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Merged Corus-Shaw workers vote to join Media Guild

There’s great news out of Corus Entertainment where a majority of 49 employees in three departments have chosen to join the Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada.

The Canada Industrial Relations Board today confirmed the result of voting that took place last week. The board had decided to conduct the vote in the wake of non-unionized Corus buying Shaw Media and the merger of the two workforces in the fall. Workers at Shaw were already members of the CMG.

The employees, 17 of them formerly with Shaw, who work in television master control, broadcast technology and INR at Corus’s Toronto headquarters, will form a new bargaining unit. 

Kamala Rao, president of CMG, welcomed the new members and congratulated them for their “hard work and courage in organizing to collectively improve their working conditions and to have a greater say in their workplace.”

She assured them that “our union will be positive both for workers and for Corus Entertainment, one of the country’s leading media companies.”



CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon congratulated the members and the CMG.

“This is about workers having a say in their workplace and the ability to negotiate better wages and working conditions. A better workplace means a better life and that’s a win for everyone.”

CWA Canada’s organizer, Katherine Lapointe, who has been working on the Corus campaign since November, said pay was the major issue.

The Corus employees, who are among the “lowest paid in the industry,” wound up working alongside their unionized, better-paid colleagues and the discrepancies grated on them.

They also wanted to have a say about workplace conditions and a guarantee that the company would not arbitrarily take away benefits such as pension, vacation and medical plans.

Corus Entertainment’s $2.65-billion acquisition of Shaw Media from Shaw Communications last year shufflled ownership of broadcast assets between the two companies, both of which are controlled by the Shaw family of Alberta. (Shaw had paid $2 billion in 2010 for CanWest Global’s broadcast assets, which comprised 45 specialty and 15 conventional TV stations including the Global Television network, 39 radio stations and the Nelvana content studio.) The deal turned Corus, which already owned major networks such as Disney Channel, YTV, W and Treehouse, into a media empire that could compete with Bell and Rogers.