Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My heart murmur

Stay tuned for more on my echocardiogram. I am so exhuasted at the moment, i gotta go sleep. But I'll be back with all the juicy details.

Monday, August 22, 2005

pizza, costumes - great weather!



What a faaaaaaahbulous day it is outside today. The picket is starting to look like a thicket with all the people coming back from holidays joining the line this week. Tim Powers and his peeps brought us PIZZA for lunch!! Too bad the veggies and myself couldn't have any - HEY TIMMIE - ever heard of veggie pizzas?? Anyways - thanks so much Tim Power and Co.

We're working on a Lock Out Live! radio show daily for the Sparks St audience; it's going to start this Wednesday. I'm helping with the "Lockout Item" and am in charge of finding a sports guy to talk about how to stay fit on the picket line... avoiding shin splints, keeping your back straight etc. We started off the day with a meeting for that. It looks like it'll be jam packed with good stuff - live bands, interviews, news, weather. Good stuff.

It was also costume competition day. Not many people dressed up (at least not in the mid-morning shift) but those who did shone. JD was Mis-management, Susan Burges was a radio pirate, Amanda Putz was an anchorwoman, and Jenny Green dressed in her swim suit with a CBC: Sink or Swim sign. Very creative. Patricia St-Germain was dressed up as a negotiation table and she won. An Express photographer brought his impressive equipment and took pro photos of JD and the girls for the cover of the newpaper. Look out for it this Thursday!

I had to leave a bit early because was scheduled for an echocardiogram. It's like an ultrasound for your heart. I got to hear my heart's blood flow - very exciting. I had to get one because my doctor discovered I have a heart murmur; this picketing stress is doing nothing for my health. And I'm only 25.

Friday, August 19, 2005

whatev



We walked in oval shapes again today this time in the rain. still no movement on the negotiations. get ready for another week of the same...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ms Lockout 2005 rocks



you can also visit: sparkslockout.blogspot.com
Week One is almost under our belt and one thing we've all developed a taste for is taking naps. Almost everyone I've talked to takes one as soon as they get home from the picket line. We're sore, tired, wet, frustrated, anxious, and sometimes miserable. Dave Taylor says his legs are more sore from picketing everyday than from running his usual 19 mile jogs. Still no news from the negotiation front; in fact the union reps have gone home because there hasn't been any movement with the CBC to meet again. I know they're in a tough situation, and must be exhuasted with the talks... but my my heart couldn't help sink at this news. This picket stuff was fun for maybe two days... it's getting old fast. Ms Lockout 2005 paid us a visit. Bob Carty, Michael Munnik and the rest belt out their tunes every day and with such love. They really help keep spirits high. The website committe have their site running and the food committee is organzing a corn roast for next week. The communications team reminds me of the yearbook committee in high school. They disappear into meetings for most of the day, resurfacing with new tasks for the rest of us. They're working on a Lock Out Live radio - a guerrilla type show to be aired from Sparks St. People are trying to use their minds worried their creative juices might start to dry up. This lock out is either bringing out the activist in us, or the stubborn mule. Some run around making hand outs, recruiting souls into projects, making new posters while others refuse to partake in the long term planning efforts, hoping inner growlings will us back to work. As I mingle between the picketers, I can't help but notice the nervousness in people's laughter, the slight bitterness in the jokes, and a slight heaviness in the steps we take. We all support the reasons why we're locked out, but as Louise Elliott put it - it's the uncertainty making us anxious. We all want to know what's happening, who's telling us the truth, when can we go back to work!!?

In the meantime, bring on the corn roast! Sing another tune, Bob! And let's figure out what to wear for the costume competition on Monday...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

This ain't no Labour Disruption


English Canada is waking to the sizzling on-air chemistry of management's Susan Marjetti and Rob Renaud on a show called Radio Morning these days. There's a reason Rob is management, and, say, Anna-Maria Tremonti is a host. Susan M. even had the nerve to call the lock out a "labour disruption." A labour disruption?! Ya, a "disruption" enforced by YOU! I was OK with my 4am shift this month, thank you very much! Get back to the damn table!

