack to me. Why not just walk back into the building and do it right? Oh yeah...

Then the rumours started. Although this tidbit is pretty bang on: managers are collecting $52 an hour in OT pay....PLUS a bonus for working so hard. Hmmm...bonuses for shutting down the business you're supposed to be 'managing'? Now don't get me wrong. The vast majority of managers at the CBC are in a very difficult position. Many do not want to do our work while we stand outside. But they have no choice.

However...someone is responsible for this. Three people, actually. President Robert Rabinovitch and Vice Presidents Richard Stursberg and Jane Chalmers. This is their vision for the future of CBC. Of course, by the time we find out if there vision if flawed...they'll be gone. Must be nice.