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PASS IT ON…..

Have some munchies and meet some of the journalists of the future.
The Ottawa Newspaper Guild executive invites its members and student journalists of the Fulcrum to a reception at the Ottawa Citizen Conference Centre, 1101 Baxter Rd., 4 – 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 15.

Learn more about the Canadian University Press / CWA Canada Mentorship program and how you can participate.
CWA Canada recognizes that the young members of Canadian University Press are the future of our union and offers them free associate memberships. As well, CWA Canada is providing services to help CUP members deal with the obstacles facing young journalists trying to enter an increasingly exclusive profession. Through this program, CWA Canada is fostering the growth of the next generation of informed and engaged journalists and union members.
We need your help to welcome these new members.

What you can do:
One-on-One
•Mentors will be partnered with a student journalist, and will meet with them once or several times to critique the student’s work, discuss their career goals, and/or share journalism advice.

Participation in special journalism projects

•Mentors will work with students on short-term journalism projects for the CUP wire and union websites. This would involved advising the student on how to cover a story, and helping them to edit the piece and get it ready for publishing.

How to get involved

Come to the reception and sign up
Contact the ONG office or an executive member
yContact Katherine Lapointe, Program Coordinator, cwa@cup.ca, 416-795-8598

 


ONG Executive Committee – Sept. 18, 2012

The September Executive meeting was held in the ONG office September 18, 2012 and the Executive Committee discussed the following issues that members should be aware of.

The Ottawa Citizen has a policy to encourage reporters to develop their photography skills, which consists of paying $10 per published photo. This policy has been in effect since 1997. If approved, the company will also pay for photography courses and seminars. A copy of the policy is posted.

All Guild members should be keeping careful note of changes to their duties after the downsizing, as some jobs may change to a degree that they need reclassification. Some duties should only be performed if a differential is paid. Keeping track in a log can help clarify these issues. Be sure to ask any Guild executive member if you have questions.

The other important issue is the mixing of day and night shifts in the same work week. Article 8.1.6 spells out that combining days and nights in one week can only occur under very special circumstances.

Always approach your executive members with concerns and questions: if we don’t know the answer we will be happy to find it.

 


ONG Executive Committee – July 17th, 2012

Over the coming weeks, as the downsizing at the Citizen becomes a reality, much will be asked of Guild members.

It’s important to keep in mind all relevant clauses in the contract that apply to us.

Here’s a reminder of what some of your rights are under the collective agreement:

Overtime (Article 8.5.2) applies after 7 or 7.5 hours daily OR 35 or 37.5 hours weekly.
Overtime also applies to hours that are not scheduled two weeks in advance. The schedule must be posted not later than the Monday two weeks prior to the work week in which the work applies (Article 8.5.4).

All overtime must be pre-approved and must be filed for.

Many members may be assigned new duties. If you feel you need training to handle additional work, be sure to let your supervisor know. If there are still issues, please be sure to let an executive member know. It’s also important for each member to feel that their duties are relevant to their classification – are you being correctly compensated for the work you are doing? If you are temporarily working in a higher classification, you should apply for differential (Article 7.2.1).

If you have any questions or issues, please contact the Guild office or an executive member.

ONG Executive Committee July 17, 2012


ONG Executive Committee – June 5, 2012

The Guild met with the company today and was told that the Citizen will offer buyouts. It is still unclear when and if there will be layoffs in the Citizen newsroom.

We will do whatever we can to prevent or contest any layoffs of our members, using whatever legal means are at our disposal. This is an unprecedented situation in the newsroom. We have lost many colleagues over the last few years to buyouts, early retirement and attrition, but there have not been layoffs. It’s a sad and scary time. We will do our best to answer any questions you might have, or refer them to the Guild lawyer. You can talk to any Guild executive member, or phone the Guild office (613-820-6545), which is staffed from Monday to Thursday, and our staffer will help you. In the meantime, here is a summary of what we know:

Buyout offered

At a meeting with Citizen management today, the Guild was told there will be a buyout program.

