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The CBC lockout: Labor speaks with many blogged voices


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August 20, 2005

The CBC lockout: Labor speaks with many blogged voices

Stephen Baker

Boy, a strike or a lockout is a different animal in a world where the workers can blog. It's got to be a struggle for unions to control the message, and to speak with one voice. I'm looking at a bunch of the CBC blogs. Here,here, here and here. The workers use them to network, to podcast (from Micropersuasion), to make plans. The CBC company response, by contrast, sings in unison.

I'm thinking how much easier it would be to cover labor negotiations in a world of blogs. I remember sitting outside closed doors, waiting for labor and management negotiators to emerge. It wasn't always easy to find others to talk to. Today it would be a breeze.

02:18 PM

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I was in Canada way back when and there was going to be a postal strike. I didn't send any postcards, because I figured they might end up sitting at the post office if there was a strike. That was before podcasts. It seems like Canada has a lot of labor trouble. It's funny how things work or don't work. I wouldn't try feeding a family on podcasts. They have been bargaining for 15 months and can't reach a deal. The CBC site allows you to listen to a couple of people talk about it. This is the new thing, the one way conversation because it matters. Get new negotiators who can work out a deal. Your negotiators have failed.

CBC cites

* Rising production costs;

* Rights costs;

* Runaway health care costs; and

* Renewed contributions to the CBC Pension Plan, to name just a few.

New technology should be lowering cost, unless you are buying the wrong stuff. I though Canada had the best health care in North America. Low cost med and all of that stuff that goes along with socialist medical care. I guess not, if nobody can afford it. The pension issue, sounds like they are lining you up for a pension bust out. The CBC executives will all have golden parachutes of course. CBC has been in negotiations with the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) since May 2004. Maybe your product is just plain bad. If this was a normal business, the company would be wrecked because it is wreckable. They have three bargaining units and then other collective agreements for French and English bargaining units. With this sort of setup, they could be bargaining until hell freezes over and still not agree that they were cold. And we in the United States think the Teamsters are tough. At least they are aren't speaking French, when everybody else is talking money. You gotta problem with that?

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at August 20, 2005 08:00 PM

It's a very interesting dispute from the communication perspective. Podcasts play a key role, including as an instant news channel - today's edition of the business show I co-present includes a from-the-trenches interview carried out this morning with a CBC reporter in Halifax:

http://forimmediaterelease.biz/index.php/weblog/the_hobson_holtz_report_podcast_61_august_22_2005/

This must be the first such example of a "citizen broadcast" being used to help communicate a point of view in a labour dispute. Rather ironic that the dispute involves a radio broadcaster.

Posted by: Neville Hobson at August 22, 2005 06:40 PM


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