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News | 02/27/2004 5:00 am EST

Striking A-Channel Edmonton workers agree to deal
Craig Media’s striking A-Channel Edmonton workers have voted "overwhelmingly" to approve an agreement that will see them return to work on March 1 (CCR, Feb. 13/04). Nine positions at the company’s Edmonton operations, or about 10% of the workforce, will be cut as Craig Media consolidates its master control operations for all its Alberta operations in Calgary. But the remaining workers have won themselves wage increases in the three-year deal of 5% in the first year, 3.5% in the second and 3.5% in the third. Craig Media management also agreed to implement a salary grid. "We got a five-year wage grid, which is the principle of any negotiation for wages. You need to have a grid to base that on. We achieved that goal after months of the company saying that we would never, ever get a wage scale," says Darren Scott, a member of Local 1900 of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union’s bargaining unit. Because many of the anchors, directors, and producers are over scale based on the new pay grid, Scott says that more bonus money will be rolled into the salaries of employees in the lower job categories. "So the top-end employees aren’t going to see the same wage increases as the lower-end employees," he notes. "This was all about equalizing the workplace so that there wasn’t a gap between the haves and have nots, especially the haves that you see on-air all the time." Scott adds that rumours that Craig Media is up for sale helped the bargaining process. "I think to place too much weight on it would do a disservice to the people who were on strike for the last five months," he says. "But it did afford us a window of opportunity that we exploited to our benefit, and I think the company realizes that it’s hard to sell a product that’s in a bit of turmoil."

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