The details:

The Citizen is offering a buyout program for Guild members in all departments. The offer is three weeks of pay for every year of service, to a maximum of 90 weeks, with a cap on the total payout of $150,000.

The buyout will be offered as “salary continuance” only, not as a lump sump payout. (However, it is possible that exceptions would be made if the lump sump is small.) A salary continuance means the employee continues to receive a salary for the number of weeks awarded in the buyout.

We were told that employees awarded a buyout will be asked to sign a “non-compete” agreement that would prevent them from working for a competitor during the time they receive salary continuance from the Citizen. This clause could be subject to some negotiation between the employee and the Citizen, and might vary slightly from person to person. The intent is to prevent, for example, a high-profile columnist with the Citizen from taking a buyout, then immediately beginning a job with the Ottawa Sun, while still being paid salary continuance by the Citizen.

Management said the Citizen will allow about 2 or 3 weeks for people to apply for buyouts; then it could be another week for the company to consider which buyouts to award. Buyouts will be awarded based on whether the company can let the employee go without replacing him/her.

OTTAWA NEWSPAPER GUILD

Unit 7B – 1050 Baxter Rd., Ottawa, ON, K2C 3P1 Tel. 613-820-6545 Fax 613-820-4770 email: ong@cwa-scacanada.ca

What about layoffs?

We were told that after the buyout process, the Citizen will assess the situation and decide about potential layoffs. The Citizen will not issue any layoff notices until the buyouts have been decided upon. So anyone considering a buyout will not know if their job might be targeted for layoff.

However, the Citizen has confirmed that there is still an overall target in the range of 20 job reductions in the newsroom. Employees who work in jobs involving non-local editing and pagination are most vulnerable to possible layoffs, as that work is transferred to the central news operation in Hamilton.

The Citizen’s objective is to reduce a certain dollar amount. That means that the precise number of people targeted for job reduction depends on who applies for the buyout and how much they are paid.

What has the Citizen/Postmedia said about job reductions/layoffs?

At a meeting for the newsroom May 28, Publisher Gerry Nott said there would be approximately 20 job losses. He said staff involved with local content creation, editing and assigning would be least likely to be affected.

What are the changes?

Postmedia plans to expand the work done at the central newsdesk in Hamilton for papers across the chain. It is not clear exactly how this will work. However, Gerry said Ottawa Citizen staff will focus on assigning, creating and placing local content. (Later, he clarified that coverage of national politics will be considered local at the Ottawa Citizen, and our paper will retain control over the choice and placement of national political stories.)

The Citizen would continue to have control of its front page.

There will be “daily discussion” with editors in Hamilton, but the implication is that a much larger proportion of the Citizen’s pages would consist of stories selected by, edited and paginated by staff in Hamilton. In media interviews, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey has specifically said that national and world news will be handled by the central desk in Hamilton for papers in the chain.

Here is what Godfrey told the Globe and Mail:

“We are going to expand our operations at our centre in Hamilton. It does a great deal of our pagination and layout, as well as further expand our operation to accommodate more editorial production and basically do story selection of national and world news, the sort of editing and proofing line-by-line which would normally be done at newspapers across the country. That leaves the newspapers to control the creation of local content. We’re expanding that aspect. We’re committed to creating compelling content in all of our publications and we’re going to expand cuts to our costs with respect to our print legacy costs so we can invest in the digital side of things. There’s no doubt that’s where things are going.”

Globe and Mail: So if someone were to walk into one of your retooled newsrooms, what would the journalists be doing?

Local sports. Local news.”

Here is what Gerry Nott said in an email to staff:

“This afternoon I met with the newsroom to inform them of an expansion of Postmedia Editorial Services in Hamilton. That expansion will result in the elimination of approximately 20 jobs in the newsroom, but allow us to focus very sharply on local content creation – editing, assigning and placing of content we produce across our four news platforms.”