A good amount of people were already working the picket line when I arrived at 9:30am this morning. We made front page news in the Globe and The Cit sent another reporter this afternoon. We were told the union is talking to mediators right now so that's good news. There's still no sense of how long this lock out will last, but we had fun picketing today. JD (aka the CBC bunny) bought some posters and markers and we made some colourful signs.
Michael Munnik, Bob Carty, and Daryl O'Dea played their guitars and sang "Yellow Submarine." We're getting to know our Rad-Can friends quite well. My French vocab is increasing for sure (though, sorry guys, marquer is NOT a French word). We worked on the posters alongside with them, while Caitlin Crockard and Jason (JJ) Ramsay sliced up watermelon and peaches for us. The atmosphere and morale was really great so far. I'm meeting people who've been on strike or lock-out like three or four times in their career; even some retired people are back helping us on the line this time. The politics of picketing is fascinating.
Poster making was the most fun, giving us a break from the dizzy walking. Using coloured Crayolas and sitting on the Sparks Street ground brought back Grade 2 memories for everyone. Our signs read, "Put Management on Contract," "CBC Radio None," and "CBC NOT BBC." While I worked on this last sign, an old couple marched up and said, "what does it mean?" I explained that the Corp was running BBC News instead of BBC news on Newsworld these days since we were on lock out. The old woman said, "but it's not the BBC's fault!" Others around me began to explain that we weren't protesting the BBC itself - just that there was no CBC News because we were on lock out! She said, "But you're on strike!" That's when she got it - "NO we're not!!" we all started to say at once. "We're locked out! We want to work!" Unfortunately, the essence of what our picketing is all about is not understood by the public. We, Canadians' taxes AND their stories are LOCKED OUT by the management of the CBC- ie kept out of the buildings and off the air. We're not allowed to work because management doesn't want us to until our union caves in to their terms. Step back for a moment and reflect on how aggressive this move really is. Management is risking audience loyalty and putting bad programming on the air (ok, fine - Promo Girl off the air is one good thing to come out of this lock out) because they are too stubborn to see, well, my side of the story. I am being effetively told my effort, talent, and the time I put into the CBC doesn't mean that much because they need the "flexibility" to hire or fire me as they wish to "keep up creativity" at the Corp. I offer what anyone from my generation is prone to say in such a situation: riiiiiiiiiight.
Andrew the hotdog vendor is outraged, at least. He just wants his radio programming back. Bring back my Current, he says. Andrew's having a lock out special on his dogs right now. The other good thing to come out of this non-labour disruption.

Monday, August 15, 2005

First day out


Here we go - first day out. Arrived at around 8am and left at noon. My feet killed so I'll be wearing running shoes tomorrow, and go in a little later than 8. LIke 10 maybe! It was OK, but I can see how it can start getting old. Four hours of walking around in an oval shape can get tiresome. And we're running out of conversation fast. I now know exactly what everyone's reading and had to eat for lunch yesterday. Anyway, it's a good chance for catching up with people and there is certainly a sense of solidarity among us.

Management and the union have not resumed talks and aren't even at the table. Who knows how long this will last. Mgmt have their peeps on the air DJ-ing really bad CanCon music. They're going to run out of material - fast.

I know... we look too happy to be on lock out. Trust me the novelty will begin to wear out. In the pic: (l to r) Leanne, me, JD and Linda.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Hell No We Won't Go...

So it's over. The Canadian Media Guild has left the negotiation table with Mother Corp. after talks fell through. 5, 500 of us are offifically locked out of work. People kept trickling in to at work today during the day to "take their stuff home" - shoes, gym clothes, coffee mugs, contact books, old tape. The CBC took out a large ad in the paper explaining their position to the Canadian public about why they've issued the lock-out warning. The Guild, the union representing the journalists and techs who work at teh CBC, isn't expected to budge. They've been at it for 15 months... and the union didn't budge... and neither did management. Strap on your comfy shoes! We're going a-picketing!

The key issue is employment status. The Corp wants the "choice" on how to hire employees - basically abolish all permanent jobs and hire people on short-term contracts or casual status. They say this will help in the creativity and flexibility that is the media today. The Guild says this is a ploy to save money on pensions, vacation pay, benefits etc. Which is probably true. Is the CBC proposing that permanent status employees aren't - are they saying that by giving employees job security, health benefits, and a reason not to worry about how they're going to provide for their families will make them less creative in programming? Please. There are so many rumours going around - we're going to be out for a week, no it's 3 weeks - are you serious! it's going to be three months. The union representing Quebec and Moncton went on strike three years ago. The SCRC represents Jack Czernin who is host of Quebec City's afternoon show. She's filling in for us here in Ottawa for this month. She says what we're going through here in Ottawa is reminiscent of what happened in Montreal three years ago - the conditions were the same, the threats were the same. They went on strike for three whole months - and the union eventually won. All contract and casual employees received the right to pension which was a huge victory.

The CBC is a fantastic place to work; I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to walk into that building everyday and I get so much out of it. I love the people, the discuissions I have with them, I love being around talent everyday. But talent needs nourishment. And it's just not normal for people to go on living without a "job" for sixteen years, or ten years, or even 3. I know people who have laboured on-air, behind the scenes, in tech booths for that long and they have never known what its like to hold a real job, to wake up everyday knowing you'll be able to put food on your table next month or your kids through school next year. And this, because producers just don't have the money to afford them. Women especially will suffer. They are the most likely to need time off if they plan to havea children. A woman on contract or as a casual and who leaves to have a baby has effectibely shot her career opportunities and rights in the foot. She is not entitled to mat leave pay, and can;t guarantee work once she's ready to come back. Looking around in our shop at least, you can easily estimate that over 50% of the workforce are women. Women who take time off from their families, who sacrifice having families, to pour their souls into the Corp. and who unfortunately are not protected by the Corp.

It's time for a little respect and a little appreciation. I want to know that the time and effort, and the talent, I put into the CBC will have something in it for me at the end of the day. That my pride in working for the Corp. will be rewarded with something more than, "ye! we're excited to have you on board.... but not sure if we have the money for you."

All we can do is wait. See on Sparks, everyone.