At the newsroom meeting, Gerry said Theresa Honeyman will be in charge of setting up the expanded news operation in Hamilton.

Gerry has also forwarded a job posting from Postmedia Network seeking “senior editors and copy editors”, both full and part time, to work at the expanded operation in Hamilton, beginning in June.

What happens to the Citizen’s sections that feature a mix of local and wire content, from business and life to arts, homes, travel, food, business, etc.?

That’s unclear.

What is happening at other papers?

At the Montreal Gazette, which also faces the loss of about 20 newsroom positions, the publisher has announced there will be selective buyouts.

“The editorial department will be undergoing … transformation in the next few months and more than 20 positions will be removed from the newsroom,” said Alan Allnutt, publisher and editor in chief of The Gazette.

“All roles, from managers on down, will be redefined with a digital focus. We are also looking at changes to the weekday paper sectioning, as well as the number of presses we use to print it each day.”

At the Edmonton Journal editor-in-chief Lucinda Chodan says there will be “staffing reductions” and the company is offering voluntary buyouts to certain employees, the CBC reported.

What is the layoff procedure in our contract?

It is set out in section 14.1.2:

The contract says the Citizen must immediately provide notice to the Guild of any layoffs, advising us of the number of people affected and the job titles. This has not been done. The company has said there may be layoffs, but has not given formal notice.

If the Guild receives that notice, we have 14 days to make recommendations on how the company can reduce the payroll to alleviate layoffs. No layoff notices can be given during that 14 day period. (The company has agreed that no formal notice of layoffs has been given, and the 14-day period has not begun.)

If any layoff notices are given, there is a further two-week period during which the company must consider proposals for voluntary resignations, early retirement and job sharing requests, which may create savings that would reduce the number of employees given layoff notices.

The clause also sets out a procedure for layoffs, based on seniority within each classification.

What is my job classification?

The job classification are set out in Article 6 of the contract. Please note that since the contract was printed, photographers have been moved into the E3 classification. If you are unsure what your job classification is, or what seniority you have within that classification, please see a Guild executive member or call the Guild office.

Is there anything else in the contract that provides protection against layoffs?

Yes, there are several other clauses that may help us fight layoffs; the Guild has an excellent and experienced labour lawyer who will advise us on how to proceed if there are any layoff notices.

What happens next?

We will keep you informed as soon as we get any more information. You can find a copy of the Guild contract on the Guild website at ottawanewsguild.ca. Watch for bulletins to be posted there, and on the Guild bulletin boards at the Citizen.

If the Ottawa Newspaper Guild currently doesn’t have your home email address, please supply it to us at ong@cwa-scacanada.ca so that you can receive updates more quickly.

Here are some useful links to news coverage of the changes announced by Postmedia:

An interview with Paul Godfrey published in the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/paul-godfrey-explains-the-postmedia- strategy/article2446177/Excerpt

News story in the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/postmedia-cuts-more-jobs-sunday- editions/article4216587/

Links to other news coverage, compiled by a blogger at the Montreal Gazette:

http://blog.fagstein.com/2012/05/29/gazette-job-cuts/

The story the Gazette ran about changes there:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Postmedia+dailies+face+transformation/6691719/sto ry.html#ixzz1wm6vJOtb

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

ONG Executive Committee – May 29, 2012

To: Ottawa Newspaper Guild members From: ONG Executive

The announcement yesterday about proposed layoffs in our Editorial department is a serious blow that we are still trying to absorb.

The Guild does not have any more information about specific job cuts but we will be meeting with Citizen management as soon as possible to discuss this. Our response will depend on the details of their plan.

When we have more information, you will have it as well.

Our quarterly membership meeting is scheduled for June 13 at noon, in the Citizen Conference Centre.

The contract is available on the ONG website

www.ottawanewsguild.ca

 

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